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Degrassi: "The Way We Get By" part 2

Part [1 - 2]

It's morning in the Bhandari house and Alli's "friend" Malarkey is not home yet. She has been out all night with her boyfriend. She apologizes for losing track of time and not getting back before sunrise. Frankly she looks well rested for somebody who was out all night. I bet she just didn't want to sleep over. Alli is pissed, but Malarky points out that this can work out. Malarkey helps Alli get in good and Alli helps cover for her. I bet this won't back fire at all.

Meanwhile, Drew is mad that despite winning the game his friends still treated his girlfriend like trash. General politeness is reserved for those good at sports! KC points that he doesn't know or care about Bianca, it's his and Mini-Connor's girlfriends who have the problem. They are just both whipped, but agree to a three way coffee date.

Meanwhile Riley tries to tell his mom about being gay but she thinks they were goofing off. I can't tell if she is in denial or just confused about how high school boys goof off. Zane tells Riley he has a good deal. If his mom is in denial then he can come out on his own terms. Riley says that he is tired of pretending.

What if Mrs. Riley isn't in denial? What if she has an identical twin who switches places with her without the knowledge of the rest of the family? She is shocked Riley is gay and couldn't make herself tell her sister. When she is around she will be all awkward and talk about him being gay but her sister remains in the dark and acts in that fashion when she is in the house.

Meanwhile, Malarkey and Alli pretend to go out for Muslim prayer time but instead Malarkey wants to smoke. Alli refuses but holds the cigarette for Malarkey because people hold other people's cigarettes all the time. Alli's mom just happens to be in the parking lot to witness Alli holding the cigarette and does not believe it isn't hers. Malarkey doesn't take the blame either. The good girl who looks like she is doing bad due to poorly timed coincidence? You may remember this as being 90% of Full House's plots. Alli's mom takes her home for punishment even though it is the middle of the school day.

Meanwhile, Riley leaves a ton of gay porn on his bed for his mom to find. This has the potential of being one of the best plots in Degrassi history.

Meanwhile at The Dot, Bianca and Drew meet with the rest of the basketball squad and their girly friends. Bianca awkwardly makes small talk and Jenna takes it in the wrong way and immediately declares the hanging out to be a failure. Then Jenna calls Bianca a skank. So we have a pregnant girl who is dating a juvenile delinquent, but Bianca has the bad reputation? At least Bianca knows you can't call somebody a skank if you are pregnant out of wedlock.

Drew tries to defend Bianca but does so poorly. Bianca said Jenna was stupid for buying diet pills. Jenna and Drew took this as calling Jenna fat. No, it means she didn't need diet pills. What is wrong with these people? Did somebody spill mental disabilities into Degrassi's water supply?

Meanwhile: Riley's mom cleaned up his gay porn but still seems to be in denial, not mentioning the magazines in question. There was a real missed opportunity for their to be a joke where she mentions all the body building magazines he has.

Meanwhile down at the ravine, Drew laments how his basketball mates were rude to Bianca. To be fair, Jenna was the only one who talked to her and I doubt anybody really likes Jenna. Some bro named Ron-Ron offers the two magic mushrooms and Drew accepts because he thinks the team would lose if he didn't show up to the game and hey free magic mushrooms. The background music sounds like some random modern band trying to be Blue Cheer which is appropriate if a bunch of lame wannabe rebels are going to do psychotropics.

Meanwhile, Riley walks into The Dot and slams the stack of gay porn on Zane's table. I love how absurd yet underplayed this entire Riley plot is. Riley decides that if his mom wants to deny what she sees then he is fine with that. Zane asks if they can go out that night but Riley is seeing a baseball game with his dad. Looks like Zane will be taking those issues of Hunk home tonight.

Meanwhile, Alli insists that she was not the one smoking but the mother does not believe her. Apparently Alli also got suspended. Schools suspend people for getting caught smoking by their parents? Alli's mom says that her dad is also disappointed, but the actor couldn't be budgeted to appear.

Meanwhile, Bianca puts an invisible box on Drew's head. Drew has a freakout and decides he has to play at the game. Then he gets mad at Bianca for giving him drugs even thought Ron-Ron gave him drugs and runs off to the basketball game.

Meanwhile, this part is silly: Riley's mom told Riley's dad to go to the baseball game with Uncle Paul because he is going through a phase. Riley argues that being gay doesn't mean that he doesn't like sports. His mom says he is too young to know what he is, but he is not to bother his father with this gay news. So, like, if she thought he wasn't gay why doesn't she encourage masculine activities that are stereotypically not gay and if she thinks he is unsure why is she screaming at him? I think Riley is just as confused as we are.

Meanwhile, Drew shows up to the basketball game acting, and appearing far more like French Stewart than any man should. If Drew had acted like this from day one I would have enjoyed his character a lot more. Same plot lines just Drew talking in a high pitch voice and giggling all the time. KC and Mini-Connor figure out that he is high and Drew admits it. Then Mrs. Drew comes by and figures out Drew is on goofballs within seconds. Smart of her. She gets him to admit to being high but covers for him by telling the coach he is sick. This doesn't mean he is off the hook though, he is in big big trouble. Even bigger trouble than when he put mothballs in the beef stew.

Meanwhile, Riley meets with Zane to discuss his odd problem of his mom not believing he is gay. How do you overcome that? She caught him making out with a dude AND saw his gay porn. There isn't much else you can do to make yourself look gay without becoming a stereotype. Zane's like "give it time man."

Meanwhile, Alli is suffering from low self esteem. Sav makes her feel better because he believes her.

Meanwhile, the basketball team lost without Air Drew. Drew also has to see a drug counselor and is grounded until he turns 30. Looks like Drew is even more of the pariah than before. On the plus side, Bianca accepts his apology for him calling her names while high. I have to admit I am happy with this turn of events. I thought that either there would be no mention of Drew being mean to Bianca and they would continue to hang, or that she would tell him off and he would have nobody and turn goth. This turn of events of bad girl Bianca being reasonable while the cool kids are douches is sort of intriguing. Kudos to you Degrassi writers.

Final Thoughts
Much like many of these two part episodes, the first part is boring and the second part is much better. It's fairly obvious that they are for the most part writing the A plot of a half hour episode and pairing it with as many other plots as necessary to pad the thing out to an hour.

It's actually a shame. The Alli plot was stupid, but I think the Riley and Drew plots have a lot of potential. Riley plot for part 1 was fairly benign but in part 2 it was not only entertaining in the narmy style of early Degrassi but advances his overall arc. Its hard to be both poignant and funny yet they nailed it here.

The Drew plot actually surprised me which is rare for Degrassi these days and it is very plausible. Of course the girl who is use to altered states of mine won't hold what a high person says against him. She is probably used to it. Even Jenna being a bitch sort of makes sense. It is hypocritical for a pregnant girl to call somebody a slut but the argument could be made that she is lashing out at somebody who is able to have sex without the consequences she faces.

All in all Degrassi gave us a quality episode. Too bad it took them two episodes to do it.

Final Grade: C
D for part 1
A for part 2

It's Appropriate
In Open Office, the spell check doesn't recognize Degrassi. The first alternative spelling that it suggested? Degrading. I agree, Degrassi is Degrading.

Part [1 - 2]

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