Degrassi Junior High: 213 “Pass Tense”

Finally, it’s the end of 8th grade! Everyone’s excited for high school. Wheels is tense about passing 8th grade. Caitlin protests something. And then, the Degrassi writers employ the stupidest plot twist ever.

Season 2 Episode 13
Original Airdate: March 28, 1988

It’s the end of 8th grade (or “grade 8” in Canadian). You know what that means? All the 8th graders will graduate to high school and we’ll never see them again. You know Raditch is happy about that. Check him out, taking off Joey’s fedora and then reading a newspaper like a badass.

WHOAH, MOMMA! Spike is very pregnant. Eight months pregnant, in fact. Despite this, she has to come back to Degrassi to take the ever-important 8th grade graduation exam.

 

Stephanie cracks some joke about Alex “polishing his disco balls” while her band of 8th grade tag-alongs insults the rest of the 7th grade decorating committee. Caitlin doesn’t take kindly to this, as usual. She ALWAYS has to fight for a cause, even if it’s as moronic as having to decorate the gym. Get a life, Caitlin.

Meanwhile, Wheels is the last one to finish the exam. Even L.D. finishes before Wheels, and she’s basically braindead. Back at the lockers, Nancy is preemptively bragging about her answers, and Wheels realizes he missed several questions about semicolons and adverbs. Let me tell you, kids. Knowing the difference between a semicolon and an adverb is ultimately of no importance. I am a professional writer, and knowing this literary jargon makes no difference to me. I don’t know what the hell “subjunctive” means in any context, and I’ve gotten by just fine. The editors didn’t even spell “past tense” right in the title. Unless they’re trying to be clever with this whole “Pass Tense” thing. So Raditch and Nancy, y’all can shove it.

Joey’s pinball addiction forces him to flee the exam early. At least, I think that’s what happened. I’m not really sure what he’s doing at the arcade during school hours. Nevertheless, Wheels arrives later and seems bummed about not doing well on the exam. The rest of the Zits, however, are sure he did fine, what with the “extra credit” he did with Ms. Avery. And no, I’m not trying to be suggestive. She really did “tutor” him after hours, alone, in the broiler room. The broiler room made their tutoring sessions very steamy, and I mean that in a very literal sense. It’s hot and humid in there.

What do you get when you mix Ryan Stiles with a chimpanzee?

 

Doris, Degrassi’s nosy secretary, spills the beans to Caitlin and Susie about a “top secret plan” that Principal Lawrence is going to announce later that afternoon. What could the secret plan be? Will Degrassi cease classes and begin manufacturing missiles? Will Canadian reggae artist Snow be performing at the 8th grade dance?! No, no. The Degrassi writers are too dumb to think of cool ideas like those. It must have something to do with the upcoming Degrassi season, when the 9th and 8th graders will be at different schools. Man, I’m sure it would really be a burden to have more than one set.

OF COURSE… Due to “shifts in population,” Degrassi Junior High will add a 9th grade to their school. This is the dumbest, most last-minute plot twist I’ve ever heard of. It’s like the Degrassi writers didn’t even consider that they will have the EXACT SAME PROBLEM next year. What are they gonna do, encorporate 10th grade into the middle school? Well, you’ll find out next year, when the Degrassi writers think of an even dumber solution.

 

Needless to say, even the actors are in shock of how stupid this idea is.

For whatever reason, test results are posted in the hallway. Man, that would be totally humiliating if you failed and everyone found out that way. Anyway, it turns out Wheels has passed the 8th grade. It’s a pretty big deal, so Wheels heckles that black chick that always leaves class first. I should really come up with a shorter moniker for her, but that’s the only thing I’ve ever seen her do–leave class first. She deserves to be heckled for that.

Joey is itching to play some more pinball, but Raditch makes him stay behind after class. Raditch says something along the lines of, “We expect you to pursue secondary education… test well in high school… yadda yadda… So we think it’s a good idea that you brush up on your core curriculum…” Skirting around the subject, Raditch grasps for the words to describe to Joey that he flunked the 8th grade.

Finally, Joey’s pinball addiction has gotten the best of him.

~*~* WHEELZ, STUD MUFFIN 4 LYF  *~*~

Tired of decorating for a dance that they can’t even attend, the 7th graders revolt. I don’t get it. Stephanie has some pretty solid reasoning: it’s a tradition. The 8th graders had to decorate last year, so it’s only fair that the 7th graders decorate for the dance this year. Next year, they will have their dance decorated by 7th graders. It’s a cycle. Why this is such a big deal to Caitlin and Susie, I don’t know. It’s unfair to the 8th graders, and I’m siding with them on this issue. Plus, that box says “Disco Ball” on it, and there’s not even a disco ball inside.

Aw yeah, a Rick cameo. And that Black Girl That Alway Leaves Class First trips over some balloons. This makes everyone squeel with delight, including Nancy, because she normally squeels like a pig anyway.

Joey, deeply depressed that he will flunk the 8th grade, hits the pinball arcade harder than ever.

A disco ball pretty much guarantees a ballin’ party. That is, except when the 7th graders are invited.Why on earth does Caitlin think it’s a 7th grader’s right to go to the 8th grade dance?! Doesn’t she understand there’s a hierarchy here?! Screw you, Caitlin, and your stupid causes.

Arthur, dressed as his idol, Colonel Sanders, offers the 8th graders some punch he made. He says “yick,” but I’m not sure if he’s saying Yick’s name or commenting about the punch. Then Wheels offers Arthur some ‘punch’ of his own. Right to his temple.

Literally everyone in the cast is at this party. Is that Diana? Good thing she doesn’t have her glasses on, or she’d find out she accidentally went to the dance with Luke.

Even Spike makes it to the graduation dance. Not only did she pass her exam, she made straight A’s. I’m a little dumbfounded here. I don’t recall her ever being smart before. Maybe removing the distraction of school helped her grades. Man… what would my life be like if I didn’t have to go to school for the last 16 years of my life?

Joey’s here, now we can get this party started! Hey DJ, spin that recor– oh. Mr. Raditch is DJing. This party is once again doomed. Watching Mr. Raditch try to scratch records is worse than watching your dad skateboard.

Stephanie, or should I say, Stephanie’s shiny tube top, forces Raditch to let The Zit Remedy play at the dance.

Wheels looks fly in his corded sweater and his 8th grade class ring (Canada is weird). Joey is a flunkee, and Snake is a schmuck, but Wheels’s studliness balances them out and the group has a semi-decent performance. They even manage to sing TWO different verses, which is twice as many as they have ever sung before.

Everyone is awkwardly clapping off beat (to nonexistent music that is added later in post-production) and really enjoying the show until suddenly, Spike’s face goes sour.

AWKWARD FREEZE FRAME

Spike’s water breaks all over the dance floor. At least, I assume that’s what happens after this freeze frame. It’s apparent she’s going into labor, but isn’t it a little early for that? Earlier, she mentions the baby being due in 6 weeks. So the baby is 6 weeks premature? That might explain why Emma is so scrawny and mentally deficient in The Next Generation. Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

In conclusion, this episode was dumb as hell. If it weren’t for Wheels, this episode would be totally unwatchable. Adding a 9th grade to Degrassi is the worst last-minute decision I could possibly think of. And they should have AT LEAST shown Scooter and Bart sliding around in Spike’s uterus juice at the end. Pregnancy can’t be all glamour.