Degrassi Junior High: 206 “Fight!”

Joey gets his ass kicked. And how can you go wrong with a title like “Fight!”? Well, you’ll see soon enough.

Season 2 Episode 6
Airdate: February 8, 1988

Joey is showing off some Ollies and Triple McSlapchops on his skateboard when the scene abruptly cuts to Duane, who has now graduated from an unnamed extra all the way to a minor character with some speaking roles. His two greaser sidekicks, Johnnycake and Pony Boy, also got promoted by the Degrassi writers. With no explanation whatsoever, Duane says, “watch this,” and knocks Joey to the ground. Haha.

Joey gets up and nurses his torn sleeve and calls Duane a “big dumb jerk,” Degrassi-High-Shane-Style. Oh yeah, that means it’s on.

I really don’t have any idea what the purpose of this scene is. Usually Degrassi is pretty formulaic–A plot, B-plot, C-plot. But I feel bad even calling this the F-plot. Basically, Yick is teaching Arthur some karate tricks, which is some pretty nice stereotyping on the part of the Degrassi writers. Anyway Yick does some kind of Crouching Tiger moves and ends up accidently hitting Louella, the crazy janitor lady.

Another Degrassi formula is to write each of the simultaneous plot lines around the same subject matter and use it as the title as well (Stagefright, Rumor Has It). So naturally I expected this subplot to result in a fight. As much as I would’ve loved to see Louella beat the snot out of Yick and Arthur (especially Arthur), they took that scene out of the final script.

Since this episode’s called “Fight,” what’s Stephanie got to be fighting about? Oh yeah, she’s still trying to catch Simon “The Dude” Dexter. Her plan is to rig her shoe to break her own ankle or something stupid like that, and the twins don’t buy it. Erica and Heather put up with Stephanie’s madness, though, because the only friends they have are each other.

Joey checks out his ripped sleeve in the mirror and when Snake and Wheels enter the bathroom, Joey begins to rip on Duane. He’s in grade 8D. D for dumb. D for dozer. Don’t ask me what a dozer is, Joey said it. He also cracks on Duane because it takes him two hours to watch 60 Minutes. This would make sense if Duane had a VCR and paused it halfway through to beat up a couple of grade 7s, and then watched the rest. But I guess that kind of technology wasn’t around then.

Meanwhile, Duane overhears all of Joey’s insults because he is spending an extra long time on the toilet. The writers tried to make it out like Duane’s agression is supposed to come from his divorced parents or his negative body image or something, but I’m pretty sure it stems from his chronic constipation. It’s ok, Duane. I would be cranky too.

Joey gets the stink-eye from Liz again. I think this is the third episode he’s asked her out. I’m pretty sure he gives up shortly after this one but whatever, I guess it was worth a shot. Oh yeah, and here’s our regular pink-shirted gal, always the first one out of class. I bet she’s got IBS. She and Duane should hook up.

Predictably, Joey runs into Duane, who overheard all of the junk Joey said while he was taking a dump. After Duane challenges him to a fight after school, Joey hands him some flowers and runs away. What Duane says next is classic:

“I’LL GET YOU, JEREMIAH!”
(I’m not making that up.)

Some bully threw Scooter’s lunch on top of his locker. As hard as Degrassi tries to cover up their Canadian-ness, they mess up fairly often. One example is “Cheezies,” Scooter’s lunch of choice. Cheezies are Canadian Cheetos. It doesn’t help that the bag says “fromage” either. And neither do the Canadian accents. Whoops. Just a few scenes earlier, Raditch asks Spike to give an example of one use of an apostrophe, and she says, “My mum’s hoose.” I know Canadians don’t take teasing lightly but COME ON, you know you guys talk funny.

And anyway. if this is product placement for Cheezies, or even generic brand cheese curls, they’ve branded it with a pretty terrible image. It’s pretty clear they are stunting Scooter’s growth because he is eating them in just about every scene he’s in and never gets taller.

Some bully’s been picking on Scooter because he’s small, so Duane picks him up to get his Cheezies. The Zit Remedy boys examine the situation, gawk, and run away. This scene is stupid. Scooter makes any scene instantly stupider.

Stephanie shoves Arthur out of the way when Simon walks by. Then she pulls her broken-ankle gag, but Arthur butts in and Simon keeps on walking. Wait, didn’t this happen in last week’s episode? Yes, it did. Way to use the same plot twice in a row.

Degrassi Junior High

Joey, Wheels, and Snake take the back door in order to avoid Duane, but who should be standing around the corner but litterbugs Johnnycake and Pony Boy. Here I thought that Johnnycake would knife Joey but I guess I am thinking of a different movie.

I forgot what was going on in this screenshot and frankly, I don’t care. As long as Steph is not in her “lady of the night” garb and Arthur is wearing that stupid surfboard shirt I do not want to look at either of them.

Joey’s mom symbolically pounds some chicken breasts with a hammer. This causes him to have nightmares about Duane squeezing his face.

We get two glimpses of Wai “The Chinese Kid” Lee in this episode. In the first, he is seen dropping a frisbee that was thrown at him from about 3 feet away. In the second, he gets exactly one line of dialogue in with Joey. Listen closely or you’ll miss it–

“Yeah.”

Yick tries to give Joey martial arts tips but he doesn’t take advice from the grade 7s. Instead, he takes advice from BLT, who spouts some gibberish about being fast and… yeah, I didn’t really understand what he said there.

Duane brags about what he’s going to do to Joey after school, but Scooter tries to talk him out of it, essentially telling Duane to pick on someone his own size. If I was Duane, I would’ve smashed that kid’s head into a pulp. Heck, I would do that even if I weren’t Duane.

Stephanie is hooking outside the school. Actually, she is waiting for Simon, but you can’t really tell the difference. Anyway, Steph’s future with Simon looks bleak after she asks him, “Why don’t you like me?” Well, simply put, Simon is a bird who just hatched from his egg and called the first thing he saw “mommy.” And that thing happened to be Alexa.

The prospect of a fight has drawn the attention of the entire cast, several extras, and an ice cream lady that looks like the female version of Arthur. Naturally, Arthur is smitten. The two bond over their love of junk food.

Fisheye lens time! Duane calls Joey a chicken, but Snake and Wheels insist he’ll show up. Just when all hope seems to be lost…

Joey resurrects himself from somewhere near a sprinkler. The fight is on! Joey fights dirty and grabs Duane’s leg, throwing his sack-like body to the ground. He lands on Nancy, Michelle, and some other grade 7s, but unfortunately he does not kill any of them.

Predictably, Joey gets the snot beat out of him. Joey takes some pretty serious blows to the face and is nursed back to health by his mom. Awwww…

And that brings us to the after-the-commercial-break finale. Stephanie admits she is a bimbo and informs the twins that her life is “over.” After she gives up on Simon, she pretty much gives up on life. I guess that’s just how the world turns for 13-year-old girls.

Scooter gives Duane the cold shoulder for picking on Joey. Not that Duane has any use for befriending a shrimp like Scooter anyway. In the final freeze frame of the episode, Scooter offers his Cheezies to Joey while Duane stares longingly at the Cheezies.

Despite the enjoyment I got from seeing Joey being creamed by Duane, this epside was pretty lame. The ending was anti-climactic, the subplots were boring, and Scooter had a speaking role. I like this season because even though it marks the fall of Stephanie Kaye, it also marks the beginning of the fall of Joey Jeremiah. Any chance I get to watch Joey flunk out or get beat up turns out to be really delightful. Stay golden, Pony Boy. Stay golden.