Degrassi Junior High: 110 “Smokescreen”

Rick smokes cigarettes, a factory makes Toronto smell like farts, and Arthur smashes a vase with his big ass.

Season 1 Episode 10
Original Airdate: March 22, 1987

Well boys and girls, it’s time for my annual Degrassi roundup. Season 3 of Next Class just came out on Netflix and I think it is pretty decent, for a shitty Canadian show for preteens, anyway. The new nerdy kids get into some JT-and-Toby-esque penis antics that rival even Arthur and Yick’s foray into sci-fi pornography. It’s been 8 years since the last boner episode and frankly it was long overdue. Give it a watch: episode 5, #HugeIfTrue.

 

Anyway, back to this flaming bag of dog feces of a show. The city of Toronto has been clouded with farts ever since the fart factory moved into town. The morons on the Envionmental Action Committee are trying to get kids to sign a petition to stop the fart factory for making their city smell like the the inside of a fat man’s sweaty tush. Rick, who Kathleen calls “dumb as a post,” signs the petition even though he loves farts and pollution. He has an ulterior motive to hook up with Caitlin for some reason.

 

In Grade 7, Susie is giving a family history of how her ancestors were slaves and now her uncle is an astronaut with NASA. I’ll just point out that he’s in the American space agency because the Canadian Space Agency wasn’t formed until 1990 and America is coolest country on the planet. Degrassi wants to be American so badly. Anyway, after the bell rings, Ms. Avery gets intimate with Rick (she is always touching students for some reason) and asks him why he didn’t turn in his assignment.

“Because I didn’t do it” – Rick Munro, Grade 7 badass

Then she basically says he’s going to have to repeat 7th grade for the second time because he is a complete dodo bird.

 

Yick is fretting about the family project because he is a poor Chinese immigrant and lives in a house with 20 of his cousins, so he buys a $5 vase (approximately 20¢ USD) from an antique store and tries to pass it off as a family heirloom that’s been in the family for thousands of years. Pretty slick move for a 12-year-old, I have to admit.

 

Rick takes a break to smoke a cigarette next to a no-smoking sign in the boy’s room because rules are for sissies. He solicits Shane “The Impregnator” McKay for advice on hooking up with Caitlin. Shane calls Caitlin a “browner” (I had to look that one up but it seems like it’s short for a brown-noser) and he suggests Rick joins the Environmental Action Committee. As Degrassi’s resident sex expert, Shane knows what he’s talking about, so Rick extinguishes his cigarette butt on grade 7’s forehead and goes to the meeting.

 

Talk about environmental disasters. The Environmental Action Committee meeting room is a polluted mess with garbage everywhere. Ugh, middle schoolers. Her Royal Highness Kathleen is queen bitch of the committee and bosses everyone around while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing positive for the environment. By the way, this red haired chick is named Trish, and she tries to change the name of the committee every chance she gets. That is her only purpose in life.

 

Supreme Leader Kathleen doesn’t want to allow Rick into the environmental club because he smokes like a chimney and that reminds her of the evil fart factory’s chimney. Kathleen is also like a chimney, profusely spewing hatred at every turn. She asks Rick what he even knows about the environment, and Rick delivers a sick burn: “I live in it.” Kathleen acts like a massive bitch and reminds everyone that Rick had to repeat 7th grade, but since he signed the petition and pledged his support to the environment, Caitlin sticks up for him. Looks like Rick is on his way to getting some rich white girl booty.

 

Caitlin invites Rick over for milk and cookies. I wish that was some sort of euphemism but it is exactly as lame as it sounds. They each describe their home life: Rick’s dad beats him, his mom disowned him, and he lives with his older brother, Frank, who is a bartender. His situation sucks and in retrospect, that’s probably why he didn’t do that class project on his family. In stark contrast, both of Caitlin’s parents are teachers and she spends at least $500 a year on stupid headbands. Rick eyes Caitlin’s super luxurious stereo in order to steal it which gives him the idea to have Caitlin “rap” an announcement for the petition over the intercom. I say “rap” in quotation marks because it is offensive to the entire recording industry to even qualify her horrendously shitty rich white girl “rap” as music.

 

The “rap” announcement is so cringe-worthy that it works. Suddenly everyone, even the Black Girl Who Always Leaves Class Early wants to sign the petition to stop the fart factory from ripping ass 24 hours a day, if it will stop Caitlin from ever “rapping” over the intercom ever again.

 

Yick did such a good job describing the $5 vase as either Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) or Manchu Dynasty (1644 to 1912) or “both” that Arthur wants to take the vase to an appraiser. Of course Yick won’t let him. Later, Arthur bumps into Yick’s duffel bag with his giant, fat, pasty ass and breaks what he thinks is a very valuable vase. By the way, they pronounce it “vahse” throughout the whole episode so it sounds super fancy. Anyway, Arthur hides in the bathroom until the school day is over so he can sneak out with the broken vahse.

An announcement over the intercom instructs students who ate the cafeteria’s tuna surprise to report to the nurse’s office, thus beginning the Degrassi caf’s longstanding tradition of serving germ- and earwig-laden lunches.

 

Caitlin, Susie and Rick go to the fart factory megaplex to deliver the petition. They get a brief meeting with an evil-looking factory stooge who totally dismisses their complaints. Then he steals their stupid petition, farts on them, and leaves.

 

The Führer Kathleen catches Rick smoking and farting outside the Degrassi Grocery and has him kicked out of the Environmental Action Committee because she is a goddamn evil bitch whose soul will never rest until every dumb, working-class peon is completely wiped off this earth.

After the meeting, Caitlin chews Rick out for embarassing her, and she says patronizingly that she was “trying to help” him. Rick doesn’t wanna be some rich white girl’s charity case so he strikes back. He tells her, “I was the one helping you,” and he points out that he came up with the idea for the intercom “rap” and taking the petition to the fart factory. Take that, you ignorant, priviledged brat.

 

In a moment of desparation, Arthur tries to glue the vase together but obviously the deed is done. He has destroyed his best friend’s valuable heirloom. Yick is forced to tell the truth about how his family immigrated from China and how they were floating on a raft for 30 days before they washed up on the sandy shores of Toronto. Everyone is impressed with Yick’s bravery and they praise him for the project. Afterwards, Yick and Arthur reveal they were both lying to each other. They call each other broomheads and become friends again. Barf.

 

AWKWARD FREEZE FRAME

Caitlin apologizes to Rick for not checking her priveledge and Rick comes up with an idea to take their petition to the newspaper so they can get their voices heard. In subsequent episodes the fart factory is never mentioned again, so it’s safe to assume that Toronto still smells like a giant butt burp to this very day.

I can’t remember if I’ve been rating these episodes or not but this one surely gets a D. The only good part of this episode was Rick calling out Caitlin on her priviledged bullshit and a bunch of scenes where he is shown punching the shit out of some lockers.  Arthur’s giant ass once again ruined the day so I say this without hesitation: this episode sucked.

What I learned in this episode: petitions are 100% worthless.