Degrassi Junior High: 209 “Dog Days”

Everyone is having a dog day. Especially Arthur, because he smells like one. Another part in the Sad Stephanie Saga.

Season 2 Episode 9
Airdate: February 29, 1988

Here we have another episode in the Sad Stephanie saga. Stephanie is having a dog day because she is about to jump off a bridge. That’d be one way to write her out of the show, but nooo-ooo. The writers have her “go to France” instead. It’s kind of like when your mom tells you that your family cat went to live on a farm.

It’s a literal dog day for Arthur, because he has managed to stuff a mangy puppy into his backpack. Every single person who sees the dog immediately comments about the dog’s horrible stench, and for a good reason. He’s probably been sitting in a backpack full of feces all day. How cute is that dog now?

It’s always a dog day for Heather because she looks like a dog.

Steph’s mental health is rapidly deteriorating, as seen by her un-moussed hair and 1984-esque wardrobe. I kind of forgot why she was even upset in the first place, so I’ll let the YouTube commentators provide insight:

I hear ya, sister.

Predictably, Arthur’s stanky dog starts barking in class because he is stuffed in a gym bag and cannot breathe. Arthur blames the smell and noises on his own farts, so he coughs and farts loudly to make up for it. Everyone falls for it except Ms. Avery, who sends him to the principal’s office.

Principal Buttsavitch Lawrence yells at Arthur through the door. As a child, Mr. Lawrence was attacked by a Doberman and his face became so mangled that no one could ever see his face again without turning into a pillar of salt. That would be so cool if that was true; unfortunately the closer truth is that the producers couldn’t afford to create another set or hire another actor in order to shoot a scene in the principal’s office, so Mr. Lawrence is merely a voice with no face. The producers were having a dog day. And now Doris, the school secretary, is having a dog day too because for some reason she has to hold the mutt in her office until the end of the day.

Mr. Raditch notices Steph’s over-the-top apathy and inquires if she’s having trouble at home. Like any teenager, she holes up and avoids saying anything. I don’t think I can remember a single time when Mr. Raditch was ever this concerned. Normally all he cares about is whether or not Joey is wearing a hat.

I don’t remember why I took this second screenshot but it looks pretty sweet. One of the reasons I love this show is because there are very few extras–all the scenes are “filled in” with the regular cast members, even if they don’t take part in the plotline. So you end up watching all your favorite characters dish out awkward conversations and hi-5s in the background of every scene. Hell yeah, dog days, man!

Recent divorcée, Mrs. Kobalewsky (or whatever her name is now), sets the scene for a nice family dinner. Stephanie gripes when she pulls out a bouquet of flowers because it’s from Gerry, her mom’s new boyfriend. Then their mom reveals that they want to get married. This scene is so dry I can’t think of anything to make fun of. This episode is missing a comical subplot to balance out the heaviness of dealing with divorce. Like, a food fight, or something like that. HOLY CRAP IS THIS BORING!

Steph walks along the Great Wall of Canada, pondering whether she should just end it all and commit suicide. I’m not sure if these depression scenes are supposed to be metaphorical or not. On the one hand, the first scene had a hazy vignette around the frame; on the other hand, the other two didn’t (probably due to budget restraints). I don’t care enough about Stephanie’s melancholy to write any more, so here are two more YouTube commentators:

Everyone knows that at Degrassi, the boiler room means trouble. At the end of season 3, a fire in the boiler room spells out Degrassi Junior High’s eventual demise. Decades later, in Degrassi: The New Generation, bipolar Craig camps out in the boiler room to write terrible “music.” And later, local slut Bianca steams up the boiler room with Drew Torres. Phew, the boiler room sure is hot!!

Anyway, long story short, Arthur makes the dumb decision to hide his dumb dog in the boiler room, where it could potentially get loose and destroy the entire building. Instead, crazy janitor lady has been playing with the pup all day instead of doing her job. What is this, Dog Day?!

The boys are in the principal’s office once again, and Arthur’s mutt pisses all over Yi’s shirt, which subsequently pisses Yi off, causing him to lash out at Arthur:

Yi: “You get to go home early?!”
Arthur: “Big deal, I have to do detention all next week!”
Yi: “Big deal, I get detention all the time.”

OWNED.

Arthur walks in on Gerry and his mom having sex cuddling on the couch and Gerry immediately takes a liking to Arthur’s dumb dog, “Phil.” The two go out back to wash 3 days’ worth of matted feces out of Phil’s fur while Stephanie barks about her mom’s decision to remarry. At this point Steph is being really selfish and it’s really hard to watch. I’m reminded of my own teenage years and all the terrible things I said to my mom, and now I feel old and sad. Thanks a lot, Degrassi.

Arthur runs away (which is like, across the street). Stephanie eventually catches up with him and admits that she was being a little selfish. Arthur has it worse than she does, as he currently lives with his dad and would have to move all of his stuff. Stephanie finally discovers empathy and bonds with Arthur in order to keep the do–IF I SEE THAT STUPID DOG ONE MORE TIME I’M GOING TO PUNCH A HOLE IN MY COMPUTER

AWKWARD FREEZE FRAME

Aww, the siblings are getting along! And thankfully, this immediately ends Stephanie’s depression. In just one episode, she’s back to dressing like a skanky Barbie doll. So it’s basically a win-win.

While I think the issues (divorce, depression) were handled well in this episode, I still have to say this is one of my least favorite episodes. And that’s sad, because I’m a big fan of Stephanie. Unfortunately this episode had too much of Arthur, and the inclusion of the dog was distracting. In all seriousness, how does Arthur see? Pan back through all the screenshots. Do you ever see Arthur’s eyes open? No. That’s because his eye sockets are covered with a layer of fat. God, that must suck.

Well, I don’t like to end on a bad note, so here is my favorite comment from the goldmine that is YouTube:

That pretty much covers it.