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This episode is part of the Sour 16 set of reviews.
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"Don't Believe the Hype"

Season 2 Episode 11
Canadian airdate: December 1st, 2002

Boycott the Caf name: "Hazel is a Muslim" or "Hazel's One Episode"
Important characters: Hazel, Muslim Girl, JT, Liberty
Issue of the Week: Tolerance for others

Degrassi The Next Generation episode twenty-six

Grade 9 International Day is coming up. Terri tells Hazel she will be bringing in haggis. Hazel is all, "Eww that stuff is pig guts." Terri is like, "But it's my Scottish heritage and I eat it all the time...for breakfast."

Paige comes by and gives Terri a "fashion ticket" for wearing last year's pants. It's kind of a joke thing and the girls laugh. Silly things girls do. You have to watch yourself with those, though; you don't want to give a ticket to some girl as a joke which makes her cry because she's actually very poor. Hell, Terri is just wearing last year's pants because it takes her dad that long for the elasticity to wear out of his. If Paige gave me one of those tickets for wearing what I wear, I would sucker punch her in the back of the head until she cried. I am trying to make it so all my shirts are exactly the same so I can feel like a cartoon character.

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Hey, Degrassi suddenly has a bunch of Muslims. Wonder how often we'll see them in non-Muslim themed episodes. Terri wonders if they are bald under those headscarves. Ashley tells Terri, "Do you think you're just a bit ignorant?" Come now, Ashley, don't hold back. Let it out. We both know that what you really wanted to say was, "Yeah, well you're a fat ass and no boy likes you."

Hazel gives Muslim Girl a fashion ticket for dressing like a terrorist. Everyone thinks that is mean of Hazel. Paige says, "OK, Haze, when I'm offended, you know you've really gone too far." Paige, you do way meaner things on a weekly basis. How many Muslims has Hazel gotten piss drunk or ostracized from all her friends?

In Simpson's class, he explains that for International Day, the kids who will have to do displays on their heritage. Hazel asks what will happen if she doesn't do one. Simpson explains that it will cost her 10% of her final grade and says, "Thought you would have been into this Hazel, being a minority." Paige then complains to Hazel that Hazel has never invites her over. Hmm...that's an oddly placed piece of dialogue. I wonder if it will have any bearing on the plot. Or maybe Hazel's house just smells like cat pee. Maybe that will factor into the plot later on.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode twenty-six

Meanwhile, the 8th graders have to take home-ec and they are learning to sew. The guys hate it and they have a point, because how useful is learning how to make a pillow these days anyway? When I took home-ec, yeah we had to sew, but we also learned how to make cinnamon rolls, which I find to be a far more important skill. I use my cinnamon rolls skills on many an occasion.

While Liberty can't sew because Liberty sucks at everything, JT is really skilled at sewing. Oh, how the other boys tease him. Sean calls him Gay T. Ha. That's the best. Gay T. But JT lies and says that the pillow he made is actually Liberty's, so Liberty looks like the talented one and JT looks like the retard.

Anyway, the important thing to notice is that the home-ec teacher hates his job. He's pretty old, so at this point if you're teacher, you're just counting down the days 'till retirement.

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Hazel goes to the Jamaican store in the mall to get some Jamaican shit. So Hazel is Jamaican, all right. But then Crazy Old Jamaican Man tells us Hazel is not Jamaican. So what's the deal?

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It's International Day. Spinner gives Simpson a taste of his family pizza. It has German, Polish and Russian sausage as well as some of the family juice. Simpson throws up. Simpson recognizes the taste of semen from that very special episode of Degrassi High. You remember the one I'm talking about.

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Raditch admires all the belly Paige exposes with her Ukrainian outfit. I guess in Ukraine, everyone dresses like whores. That explains why the main industry in Ukraine is the sex trade and mail order brides. Raditch is creepy here, none the less, though we know the reason Paige dresses like that is to frustrate middle aged men.

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Look at all the participants for International Day. I guess the advantage of doing this a large city is that you have a lot of multiculturalism. If you had an International Day at my old high school, at least 80% of the displays would be on Germany.

And how about Spinner is the only kid with a mixed ethnicity? Inter-ethnic marriage must be frowned upon in Canada--the whole English/French divide, you know.

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At lunch, Muslim Girl accosts Hazel. Muslim Girl is surprised that Hazel is Jamaican, because Hazel's last name sounds Somalian. Apparently, Muslim Girl knows the name of every single Muslim anywhere. Muslim Girl also says Hazel looks Somalian. Huh? How would she know that? Do Somalians have big tits?

Hazel gets mad and says Muslim Girl better back off before Jamaica declares war on Iraq. Pfft. Like that is a threat. What is Jamaica going to send, the 101st Army Limbo Forces? Ha! That's comedy gold. I'm going to send that joke off to Jimmy Kimmel.

Degrassi The Next Generation episode twenty-six

Enjoy the banana Liberty?

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Muslim Girl's Iraq display was vandalized during lunch. It was trashed and the word "Terrorist" was written across it. Notice the Jamaican flag in the foreground. Interesting directorial choice. The police come by to investigate this, for some reason.

In Media Immersion, Simpson explains that a hate crime has been committed. Ok, I guess. This is as opposed to a love crime. International Day and all classes have been put on hold. Sweet! No work, free day!

The camera then moves throughout the school as different classes have a discussion on tolerance in this post-9/11 world. Jimmy mentions that his neighbor's bank account has been frozen three times because his name is Osama. Tell me about it. My dad is constantly getting turned down for jobs because our last name is Hitler. Toby says this is hate, just like the Holocaust. Yeah, I think there's a bit of a difference there, Toby. Also, it's kind of hard to take this conversation a seriously as the producers would like us because of the ethnic costumes. You have Toby bring up the Holocaust right after we see Kwan in a komodo.

But as always, the words of wisdom in all this come from Spinner, who says, "I don't want to be all racist, but I don't exactly want to get blown out of the sky by some terrorist either." That's right! It sums up everything perfectly. Seriously it does. Who can disagree with that?

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Meanwhile, Liberty confesses to the bitter home-ec teacher that JT was doing her sewing projects. The home-ec teacher calls JT "Gay T." But then JT gets paid money to make skirts for the girls. That's serious action for JT. When he gets away from doing perverted stuff with Toby, he can be pretty cool.

I like how the home-ec teacher appears to have ignored the policy that cancelled work for the day. He doesn't give a shit.

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Hazel confesses to Muslim Girl that she was right. Hazel is not Jamaican, she is really Muslim. There are no Muslims in Jamaica, I guess. No one ever immigrates. Turns out Hazel used to get beat up by girls so she decided to hide being Muslim. I think the girls were just jealous that Hazel was an early bloomer and used her Muslimness as an excuse.

I can see why Hazel would rather be Jamaican than Somalian. Jamaica has fun movies like Cool Runnings, but Somalia has violent movies like Black Hawk Down. They are both based on true stories too, but Cool Runnings was fun and had John Candy while Black Hawk Down was depressing and had a civil war. Somalia probably doesn't even have a bobsled team. And if they do, it probabaly sucks.

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Hazel gives a presentation in Media Immersion about how she is really from Somalia. Terri, realizing that Hazel has hair, asks what those headscarf things are really for. She didn't raise her hand or wait for the question period, she just interrupted Hazel. How rude. Hazel explains that she wears the headscarf to mosque, but wearing it full time is a personal choice. Except in the Muslim countries where woman have to wear them by law, which are quite a few of them.

At this point, I wonder how Hazel and Muslim Girl didn't know each other since they both go to mosque every week. I find it unlikely that Canada has more than one mosque. At least since they go to the same school, you'd think they would attend the same mosque.

Hazel also declares that she will no longer be going by her slave name and will now be addressed as Hazel X. Mr. Simpson points out that since Hazel's last name is of African origin, it is not a slave name. Hazel tells Mr. Simpson to "shut up, white devil."

Hazel keeps it real, she don't believe the hype.

Rating: D-
Check it man, Hazel has an episode. This is her only episode in the five year run of the show, even Kendra gets more B plots this season. Hazel isn't even in the main credits at this point, and she's been on the show for two damn years. Hazel has been really underused, which is a shame because there are so many potential plots you could give her. For instance, say Hazel has to spend all day shopping in the mall, because she can't find a bra that fits. Or you could have her...um...maybe she could...err...ok I see why they never give Hazel anything. But that's because the show has never really gotten around to fleshing out Hazel's character beyond being Paige's slave. We knew more about Darcy in half a season that we did about Hazel in five.

I didn't like this episode all that much. Degrassi is less fun when it gets preachy and more fun when it gets blow jobs. Whenever TV gets preachy, it falls flat, and this is true for every TV show ever. It's not a good medium to teach us a lesson. I don't even get this premise, Canada didn't enter the Iraq War (pussies) who cares what they think about it? Not George W. Bush, that's who.

Intensity Level: 43% Intense
Take THAT cardboard Iraq display.

Everybody's Ethnic Group:
Muslim Girl: Iraqi Muslim
Hazel: Somalia Muslim
Jimmy: regular black
Paige: Ukrainian
Spinner: German, Polish, Russian, God
Terri: Scottish, from the MacFatt clan
Ashley: not shown, but probably something lame like Norwegian
Craig: not shown, but probably something lame like Dutch. Dutch are very crazy.
Ellie: not shown, but judging by her mom, Irish
Marco: not shown, but later revealed to be Italian...incredibly woppy Italian family
Mr. Armstrong: not shown, but most likely regular old black
Ms. Kwan: Chinese or maybe Japanese, it's not easy to tell
Mr. Simpson: Swedish
Mr. Raditch: Scottish

For this being Canada, you might notice a distinct lack of anyone who is English or French. I'd wager on JT being French since he does have a tiny penis.

Deleted Scene: (What you can only see on the DVD)
There's a scene that's an extension of the hate crime discussion. I can see why they cut it, because it makes no sense to contradict something Spinner says.

Right after Spinner says, "I don't want to be all racist, but I don't exactly want to get blown out of the sky by some terrorist either." Hazel jumps out and says, "Some Muslim terrorist, right?" Well, yes...dumbass. A lot of terrorists tend to be Muslim these days. Al Qaeda isn't full of Presbyterians.

Hazel them rants about how "Islam means peace and the Koran forbids suicide. Don't want to be some racist? Too late." Hazel, fuck you. There was nothing racist in what Spinner said. Yes, we get it: Islam forbids suicide. Somehow, that didn't seem to stop those guys from crashing those planes into the World Trace Center and Pentagon. Yes, we get it: Islam means peace. We Americans have heard that a million times since 9/11, including from our dumbass President. Now someone tell the Muslims in the Middle East that, they are the ones who don't seem to have gotten the "Islam means peace" memo. It's not very peaceful over there. Hell, Christianity stands for peace too, that didn't stop the Spanish Inquisition or Crusades or Holocaust.

But hey, if Islam means peace, that means no one who follows that religion can ever possibly do anything bad. By Hazel's stupid logic, since America stands for freedom, you're just a bigoted anti-American if you mention slavery. Slavery can't have been caused by real Americans, because Americans are only about freedom.

If Degrassi Took Place in America:
Muslim Girl's display gets trashed. The police are reluctantly called in, because this is technically vandalism and according to the school handbook, that's a police matter. Plus the school doesn't want to risk the slightest chance the Muslim Girl's family might sue. The cops come by three hours later, question Muslim Girl, but don't write anything down save for her last name and address. The vandals are caught and the principle suspends them, again, only because that's what the handbook says. Word gets out and suddenly the vandals become heroes of the right. They are called heroes of free speech by Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Little Green Footballs, while Muslim Girl and the school are labeled anti-war, pro-Saddam and anti-American. Degrassi gets thousands of angry letters. A local movement builds to have Raditch fired. But everyone forgets about this two weeks later and move on to the next ridiculous item of the day. Except Muslim Girl's family has their phone tapped.

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