Ms. Kwan’s Grade 10 English class is filing into the gym. Marco, Terri and Rick are walking together, and Marco “can’t wait” for something. Is Dylan going to show up and do a striptease? Rick puts a sweatshirt on the floor for Terri to sit on. She says he’s sweet, but Marco thinks it’s creepy. Kwan says that today they are going to start their “scene studies.” Whatever that means. One group is going to perform an original scene, written by Marco. Maybe there will be a striptease!
Marco says that, since he wrote the play, he doesn’t want to direct. His group is Rick, Terri, Hazel and Jimmy. Jimmy says that he doesn’t want to act, so he’ll be the director. Rick sighs and rolls his eyes. He calls Jimmy “Jim” and says that the theater is in his blood, because his mother “walked the boards at Stratford for 10 years.” Jimmy says that Rick can be the stage manager, and Rick says that maybe he can teach “Jim” a few tricks of the trade. Marco is picked to play Ray, Hazel will play the nurse, and Terri will be the lead. I guess there’s no part for Dylan here. So sad. Terri is thrilled Jimmy wants her to have the lead, and she gives him a hug. Rick is annoyed. Terri tells him that she could be his assistant instead of playing the lead, but he says she’ll be brilliant as the star. They hug, too.
I’ll be honest, Degrassi theme-singing woman: It’ll be hard to hold out for this whole episode. That Rick is one creepy mo-fo.
Marco is lying on a bed, and he calls for his “Ma-ma” in a sickly voice. Terri crosses stage right and says, “Yes, son? I am here.” She’s sounds like robo girl. Jimmy calls cut. He wants Terri to be more natural, but she’s nervous. Jimmy starts to give her some advice, but Rick cuts in. He tells her to focus on her breathing. Always her breathing. He huffs and puffs in demonstration. They start from the top, and this time Terri huffs and puffs her way through the scene. Jimmy and Marco share a “what the hell?” look, while Terri and Rick smile at each other. Jimmy calls for rehearsal after school at The Dot. Rick tells Jimmy that it’s hard being a first-time director, but that he’ll get there. Jimmy wants to kick his ass. I can tell.
Spinner and Craig are walking down the hall. Spinner is telling Craig about his new job, where he apparently is on probation to see if he’s going to work out. His first customer complained, and Craig gives us the scoop. The guy ordered a ham sandwich, and Spinner brought him a hamburger. Spinner doesn’t get what’s so wrong about that. Who cares? Craig is wearing that great motorcycle shirt again. The two turn the corner to see JT and Paige laughing at her locker. Spinner rolls his eyes. Craig doesn’t understand why Paige wants JT around, and Spinner explains that JT helped her through a tough time last year, so Paige feels like she owes him. Craig points out that Spinner doesn’t owe JT jack, and says that he should tell the kid to get lost. Is this part of the new, unimproved, insensitive Craig?
Spinner interrupts JT’s joke and Paige’s giggling, and flings JT aside to get a smooch from his girlfriend. He tells JT to run along and play with the other children. JT starts mimicking everything that he says, which makes Spinner so crazy that he almost punches JT in the face. Paige gives him a look and he eases up. JT says, “Geez. Nice. Might want to cut back on the red meat there, tiger. Ever heard of anger management?” He walks off and Paige tells Spinner to give the kid a chance. She wants them to bond. Spinner looks devious.
Jimmy, Terri and Rick are heading to class. Rick wants to know how long Terri has known Jimmy. Since 7th grade. Rick gets alarmed when Terri says that she likes Jimmy. She assures him that she doesn’t like him “that way” and tells Rick that he’s the only psychopath for her. He makes her so happy, happier than she’s ever been. He says ditto, and calls her “m’lady.” Jimmy is watching the two of them through the window, and he makes a gagging noise. Me too! Jimmy and I are so getting along lately. Hazel says that they’re cute, but Jimmy insists that Rick is creepy. She admits that he’s a little strange, but tells Jimmy that he’s Terri’s first boyfriend, so they have to deal. Chemo!Snake arrives to deliver the sad news that the video announcements are down today, so he’ll have to deliver them the old-fashioned way. Terri puts Rick’s name inside a heart on her notebook.
It’s after school at The Dot. Rick is expounding upon the importance of the “three-quarter rule.” He says that you must always have three-quarters of your body facing the audience. Jimmy says, “Or what?” Ha! Or they won’t see you or hear you, Rick tells them smugly. Even Jimmy has to admit this is a good rule. Even if it did come from Shifty Rick. Terri tries to order a hamburger, but Rick wants her to get a small salad with low-fat dressing. She thanks him for looking out for her, while Jimmy looks disturbed at Rick’s controlling attitude.
JT strolls jauntily through the school corridors, pausing to tell Manny that she looks just as trampy as ever. Well, he says “lovely” but I’m sure what he means is “trampy.” Principal Radditch shows up with a love letter that he found under his office door. “Roses are red/violets are blue/my name is JT York/and I love you. P.S. Love the pants.” Radditch is not amused. I don’t see what the big deal is. Does the Degrassi Code of Conduct say that students can’t love their principal? “Don’t show your thong, and don’t write Radditch love letters.” JT opens his locker, and sees that someone has put up pictures of Radditch, and drawn hearts around them. He freaks out. This was, of course, Spinner’s way of bonding. He shows up to gloat, and tells JT to stop hanging around so that they don’t have to pretend to like each other.
Play practice! Marco calls out for his mama, and Terri awkwardly stands up and walks sideways across the stage. Jimmy calls cut. He wants to know why she’s talking straight to the audience. She says that she’s following the three-quarter rule. Jimmy wants to have a minute with Shifty, who is painting an ugly hospital backdrop. Shifty says, for Jimmy, he’s got five minutes. First boyfriend or no, I hope Terri realizes this guy is a loser. Jimmy says that some of Shifty’s tips are getting in the way of his directing. For example, the breathing. “Terri sounds like she’s smoking,” he says. He starts to point out the disaster of the three-quarter rule – devastating in the hands of an amateur, I guess – and Shifty says he’ll go talk to Terri. Jimmy blocks him physically from doing so and says that he’ll do it, because he’s the director. Shifty looks like he’s going to kill Jimmy later in the shower with an ice pick.
Paige is mocking Spinner’s lame love note to Radditch. Spinner insists that it’s classic. Out of nowhere, JT shows up and rips Spinner’s pants off. I couldn’t make this stuff up, kids. He is wearing white boxers with big red hearts underneath. JT runs down the hallway hooting and hollering. Everyone cracks up, even Paige. This begs the question: Why was Spinner wearing tear-away pants to school? We may never know.
Meanwhile, Shifty is freaking out on Terri because of Jimmy’s “I’m the director” comment. Terri tries to calm him down. Shifty says that it’s not her fault Jimmy is a control freak. Pot, kettle, yadda, yadda. He says that Terri doesn’t have to listen to anything Jimmy says. She doesn’t feel comfortable ignoring him, because, you know, director. Shifty says that he’s an amateur who doesn’t have any idea what he’s doing. He claims that he just doesn’t want her to look stupid in front of the other kids when they perform the scene later on today.
It’s later today. The scene is going really well. Both Kwan and Jimmy look pleased. Marco is in a hospital bed with a bandage wrapped around his head. Hazel has on a nurse’s hat, and Terri is wearing a large green-checked cardigan that could not possibly be less flattering. I have no idea what this scene is actually supposed to be about. The dialogue goes like this:
Terri: I want him to live!
Hazel: What we want, isn’t always what we get.
Terri: And what we get, isn’t always what we want, is it?
What it is, is awful. I hope that Dylan is a good enough hockey player that Marco doesn’t have to make his living as a playwright. Terri chances a look out into the audience, where Shifty is shaking his head in disgust. She starts huffing and puffing through her lines to make him happy. The other students laugh. Shifty looks at them like they’re idiots for not recognizing his genius. Terri, embarrassed, runs off the stage.
Shifty is explaining to Terri that the students wouldn’t know good theater if it bit them in the ass. She wants to know if they’re going to talk about what actually happened, and says that she looked like an idiot because she followed his advice. She says she should have listened to Jimmy. He grabs her arm and tells her that he doesn’t like her tone because it makes him feel stupid. She tries to twist free, but he’s got her wrist tight in one hand. She begs him to let go until he does.
Oh! It’s my favorite Urban Word guy! “I don’t even like love songs/but the right love song/will make me write love songs/about a right done wrong/I like to write fantasy, prose, poems a’ pimpin’/Cause girls only respect when you act cold and distant/If you nona listen you won’t go the distance/Sensitive, considerate you won’t get enlisted/Teenagers and killers I do not know the difference/They both have hearts so icy and cold their souls are shiverin’/So just to survive I’m somebody I’m not/I act arrogant knowin’ that somebody will watch/And sure enough they do while I’m acting and maintaining an image but it’s a gimmick/I’m game playin’/I’m sick of pretendin’ like I don’t like you just so you’ll like me/It seems the surest way to win although it might be time for me to change/So here’s the first thing/If I like you I’ll answer your call and on the first ring/And that’s my first step toward a mating revolution/Homerooms, classrooms, I’m actively recruitin’/Cause as it stands now everything is strange here/Everybody is posing/But really we’re just plain scared.” Whew. That’s hard. I don’t think I’m urban enough to recap that.
Terri gets off the school bus to find Shifty waiting for her with a bunch of roses. You guessed it. He’s really, really sorry. At first she doesn’t want to talk to him, but she falls for his crap about how much he loves her. He was jealous about Jimmy, who he says has a crush on Terri because “why else” would he cast her as the lead. Well, Shifty. That’s a sweet thing to say about your girlfriend. Terri explains again that they’re just friends, but Shifty tells her that she’s beautiful and talented and that she can’t blame him for thinking everyone loves her as much as he does. Terri caves.
Paige, Hazel and Terri are in the restroom. Paige wants to know what’s the occasion for the flowers, and Terri looks happy to say they’re “just because.” No, Terri, those are guilt flowers. Just admit it! Hazel wants to know what is up with Shifty and the roses – you might remember that he used them to woo her in the last episode. Terri asks if Hazel thinks it’s weird. Nope. The other girls think she’s lucky. Terri says that Shifty is a romantic. Or an abusive jerk. Potato, potahto. Paige wants them to have a debriefing about Terri’s romance after school. Terri thinks she should ask Shifty for his permission, but Paige assures her that he is wrapped around Terri’s little finger. Hazel and Terri each reapply their lip gloss, and Hazel notices the fingerprint-shaped bruises on Terri’s wrist. She should have learned a thing or two about covering things up from Ellie. Terri says it was a volleyball serve – “Another reason to hate gym!” Hazel knows she’s lying.
Spinner approaches JT, and tells him that he wants to apologize for the whole prank thing. He wants a truce. As if. While they are talking, Craig sneaks up behind JT and puts something in his locker. Manny saunters up. She actually looks kind of cute, and relatively demure, in a one-armed pink top. JT bows to her and says something about being “lovely” and a farting noise comes out of his locker. Again and again it goes off, while JT scrambles to save face and Manny looks disgusted. She finally walks off, and JT digs around until he finds the source of the sounds. He looks around and sees Spinner and Craig hiding around the corner with a remote control. Craig is amused that they chased Manny off, and I can’t help but wonder if part of him doesn’t like to see another guy hitting on the piece he’s getting on the side.
Shifty is striking the set, “the worst part of stage managing.” Um. Okay? It’s like four pieces of furniture. Terri asks if they have plans after school, and tells him that Paige wants to have the girls over. Rick wants to come. The part about him not being a girl doesn’t phase him. He doesn’t get why Terri would need to have a night without him. He thinks they’ll talk about him or pick up other guys. She keeps tell him no, but he still wants to come. Terri says that he’s being crazy – that’s a polite way to put it – and he slaps her across the face. He says that she should never call him that. Ever. She wipes blood away from her lip and backs away from him as he apologizes.
Spinner is working at The Dot. JT comes in for a little snack. Spinner looks alarmed, but JT promises he’s just there to eat. His order involves lots of things on the side, and no sesame seeds on his bun. Spinner can’t write fast enough to keep up.
Terri describes some dinner that Shifty made for her, where he lit candles and folded the napkins into fans. Paige calls it “too cute” but is annoyed that someone dug through the Chex mix and only left pretzels. Terri says that she thought Paige liked pretzels, and she and Hazel giggle. I guess she’s forgotten that just moments ago she was battered by her boyfriend. Terri offers to do Hazel’s nails. Hazel starts digging by asking Terri if she and Shifty ever fight. Only if you count the times Terri doesn’t follow his instructions to the letter. But she says that it’s only when she hurts his feelings, because he’s very sensitive. Hazel wants to know what happened to Terri’s lip, but Terri lies and says it’s a gross cold sore. Hazel is smarter than she looks and wants to know if Shifty is hurting her. Terri accuses her of being jealous that she has a boyfriend, but nobody loves Hazel. She storms out.
JT wanted corn relish on his burger, not pickle relish. He wants Spinner to take it back. Spinner says it’s the third time, and demands that JT eat the burger as-is. JT says the customer is always right, and then knocks his spoon onto the floor and asks for a clean one. Spinner tries to keep his temper in check, but JT starts mimicking him again. It really is annoying. Spinner grabs JT out of his chair just as his boss comes out of the kitchen. Busted.
Shifty is waiting for Terri in the alley. She wants to know what he’s doing there. He wanted to tell her that he loves her. She says that now is not a good time, because she and Hazel just had a fight. Shifty says, “One, I’m not surprised, and two, let’s make a rule: you see Paige and Hazel at school only.” Terri says she needs to be alone to think. Shifty is worried that she is thinking about dumping him. Damn straight! Terri says that she loves him, but that he’s suffocating her. So, of course, he grabs her and shoves her into the wall. Nothing says give-the-girl-some-space like a concussion. Shifty says that he’s sorry. She says it’s the last time he will ever touch her, and she walks off with her head held high. You go, girl.
JT tells Spinner that he heard Spinner got demoted at work. Spinner says that he’s now the “dish pig.” JT thinks that’s fair for humiliating him in front of Manny. JT says the war has gone far enough, and offers Spinner a peace settlement. As if these two could ever trust each other. Spinner wants JT to stop crowding him and Paige, and JT wants Spinner to stop treating him like the human plague. It’s a deal. They shake on it. Paige is happy that her boys are working out their differences. They kiss. I mean, Paige and Spinner kiss. Not JT and Spinner, or even JT and Paige. God. Aren’t there enough love triangles on this show already? Ms. Kwan arrives with a greeting card. It says, “Oh, Miss Kwan, your hair kissed by the wind, your lips kissed by me. Spinner Mason.” Paige thinks it is way funnier than the card Spinner sent to Radditch. Spinner knows that he’s been had.
Jimmy and Terri are together in the hallway, and Jimmy says that if Shifty ever touches her again, she should let him know. They hug. Terri is all about the hugging. Hazel tells Terri that she shouldn’t feel stupid for liking Shifty because he was her first boyfriend. As long as she learned a lesson. Terri says that she still cares about Shifty, after everything. Hazel reminds her that she has to stop. They see a rose stuck to Terri’s locker. Shifty is waiting off to the side for Terri, a hopeful look on his face. Terri says, “I know,” and smashes the rose under her heel.