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This episode is part of the Sour 16 set of reviews.
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"Basketball Diaries"

Season 1 Episode 7
Canadian airdate: December 2nd, 2001

Boycott the Caf name: "Jimmy Does Ritalin"
Important characters: Jimmy, Spinner, Ashley, Liberty
Issue of the Week: Drug abuse

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Liberty has been Ashley's assistant for the school's morning announcements. Liberty does all the writing and research, while Ashley gets to read the stuff on camera. Liberty is sad that she never gets a chance to read the announcements on camera and Ashley gets all the glory.

Sean tells Liberty "What the fuck bitch? Why do you want to do more work around this school?" One of the grade 7 kids points out that Sean is trying to join the basketball team, and that is doing extra work. Sean says he doesn't give shit about basketball. His social worker is making him do it so he won't have time to deafen more ski jet rental kids.

Mr. Simpson is about to teach the class about "the fascinating world of HTML." Hey, that's something. HTML is what brings you this site. And it's a good thing I know how to make websites or else I would have to keep all these pages worth of information of mocking Degrassi to myself, and I would just burst.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Meanwhile, Jimmy has been working hard to get on the basketball team. This has caused him to neglect his studies in English and he hasn't read Lord of the Flies. When Kwan asks Jimmy what character in the book he most relates to, Jimmy plays it cool and says the Lord of the Flies, of course. Kwan points out that the Lord of the Flies is a severed pigs head resting on a stake, and Jimmy is busted. Jimmy should have just played that like an angsty teenager and said, yeah that's what he most relates to because life is rough and that's how he feels sometimes and you just can't relate. Lay off man.

Spinner has a beeper that goes off every once in a while. Is Spinner a drug dealer? Kinda, as we'll see later on.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Jimmy tries to catch up on the book during basketball practice, but Armstrong makes fun of Jimmy for reading. Armstrong hates book reading nerds. Those guys always go off to make the good money and have the good life, while Armstrong is stuck teaching gym to junior high kids, driving an '87 Buick, and having sex with Liberty.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

It's the next day and Jimmy stayed up all night to write a report for Kwan. He stayed up all night to write two pages. Come on man.

Jimmy's not going to have the energy to play basketball today so he asks Spinner to give him his Ritalin for an energy boost. Turns out Spinner is required to take Ritalin to calm him down or he'll have so much energy, he'll kill all of Canada. Kind of like when Jean Gray gets possessed by the Phoenix.* But Ritalin works differently for lame people, so if Jimmy takes it, the pill will make him hyper. Spinner gives Jimmy the pill.

*How many times will we bring up the X-Men on this site? Many, many more times.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Liberty demands that Ashley let her read the announcements, telling Ashley a monkey could do her job. So Ashley lets Liberty go on air and Liberty makes an ass of herself. She messes up every sentence. Hey, Liberty, I guess you can't even do a monkey's job. You are useless.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Liberty has humiliated herself in front of the whole school. Now all the kids laugh at her to her face. That is pretty cool, but I bet kids did that way before now. Liberty runs off the hide in the bathroom stall. Ashley talks Liberty to come out of the stall because Paige needs to use it. Liberty gets one more chance at reading the announcements and doesn't fuck up this time. Ashley is proud of Liberty but tells her she can't go on camera again, because no one wants to see her face that soon after breakfast.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Today their is an exhibition basketball game, which will help Armstrong decide who to cut from the team. This game takes place during the school day, which is odd. The practices also seem to take place during school. Man, that makes being on the basketball team pretty sweet. How about how often kids at Degrassi aren't in class?

Well, since Spinner didn't take his Ritalin, his mojo is off the charts. He entertains the crowd during half-time with his smooth dance moves. Then he entertains the crowd by exposing his ass. Go Spinner! He just introduced a bunch of young girls into their first experiences of womanhood.

Raditch don't like this because he knows how much it's going to cost to have those bleachers cleaned. He hauls Spinner to his office. Eagle eyed blooper watchers might notice that Spinner doesn't seem to pull his pants up as far as you'd think would be necessary if he was really mooing kids, but we see that his pants are pulled up all the way when Raditch takes him away. Maybe Spinner's ass is pure black.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Jimmy, now bolstered by Ritalin, has become a basketball playing monster. He is taking on the visiting team by himself. When Sean has possession of the ball, Jimmy knocks the poor kid to the floor and takes the ball, making the game winning shot. Jimmy also made all the other shots. Those Spinner Pills do wonders.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode seven

Jimmy is the star of the game. Unfortunately, he injured Sean, which is unacceptable. If it was some other character, Jimmy might get a pass, but this is Sean we're talking about. Jimmy is cut from the team. He can put that down in his basketball diaries.

Rating: D
A Jimmy A plot and a Liberty B plot? This is the most black-tabulust episode so far.

Intensity Level: 21% Intense
I guess the drug use was kind of intense. But Ritalin isn't a hard drug. This pales in intensity to the next Degrassi drug episode. This is really the least intense of Degrassi's several drug episodes.

Deleted Scene: (What you can only see on the DVD)
There's a bunch for this episode. Spinner eats lunch with the ladies and Terri says no one wants to see Liberty's face in the morning. Ouch. When you're not good looking compared to Terri, that's bad.

Did You Know?:
Misspell "Ritalin" and spell check will suggest "Italian".

Final Thoughts:
I think this episode is the first shot of the Jimmy-Sean feud. Jimmy seems to think it was started by Sean in "Under Pressure" when they fought, but in reality, Jimmy started it by breaking Sean's leg. Good thing Sean takes less than a week to heal any injuries, because he is fine in the next episode, or whenever it is that Sean next shows up.

Also, it is apparent that giving Spinner Ritalin is just a ploy by the Canadian government and Mr. Raditch to try to and contain Spinner's sexual power. He only really discovers the full extend of his sexual abilities in "Weird Science" and that is a year from now, and by then it appears Spinner has stopped taking Ritalin. Unencumbered by chemicals and on an all natural diet, Spinner is able to unleash the beast within.

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