Uptown Girl
Season: 8
Episode: 1 and 2
The-N Airdate: 10/10/08
CTV Airdate: 10/5/08 (Part 1), 10/12/08(Part 2)

PLOT A SUMMARY: Mia wants this school year to be great, but she hates that she has to spend all of her time taking care of Bella.  Mia’s mom tells her that she will help take care of Bella so that Mia can take full advantage of being a teen this year.  Mia kicks butt at the school fashion show and not only finds romance with Danny, but a chance to be a model.  Unfortunately she finds herself not being very good at modeling and she’s in danger of losing everything.  She gets an audition for a shoot with T-Bombz’s superstar QB Tom Blake, but fails miserably.  Willing to do anything to get the shoot she goes to Tom’s apartment and sleeps with him.

Mia lands the T-Bombz gig.  After a show she lies to Tom and says Bella is her sister, and drags Leia with her to an after party.  In order to impress Tom, Mia makes out with him and other girls, making Leia uncomfortable to the point she leaves.  Mia learns that she had the gig even before she slept with Tom, and feels used.  Even though her shoot went well, Mia loses Danny when he finds out from Leia that she slept with Tom.

Mia’s plot in Uptown Girl is one of those that makes me slam my head against the wall, because it’s so ridiculous.  What has happened to Degrassi and its simplicity?  Themes are overlooked for a silly need to glamourize characters with upgraded wardrobes and levels of fame that are achieved with virtually no effort.

I can’t even tell you the level of frustration I feel when it comes to Mia being a parent.  She’s irresponsible in general, but it’s magnified by the writers desire to reserve Bella as nothing more than a plot device.  Oh hey, we want Mia to be a featured character in Season 8? No problem…we’ll just conveniently pawn off the parenting duties on Mia’s mom and call it a day.  Danny and Mia never felt natural, as Mia seemed to just cling to him just because he was there…oh, and because he’s captain of the football team.  It’s difficult to maintain interest as Mia delves into the world of modeling, swimming in the irony of using her body to get what she wants only to realize she was being used by a silly Tom Brady spinoff.  The best part of this plot is the continued rivalry between Mia and Holly J.  It’s one of the few times where Holly J in “queen bee” mode isn’t annoying; it’s actually fun watching her squirm.  However, when this focus is abandoned it’s easy to forget that this is a plot about a teenager who wants to be a normal high school student, or that this show is supposed to be the most realistic teen drama on television…last time I checked modeling agents wouldn’t waste their time at a random high school fashion show.

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PLOT B SUMMARY: Emma, Manny and Liberty are finally at Smithdale.  Emma and Manny are supposed to be roommates, but they aren’t because of a housing mixup.  Emma talks to housing and they are roomies again, but Manny isn’t very thrilled.  Emma also arranges it so that they can be roommates with Liberty and someone named Kelly…who turns out to be a guy.  While Liberty and Manny are busy enjoying college life, Emma feels like she’s being left behind.  Kelly convinces Emma to meet new people and she ends up having a good time, realizing she doesn’t need to rely on hanging out with Manny and Liberty all the time.

Thank God this plot’s theme is pretty good, because it makes up for Miriam McDonald’s lack of anything.  I will forever maintain that ever since Time Stands Still, her acting has declined significantly (exluding a handful of episodes).  She comes off as so mundane that even though Emma’s upset that the girls are out and about without her it feels like she’d say “ehhhh whatever” even if there were no resolution.

And I’m assuming we’ve gotta do a mega job of suspending reality to believe that somehow Emma was able to convince someone to allow all three of them to be roommates together.  But as frustrating as college storylines on this show can be, this is an important one, addressing the difficulties of adjusting to university life.  It’s a new and exciting world that you only get out of it how much you put in.  It’s ironic how Emma wants things to remain the same with all the changes around her, just like how the writers want the show to remain the same by keeping Emma and co. on the show despite having a new crop of fresh faces to build this show around.

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PLOT C SUMMARY: Clare meets KC, the new gifted student who she assumes isn’t smart.  He questions why she wears a private school uniform and she says it’s because she doesn’t care what others think about her.  During lunch KC challenges her to show a talent in front of the caf audience.  She sings a hymn and is booed off the stage.  Embarrassed, she decides to eat lunch in the media immersion lab.  Clare says she hangs out with the smart kids because she’s not as popular or as pretty as her sister Darcy, but KC tells her that she’s more than just smart.

To be honest I thought this was a pretty entertaining way for Degrassi to introduce the new niners.  While Clare was the focus of this plot, we get a lot of insight into Connor without even realizing it.  I love how Clare thought KC was the fish out of water, but in reality she was the fish, especially when she stepped outside the comfort zone of the group.  Though you can see the blooming romance coming from a mile away (because a guy and girl can’t just be friends on this show), at least they’re learning about each other first instead of being mashed together, like say Mia and Danny.

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Posted by Kary

13 Comments

  1. I do love the Klare parts, of course, but the Mia part was pretty ridiculous. I mean, it’s basically implied that she had an orgy in order to fit in with her cool modeling buddies – and then she’s upset and shocked that Leia won’t join in!

    I like Season 8 a lot more than most people, but it’s all because of the niners. Glad Nina left after this season to do Vampire Diaries – where she is much better served by her character and the writing, and her acting is superb.

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  2. whoaaa…i look at the picture of Clare from this review and i think, “How did she transform into such a confident, less uptight (before season 11) hotshot?”

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  3. I miss these times where Clare made sense :(

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  4. Mia is easily my all time least favorite character on this show (Although I hate post season 7 Peter a lot),

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  5. I don’t get all the Mia hate; she never struck me as being particularly selfish. I found Peter pre-Season 9 much more contemptible.

    Yeah, I agree about Miriam, but I would say since the anorexia plot, her acting got very uneven. Thankfully, she was pretty good in the Manhattan episodes.

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  6. This is one of those episodes that I will probably never watch ever again; it’s that bad to me.

    My problem with accepting the niners in S8 has nothing to do with the characters, the stories, or an inability to welcome fresh faces. I couldn’t handle how mediocre and forced their acting felt to me. I can’t help but think back to Emma and co. back in S1 and S2 and remember how natural they seemed on screen. It was constant cringing for me to watch the niners in S8.

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    1. Please tell me your a stand-up comedian….” I can’t help but think back to Emma and co. back in S1 and S2 and remember how natural they seemed on screen. It was constant cringing for me to watch the niners in S8.” That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while, you are incredibly biased, yes the niners in S8 (especially Melinda) were cringe worthy, but in S1 it was like they were reading from a teleprompter the whole season it was that bad.

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  7. What happened to Derek anyway?

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    1. Derek went to island of misfit Degrassians with Hazel, Chris Sharpe, Leia, Blue and Bruce the Moose.

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      1. Don’t forget Peter, Kendra, and Linus.

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  8. @J.kart Lol, calm down, this issue isn’t that big of a deal that insults are necessary. Who are you to tell me I’m biased? I’m guessing that you’re assuming I’m a Gen. 1 fan who constantly whines for a reunion episode. As much as I’m frustrated with some of the writing this past season, I love new Degrassi just as much as the old one. So don’t even go there with that type of accusation. Instead, if you’re gonna call me out like that, at least make a decent case for how bad you thought S1 acting was.

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    1. Calm Down? I’m not upset, nor throwing insults. I’m just saying that S1 was way worse acting wise than S8, and if you want a decent case… “Family Politics” that is all.

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  9. I thought that this was Leia’s only good episode… Even though that might not be saying much. She really should have just slapped Mia in the face and gave her a reality check:

    “Mia STFU, GTFO and go take care of your baby like a good mama should.”

    Now, if Leia and Danny had bonded over this sort of incident, their coupling later on may have been less contrived and may have actually been more effectively developed.

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