The only thing that I knew about this episode before watching was that involved Jenna and ‘Next Teen Star’ (a plot device that I hate), and Alli getting into a fight with Bianca. Boy did it start off slow, but it ended up being a solid way to start off the season.
PLOT A: Alli wants a fresh start, and tries to clear her name.
As the students of Degrassi return to a newer, stricter school, Alli decides she’s going to start over and adopt the classic “New year, new look, new Paige” philosophy. Decides to give Drew a second chance, and she joins the Science Olympians with Adam, Wesley and Connor. However, her faux past won’t go away when even they question if the rumors about her in the boiler room were true.
The ultimate slap in the face is when Principal Simpson requires her to take a self esteem; a class that happens to only be for girls. Alli’s rival Bianca is also in the seminar. The claws come out as a still-bitter Alli can’t help but take verbal jabs at Bianca, and while the rest of the girls take a break, Alli stays behind. She grabs Bianca’s phone and forwards a sexy photo of Bianca to “EVERYONE.”
That leads to a fight between Alli and Bianca, and them both getting suspended, but not before Alli’s parents find out the truth about her double life the past couple of years…and we’re talking more than just about her switching clothes at. They learn about her sexting incident with Johnny as well as her skipping school the day she went to get herself tested for STI’s.
In a desperate bid to repair her shattered image and gain her parents’ trust again, Alli decides to leave Degrassi.
Degrassi once again shows it’s figured out how to use continuity by allowing all of Alli’s past incidents spill right into her parents’ lap. It’s also kind of nice that Alli became self-aware; she acts dumb around boys, and finally realizes it. I didn’t see this as her placing the blame of what’s happened completely on Drew, or Johnny or boys in general, because we’ve all seen her moronic ways when it comes to boys…and she’s not the only girl on this show that’s behaved that way.
The nagging issue of this story is how it’s developed in a way that so blatantly focuses on pushing Alli in a certain direction. I felt like “piling on” Alli, aka virtually turning her into a school-wide outcast, was unnecessary…the main reason it felt so “in your face” is because excluding Fitz and Eli and (somewhat) Bianca, anyone else whose actions contributed to the rule changes received not even a slap on the wrist. However, the fact they made Alli go to such great lengths to get her life back on track at the end (by leaving Degrassi) shows a level of maturity and development not only in Alli, but also a continued sense of stability in Degrassi’s writing when it comes to the heart of the issue.
PLOT B: Jenna’s worried that her pregnancy will ruin her chances of winning Next Teen Star.
UGH. That was my initial thought on this episode after the first scene…I haven’t been a fan of the Next Teen Star bit because I don’t like the whole “let’s make characters on the show famous” idea that’s floated around since the Kevin Smith days. But in the end I was impressed with how they used it in this episode to move Jenna’s storyline along.
Still competing in Next Teen Star, Jenna finds herself in need of the one thing that EVERY person in reality tv needs to get somewhere: a HOOK. Hers is obviously that she’s pregnant, but she still afraid of what people will think if they find out. That is until she’s in the bottom two of NTS, and reveals her pregnancy on TV to build a fanbase.
And if you’re name’s KC, you’re pissed because she reveals this big news as your sitting at a steakhouse watching the show with your mom. He calls Jenna out for using her pregnancy to get points with fans on NTS; I’m actually ok with her doing that, but what’s not okay is her lack of planning for the baby’s arrival.
One thing that’s continually frustrating about this storyline is how KC is just lingering around with his “I don’t want any part of this” attitude. The entire episode I’m wondering “Why are you even here?” With a solid performance from Jenna this episode continues the positive momentum of this storyline established in Tears Dry On Their Own, Part 2.
*Not seeing Peter in the opening credits kind of made me sad. It was his time to go, though. I read a comment somewhere that said Peter is a bigger character than Chantay. Ummmmmm, no. He was without a shadow of a doubt from Season 5 – Season 9, but when your character is confined to The Dot and Wesley’s uncle has more lines than you, you aren’t bigger than anyone.
*GIGANTIC? I can’t even begin to describe how uninteresting this show is. I watched the series premiere with a girl and we both were thinking “What in the hell is this?” 45 minutes into we both said screw this and started making out…no lie. The show took a bunch of random pieces of drama and threw them against the wall. This premiere gave me absolutely no reason to care about any of these characters.
I’m going to try to watch another episode and pray I can make it all the way through. Why is TeenNick pushing Gigantic so hard? Because THIS show is their baby. Degrassi’s of course the cornerstone of TeenNick, but they want to force people into liking this show because it’s TeenNick’s original idea. Well the way I’m feeling right now I’m not sure what’s worse, pushing a new (but terrible) show or rely on the same old syndicated shows.
*The Fall Promo