Here’s something I just realized, and I can’t believe I didn’t notice it before now: Sean’s navy knit cap is evil. It’s true! Whenever he wears it he is tempted into doing very bad deeds. Right now, for instance…
“Our House” opens on Sean and Crazy Jay, flipping through DVDs at a kiosk in the mall. The Hat of Evility is firmly in place. Sean pulls out a DVD and says that it contains MC Terminal driving up onto the stage in a Hummer. It’s “sick.” Even though he’s never heard of this amazing feat before this moment, Crazy Jay decides that they absolutely must own the disk, right that minute. Sean points out that it’s an import, and costs 50 bucks.
The cash is no obstacle. It would appear that Crazy Jay has discount cards – two of them. He waggles his fingers at Sean. “They get me 100 percent off everywhere.” Not even the sight of a security guard browsing on the other side of the kiosk is enough to deter Sean when he’s wearing the Hat of Evility. Both boys stick a copy of the DVD into their jackets (they need two?), and then casually walk away. Just as they turn, they meet another security guard, who asks if they forgot to pay. Rather than play dumb and return the merchandise, the boys run. It’s a madcap race through the mall, into a drug store and back into the food court. Crazy Jay seems to really be enjoying the chase. Just when they hit an all-out sprint for freedom, both guys get clotheslined by the most enormous security guard of them all. He hauls them to their feet as the Degrassi theme music starts to play.
You know, they’ve already shot the opening credits for next season. My favorite part is seeing all the new hair, but I’ll cry if they change one note of the song.
Sean explains to his big bro Tracker that he got banned from the mall, but it’s no big deal. It is a big deal, because the mall security could have called the real cops, and if I’m not mistaken, Sean has some prior arrests on his record. Oh-ho! I’m mostly right! Sean has just been off of probation for a month. Tracker thinks that Crazy Jay talked Sean into shoplifting. (It’s the hat! Tracker! The hat!) Sean denies it, but Tracker knows guys like that. Sean’s going to have to cut him loose. Crazy Jay’s his best friend, though, and Sean is having none of Tracker’s criticism.
The phone rings, and Sean takes the opportunity to pour chocolate milk – from a glass bottle, no less – onto some sort of sugary cereal. Tracker chastises him, but Sean leaves the room. Tracker has a phone conversation about a job that used to be filled but now isn’t. Apparently, it pays pretty well, because he does a girlie silent “yes!” complete with a little fist pump.
Manny and JT are hanging out in science lab. She wanders off to do something, which gives Liberty the opportunity to see if JT has a date to the semi-formal dance. He asks if she’s propositioning him. Please. Liberty is so taken now. She opens her notebook to show JT a plethora of pictures of her and her man, Towerz. That’s actually his name. I looked it up. JT cracks that Towerz is getting plenty of practice for the mug shot. Heh. She sticks out her tongue and then tells him that, as the more experienced dater, she wants to give him some advice. The advice is: Ask Manny to the semi-formal. JT says Manny doesn’t like him “that way,” but Liberty insists. You know, she’s still wearing the unflattering overalls, but Liberty looks kind of cute with her hair straight and pulled back into two braids.
What Ellie knows about cars can be written on the head of a pin, but she still praises Sean’s project for shop class. Something about an intake manifold. Sean just hopes that Mr. Ehl is half as enthusiastic, because it’s worth 50 percent of his grade. Ellie pouts and says that it’s no wonder Sean spends so much time on it. She turns to walk away, but Sean pulls her into a kiss. The class says “ooooooh!”
As Ellie leaves, some chick with a dirty blond ponytail wonders what Sean sees in that “bloodless freakbag.” Crazy Jay’s girlfriend, Alex, introduces us to Amy, who dated and then dumped Sean after Emma did.
The cardboard cutout of JT with the Supahfly Fries is still gracing the Degrassi cafeteria. The real JT ogles it as he walks by on the way to the table where some girl dressed in true Bollywood style is selling tickets to the semi-formal. He buys two, which thrills Spinner. Now that JT has a girl of his own, he can stop horning in on Paige. Unless the other ticket is for Toby. JT jokes that it’s for Principal Radditch, but his face gives him away when Manny walks by in slow motion.
Spinner jokes that Manny isn’t Radditch, but she’s a way better choice if JT is looking to “get some.” JT tries to act outraged, but just misses the mark. He wants to know what Spinner would do if someone talked about Paige that way. Spinner chuckles. People don’t talk about Paige that way, “because she’s isn’t a slut, and she doesn’t go at it with other people’s boyfriends.” JT looks wounded. Spinner says, “Look, JT, I didn’t mean to get all up in your fries, it’s just that you shouldn’t fall too hard for a girl like Manny. She’s got a reputation for a reason.” JT continues to look very sad as Spinner walks away.
The Casa de Tracker y Sean is full of moving boxes. Tracker’s girlfriend Wendy is helping him pack. Sean introduces himself as a resident of the house that is currently being packed, and Tracker picks him up in a giant hug. He says it’s been a crazy day. The oil-drilling job out in Alberta now belongs to Tracker, since the first guy flaked at the last minute. The pay is big. They’ll be living like kings. The problem is, they have to be there yesterday. Hence all the crazy packing.
Sean says that exams are starting, and if he leaves, he’ll lose his year. Tracker’s sorry, but there’s nothing he can do. He can’t pass up the opportunity. Sean repeated Grade 7, but refuses to repeat Grade 9. Since he can’t live alone, he can either go with Tracker or go back to live with his deadbeat parents. None of those options are working for him. Tracker says that he’s not going to sit around and watch Sean get put into prison with his stupid friends. Sean looks like he’s going to mouth off, but then he pulls off the Hat of Evility and just looks like he’s going to cry.
Amy and Alex are yakking about something in the hallway, when Sean and his hat sulk through the door. Amy does a poor imitation of a flirt as he brushes by to meet Ellie at her locker. He blurts out, “I’m moving tomorrow to Alberta. We have to break up.” His voice is all mucus-y. Ellie squints her eyes and then turns away, running down the hall in the weirdest trot ever. She barely moves her feet, and her arms are stiff at her sides. Sean heads in the opposite direction, petting the masterful navy knit hat.
Despite the fact that he’s moving and none of his grades will count for anything, Sean is hard at work doing something to his shop project with a wrench. Crazy Jay whacks him on the back and causes him to cut his hand. Sean says, “Look what you made me do!” in a whiney Luke Skywalker voice. Jay tries to tell him that he shouldn’t be such a goof, but the Hat of Evility wields its magic powers, and Sean shoves him. Crazy Jay calls Sean a psycho. Pot. Kettle. Sean wraps his hand in something convenient and white, and then he sweeps all the stuff on his workbench into the floor.
Shop Teacher In A Wheelchair (AKA Mr. Ehl) zooms into the room and yells at him. He summons Sean into a quiet area and asks what’s going on. My brother, Alberta, moving tomorrow, blah blah. Sean tries to pretend like he doesn’t care that he’ll be blowing the entire school year, but Mr. Ehl backstories that Sean said he’d be the first person in his family to graduate from school. Whatever. It’s pointless.
Mr. Ehl asks Sean if he’s thought about Student Welfare. Like they’re lining up to give guys like him money. In fact, they are! As long as he keeps a C average in school, and keeps his nose out of trouble. He also needs a trustee to sign all the papers. Sean says that his own parents aren’t even there for him. Mr. Ehl says, “Then I will be.” Sean gets a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes. Mr. Ehl barely knows him. Au contraire. He was the first person to graduate from his family, so he knows more than Sean thinks.
Sean is reading the brochure about Student Welfare while Tracker struggles with a mattress. He knows Sean doesn’t want to go and leave all of his friends, but it’s a great opportunity. Plus, Sean can get a fresh start. Just like the one he got when he started Degrassi a couple of years ago, after he made that kid at the other school deaf. Sean explains Student Welfare to Tracker. He can collect money and keep living in the same place. He doesn’t need Tracker. The rent is paid through the end of the month. Tracker bets that Sean will be banging on his door before he knows it. Without his hat, Sean looks very vulnerable.
Pouty McPoutypants, known to the rest of you as Ellie, is haunting the halls between classes. Sean runs up to her and she says, “I guess this is it.” He tries to give her the good news about Student Welfare, but she starts to tell him that she’s willing to have a long-distance relationship. He dangles the necessary paperwork in front of her and tells her what it means. He doesn’t have to move! They don’t have to break up! He throws his school bag to the floor and sweeps her shrieking self up into a big kiss.
On his first morning alone, Sean wakes up to a mostly-empty house. He may have money for rent on the way, but he has almost no furniture. In his refrigerator, he has a slice of chocolate cake on a plate and a bottle of chocolate milk. Which he has for breakfast, eating with no utensils and drinking right from the bottle. Alt-rock music plays loudly as he smiles to show us how great it is to live alone.
Liberty walks into a classroom where JT is sitting several rows behind Manny, watching her. Liberty chooses the seat right behind Manny and asks her if she’s picked out a sari for the semi-formal. Manny looks confused at the line of questioning. She says that she has sweatpants and ice cream picked out, because she’s not going. Liberty disagrees. Not that Manny can even go to the dance – it’s not as if anyone wants her there. Liberty tells her that a certain friend of hers wants her to go. Manny glances back at JT, but he pretends to be reading. Liberty will neither confirm nor deny that JT is going to ask her to the dance, but Manny smiles anyway.
And here’s yet another conversation about Student Welfare. Sean is explaining the concept to Alex, Crazy Jay and Amy while he works on his shop project. He has to go to school, get decent grades, and learn to get by on the little amount of money welfare will provide. All of his friends pretty much think he’s the bomb diggity for getting such a sweet deal. Amy gropes Sean’s bare shoulder and asks if she can come over. Sean invites them all to come over. It’s not just his house. “It’s our house.”
Cut to the first party at Our House, where hip-hop music plays and couples we’ve never seen before make out. There is some sort of blue light in the room, and it’s smoky. Crazy Jay and Alex dance all sexy, while Sean and Ellie giggle through some awkward moves. Amy, perpetually ponytailed, drinks a beer and glares at the happy couple.
We enter into a montage, where Sean is asleep in shop class. Mr. Ehl is not amused. Sean and Ellie settle on the couch to watch TV and eat pizza, but Jay and Alex arrive with more beer and extra people. Amy sits down next to Sean on the couch and touches him on the leg, while Ellie protectively clings to his arm. The music fades as Sean enters shop class again. Apparently, he’s been making a habit of being late and his project isn’t done. Mr. Ehl is worried about him. Sean acts put out by his teacher’s concern.
JT has finally decided to ask Manny to the dance. He heads outside to find her, and instead sees her sitting down for a little chat with Craig. Who, by the way, has absolutely no lines this episode except for the ones he mouths while we watch him with Manny. I hope Jake Epstein just happened to be hanging around the set that day. JT assumes that they’re getting back together, even though Manny looks physically ill to be having whatever conversation they’re having. JT makes an “aw-shucks” face and goes back inside.
Manny finds him trying to sell back the tickets to the dance. She heard he was going to ask her, so she was waiting. He shakes his head and tells her that he saw her with Craig. Yeah? Turns out, she hadn’t talk to Craig since…she pauses, but we can fill in the word “abortion.” Craig was just making sure she was okay. JT doesn’t believe her. Manny asks if he thought she was going to go off and have sex with Craig, if he thinks she’s that easy. He starts to soften, but Manny’s already too upset. “He was the one cheating on his girlfriend, but no one ever talks about that, do they?” Way to screw it up, JT.
Another day, another party. Ellie is trying to help Sean study when Jay arrives with “the Montreal crew.” She asks him if he’ll be able to work, and he says that he has to. There’s some hooting and yeah-ing from the partygoers. Sean hides his head in the crook of his arm. Note: he’s not wearing the evil hat, which is why he’s able to try to do the right thing here. Amy is chugging more beer.
Strange edit to Sean and Ellie sitting on the couch listening to some guy tell a story that we only know is funny because they’re laughing. The guy leaves, and so does Ellie, which Amy sees as an invitation to plop down next to Sean and spills some beer on his shirt. She slurs, “Hey, Seany, wanna see me do my world-famous Avril Lavigne impersonation?” He can’t stop her, so she does, holding up her hands in the classic “rock on” pose and sticking out her tongue. She wants to know why Sean doesn’t like her anymore. He reminds her that she broke up with him, and then Ellie shows up to remind her that he has another girlfriend. Amy asks if Ellie is a blood-sucking vampire. “Keep hitting on my boyfriend, and you’ll find out.” Sean looks pleased that Ellie is willing to go to the mat for him.
Amy stumbles away and drinks someone else’s wine. Alex notices how trashed she is and helps her into the bathroom. At that moment, one of “the Montreal crew” takes a swing at some guy I’m assuming is from the regular crew. Sean orders Jay to take them outside, but when Jay gets shoved into the counter, he vows to kick the Montreal guy’s ass. Actually, what he says is, “I’m going to kick your -” and then Alex screams a wussy little scream. Something is wrong with Amy.
Ellie, Sean and Jay follow her to the bathroom where Amy is sprawled on the floor. Alex can’t get her to wake up. Sean orders someone to call an ambulance. Jay says that Sean will lose his Student Welfare over the incident. Ellie thinks Amy has alcohol poisoning. Jay tells her that maybe she’s never been to a party, but stuff like this happens. People drink too much, and then they pass out. Sean says that she’s not going to be fine! It’s a dramatic moment, for sure, but Sean is wearing a muscle shirt, and his left arm is all muscular and hot.
Amy is loaded into an ambulance. The paramedic tells Sean that he did the right thing by calling. Sean looks proud and hugs Ellie to his side. The rest of the party is gathered on the front stoop. Wouldn’t a cop have accompanied the ambulance? Wouldn’t they have all gotten in trouble for underage drinking? Crazy Jay tells Sean that he ruined the party. He says everyone is bored, and wants to know where they’re going next. Sean tells him the party is over. Crazy Jay asks if Sean’s girlfriend made that decision for him. Actually, no. Free of the influence of the Hat of Evility, Sean decided that one all on his own. Jay no longer thinks Sean is cool, which is okay, because Sean doesn’t think he’s cool either. I think they just broke up.
Manny is wearing a patchwork vest for which dozens of stuffed animals had to die. JT catches up with her and apologizes for being a jackass. He never thought anything bad about her. She tells him to save it. JT explains that, when he saw her with Craig, he was just worried that she might still like him. When he asked her out the first time, she blew him off. He was scared of it happening again. He admits that he was an idiot, and then pulls out the tickets to the dance. He’ll only ask her once. Okay. Maybe twice. She tries not to smile at him. He’ll wait months if he has to! Okay, maybe not months, because they’ll miss the dance. She cannot resist his charms. She smiles and shakes her head at him. He asks if that is a yes. He wants a ruling as to whether or not it was a yes. She tells him that he’s a jerk and then walks into school, without ever actually accepting his offer. He opens the door for her and she curtsies. JT jumps up and clicks his heels.
Sean prepares to walk right past Crazy Jay and Alex in the hallway, but Jay asks if Amy is okay. Sean says that she will be and smiles as he walks away. Is he smiling because he thinks that Crazy Jay grew a conscious overnight? Fat chance. Sean goes to shop class to have Mr. Ehl sign the final Student Welfare paperwork. Before he signs, Sean has a confession to make. He had a party. It got out of hand. The cops were called. No charges were filed, but Sean will understand if Mr. Ehl doesn’t want to be his sponsor anymore.
Mr. Ehl says that he gets the feeling that a lot of people have let Sean down. He doesn’t want to add his name to the list. But still, he’s not going to sign until Sean can convince him that the partying is over, and that’s he’s ready. Sean says that he is. Mr. Ehl types on his computer, hunting and pecking with two fingers. Sean repeats himself. He’s ready. And that’s all it takes, two sentences. Mr. Ehl signs the paperwork. Sean is going to stick around and finish his project like a good boy.