CLARE PLOT REVIEW: Degrassi delivered a brief, yet powerful plot with Clare’s cancer earlier in season 13. With her cancer in remission fans would assume things would go back to business as usual for Ms. Edwards, but that’s not the case in You Oughta Know. As she prepares for a meeting with the editor of a big magazine, Clare begins to suffer unusual bouts of memory loss. Clare struggles through the interview, forgetting her idea for an article, but eventually pitches an idea to interview Zoë. As Clare’s article about Zoë falls through upon learning Zoë lying about everything during the interview, Clare fabricates an article about Zoë.
A sudden lapse in memory here and there add up to a big problem that has Clare worrying about whether or not she’ll get into Columbia. We all know Degrassi has tackled cancer storylines before, but Clare’s takes it even further, examining what could be either her cancer returning (Clare’s fear) or sides effects caused by her cancer treatment.
“Cancer ruined everything,” Clare said to Eli during their skype call. Clare isn’t a character who is easily defeated, especially when it comes to her goals. It’s weird watching someone who’s confident and capable struggle through the task of handling an interview and writing an article, things she could do in her sleep. An added layer involves her long-distance relationship with Eli. While Eli‘s words are comforting, Clare can’t help but silently be bothered by the female talking to Eli in the background. The fact that Eli refers to the girl, Lenore, as his friend instead of telling Clare they’re roommates suggests it’ll come back to haunt Eclare in the future. But for now, we’re gripped by the story of a girl who feels as if her future, something that seemed like such a sure thing months ago, is now falling apart.
TRISTAN/MILES PLOT REVIEW: As Tristan and Miles tryout for the basketball team, Tristan hopes to become closer to Miles. While at a party at Miles’ house, the two find out they made the basketball team, but Miles is upset because his father will be disappointed Miles isn’t a starter. Miles wants to start taking steroids, which initially worries Tristan. However, Tristan comes through and hooks Miles up with some.
While some plots in season 13 seem to be moving at pace of a snail, this one feels as if it’s moving a bit too fast. It’s off-putting that Tristan suddenly has an interest in basketball, let alone he’s athletically skilled enough to actually make the team. At least the show took the time to throw in a line where Maya mock’s Tristan for playing basketball, so they indeed acknowledge that it’s silly.
The gem in this plot is of course Miles’ determination to be a starter on the team. Twice in this episode Miles mentions that anything short of being a starter on the basketball team would be a disappointment to his father. Degrassi has hinted before that Miles and his father have a tumultuous relationship, and it’s easily one of the storylines fans want to see most in season 13. The issue in You Oughta Know is that at the moment it’s unclear which way this plot is headed. While we want to see Miles’ relationship with his dad, this plot leans heavily toward Tristan’s perspective, right down to Tristan giving Miles so-called steroids (it’s hard to believe Tristan’s giving Miles anything other than a placebo). Even if it’s true that Tristan just wants a close friendship with Miles, Tristan’s borderline out-of-character behavior he uses to secure relationships with certain people is kind of tiresome.
IMOGEN PLOT REVIEW: Imogen creates a club called Degrassi TV and hosts auditions for on-air personalities. After combing through dozens of bad auditions (including Winston’s), Becky shows up and nails hers. However, Imogen acts somewhat cold afterward and tells Drew that Becky isn’t a good fit. Imogen tells Becky that she’s chosen Winston to be Degrassi TV’s anchor, insisting that the decision has nothing to do with what happened over the summer.
Imogen in general is a character I wish we’d see more of. She’s a unique character, but what I enjoy most is seeing how she interacts in stressful situations. When presented with emotional conflict she shuts down. She does so again in this episode, making up any and every excuse to avoid Becky. Imogen’s clearly feeling guilty about kissing Adam and doesn’t know how to behave around Becky now. Outside of interacting with Drew, Imogen really has no relationship with anyone at Degrassi. Becky seems to be floating around in no man’s land as well. While I’m eager to see the climax in which Imogen tells Becky about kissing Adam, I’m also interested in what this duo could bring to the show if they form a bond.
My Thoughts Before This Episode Aired…
Degrassi returns tonight for the third episode of 13B, a block that has spent the first two episodes building up the block’s major plots (at least I’m hoping we’ll see some climaxes during this block).
I don’t know about you, but even as someone who has no intention of ever up and quitting this show, I find myself at a point where my interest in Degrassi waning. This is one of those feelings I haven’t had since back during the season 8 days, and even then it wasn’t this bad because I wasn’t able to watch the show live like I am now.
There have been a few good things to come from season 13, but a majority of this season has been the show dragging along, beating us over the head with plots that are average at best. I’ve given B’s to every plot in 13B so far, but it’s more a product of the plots by default being better than what we had to endure in 13A. For what they are they’ve been good, but as fans we should be demanding great.
Great seems to be something that isn’t being accomplished with consistency on Degrassi when they’re airing only one 30-minute episode a week. Since the show rebranded itself in season 10, I’ve consistently complained about how the show feels “off” when not aired in the telenovela format, the only exception of course being the fantastic block that was 12C. It doesn’t matter if they’ve slapped a song title onto all forty 30-minute episodes in season 13, I feel like the story arcs (which are longer and more complex than ever) aren’t fitting properly into this tiny-ass broadcast format. I’d gladly take twenty hour-long episodes as opposed to forty 30-minute ones that make TV watching feel as if we’re sitting in stop-and-go traffic.
There’s a question that’s been stuck in my head: after an episode airs, do you feel excited to see the next week’s episode? For me it’s been “No” a lot this season. I come back because I’m a creature of habit. I feel like there could be a lot of good stuff on the horizon on Degrassi, but it’s asking a lot to patiently wait for it when there’s so many TV options out there on a Thursday night.
Tonight, Tristan and Miles get mixed up in steroids, while Clare may try to start a friendship with Zoë. A little birdie somewhere also happened to mention that if you haven’t watched Eli’s first webisode, you might wanna do so before tuning into tonight’s episode. I’ll post my review of You Oughta Know tonight.