The camera pans over a dimly lit bedroom, tracks a notebook falling ungracefully to the floor, and swoops up over a pair of denim-clad legs before revealing Craig and Ashley making out on her bed. Craig has his face buried in her neck and one hand on her waist. Ashley doesn’t really look like she’s enjoying it as much as she should be, but I think that’s just the actress. He trails his fingers underneath her shirt and reaches for her belt buckle. (I think it’s odd that Craig is going for her pants, when it doesn’t appear as if he’s tried to go up her shirt.) Ashley pushes his hand away, sits up and apologizes. Craig follows, looking every inch like a teenaged boy interrupted in The Moment. Both teens are wearing leather wrist cuffs. This is how you know they belong together!
Ashley goes and ruins everything by saying, “I love you.” Craig adopts a deer-in-the-headlights look and tries to kiss her again. She stops him, because she wants to know if he feels the same way. In probably the worst-ever response to a girl telling a boy she loves him, Craig says, “Nah, not really. I think you’re dumb, and you kind of smell.” Ash is not amused, even when Craig points out he was just joking. She decides that she’d rather do homework than make out with a cute boy who may not love her. I am totally questioning her choice. Craig says that of course he feels the same way she does, but he can’t elaborate. Ashley catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and says, “Holy make-out hair.” Hee. She leaves to freshen up and Craig collapses on the bed in exasperation.
Degrassi makes me want to be the best, the best that I can be.
Craig and Marco arrive at school, where extras are unloading carloads of roses. It’s Love Day at Degrassi. Oh course it is, says Craig. Paige and Spinner are being cutesy again, as he tells her that he’ll help her and Manny move the cheerleading supplies after school. Craig makes fun of them, and Spinner says he should shut up, because Paige likes the schmoopiness. For some reason, Craig thinks this means he should ask Spinner for advice about getting a girl to let you grope her. [As we’ve learned, it’s never a good idea to ask Spinner for advice, especially romantic advice. He had no luck with Marco, Ellie and Hazel remember? – loki] He asks Spinner if Paige stops him when they’re in The Moment. Spinner asks Craig if he wants a video – Craig declines – and then says he has no idea what to do about girls. Marco says it looks like Spinner hasn’t gotten to third base yet, either, and Spinner says that Marco is too busy looking at the batboy to know anything about getting to home plate. This reminds us that Marco is gay.
Spike is dropping a very sick-looking Snake off at school. She tries to make him go home, but he refuses. Snake is super snarky to Spike when she tries to get him to eat something for lunch. Obviously, the chemo isn’t going so well. Snake walks off, and Spike looks sad.
Craig and Marco are walking down the hall together, and Marco asks Craig if he loves Ashley. Craig says that love is a really big word. He’s right, you know. Manny happens by in a short-shorts-short-jacket combo, with another of her hip-hop flava newsboy caps. She is mostly naked, as usual. She says “hi” to Craig, and Marco whistles. “Manny’s just putting it all out there,” he says. Craig says that he’s never noticed. Marco convinces Craig to send Ashley a rose-o-gram to tell her how he really feels. He balks, but Marco says a little romance won’t kill him.
Hip-hop kid Chris is buying a rose for his “baby girl Melinda.” Now we know exactly two things about him: he’s a DJ, and he has a girlfriend. And Melinda’s homeroom is 9F, but that’s technically about her, not him. Killjoy Liberty and Kendra are selling the roses, and Craig says that he needs one, but not a card. Killjoy says, “If it’s for a girl, you need a card.” Craig decides to send a dozen roses.
Ashley and Spinner meet up in the media immersion lab. They’re planning the surprise birthday party for Paige that we learned about in “Why?” Ashley says that her parents have agreed to be out of the house, but that they would only extend her curfew until 1 a.m. because last time she had a party back in season one she took ecstasy. Paige sneaks up and calls Ash her oldest friend in the world and Spinner her fabulous boyfriend. She’s totally on to them.
Mr. Sickly Simpson arrives for class and tells Kendra she has exactly 30 seconds to distribute her roses. Paige points out that he’s in a bad mood, and Terri says that he hasn’t been looking so hot lately. Paige gets a rose from Spinner and blows him a kiss. He catches it in the palm of his hand. Ashley gets her dozen, and looks thrilled. Sitting farther back in the room, Craig gives Marco some kind of hand signal that means, “yes!” Ash opens the card and reads, “Ash, you rock. XO Craig!” Uh-oh. She is not pleased. Paige asks her how she can possibly look so sad with a dozen roses in her greedy lap, and Ashley reads her the card. She looks back at Craig and his hopeful expression fades.
Mostly-Naked Manny walks up to Sully and presents her lips to be kissed. He ignores her. She asks him if he liked the rose she sent, and he pulls it from his locker. It’ll all wilted, and the petals are falling off. Manny asks if he sent her one, and he hands her the dead one that she sent him. “Pretend it’s from me,” he says. Manny tells Sully that Craig sent his girlfriend 12 roses, and Sully says that Craig’s a sucker. Also, it turns out that Sully can’t go to Paige’s party with her. She stammers that she wanted them to go together, and he says, “That’s just the way it is, boo.” He slaps her on the ass as he walks away. See, Manny? This is what happens when guys only like you because you’re hot. Put on some clothes already.
Ashley’s in her kitchen, wearing an apron and decorating a cake for Paige’s party. Craig comes in and wraps his arms around her. “How’s my favorite pastry chef?” he asks. They are, truly, the cutest TV couple ever. They are still wearing leather wrist cuffs. Hers is black, his is brown. Ashley pushes him away and says they need to talk. Craig points out that “we need to talk” is the worst phrase in the history of the English language. She says that she doesn’t think he feels the same way about their relationship as she does. He points out that he sent her a dozen roses as if that’s the answer. She admits that they were beautiful, but pulls out the Gift Card of Platonic Love. Craig realizes this is about the big L word and looks scared. He says that it’s hard for him, and she says they should take a break. Before he can protest, she dismisses him to band practice. I think she’s being too harsh, but then, she is 16.
Marco, Spinner and Jimmy are jamming in Joey’s garage. It’s all swanked out with twinkling lights. The band is still awful. Jimmy calls Spinner “Ringo” and tells him to play one beat for the entire song. Spinner throws a drumstick and Jimmy ducks. It whacks Craig in the head, just as he’s arriving. “Hardest working man in show business, folks,” he says sarcastically. He proceeds to unplug Marco and Jimmy’s guitars, and says that they suck and will never get better. Jimmy – the new, improved, sensitive Jimmy – says that Craig is having a little meltdown, and suggests they go get something to eat while he cools off. Marco stays behind, because in this episode he is playing the part of the good angel on Craig’s shoulder.
Craig tells Marco that Ashley wants to take a break. He says that he doesn’t get it, because he got her roses like Marco told him to. Marco back peddles and says that he actually told him to find a way to express his feelings. No, really. I was there. You told Craig to buy her flowers. Craig re-emphasizes that he bought Ash a dozen roses. Marco wants to know what was on the card, and Craig says that Marco really is a girl. I think Marco should learn little Craigy in the difference between being gay and being a girl. Also, Craig is wearing this great shirt with a motorcycle on it. Marco says that it’s obvious that he loves Ash, so he should just tell her. Marco starts to say it’s stupid for Craig not to say the words, and Craig snaps that it’s not stupid. He says that he doesn’t want to lose her, but he can’t just tell her. Marco says that if he doesn’t tell her he’s lost her already. That’s probably true, but again, Craig is totally doing the smart thing by not playing fast and loose with the L word. And I’m a little surprised that no one’s quite caught onto the whole Craig’s dad used to beat him, and then tell him that he loved him thing. Which probably has completely screwed with Craig’s take on the concept of love and the L word. Then again, they’re 16 and this ain’t The WB.
It’s the next day at school. Ashley is wearing a fantastic outfit of slim jeans, black wrist cuff, and a black t-shirt with a black and pink striped lightening bolt on it. There is a note on her locker from Craig, asking her to meet him in the gym. She goes, of course, and he’s sitting at the edge of a shallow stage with his guitar. He tells her that she has to promise not to laugh at him. And he sings her this song: Something about the way you shine/When the lights go out/I wanna make you mine/Something about the way it seems/You’re always here/In my dreams/And when there’s no one there/No, I’m not scared/But I’m in love/With you. This kid is good, man. Like. He’s really good. While he’s singing, Paige and Manny happen by, and Manny stares at Craig all dreamy like. Ashley smiles softly at him, and he smiles shyly back, and I guess they’re back together. Aww! Wrist-cuff love is the best.
Ashley and Craig are decorating for the party. Ashley is wearing a very strange outfit that consists of a puffy black see-through shirt and a yellow cotton babydoll tank top with black spaghetti straps. Craig tells her that she has great taste in decorations, and she throws her arms around his neck. He wants to know what he did, and she asks him if he wants to stay over, after everyone leaves. I’m confused. Are her parents staying out all night? And, if so, how will they enforce a one o’clock curfew? Craig asks what she means, and she says, “Us, some music, my bed.” He wants to know if she’s serious, and she says completely. Craig looks too excited for his own good.
At the House of Chemotherapy, Spike tries to feed Snake some nachos. He thinks she’s crazy, because he’s nauseous, but she was just trying to tempt him into eating something. He continues being horrible to her until the doorbell rings. Emma runs to get it, and it’s Joey. He’s come to take Snake bowling – I sing “Take the skinheads bowling, take them bowling!” to my cat – and Joey’s come complete with bright pink bowling shirts, one of which he throws to Snake. Snake bitches that the rented shoes and unclean bowling balls are bad for his weakened immune system and he throws the shirt at Spike. She throws it back and hisses that he is going to put on the damn shirt, because he’s not dead yet. I love Spike when she’s sassy.
At the bowling alley, Snake throws a strike. There are only five pins. This is confusing. Are there really only five pins when you go bowling in Canada? That’s, like, the easiest game ever! Snake says that Joey will get a gutter ball for sure, and we see the back of another bald guy’s head as he calls out Snake’s name. It’s Wheels, from the old Degrassi series. Snake looks unhappy at the intrusion, which might be confusing to folks who don’t know who Wheels is. You might think, for instance, that Snake doesn’t like him. But, really, he is just angry because he doesn’t want people to know he’s sick.
Party time. Everyone hides when Paige shows up. For some reason Craig hides under a table with Spinner, even though he was just standing with Ashley. This is a mistake. Craig keeps looking at his watch, and Spinner wants to know if he’s keeping Craig from something. Craig spills the beans that Ashley asked him to stay over after the party. This is a BIG mistake. Spinner is excited that one of them is going to get to have sex. Surprise! Paige is thrilled, and everyone comes out of hiding.
Later on at the party, everyone is dancing. I want to know why, when I have parties, no one ever dances in the living room. Paige comes up to Ashley and wants to know what is up with Craig and Spinner, who are trading high fives. Ash looks suspicious. Manny is sitting alone looking miserable. If she hadn’t blown off Emma, her best friend, she might not be by herself.
Bowling. Snake gets another strike. Wheels says that he heard Snake was sick, but he doesn’t look it. Snake says he just likes shaving his head and eyebrows for kicks. Actually, he did shave his head for an auction just a few episodes ago. Wheels asks if he’s okay, and Snake says that he’s not. He wishes it was all just…over. By “over,” he means he wishes he was dead. Wheels says he knows how that feels, and Snake says he can’t possibly know. We then get some back-story about the old series – Wheels drove drunk and killed a kid. He says he does know what it’s like to want to die. Snake realizes that he’s not the only depressed person on the planet, and asks how Wheels got through it. He just found it someplace inside him. Snake says that he’s scared, and he can’t even tell his wife. Wheels tells him he has to fight. Joey arrives with some sodas, and they toast to heads as bald as their bowling balls and old friends.
We’re back at the party, and Paige is blowing out her candles. While Ashley watches, Spinner blows up a long white balloon and lets it go. He mimes sucking on it, which is pretty crass for TV, I think. Ashley realizes that Spin is doing this for Craig’s benefit, and it becomes clear that Craig has told Spinner about their after-party plans. She drags Craig outside for another talk. Ashley accuses him of telling Spinner, and Craig says that Spinner was just being an idiot. Ash says that they haven’t even had sex yet, and he’s already bragging to everyone. Craig says that Spinner is just one person, and he only told him because he was so happy about it. Another mark goes up on the Mistakes Craig Has Made This Episode scoreboard. Ashley says that she thought sex would mean something to him, and before he can stop the runaway train of her non-logic, she says that it was supposed to be a private thing between them. She says he conned her into thinking she wanted to have sex with him. He looks completely taken aback and says, “Conned you?” She says it was his stupid lie of a song, and he yells that it wasn’t a lie. She says he doesn’t know how to say it, because he doesn’t really love her. Good job, Ashley. He finally finds away to express himself, and it’s not enough for you. Silly teenaged girl. Craig goes back into the party, grabs his camera and leaves.
Manny gets a determined look on her face and runs out behind him. She’s dressed in a fairly conservative manner: tight low-rise jeans, sneakers, and a midriff-baring pink button-down shirt. She’s carrying one of her trademark hats. As she catches up to Craig, he tells her to go away. She wants to know what happened, and he says that he messed up, “Again, and again, and again.” I consult the scoreboard, and he’s missing a couple of “agains.” Manny says that she’s sure he didn’t, and he wants her to tell Ashley that. Manny admits that he heard him singing to Ashley earlier in the day, and says that if he had sang that song to her, she would be happy forever. Craig looks confused.
Snake, Wheels and Joey are pulling up in front of the House of Chemotherapy. They are singing the world-famous Zit Remedy song, “Everybody Wants Something.” They get a LOT of mileage out of this song on Degrassi. Snake is standing up in the back of Joey’s convertible, and drumming on the bald heads of his friends. Emma and Spike peek out of the window and smile at how happy Snake looks.
Craig has taken Manny back to the garage. “Ding!” goes the scoreboard. She says it’s super cool, like a video or something. She is so, so young. She asks him if he wrote Ashley’s song there, and he says that he did. She wants him to play it for her. I shout “No, Craig! No!” at the TV. He says that he will, even though you can tell he knows it’s wrong. They sit on the couch and he picks up his guitar and starts strumming. She tells him that he’s the best, and then stalls. For this episode, Manny is playing the little devil on Craig’s other shoulder. He says, “And what?” Because what teenaged boy doesn’t want to be the best? Or grown man, for that matter? Manny says that if Ashley can’t see it, then she doesn’t deserve him. Craig mulls this over as Manny sets his guitar aside and leans in to kiss him. He pulls away quickly, but she tells him that it’s okay. Temptress! They commence with the smooching, and Craig lays her back on the couch. He timidly unbuttons her shirt and she lets him. I have a bad feeling about this.
Next day at school, Manny is sitting with Emma telling her how “it was the best night of [her] life.” Emma tries to get more info, but Manny says that she can’t tell her more. Yet. Craig walks by with his head down, fully intent on ignoring Manny, but she runs after him. I feel kind of sorry for her, for always having to run after the boys. She tells him that she left him a zillion messages over the weekend, but that he must have been really busy. She’s using her coy, little girl voice, and she tells him that she missed him. Oy. He starts to tell her that he’s not sure what happened between them when Ashley interrupts. She wants to talk to Craig alone, and it’s clear that Manny needs to step off. It’s equally obvious that Manny thought she and Craig would be a couple, now that they’ve had sex. Or whatever they did. I’m guessing it was sex, but they don’t come right out and say it.
Ashley tells Craig that she had a long talk with Paige after he left, and she realized that she was overreacting. By the way, Degrassi does a great job of portraying teens, and this whole scene is like something out of my past. He tries to tell her about what happened during the 12 hours they were broken up, but Ash says she understands that it’s hard for him to express his emotions. She asks him to give her another chance to make it up to him. He looks incredulous, and asks her to clarify what she’s saying. “You want me back?” he asks. She says that she wants that more than anything. Before he can agree or disagree to this plan, Ashley has thrown her arms around his neck and is telling him again that she loves him. He stares at Manny over Ash’s shoulder. Manny looks like she’s going to cry. Craig tells Ashley that he loves her, too.