OK, gang, it appears I’m about three episodes behind on my Degrassi recaps. They air way, way more often than once a week here in the Great White North, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Please bear with me. Before I begin, though, I want to address a comment left by a user named Libithina on my last recap: She thought I was too harsh on the clichés in this show and pointed out that some viewers going through the same issues, who are of course the show’s target audience, probably appreciate them more than we cynical twenty- and thirty-somethings do. I still think even those kids would pick up on the show’s creative flaws eventually, but Libithina made a valid point. So, I’ll try to keep that in mind as I cover everything I neglected last week.
She also informed me that they dropped “The Next Generation” from the name of the show. I’m scandalized.
The first of the missing episodes is titled “Love Game,” the same title of a relic of the days when Lady Gaga was just a talented but weird singer. (Now she’s a talented but weird singer who somehow became the icon of a national movement that has absolutely nothing to do with her; I believe the word is “hijacking.”) But I digress. We begin with Clare, who was completely absent from the last episode, trying on head gear for her day of school, including a series of headbands and this.
Practicing her “seal off all the exits and set the gym on fire” face.
Elsewhere, Jenna packs a diaper bag and talks to her baby. BECAUSE SHE HAS A BABY DAMMIT. Make sure you remember that. She calls the kid “Ty”; but wasn’t the baby in the last ep named Guthrie? Is this a continuity fail, or did Jenna realize her naming fail during the last week?
At school, Eli hobbles down the stairs with his leg in a cast and a cane with a skull head that perfectly matches his emo/Rhoda haircut. I remember when emo was all the rage in high school. Then you get to college and hipster takes its place. He and Clare have an awkward stare-across-the-hall moment, apparently seeing each other for the first time after breaking up. Clare assures a very concerned Alli that there’s no reason for Eli to be upset and they will be able to be civil with one another. If Degrassi were a romantic comedy, Alli would be the sassy visible minority who lives vicariously through other people’s affairs.
Clare nervously shuffles up to Emo, I mean, Eli, and they exchange an awkward “Hey.” (Exactly what my ex and I said the only time we ran into each other after splitting. That was over two years ago.) Clare is visibly disappointed when Eli says he’s “great,” turns down her invite to “talk” and dismisses her with a “see you around.” Only he does it with that perky voice people use to disguise the fact that they’re not actually smiling. Clare, honey, he’s just not that into you. But slap on some white makeup and a My Chemical Romance concert tee and he’ll be putty in your hands. Credits.
It’s the first day back from spring break and everyone is excitedly comparing vacation stories and class schedules. (What the hell? Our schedules were always the same from winter break up until graduation.) Dave and some girl invite Alli and Clare to some unspecified event with “the whole gang.” Lured by the promise of nachos, the girls accept. That and beer are all you need to offer to my friends to get them to come to anything.
Dave joins Adam and asks after Drew’s whereabouts. Word is that he’s “grounded for the rest of his life.” He’s also trying to “lay low,” an excellent idea under the circumstances of being perma-grounded. However, they don’t know what the cops will do to him, and Mrs. Drew has lawyered up. He confessed to being coerced into criminal activity that didn’t actually happen – at least buy the poor kid a cake!
Holly J, Fiona and some other girl discuss themes for prom. If our grad dinner even had a theme, nobody gave a shit about it. They realize just now that this will be their last semester of school together. HUG! Sav joins them with a clipboard.
“Just wrote up this ‘Get Keke to show me her boobies on webcam’ petition. Sign?”
Actually, he’s just dragging Holly J in front of a video camera so they can read the morning announcements. I’d hate to think how much funding this school gets that they could be using for security cameras and metal detectors. Holly J asks if they’re “OK.” He says it was “just what he needed.” And her break? “Dialysis.” Did anyone here ever read the Sweet Valley Unicorn Club series in which Mandy Miller couldn’t stop reminding you that she survived cancer? Holly J reminds me of her, only more prissy. They kick off the announcements with a “week-long health and wellness initiative: Our Health, Our Passion.” Well, I know that regular hand-washing and exercise do it to me every time.
Alli runs up to Jenna and is startled to see Baby TysonGuthrie in his pram. Just checked Wikipedia: The kid’s last name is Guthrie. Still, “Tyson Guthrie” sounds like one of those guys who works at a record store during the day while pursuing a career as the hottest graffiti artist in town. Jenna is on hand not to come to class, as she is taking the semester off to care for the baby, “but I didn’t want to miss everyone else’s first day!” You’re going to have to come up with a better excuse than that, Degrassi writers.
How about “I wanted to let everyone know that I produced a baby who is just SO CUTE!”?
That’s not snark on my part; the kid is damn cute. Spotting K.C. coming down the hall, Alli vacates the premises to go get someone else to remind the audience why they exist. K.C. is happy to see them both but, wouldn’t you know it, the bell rings within 15 seconds. He scampers off, leaving Tyson and Jenna’s mom wear behind. I’m sorry, but for a teenager, even one with offspring, she’s dressed like somebody’s mother.
For the rest of the day, Tyson gurgled away peacefully while Mama bought three new pairs of stretch pants and a bottle of Zima at Rite Aid.
Adam and Clare head to civics class and are intimidated by the size of the binder of course materials. Check that attitude, kids, this is a class you’ll actually use if you care enough to vote. (Although it’s Canadian civics, so it’s going to suck giant donkey balls.) Clare drops her binder, which is enough for Adam to sense that she’s in a funk. “Can Eli just be falling?” she asks him, clearly having read way too many Nicholas Sparks novels. Adam, who apparently is all-knowing and wise, assures her that the break-up was good for everyone and Eli is fine. They’ll all be at Above the Dot, home of the friendship nachos and this show’s excuse for the Peach Pit After Dark, that night. Hopefully that’s where she’ll get proof that he just doesn’t give a shit.
Jenna comes home to her crappy walk-up apartment with a cardboard box full of groceries, which promptly fall on the floor. Someone named Kyle picks them up for her. Lest you wonder who he is, he helpfully refers to Jenna as “little sis.” And he has to go to work, so he can’t watch the baby. Ah, yes, the inevitable moment in which Jenna learns that teen motherhood is hard and lonely. Kyle is skeptical that K.C. is pulling his weight; Jenna assures him that he’s bringing over diapers later. We can only assume that those diapers are disposable, and those things ain’t cheap, so it’s something. Kyle doesn’t think so, though, and departs after a few more excuses from Jenna. Angry confrontation later? We can only hope.
Alli and Clare, preparing for the Friendship Nacho Party, discuss the possibility that Eli may indeed be over Clare. I’m over Clare and we haven’t even reached our first commercial break yet. Judging by Alli’s expression, I’m not alone.
“Maybe if I slip a few green-tinted roofies into her nachos, she’ll mistake them for olives.”
Alli quite reasonably points out that Eli is no longer “obsessed” with Clare, which is exactly what she wanted. I’m assuming this is an I-didn’t-want-him-but-he-wanted-me-and-I-liked-being-wanted-so-I-just-want-him-to-want-me-again-even-though-I-still-don’t-want-him situation we’re dealing with here. Mrs. Clare appears just in time to remind Clare that they’ll be dining with some random family friends, the Martins, that night, including their son, Jake, who likes to throw amphibians at girls (circa 2005). Looks like there’ll be no Friendship Nacho Party for you, BITCH.
Jake, everybody. Everybody, Jake.
Everybody, Justin Bieber with jaw implants.
From the music, we’re supposed to think Clare finds him attractive. Her taste sucks. Of course, Jake gives Alli a good long look as she trots off, so this will only end well for two out of three teens. Sure enough, Jake gives Clare the requisite “Who’s your friend?” Ouchie.
Jenna prepares something that looks like Kraft Dinner as K.C. shows up with a package of “poo protectors.” Um . . . lulz? K.C.’s semester is going to be hella easy, and he’s excited to look at the baby. So all is happy and shiny in Teen Mom Land, right? WRONG! He’s meeting Dave at the Friendship Nacho Party. He beats it before Jenna can point out why this is an unbelievable dick move. Not that most people would need that pointed out.
Jake, Mrs. Clare and Mr. Jake enjoy chicken around the table while Clare looks mildly nauseated. At her mother’s urging, Clare tells the gentlemen that some of her fiction was published earlier this year, but is too shy to go into detail. Mrs. Clare explains that “she’s going through a difficult break-up.” Thanks for the update, MOM. We learn that Jake is now a student at Degrassi, the only high school in Toronto. Clare is not happy. Neither am I; I have enough cast members to keep track of already. However, seeing an opportunity to “introduce Jake to her friends,” she drags him out of the meal to Above the Dot. After they leave, Mr. Jake and Mrs. Clare toast each other with red wine, then toss the dishes aside and doitdoitdoit on the kitchen table. Probably.
“Check out Above the Dot! Where can you find us? Above . . . The Dot! AHAHAHAHA!”
Inside, it’s pretty much the same as any bar, only without the booze. (We hope.) Alli greets Clare and Jake. But mostly Jake. Clare introduces him to K.C., Dave and one of the random brunettes we met earlier, whose name is Sadie. Nobody cares about her. Just as Jake dips into a plate of Friendship Nachos, Clare drags him over to meet Eli.
“I’m up on him. He up on me. Don’t pay him any attention.”
But, of course, Eli doesn’t care and greets Jake as if he’s just another dude, then goes back to his pool game. A very perceptive Jake asks Clare if they should make out. No. You shouldn’t.
Jenna enters the not-bar with Tyson in tow. WHAAAAAAAAT. She lets loose on K.C. for having a life and friends while she’s stuck with the kid. She dumps both carrier and diaper bag on him while she sits down with the gang. All this drama for a night of Friendship Nachos?
Eli, Jake and Adam chat at the pool table like lifelong bros. Clare stares longingly at Eli and twitches, as if her nervous system is starting to collapse. Or maybe she’s just about to cry. Hard to tell.
Alli offers to split a slice of Oreo cheesecake with Jenna, who is . . . asleep. I’d call this completely implausible at a not-bar, but everyone has so far been able to hear each other over the music, so I guess it could happen. Jenna wakes up and demands to know where Tyson is. K.C. took him home, so now Jenna can have fun and enjoy Oreo cheesecake for dessert after her main course of Friendship Nachos! But, alas, Jenna just wants to complain. All Tyson does is “eat, cry and poop,” but he needs Jenna to be there while he eats, cries and poops. And “K.C.’s trying” (since when?), but she feels so alooooone. Alli tells her to talk to K.C., brilliant advice considering how many problems in young-adult entertainment could be solved with an honest conversation. Jenna departs.
Clare goes to confront Eli about why he’s not slashing his wrists and writing depressing free verse about her. Amusingly, he seems to have absolutely no idea what she could possibly want to talk to him about. (That’s what happens when you don’t put out, girls.) Finally, she screams this loud enough for the whole not-bar to hear:
“Did three months mean nothing?! Did you just flip a switch and erase me from your memory? It took you a YEAR! A YEAR to get over your ex! Did you ever love me at all?!”
“That was totally embarrassing but also seriously awesome. I love this school already!”
Jake dutifully grabs her and drags her out of the not-bar, even though she has more to say. I think you’ve made your point, sweetheart. And that point is that you didn’t want him but he wanted you and you liked being wanted so you just want him to want you again even though you still don’t want him. We get it. Shut up.
At Mrs. K.C.’s apartment, K.C. prepares something in a mug for Jenna, explaining that there’s only so much he can do for the kid. But, he adds, Mrs. K.C. told him to take care of Jenna as well. Smart woman. Jenna cries. K.C. apologizes. He offers to drop out of school and get a job, but Jenna says she just needs him around more. Guess that means no more basketball and Friendship Nachos for this poor sap.
Clare and Jake leave the not-bar. Clare rants. Jake rants back that she’s the one who needs closure. (How do you say “DUH” in Degrassian?) He advises her to move on. How will she get over one guy?
By getting under another one! HEY-O!
Of course, this isn’t just a kiss ex machina; they actually kiss. My, that was quick. And what happened to the much nicer, more attractive and less neurotic girl you were eyeing thar, Jake?
The next morning, Mrs. K.C. offers to take care of the baby while Jenna takes a shower. My mom would not be that cool if she were made a baba in her mid-40s. Once Jenna exits, K.C. tries to sell his mom on letting her and Tyson move in with them. I was hoping for her to refuse and say they have to take responsibility for themselves – which, let’s face it, is what any Teen Mom mom would do – but she gives her assent within seconds, on the condition that she doesn’t babysit 24 hours a day and she gets help with expenses. “So is that a yes?” K.C. asks in disbelief. Good thing Mrs. K.C. is going to be there at all, because this kid is too slow on the uptake to have 50% responsibility for even a ficus plant. And, of course, Jenna is thrilled. Just crap out a baby and this wonderful, accepting life can be yours, people, no matter what the MTV documentaries say.
Alli has Clare recap The Kiss and the status of her and Jake’s “relationship” for her. It’s boring. And there’s Eli, about six feet away. Doesn’t it seem like there’s an awful lot of people standing six feet away at convenient times? Clare dismisses Alli and comes up to Eli. (Wait. Alli and Eli? Does Clare also have a Scandinavian au pair named Uli who we haven’t met yet?) She apologizes profusely, expresses hope that they can one day be friends, and says she knows he doesn’t have feelings for her. “I don’t have feelings at all,” he says. No, really, that’s what he says.
“Feelings have done nothing but weaken my soul and expose it to the disease and filth of the world. I have turned myself into a near-automaton to prevent myself from plunging further into the cold black abyss that is life. Also, stabby rip stab stab.”
Actually, he’s seeing a therapist who prescribed anti-anxiety pills for him. Clare is shocked. And probably thinking his anxiety was all about her. She really needs a hobby.
Next recap: Someone turns 18 and can finally bang her doctor. Also, Jenna and K.C. find out that raising a baby is still super-hard. And the moral of this story is, condoms are your friend.