Degrassi Junior High: 106 “Rumor Has It”

Rumor has it that Ms. Avery is gay, but she’s not the only one having steamy lesbian dreams. Also, Rick spends $100 on licorice.

Season 1 Episode 6
Original Airdate: February 22, 1987

There’s a blizzard happening in the Mid-Atlantic states right now, which means I haven’t left the house in three days because I don’t own snow boots or a shovel. If Johnny or Billie found out, they’d have a terrific laugh because they are from Michigan or Canada or somewhere else that’s ridiculously cold. So if you’re snowed in like I am or if you’re a pathetic loser who has nothing better to do, you can watch a shitty interlaced VHS scan of this episode on the PBS YouTube channel.

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This episode has one of the best cold opens ever. The Grade 7s are having a normal day of school, when Caitlin walks up to Mrs. Avery’s desk and sits in her lap in a way that can only be described as 100% inappropriate. Kathleen shouts, “MS. AVERY’S GAY!” then a chorus of whispers flood in shouting “MS. AVERY’S GAY! SHE’S A LESBIAN! SHE’S GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY!” This continues for at least 30 seconds until Caitlin finds out it was all a dream.

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Or was it just a dream?! Susie snaps a picture of Ms. Avery getting out of another lady’s car. Welp, guess that proves it. Kathleen was right, Ms. Avery is definitely a lesbian. Good work, detectives. We can go home now.

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Susie and Caitlin discuss their dreams in the darkroom. Caitlin doesn’t mention the dream about Ms. Avery so Susie assumes she’s been having hot and heavy dreams about Rick. I know I have.

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Back in dweeb world, Arthur and Yick give a presentation about safety and the projector is backwards. Also, Arthur looks like he’s wearing red footie pajamas. If you ever notice Ms. Avery miming stuff in a scene, you’ll see she touches every single student on the back or shoulders or head. She is constantly touching kids. It looks like she’s about to make out with Rick. I mean, I don’t blame her for wanting to.

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SEE WHAT I MEAN? Ms. Avery is practically touching Caitlin’s boob. Maybe that was cool in the 80s, but in today’s Zero Tolerance schools this would never fly.

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Speaking of zero tolerance, I have zero tolerance for this off-brand Molly Ringwald with the big, stupid star earrings. She dreams up some implausible romantic affair between Mr. Raditch and Ms. Avery, but Kathleen immediately shuts her down: “Lesbians aren’t interested in men.” Melanie asks, “Who says she’s a lesbian?” and the other two agree: “EVERYONE knows she’s a lesbian!” Then they accuse Melanie of being a lesbian. Classic middle school switch-a-roo.

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“I’m very glad Ms. Avery assigned us this project on neighborhood watch. It was very stimulating. In fact, I think I’ll devote my life to crime prevention when I grow up.” – Arthur

BUZZ OFF, ARTHUR. GOD you are the worst. Okay, so anyway, Yick can’t find $20 his dad gave him to buy shoes because he’s a gigantic slob, and it’s obviously in his outrageously messy locker. But since Arthur is the Worst Detective In All Of Canada he assumes someone stole it, and he assumes the thief was Rick because Rumor Has It, Rick is poor as shit. UGH JUST GO AWAY ARTHUR. Go play with your My Buddy doll or something.

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So anyway, the girls are having a super fun sleepover! Just kidding, this is the 1980s. There is no Netflix. There is no Xbox. It’s basically like living in a third world country. The girls flip through a phone book (one day people will totally forget what a phone book was) and prank call all of the teachers. Man, remember how much it sucked having a house phone? For all you youngsters out there, your home number was publicly listed in something called a “phone book,” and anyone could call your house in the middle of the night and it would wake you up because your phone had an actual loud-ass bell inside, not some Drake ringtone that you could turn off at night. It was basically a nightmare.

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The girls obsessively talk about their observations of Ms. Avery’s lesbianity at the sleepover and back at Degrassi Junior High. Then, before their very eyes… Ms. Avery makes out with some other lady! Holy hot dog! Before you ask, I already checked the web for Hot_Canadian_Babes_Make_Out_In_Car.wmv and nothing came up, so don’t bother.

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Because he’s convinced he wants to go into law enforcement, Arthur purchases a Fisher Price My First Detective Kit. Yick checks the locker with a blacklight and finds numerous traces of Rick’s jizz. Wow, check out all that jizz in the first screenshot. Since that doesn’t prove Rick actually opened the locker, the dweebs search for more circumstantial evidence. After that, Rick is seen all around the school sharing a big paper bag of licorice with everyone. Arthur has his immediate suspicions on who stole Yick’s $20.

Rick gives his licorice to Caitlin (ha ha ha ha ha), telling her to “take as much as you want, I’m rich! I won $100 in the lottery!” That’s right, kids. Rick is the original Candy Bandit. Let me reiterate: Rick got a hundred bucks and spent it on BLACK LICORICE. I have no words.

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Caitlin has another sexy dream about Ms. Avery, who touches her seductively on the stomach and compliments her essay on native peoples. This time, the shouts of “MS. AVERY’S GAY! GAY! GAY!” turn into “CAITLIN IS GAY! CAITLIN IS A LEZZIE! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY!

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Kathleen, Melanie, and Off-Brand Molly Ringwald have used their middle school logic to deduce that Caitlin is a “lezzie” because she’s been acting weird lately. When Susie defends Caitlin, they accuse Susie of being a lesbian too. Aw man, that classic middle school gay-switch-a-roo got me again!

Speaking of gay people, Yick and Arthur are trying to catch a glimpse of Rick’s willy in the boy’s washroom. Rick grabs his licorice bag from the windowsill without washing his hands and throws some piss-covered licorice to them like a farmer would throw slop to pigs.

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Then there are a boring scenes of Susie and Caitlin in the dark room developing photos and talking about lesbian stuff. Caitlin deals with the inner turmoil that Rumor Has It, she might be a lesbian after all, since she does wear super gay headbands and stuff like that. 20 minutes of this episode is spent just saying the word “GAY! GAY! GAY!” over and over, I swear. Finally, Ms. Avery debunks all the lesbian rumors: the woman she carpools with is her roommate, and she kisses all of her friends (wtf?). Caitlin confesses she’s had lesbian dreams and Avery reassures her that she is dumb and pubescent and confusing dreams just happen normally.

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Rick gets pissed that the dweebs keep trying to look at his junk, and he wants to know why. Arthur finally accuses him of stealing the $20 and Rick threatens to kill them right there in the stairwell. Then Yick finds the $20 in his locker because he is such a massive slob and Arthur calls him a broomhead. Congrats, Degrassi Junior High writers team, for creating the most predictable plot in all of eternity.

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AWKWARD FREEZE FRAME

By the end, Ms. Avery tells Caitlin she’s not a lesbian but adds, “besides, would it make any difference if I were? Would you think less of me?” so the rumor is never actually dispelled. And we never find out if Caitlin is actually gay either. Wait a second, what if Kathleen is actually the lesbian? She’s the one that keeps bringing it up. Ha, see how I used the ol’ middle-school-gay-switch-a-roo on the switch-a-roo-er?

This episode had so much potential, between the steamy lesbian dream sequences and Rick buying $100 worth of licorice. But it didn’t have any 8th graders in it, and the Arthur/Yick plot was even more predictable than usual. I can’t remember if I’ve been grading these episodes or what because I haven’t done it in a year, but this one gets a B-.

What I learned in this episode: GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY! GAY!