The gang is in Ms. Kwan’s class, and she’s trying to convince them that Shakespeare is applicable to their modern-day lives. Sean, in particular. He’s looking white-ghetto-fabulous, as per usual. He feels strongly that “Julius Caesar” don’t know jack about his crappy life. Chris takes on the charge and lists off the main themes of the play. Kwan gives him props, Sean rolls his eyes, and Emma gets a little mooney-eyed over Chris.
I hear what you’re saying, perky Degrassi theme.
Emma is pulling her books from her locker when she hears bad beatboxing behind her. (I hate to admit it, but I’d rather listen to Timberlake than this kid.) She stops and watches Chris for a moment, he sees her and smiles, which she happily returns.
Mr. Armstrong hands back math tests. Scores range from disappointing (Jimmy), appalling (Spinner) to quite impressive (Marco). He announces that there’s another test on Monday, and implores them to actually crack the books this time. Jimmy invites Spinner and Marco over for a studyriffic sleepover weekend. Marco accepts the invitation and request for tutoring, saying “anything for my two favorite guys.” Spinner is mildly freaked (or is it, wants to get freaked?) about a night of sleeping over with Marco. Jimmy tells him to stop hatin’ and just deal with the fact that his friend is gay. Spinner replies that he does deal and is fine with Marco’s “gayosity.” Mmmmhmmm, Spinner, keep rockin’ those ‘straight’ words like that. I’m a little surprised he doesn’t say “fabulous gayosity.” Anyway, Jimmy informs him that he and Marco will be sharing a room, then leans in real close and murmurs “loverboy.” My goodness! What kind of a sleepover will this be?
After English, Chris approaches Emma. He’s sporting a white Kangol with sunglasses on top and a black messenger bag slung across his chest. Emma tells him that she liked what he said in class – that she’d never thought of “Julius Caesar” that way. He thanks her and inexplicably backs away. Manny, who’s been behind the couple the whole time, teases Emma about her crush. Emma just kind of eyes her – not really suspicious, but not all that trusting either (smart girl) – and Manny pulls out the rave flyer where DJ Jacob Sharp is spinning. Apparently Jacob is Chris’ cousin who always lets Chris spin a set. My, my, I wonder where the girls will be this evening?
At the Nelson-Simpson house, Manny is in the process of hoochifying Emma for the rave. From behind the stand-up mirror, Emma says she’s got no chance with Chris who lives on Planet Cool (I’m guessing that the sunglass-embellished Kangol is the traditional uniform of Planet Cool people. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been invited to move in), while Emma is stranded on Planet White Dork. This is the first reference to the fact that they’re different races and you gotta give Degrassi props because it would have been one of the first things mentioned on an American teen angst show. Or maybe it’s just a pleasant sign of the times, since BLT and Michelle didn’t have an easy time of it in the first Degrassi incarnation. Anyway, it’s the only reference, and it’s cute. Because Emma really is from Planet White Dork.
Manny tells her she’s a card-carrying member of Planet White Dork tonight because she looks “hot.” When she stands up to walk to Emma, I swear you can see about four inches of her hot.pink.thong. I don’t think that her jeans even cover half her ass. I swear, when I saw it I kind of screamed and covered my eyes. It’s so wrong! Emma is on my wavelength of hoochie – with a turquoise blue tank and short pink skirt – although I wouldn’t be wearing clothing nearly as shiny as she is. She’s also wearing these silver chainmail-y earrings that remind me of lunec. In fact, I think I was with lunec when she bought them. Maybe not. Emma’s not quite feeling the makeover though, and she fears that everyone will be staring at her. Which is the point, Manny says, because everyone includes Chris and that’s a good thing. “You have to do whatever it takes.” Emma asks when Manny became such an expert and, surprisingly, Manny does not reply, “when I ran after poor, saddened Craig and tried to get him to sing the Ashley song to me, and when I failed, I pulled him into my temptress bed for some hot lovin’.” Instead, she says that she’s not an expert, she just knows what to do. Manny touches up Emma’s lipgloss while Emma still ponders if she’s up for “whatever it takes.” They leave for the rave – Emma goes for the window. “Explaining the bootylicious makeover to my mom is so not worth it.” Oh! Two good lines from Emma in one scene! Manny, unsurprisingly this time, is totally up for the downlow.
Jimmy’s apartment has nary a parent to be found – again. Jimmy and Marco study on opposite sides of the couch, and a spray-cheese-filled Spinner is obviously hesitant about sitting in the middle, next to Marco. (I almost scream, “it’s because you love him, you loooove him.” Almost.) Eventually he sits his bum down and Marco gets them on polynomials. Jimmy asks if anyone would mind if he puts on the television for ‘background noise.’ He skips past the golf to choose between High Maintenance Sin, More High Maintenance Sin, Raven’s Night Bordello and Sweet Yam’s Glory. All of which have the handy [adult] disclaimer on them. We again are reminded how rich Jimmy is – so many porn channels subscribed to! Ah, yes, the wonders of satellite!
Wait… let me read that again: Sweet Yam’s Glory. I was so equally disturbed and amused by the title that I had to look it up, and, sadly, it does not exist. I then looked up Yam and porn, and was rewarded by a porn-masters forum and a Yale University alumni magazine. Which again, equally disturbs and amuses me.
But I digress – Spinner’s a bit in awe: “I didn’t know you could fit that many people on a pool table.” Jimmy quickly turns the TV off, saying that not everyone is interested in that kind of flick. Marco, in his “oh you silly straight boys” way, tells them that seeing naked ladies won’t burn his eyes out. (Begging the question, “Will seeing Barenaked Ladies burn his eyes out?”) Besides, Marco wasn’t looking at them. Jimmy laughs and turns the television back on. Confused, Spinner asks what he was looking at. Marco deadpans, “the drapes” and Spinner stares at the screen, trying to make out the wonder of the drapery fabric and why they’re so eye catching. Oh, clueless, closeted Spinner. Jimmy finally breaks into his deep gaze and says that Marco was checking out the nekkid dudes. Spinner suddenly gets all pissy – probably because he really liked the drapes and couldn’t understand why Marco didn’t see them as a thing of beauty – and shuts off the movie, declaring that they need to get back to studying.
The rave scene is alive and kicking. The obligatory beach ball bounces from happy kid to happy kid. I didn’t notice anyone pushing an imaginary box, but I wasn’t looking all that closely. Everyone on the floor is dancing, except for Emma and Manny. Manny points out Chris on the DJ podium – and he’s watching her. She pushes her to go up there, reminding her not to talk about the environment. Smart girl, that Manny.
Craig is watching some bad TV movie with Joey and Sydney, who obviously don’t want him there. Without his girlfriend around, the boy needs to realize that spending time with friends is a good thing, too. He gets up to go to Jimmy’s, leaving Joey and Sydney to make with the kissing.
Back at Jimmy’s (yet, with no Craig in sight), it’s finally sinks into Spinner’s head that “X is the variable.” Jimmy, bored with the math, puts the porn back on. As a math geek, I’m a little insulted – but there is no bad in mixing math and porn, none at all. Spinner wants it off, he’s studying, but Marco tells him he’s been working hard and to take a break. He, very innocently, pats Spinner’s leg. Spinner jumps up to get more spray cheese while Jimmy and Marco discuss the qualities of the various actors and actresses on the screen. Spinner starts to choke and freaks when Marco tries to do the Heimlich maneuver – forcing Marco to chase him around the room. Marco grabs him and thrusts, forcing out a bunch of icky stuff on Jimmy’s new carpet.
Chris is on stage when Emma approaches. He says he didn’t know that she was coming. She replies, “Me, miss a rave? Heard you were spinning.” Oh, cute White Dork Girl! Chris says that his cousin is being greedy – to which his cousin turns over the turntables. I can’t decide if the guy who plays Chris has decided that he needs this stoner image, or if he’s just a bad actor. Either way, there’s this underlying thing that really bugs me about his scenes. Chris calls out that “C-Dawg” (ugh) is in the house and the crowd cheers. On the floor, Manny looks around, while Craig watches her from afar. No good will come of this, I just know it. Chris invites Emma up to the stage where she soon steps on the power button, knocking all the music off. She’s humiliated but Chris plays it off and says it’s okay. He puts his arm around her and is promptly called after by a new girl. And the new girl ain’t looking too happy. Chris introduces Emma to “Melanda”… his girlfriend!
Emma finds Manny in the crowd and says she wants to go home. She points to the stage, where Chris and Melanda are fighting. Manny says she didn’t know that Chris had a girlfriend, and neither did Emma, which is why she wants to leave. Manny then reveals her wicked, wicked plan: “Wait until the fight is over. Chris is hurt, he needs a shoulder to cry on. And there you are.” Oh Manny, you were a sweet girl once! And now, a happy homewrecker. Emma, giving voice to the masses among us, says, “That’s totally evil.” Happy Homewrecker Manny replies, “It may be evil, but it’s effective.” But Emma can’t do that – it’s not right, and Emma is All. About. Right. Manny is persuasive though, perhaps trying to justify her own actions by making Emma do the same as her. She sends Emma back to Chris and leaves to get water. At the water table, Manny runs into Craig who stares at her like a deer in headlights. Run Craig, run!
The boys are falling asleep to a kung fu movie. Marco declares that he’s beat and goes off to brush his teeth. Spinner asks to sleep in Jimmy’s bed with him. Jimmy says he doesn’t like him that way. But Spinner doesn’t want to sleep in the living room with Marco. Wait a minute – Spinner is afraid of Marco making a pass at him, so he begs to be in another boy’s bed? Can the subtext be any more clear? I thought not. Anyway, Spinner goes on about how Marco wants him – how he was chasing him around the room earlier, not, in fact, to do the Heimlich maneuver, but to get his arms around him. Jimmy smartly tells him that Spinner needs sleep, that he’s not getting enough oxygen to his brain. Marco comes into the room, pulling a t-shirt over his naked chest. I know we’re supposed to think that Spinner is using this as yet another example of Marco’s desire, but the way he looks Marco up and down, it’s pretty obvious who wants their arms where.
Chris brings Emma a bottle of water. She apologizes for the power button issue and getting him in trouble with Melanda. Chris says that he’s always in trouble with Melanda. Emma suggests that they go somewhere quiet to talk.
On the dance floor, Craig stands behind Manny while she grinds up on him. He’s barely moving, yet Manuela has taken over. For some reason, “Let the Music Play” by Shannon pops into my head. I’m feeling worried here. You have a girlfriend, Craig! Don’t let the Happy Homewrecker pull you in again! You already screwed up once! [You can only use the “we were on a break” excuse once, Craig. -willa]
In another room, a much quieter one, Chris asks Emma how the Environmental club is going. She says good, but heeding Manny’s advice, she says she’d rather talk about him instead.
Manny turns around and keeps pulling Craig’s head down. I’m moving from worry to a slight panic. Nothing massive, just – well, very, very concerned. The DJ is spinning some fairly ominous music, which does nothing to calm me.
Chris tries to explain spinning to Emma. “It’s all about the beat.” He puts his hands on her shoulders, tapping out the beat on her breastbone. Just like the “beating of a heart.” [Like in Dirty Dancing, when Johnny teaches Baby rhythm, by teaching her to feel the beat of his heart. “Gung-gung, gung-gung,” he says.]
Okay, this ominous tune with the heartbeat is getting faster and faster and Manuela is out in full force. She’s giving the “kiss me” look, rubbing her body against Craig’s and keeps pulling his lips to hers. Craig almost kisses her, then jerks away. Seems like he’s finally remembered that he’s got a girlfriend. But that Happy Homewrecker, she’s not finished! She tells him that she can keep a secret and Craig goes in for it. *sigh* I’m so disappointed. He should have run when he had the chance.
Back in the other room, Emma and Chris make with the kissage as well, but our trusty Emma stops it. She just doesn’t have it in her to be Happy Homewrecker2. Chris apologizes, Emma says that she wishes things were different and leaves.
A restless Marco rolls over on the couch. His hand lands on Spinner, who is sleeping on the floor below him. Spinner, in nocturnal bliss, smiles as he rubs the arm dangling above his chest. Which is, what, moment six hundred ninety two of hidden Spinner/Marco love this episode? We’re supposed to believe that he jumps up because he realizes it’s Marco – but we’re much smarter than that. Marco wakes up with the ruckus to which Spinner starts yelling that he knew Marco was going to touch him while he was asleep. When he calls Marco on chasing him around the room earlier, Marco snaps, “It’s called the Heimlich maneuver.” Spinner is all frazzled and indignant: “It’s called trying to get a cheap feel. Admit it – you have a man crush.” Oh Spinner, just say you love him! We’ll all be much happier then! Marco is completely taken aback, and since Spinner won’t admit his love, neither will he. Instead Marco lists off all the reasons he doesn’t want to grind up on Spin: “Your hair – it’s so last year, buddy. Your shoes – they never match anything. And they smell. And to tell you the truth, you’re not even that cute.” Ouch. Marco grabs the blanket and heads off to sleep in the bathtub.
Emma can’t find Manny at the rave, so she takes a cab home. I’m wondering if we’re missing a scene here, because in The N promos, there’s a moment with Emma in this same outfit, crying next to a brick wall and yet, no tears here. Also! Where is the elusive “Alex” that Sean is now hooking up with that the episode description teased? I feel gipped. Anyway, she climbs back in the side window where she finds Manuela and Craig making out on her virginal bed. Luckily she arrived just in time, because it probably wouldn’t have remained virginal for too much longer. Manny sees Emma and jumps up, saying that she didn’t think Emma’d be back so early. Emma reminds her, quite pointedly, that Chris has a girlfriend. Craig finally figures out that running is the smart thing to do – and just a few hours too late. He runs from the room and Emma bitches Manny out: “You abandoned me at the rave so you could make out with Craig!” She grabs the sleeping bag and settles down to go to sleep while Manny keeps apologizing. Mind you, she’s not sorry about abandoning Emma, she’s just sorry that she got caught. Emma tells her to shut up before she wakes up her parents.
Monday at school, Spinner is waiting for Marco at his locker. I’m betting he has a mushy love note in his pocket, but he’s too chicken to give it over. He thanks Marco for his help in math, and all is good in boyland. Marco tells him that he’s not after every guy in the world, just as Spinner isn’t chasing every chick. Well, duh. Spinner says that he’s attracted to any chick that’s hot, and Marco replies, “Well, you’re not.” Burn! Spinner is far more insulted now that Marco doesn’t want to wrap his arms around him, but the peacemaker declares that they’ll agree to disagree. Marco can’t believe that Spinner is upset about his lack of attraction, wherein Spinner is just concerned about Marco’s bad taste in man crushes.
Manny chases after Emma in the hall. She asks if Emma’s going to talk to her anymore, that she already explained that she didn’t think Emma would be home so early. Yet again, Miss Happy Homewrecker is not getting the point – that Emma is pissed for leaving her at the rave and for gettin’ it on with Craig in her bed. Neither of which Manny ever apologizes for. Emma stops. “Don’t you feel bad about what you did? Don’t you feel for Ashley?” The great justifier replies, “If Craig really loved her, why does he keep coming back to me?” Emma catches on to the “keep coming back” part. Manny counters with the fact that Emma knew Chris had a girlfriend but went after him anyway. And part two of her evil plan becomes obvious: get your friend to do the same wicked things as you so you can feel better about yourself and use it against them. Emma reminds Manny that the girlfriend is why she came home, that she made the “right choice” which is what Manny should think about.
Manny says that Emma just chickened out, and that she’s got a new choice in mind. She chooses to stop hanging out with Emma. Emma is floored that Manny no longer wants to be friends. Manny says she has no time for a “stuck up, prude princess.” Emma gets a bit of life in her, and I hope for a second that she’s going to slap her, hard. Instead, Emma snaps back, “Good. Because I don’t want to be friends with the school slut.” They stare down each other, and I’m waiting for the guns to be pulled. But, this is Degrassi, so maybe next episode we’ll get some nasty words in the bathroom.