Written by Penny
Toby and JT walk up to the school. Toby is counting down to something that is exactly 28 hours, 14 minutes and 7 seconds away. He’s been doing it awhile. JT cuts him off and begs him to stop. Toby reveals he’s worried about Parents’ Day unlike JT who, according to Toby, has it “in the bag.” JT disagrees. He’s not nearly as smart as Toby, but grades aren’t what Toby is worried about. His mom is coming tomorrow and she and Toby’s dad really don’t get along.
JT laughs and reminds Toby of a fight his parents had at camp before suggesting that maybe this time they won’t be on each other like white on rice. Toby scoffs, “Yeah, and maybe Armstrong won’t tell your parents about the ‘D’ you got on your last math test.” The countdown continues, now with both boys worried about Parents’ Day.
I know continuity has never been this show’s strength but it looks like school is starting for the day, which means it’s about 8am or, if you’re generous, 9am right? Well, that means that 28 hours will put Parents’ Day at about noon or 1pm the next day. What school would schedule Parents’ Day in the middle of the day? Unless tomorrow’s a Saturday; maybe it’s a Saturday. We always had our parental visits on weekday nights, but you never know about those Candians.
Whatever. Theme music. It really is a catchy little number.
More discussion about Toby’s family. He has a pretty basic custody arrangement, except backwards from most kids. He lives with his dad the majority of the time and visits his mom every other weekend. Which is fine by him. Anything is fine by him, as long as his parents never have to speak. JT, in a really sweet but really weird gesture, offers to contaminate the water with E. coli to sabotage the event, but Toby thinks the water fountains already have E. coli. Mr. Simpson overhears and tells the boys that they test their water supply daily. He sounds kinda upset. Ha! Mr. Simpson is such a dork. It’s very cute.
Simpson’s homeroom. He announces that Ashley won’t be doing the morning video announcements, but that they’ll instead be watching something called “News about Kids.” Emma evidently hates NAK and because she’s Emma, has to say something. Simpson asks her if she wants to share the comment she muttered under her breath, but thankfully she says no, and sits down. NAK comes on and it’s kinda like a Channel 1 thing in some U.S. schools, where two anchors read a dumbed down version of the news to uninterested kids. As much as I will come to hate Emma’s rants, I gotta admit, she goes after the right targets. I absolutely despised Channel 1 when I was in school, and so I’m gonna give a little rant of my own. Despite being incredibly cheesy, it was so blatantly attempting to influence children and mold their minds into what advertisers wanted them to be. If you didn’t, or don’t, have it at your school, you didn’t miss anything. It really made me sick, still does, so go Emma. Fight the power. Just not all the time, ok?
The NAK hosts blather on about people they call “squeegee kids,” who are homeless children who come up to your car at red lights and wash your windows. They make these kids out to be strung-out hobos. It’s all very insulting and insensitive. Emma agrees and after class says as much to Manny and Liberty. Manny, like the good girl she is at this point, tries to calm Emma down, but Liberty agrees with NAK and so does her dad, who she’s quick to mention knows the mayor. Oh, and she says her dad calls them ragamuffins, which I think is hilarious. Who says that? Is Liberty’s dad 102?
Emma continues her defense of squeegee kids all the way down the hall and you can so tell Manny is listening to be polite. That doesn’t stop Emma. She turns around to preach at Toby and runs right into Sean, who walks away, annoyed. Emma’s so sprung, and it completely humiliates her, but Manny tries to spin it saying he was staring right at her. Emma points out that’s because she ran right into him, and the angst is suffocating. You couldn’t pay me to go back to Jr. High.
Speaking of angst, Ashley’s in the girl’s washroom staring at the mirror, examining a zit on her forehead. She looks totally distraught. She says it’s because of the zit, but Paige and Terry think something else is bothering her. It seems every time there’s an NAK broadcast Ashley gets insecure. She denies it, but the other girls don’t believe her and tell her that she has nothing to worry about. Everyone loves her morning broadcasts, even the never-before-seen Heather Sinclair(!). I think this is the first time she is ever mentioned on Degrassi. Heather Sinclair, you will soon become my favorite character on this show, without actually appearing in any episodes.
Terri says Heather thinks Ashley is so much better than NAK, and then for no other reason than to move the plot along says that Heather has an agent and Ashley should get one, too. Paige can’t believe Heather could get an agent with her overbite (heh) and gets all jealous that Ashley wants one. Ashley says that’s a perfect idea because Toby’s mom is a casting agent, and runs out of the washroom with Terri on her heels. Paige is left to fume at the mirror.
Lunchtime. Toby and JT are still trying to find a way out of Parents’ Day. Toby thinks that JT is more worried about his nachos, but JT assures him they’re brain food and he’s hashing a plan as they speak. Ash and Terri walk up to Toby and confirm that his mom is a casting agent and that she’s coming tomorrow. Toby deadpans “Thank you. For reminding me,” and the boys go to sit with Emma and Manny. Emma’s still upset. She’s really gone off the deep end. She’s talking to herself and storms off to “take action.” JT quips, “Imagine being her for a day.” Word, JT. It’s gotta be exhausting.
Spinner and Paige are walking down the hall and Spinner’s telling the punchline to a joke. “So then the man goes, ‘What are you going to do for a face when the monkey wants his butt back?'” He thinks it’s hilarious, but Paige is still hung up on the agent thing and isn’t laughing. Spinner figures it’s because she didn’t get the joke, so he explains it to her. She ignores him and asks him if he thinks Ashley is prettier than she is. Spinner’s confused, which is obvious by the fact that he starts dating Paige next season, but whatever, ok, I’m over it. Paige explains that Ashley’s thinking about getting an agent and Spinner thinks that’s a great idea. Paige bitches at him and asks him if he thinks she could get an agent, too. Spinner says yes, but only so she’ll shut up and he can get back to his joke. Heh, I love Spinner.
Emma is in Mr. Raditch’s office to discuss NAK. She gives him her spiel. Biased…blah, blah, blah…wrong…blah, blah, blah. You know, I agree with her and this is even boring me. Raditch tells her she may have a point, but that NAK paid for 18 new computers in the Media Immersion Lab so the school has to show the broadcasts. Emma calls it bribery. Which it kinda is, but Raditch disagrees, and encourages her to write an editorial for the Grapevine if she wants her opinion heard. If she gets the piece in by that afternoon it’ll even make the Parents’ Day edition.
Ashley’s signed herself and Terri up for the Parents’ Day welcoming committee so Toby’s mom will see her first thing. Wow! She’s really arrogant. I kinda hate first- season Ashley. I’m glad she grew up. It seems Paige is also on the committee, but not because she cares about helping the school, she just wants Toby’s mom to pick her over Ashley.
Emma and Manny walk into the MI lab. It’s nearly full and the only free computer is right by Sean. There’s only one open seat, because Sean has his backpack on the other one. Manny offers to stand and the girls get to work. Emma asks Manny what she’d say to NAK if she was a squeegee kid and as much as I loved Spinner’s joke, Manny’s answer has to be the funniest line of the episode. “I’d say, ‘hey, preppy kids, get off my case, we’re people too.'” It’s so cute and naive. The acting on this show isn’t always the best, but the creators sure know how to write believable teenagers. Sean’s not as amused, and lets them know. “Oh, please.” Emma gathers her courage to talk to him and asks him to move his pack so Manny can sit down. He looks at her like she’s something on the bottom of his shoe and storms off. Which only makes Emma like him more. Emma, I feel you girl, bad boys are a hard not to fall for.
The camera pans over to Toby and JT who are also in the MI lab. Seems Emma’s tirade inspired Toby to do something about his own problem, and he’s telling JT his master plan. He duplicated the Degrassi letterhead and wrote a letter from Mr. Simpson telling his dad he doesn’t need to show up to Parents’ Day because of Toby’s “exemplery purformance [sic].” Hee. It’s a really good idea, and I’m impressed by Toby’s ingenuity, he even scans in Simpson’s signature, it’s brilliant…I mean it’s wrong and I would never do something like that. If I did though, I would use spell check. I mean, I thought Toby was the brain. I also love the way The Powers That Be actually showed the misspelled words. Nice touch.
Emma runs to the Student Activities Office to get her editorial in on time. Liberty, it turns out, in addition to being Student Council Secretary and a straight-A student, is also editor-in-chief of the Grapevine and she runs a tight ship. Emma’s 17 minutes late, but after much persuading, Emma convinces her to make an exception and run her piece.
Toby’s at home. Jeff, his dad, is reading the letter from “Mr. Simpson” and he isn’t buying it. See Tobes, spell check, man. Jeff thinks Toby forged the note because he’s doing badly in school, but Toby reveals it’s because his mom is coming and he doesn’t want his parents to start World War III. The mere mention of his ex-wife gets Jeff mad, which proves Toby’s point. Jeff realizes what he’s doing and promises Toby things are different now. Toby’s still worried, but what’s he gonna do? He gives up and prepares for the fight.
Parents’ Day, finally. Ashley and Terri are back in the bathroom and Ash is so nervous about meeting Mrs. Isaacs that she can’t put her eyeliner on, and then she gripes at Terri for trying to help out. I still hate her. Paige comes out of one of the stalls wearing this sparkly belly-baring top and she has a fake barbwire tattoo on her arm. It’s because she wants to look nice for the parents, which reads: Mrs. Isaacs. She looks like a skank. Somebody ought to tell her that.
Toby and Mr. Isaacs are waiting in the foyer for Ex Mrs. Isaacs, who got hung up at work. When she walks in she’s bombarded by Paige and Ashley, who fall over themselves to impress her until Toby comes and rescues her. She and her ex-husband greet each other very icily before they all head off to see Mr. Simpson.
Simpson doesn’t have good news. Toby’s marks are down, not because he’s dumb, but because he makes simple spelling and grammar mistakes. Say it with me, “spell check.” He also turned in an assignment three days late. Ex Mrs. Isaacs can’t believe her ex-husband lets him get away with that. Jeff says he didn’t know, but she doesn’t let him off the hook, telling him he’s the parent and needs to make sure Toby does his work. Toby’s not four, at some point he’s gonna have to take control of his own life, but apparently she doesn’t get that and sees Parents’ Day at Toby’s new school as the perfect opportunity to get into a fight with her ex. Jeff, on the other hand, chooses to act like an adult and doesn’t get into it with her. Good for you, Jeff.
Elsewhere in Degrassi, Spike is glowing because Emma’s such a great student. All the teachers simply love her. They pass a bulletin board with Emma’s editorial and stop to read it. At the same time, Sean and his big-brother-slash-guardian Tracker are walking out of a classroom nearby. They’re reading the editorial, too, but they’re not as happy about it. Tracker doesn’t think it’s a big deal having to watch the video if it means free computers and asks who wrote the article. Emma says she did. He starts to apologize to Spike, but Emma tells him that it’s her piece not her mom’s and that she’s right. They fight back and forth. Blah, blah, blah…force-fed advertising…blah, blah, blah…look at both sides of the story. Sean has evidently fallen behind in school because they can’t afford a computer, and Emma should think of things like that before she makes blanket statements. Tracker calls the piece garbage and throws it away, leaving with a very embarrassed Sean. Man, you’re entitled to your opinion but she’s a 12-year-old girl, back off a little.
Back at the Isaacs’ conference, Snake has to deliver more bad news, and he looks really uncomfortable at the prospect. Toby skipped a class recently. Mrs. Isaacs is furious. The reason Toby is living with his dad is because he and “June Cleaver,” Ashley’s mom, are supposed to be a good influence. She threatens another custody battle. This sets Jeff off and they fight like a couple of preschoolers right in front of their son and his teacher until Toby yells at them to quit. Good job guys, way to set an example. Toby tells them that, yeah, he’s made some mistakes, but that it’s his life and his mistakes are no one’s fault but his own. I’m so proud of Toby right now. It must suck to watch your parents fight like that, but he’s handling it really well. Mr. and Mrs. Issacs look properly chastised and let Mr. Simpson continue his review.
After the Isaacs are finished, they walk out into the foyer and Ash asks how the meeting went. Jeff says it went fine and Paige, who I didn’t even think knew Toby’s name before now, tells him that’s great. Mrs. Isaacs pulls her son aside and apologizes for behaving so badly. Ashley tries to slip her a headshot before she leaves but Paige beats her to it. Mrs. Isaacs brushes the two girls off, but stops when she sees Terri taking down the Parents’ Day signs. She gives Terri her card and tells her she has an “interesting look” and to call her if she’s interested in acting. Paige is furious.
The next day at school, Sean is sitting in the MI lab. So Parents’ Day was on a weekday! He sees Emma and moves his bag so she can sit down. She sends him an IM telling him she’s sorry for her outburst the other day. Sean apologizes for his brother and they bond a little. Sean even tells her her piece wasn’t garbage. Aw, so sweet.
In the foyer, Simpson catches up to Toby, who starts to apologize for his parents. Simpson stops him, telling him it’s not his fault. He says that the fight “cleared a lot of air” and that it was all good. Simpson’s glad, but has one more thing to talk with him about. Seems Toby forgot to erase the forged letter off the server and Simpson found it. Toby, think man, you’re smarter than that. Simpson makes him write a ten-page essay on how it’s wrong to falsify documents, but he also tells Toby he’s proud of the way he handled things yesterday. Aw, again. Toby turns to walk away and has a smile on his face.