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1320-1DREW PLOT REVIEW

“Why are you so mad?”
She’s FIFTEEN!!
“Well mom I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Wow, you know what’s worse? You don’t even understand what you did.

There’s a fantastic scene in this episode where Audra says nearly everything every viewer should want to say to the completely clueless Drew Torres.  She calls him out on his nonsense, and refuses to accept his excuses.  Could you imagine how much better the world might be if we were all so boldly held accountable for our actions?

Drew is preparing for Mr. Hollingsworth’s Q&A at Degrassi, but Drew’s frustrated because Zoë keeps hanging around.  She even introduces herself to Mr. Hollingsworth as Drew’s girlfriend.  Drew decides to break up with her by telling her he’s going to be too busy with Mr. Hollingsworth’s campaign to see her.  Of course while he thinks it’s over and done with, later Clare and Dallas quickly point out that because Zoë wasn’t crying and upset by the “breakup news,” it means Zoë still thinks they’re together.  Drew continues to prepare for the Q&A when Zoë shows up again.  This time snaps, and tells her that he doesn’t want her around.  “But I’m your girlfriend,” Zoë says, to which Drew replies, “No you’re not! I broke up with you!”  He also tells Zoë that he regretted having sex with her.  Disgusted, Zoë calls him a jerk and walks out.

During Mr. Hollingsworth’s Q&A session Zoë’s mom walks and in front of the crowd of spectators, demanding to know why Drew slept with her 15-year-old daughter; Mr. Hollingsworth advises that the two take up the matter in Principal Simpson’s office.  There Drew is confronted by Ms. Rivas and Zoë, with his mom Audra demanding to know if he’d slept with her.  He says yes, and Ms. Rivas wants Simpson to call the police on Drew for statutory rape.  Simpson says he can’t because of the close-in-age exemption, and that it wasn’t illegal as long as it was consensual.  Zoë confirms that she agreed to sleep with Drew, and Drew simply goes back to the gym to beg Mr. Hollingsworth to keep his job.

Later, Drew’s at home and thinks he’s out of hot water, but Audra scolds him for being so careless and selfish.  Drew tries to blame his actions on his breakup with Bianca and the death of Adam, but Audra won’t stand for it.  “Don’t you DARE make this about your brother,” she says, before also saying “I thought I raised a better man.”  The next day Drew approaches Zoë’s locker and find the word “HO” written on it.  He tries to wipe it off as Zoë approaches, and tries to apologize to her with flowers, however, she rejects his apology.  The encounter leaves Drew finally feeling bad for hurting Zoë, and he hopes to give her the apology she deserves some day.

1320-2Power to the People ended this storyline by doing the one thing that absolutely needed to be done: drag Drew through the ringer until significant information penetrated his thick skull (whether it will stick is a completely different story).  The ironic and disturbing thing is that for the most part, Drew was genuinely unaware of what was happening around him, from not knowing how badly her hurt Zoë to not knowing how close he came to being prosecuted for statutory rape.  All he saw was some girl that he only kind of liked was potentially interfering with his future; all he could focus on in this episode was making sure he stayed in the good graces of Mr. Hollingsworth.

A lack of clear communication in relationships has been a running theme of Degrassi during its decades of existence, but the story here is very clear in how it’s told.  “I don’t wanna be the bad guy here,” Drew says to Dallas before trying to break up with Zoë.  With Zoë’s history of being a former TV actress, there have been times where it’s hard to tell whether or not she’s being genuine in terms of her feelings.  The look in her eyes as she admits to everyone that she did consent to sex with Drew shows that underneath the persona of confidence she displays in public, in this moment she’s still young girl whose feelings were hurt by a guy she liked.  “You used me,” she said as Drew tried to apologize to her.  “You get to keep your job and your friends.”  Ana Golja portrays Zoë’s vulnerability well throughout the entire episode.

Not once, but twice is the point hammered into Drew’s head that while he suffered no repercussions for his actions, someone else did.  What a fantastic concept for Degrassi to bring up; it’s very easy to be emotionally disconnected when you don’t feel the direct impact of a situation, whether it’s hurting someone else or something as simple as watching one of those commercials on TV about starving children in Africa.

The scene where Audra scolds him is brilliant.  Her interrogation confirmed that Drew used Zoë to make himself feel better (as stated before, it wasn’t with malicious intent), and he was unaware of the consequences of doing so.  However, Audra was vigilant in holding her son accountable for his actions, especially after blaming his behavior on the bad things that have happened to him over the past several months.  Being dealt a crappy hand never justifies crappy behavior toward others.

I don’t expect Drew to suddenly become a “good guy” who knows how to treat girls perfectly, that would be similar to the way that say Alli in the past has become a “reformed girl” quickly after a failed relationship.  I love how Zoë didn’t forgive Drew in the end; why should she?  He hurt her, and escaped the situation unscathed.  There’s an eerie tone as Zoë talks to Drew near the end of the episode.  “My mom always told me to never trust guys,” she says.  As the word “HO” is spelled out on Zoë’s locker, Degrassi hints at what’s in store for her; a fate that may make the pain of this situation with Drew feel like a walk in the park.

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1320-3IMOGEN PLOT REVIEW

“If you want to affect change, you need to know what change you want.”

Imogen arrives at school to find a group of younger girls have started their own protest against Degrassi’s dress code.  She’s excited for the attention her cause has received, until Simpson steps in and demands to meet with her in his office.  Instead of punishing her though, Simpson asks Imogen for her input on the dress code.

Imogen takes the good news to her fellow protestors, but when they offer up new ideas for the dress code such as g-strings and the ability to show more cleavage, she realizes coming up with changes will be harder than she thought.  Imogen and Becky have a difficult time creating one set of rules that don’t infringe on someone’s freedom to wear whatever they want, but they eventually come up with an idea:  people can wear whatever they want, as long as it isn’t worn with the intention of being a distraction to other students.

I was admittedly worried when this storyline started heading down the path of Imogen creating a Facerange page in Dig Me Out.  The concern was that it would turn the situation into a giant spectacle in which any point the plot was trying to make would get lost.  However, this portion of the story takes a wonderfully practical route, where characters must use critical thinking in order to solve their problems.  The Facerange page winds up playing only a small role, but its existence in this plot brings a relevancy to the way society behaves on social media today.

1320-4The emergence of social media allows people to have a public platform in which to express their personal opinions.  While that can be good, we also know it can breed a lot of nonsense, with people often being loud and obnoxious simply because they can.  In a society where nowadays everyone is offended by everything, everyone jumps online to scream about offenses and demand change.  But if you were to ask people specifically what changes they would make, for example if they were in a political office replacing the politicians they complain about, what would their response be?  Many couldn’t give you a detailed plan, and will never make a legitimate effort to enforce the change because it’s too hard or inconvenient.  Imogen learns of this difficulty in Power To The People; when Simpson initially asks for her ideas for the dress code, her response is “Honestly…I hadn’t thought about it.”

The difference between Imogen and any average Joe on the web is that she embraces the challenge.  Instead of her platform being used just to be flashy and get attention, it transforms into a serious matter where she can legitimately use her voice to implement change.  “If you want to affect change, you need to know what change you want,”  Simpson said to Imogen.  Truer words have never been spoken.

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1320-5ALLI PLOT REVIEW

“Is there anything in here about unrequited love for a science nerd?”

As Alli and Jenna are in the science lab, Jenna presses Alli to talk to a therapist about Leo.  Alli refuses and fires Jenna as her lab assistant.  She’s upset at the fact that even in her happy place (the science lab), she’s constantly reminded of what Leo did to her.  Dallas overhears part of the exchange and offers to be Alli’s new lab partner.  She thinks he’s only doing it to try and woo her, but he tells her that he’ll only do it as long as they only talk about science in the science lab.  Dallas helps Alli by correcting some of her data, then decides to leave when its time to present the project for the chance to compete at Regionals.  “You did all the work, I was just an extra hand,” Dallas says before walking away.

This plot was generic filler in Dig Me Out, but things get a bit more interesting in Power To The People.  The fear is that Degrassi will rush Alli into Dallas’ arms two seconds after her breakup with Leo.  The hope is that they take the longest route possible before these two inevitably end up together.  I like how the show doesn’t make it obvious to Alli that Dallas pines for her as they’ve had him do in the past, though it’s still clearly obvious to viewers.

“Are you sure this isn’t part of some elaborate pickup plan?” Alli asks when Dallas offers to be her partner.  “Don’t flatter yourself, Bhandari,” he says, though we know he’s lying through his teeth.  He’s doing it to become closer to her, but he’s slick enough to not throw himself at her at the moment.  I’d love to jump onto this ship, but I want it done right.  A lot of that hinges on Alli’s post-Leo mental state serving as a major roadblock between her and Dallas as a couple.

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Posted by Kary

13 Comments

  1. I felt bad for Zoe…but I feel like the whole school knowing what happened between her and Drew is more her mom’s fault than Drew’s or Zoe herself. Her mom marched into that assembly and announced it to the whole world…prior to that, only a handful of people knew. Had her mom not done that – Zoe probably wouldn’t be getting shunned and called names now. Ya know?
    And Drew absolutely was a jerk…but Zoe is just as responsible for them having sex as he is – either of them could have stopped it at anytime – just because he was the older “wiser” one doesn’t change that. It takes two to tango…hurt feelings or not – Zoe needs to take responsibility for her actions, which seems to be something she’s incapable of, as we’ve seen before. Low self esteem does not excuse making piss-poor choices.
    The other story lines were alright…but I’m getting a little tired of the Alli Show. Yes – something bad happened – and there’s a ripple effect of repercussions from that – but can we get a couple of weeks break and focus on other characters? Cause there’s a wealth of them that have been getting neglected, partly because of her storyline. Like Imogen, who we finally got to see again in this episode…

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    1. I second the sick of the Alli show part. I get that Alli’s end on the show is coming up soon since she’s graduating but it’s ridiculous how little focus characters like Becky, Jenna, Connor, Zig, Dallas etc. have gotten while she has one of the plots in 85-90% of the episodes.

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  2. The whole Drew-Zoe thing… I’m not into it. I love that Canada has that close-in-age exemption and think it’s something the US needs. High school kids should not be legally punished for having consensual sex with other high school kids. I don’t agree with arbitrarily picking an age at which one should be able to consent to sex- or deciding that one magically understands the repercussions upon turning 18. Especially if you’re 18 and still in high school. It’s hard to leave the high school mentality behind when you’re still there.

    The fact is, people of all ages often struggle with figuring out relationships and what one person expects of the other. Some people are totally into the concept of casual relationships; others are strictly monogamous and can’t really fathom how you can simultaneously date/sleep with multiple people. This is true for both males and females- really, I keep breaking up with people and thinking, “This time, I’ll learn how to not have a super intense relationship,” but no- I only find guys who are committed and don’t dig the casual thing. Seems bizarre, I know, but- true story. And in this case, Drew didn’t even follow the stereotypical “sex-driven male” path. He didn’t tell Zoe a bunch of extravagant lies to get her into bed- he told her he wasn’t ready for a relationship and then she threw herself at him! As we age, it’s easy to forget how early we started having deviant thoughts- but in reality, teen girls are usually no more innocent than teen boys, and it really, really seemed like she was using sex to keep him from leaving her. But props to Zoe for readily admitting that it was consensual instead of crying rape to get back at him. Now I finally have some respect for that girl. I also agree that her mom did not help this situation at all: in her not-very-well-thought-out attempt to disgrace Drew, she was really more successful in disgracing her daughter. It’s sad to see that a teen as immature as Zoe is still more mature than her mother.

    Imogen’s plot was also kind of silly. There are reasons why there aren’t as many dress code restrictions on boys… They don’t have as much to show, and don’t have as much of a desire to; many may be interested in a girl’s cleavage, but who wants to see some dude’s flaccid…yeah… It’s just a thing with females- I think it’s mostly due to societal pressures and gender roles, and I could be wrong, but whatever the reasons, a lot of girls just want to flaunt whatever they’ve got. This isn’t just an issue about distracting teen boys- it’s also about further rubbing it in to the girls that don’t have much to flaunt (something I’m glad was touched upon when someone said something like “Sometimes just to intimidate other girls” when asked why you would even want to dress that way). The whole premise was kind of stupid anyway- because really, Imogen? A super senior in high school (i.e. someone who should’ve graduated by now anyway) really “forgot” to put a bra on? The reason no one was buying that “Oopsie!” excuse is because it’s kind of ridiculous. I think that bothered me more than anything. If you don’t believe in wearing a bra all the time, I can get behind that more than, “Oh crap! I’ve been doing this daily for years, but suddenly I’ve forgotten how to dress myself!” Take it from someone who has ADD, is usually hungover, and doesn’t have much to hide or prop up anyway- it’s freakin’ noticeable! It’s akin to forgetting to put pants on- doesn’t happen. Especially if you’re just wearing a lightweight shirt. Maybe if she was dressed in layers or a hoodie, I’d buy it.

    Sorry…sometimes I need to rant…

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    1. I wear a bra most of the time, but once in a while I forget and I’m in my 20s. It’s not a big deal. It shouldn’t be something that gets you into trouble. Should men with gynocomastia be forced to wear bras as well? Why wasn’t Luke sent to the principal for sexually harassing/humiliating Imogen? It’s a double standard. Woman are punished for ‘distracting’ men when men should learn self control. I don’t harass men I see wearing muscle shirts or tank tops or sagging pants. It’s insulting to men and women. Are men just out of control cavemen who can’t help but comment on every chest they see? Or do they feel entitled because generally there are zero repercussions?

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    2. I believe some states in the U.S. have close-in-age exemptions. I think that California has a 3-year window (when I was 15, I dated a guy who was 18…no, we didn’t have sex in a pool house and no, my mother did not humiliate the both of us in front of all the seniors and our principal).

      Zoe has been totally annoying, and I was definitely rooting for Drew to break up with her. However, I did feel bad for her. She was trying to be a good girlfriend, irritating as it was. His actions weren’t malicious, BUT he wasn’t taking her feelings into account at all either. He was just thinking about rebounding, having a casual thing, and then saving his job and image when that stuff backfired. He was being clueless and caught up in himself. He didn’t think about how Zoe was being affected. I don’t think this arc was meant to be portrayed as “look at how Drew took advantage of little Zoe” but rather it was “look at what happens when you don’t respect people’s emotions.” My problem with this arc is that I’m still having trouble distinguishing between real-Zoe and bitchy-Zoe. When is she being honest and when is she being manipulative? It wasn’t until the end of the episode that it clicked with me: Zoe was really hurt.

      As for the Imogen vs. bra arc… The only good thing to come out of that was Imogen asking Simpson what kind of underwear he was wearing.

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      1. Thank you, Maree. I was going to respond to this, but you’ve said pretty much everything I wanted to say.

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  3. I just caught up on the last two episodes at while at work today. I felt the Drew/Zoe storyline was very well done. As I’ve told you before, I missed out on much of the fall season so I don’t know what Zoe did to become such a hated person. With that being said, it looks as if she is on the road to becoming a fan favorite character. I really felt for her in that final scene where she told Drew she was giving up on guys. Drew’s role in the story wasn’t too shabby either. I especially liked the way his mom chewed him out over having sex with Zoe and forcing Drew to take responsibility for his actions. Glad that Adam’s name was mentioned since Degrassi has an affinity for forgetting about deceased characters.

    I like that they’ve finally rekindled Alli-Dallas. This is by far Alli’s strongest season ever in terms of quality acting and appropriate storylines.I also loved the scripting of the argument she had with Jenna when she fired her from being her lab assistant. I can’t ever recall Alli saying something that smart to Jenna,

    In contrast, the Imgoen dress code storyline was the weakest of the three and may be the weakest thing they’ve ever done with her character.

    Overall, it was a great episode and glad they focused almost exclusively on the seniors since they are the most captivating characters by far.

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  4. I watch this show despite being wayyyy out of the target demo (which is what happens when you keep watching after growing up with the original TNG cast.)

    I like the character of Zoe. I like how she wasn’t particularly surprised at the fallout of the relationship. She unleashed the forces of the slut shamers in an attempt to take down a rival, so she knows the kind of ugliness that’s in store for her.

    This was one of the better episodes because it allowed space for adults to teach the characters how to behave in the real world. Degrassi (and Boy Meets World, for that matter) were at its best when they depicted the entire school system.

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    1. High five for people who are too old to watch this stuff but do it anyway! YEAH!

      I really like the episodes that involve parents. The first seasons of TNG were a little weird, like when we watched Joey’s romantic escapades. I guess that was just fan service for the old Degrassi High fans, though. I don’t know if I’m being fan-serviced now or what, but I love seeing Mr. Simpson being principal! I think he does a great job acting, and I love when he’s involved in episodes (although it seems he’s usually only in minor plots). And I don’t want to see parents’ lives and everything, but I love to see them actually being parents. Trying to teach their kids lessons.

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      1. Haha, high five to you as well! Degrassi has become increasingly difficult for me to watch because I can easily predict how everyone will react to everything. Especially since I am now an educator.

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  5. I wonder when Zoe is going to realize what she did to Maya because of what she’s experienced now and from the foreshadowing of what she’s going to experience. Don’t get me wrong not knowing what you did wrong is just about worse than actually doing the act, but I keep going back to Maya’s story line and how Zoe intentionally hurt Maya and how she too got basically no repercussions yet Maya got in trouble and slut-shamed. I mean Drew does get to go to his job and friends, yet Zoe lost her job ( for reasons we still don’t know why) and what friends she still has are fake. It’s not the same thing , but it’s pretty close. The pit in my stomach I feel comes from the essential core differences between the girls, Zoe is a bully, and bullies make others weak because they are essentially weaker. While I see Maya being able to bounce back because her character, ( and music talent, friends, and a little bit of righteous anger). Zoe on the other hand seems , doesn’t seem to have that, Yes, both girls have insecurities (I just remember chicken cutlets) but where I see fire in Maya after her debacle, I saw something cold and detached in Zoe, like something just shut off and that worries me.

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  6. This was the worst episode in a while. Everyone’s acting was off and halfhearted, with the exception of Drew’s mom. And I don’t know what the writers are thinking isolating Zoe from the other younger kids. If they want the same refresher that Clare/Alli/Connor/KC gave to the show, they need to develop the tenners and have them interact more with each other, more than fucking Drew (I’m officially completely sick of him) and randoms (Maya’s omg, bad poor kids plot).

    I hate that they decided to tear Imogen down a bit and make her out to be a rabble-rouser with no actual cause, and then didn’t even commit to pointing out how absurd it is for women’s nipples to be considered obscene and disruptive, while allowing the boys in the class (you know, the people doing the actual disrupting) to get off scot-free. The stupid plot detour with those girls wanting to “dress for boys” was not only pointless, it was counterproductive.

    But worst of all, making Drew out to be the victim of ignorance was borderline infuriating. He’s a douchebag and always has been, it’s in his nature. It’s not surprising that he wants to get into politics. I also noticed what little we saw of Hollingsworth was a fairly liberal stance (the bit about keeping taxes to go to schools or something). I thought he was gonna be Miles’s evil, abusive, money-hungry politician dad. I’m really curious where they’re taking that relationship, though the writing has been so poor lately I wouldn’t be surprised if it went nowhere.

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  7. I still don’t think Drew did anything wrong. Where I live 16 is the legal age for sexual consent. Is 15 really that much different than 16? Not in my mind. I think it is ok since the age diffence between Drew and Zoe isn’t that big. Now if Drew was a 40 year old guy sleeping with a 15 year old I’d have a problem with that but he isn’t.
    I’m all for the laws that say you can consent to sex at a younger age as long as your partner is within a few years of age. like 15 with an 18 year old is ok but 15 with a 40 year old is not ok. Although there has to be a cutoff point at some age because little kids need to keep it in their pants. Maybe 15 is a decent minimum age for consent as long as the other person is no more than maybe 3 years of that age. Idk I guess maybe my position on this isn’t the norm. Just figured I’d give some background on my mindset.
    Anyway, In this situation what Drew did was perfectly legal so I think Zoe’s mom was totally out of line with her actions. I’m glad Zoe didn’t claim she was raped. She wanted to have sex with Drew. I think she thought that sex would solidify her position in Drew’s life- she thought that it would make him stay with her, she thought she’d be his gf because of it. She did what a lot of 15 year old girls do- she put way too many expectation into it. It’s a position a lot of girls have been in and it is horrible but she screwed up by expecting sex to change things.
    Drew is a really nice guy deep down. I think he’s just too dumb to show it sometimes. He wants to make things right and I love him for that. He clearly didn’t intend to hurt her. He explained he didn’t want a gf and she used sex to try to make him be her bf anyway. I can’t blame him for thinking that the conversation they had at Miles’ house meant she was ok with a fwb situation. That is basically what Drew told her he wanted and she seemed totally ok with that. He didn’t do anything wrong they just had a serious communication failure.

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