Correct me if I’m wrong, but #HugeIfTrue is probably the first Degrassi episode in history where not only did the actual school not make an appearance, but every single scene in this episode took place at someone’s house. We know there’s a threshold for how long we can watch characters away from Degrassi before the show no longer feels like Degrassi, but one-off episodes like this one make for a wonderful change of pace.
#HugeIfTrue not only deals with sex and how it impacts romantic relationships, but also how romantic relationships impact friendships. It’s fascinating watching everyone’s opinions on these ideas in this episode, and it just hammers home the fact that these topics will always be more complex than we think they are.
The girls’ night plot is actually broken up into three different subplots, so I’ll take a look at those individually.
LOLA PLOT RECAP: Lola’s excited about the first girls’ night they’ve had in a while, but she’s instantly disappointed when Frankie and Shay invite Jonah, Tiny and some others over for a party. While playing “never have I ever,” Lola and Shay get into another argument over Shay and Tiny’s relationship, and Esme dares Tiny to spend 7 minutes in heaven with Lola. The two agree, and while in the closet Lola thinks something’s wrong with her because her friends would rather spend time with their boyfriends and she feels like she’s everyone’s second choice. Tiny tells her she’s a great girl, and that there’s at least one guy out there who will appreciate her. When they leave the closet, Shay assumes that Lola kissed Tiny; offended that Shay thinks she’d do that, Lola storms off. Later we see her helping Miles with the play. He asks her to play the role of Hope because she’d be perfect for it. Miles tries to kiss her and she stops him, saying she likes him and she’s afraid they’ll do something they’ll regret. The two end up kissing and have sex. The next morning Lola asks Miles if he regrets last night and he says yes. Miles is freaked out because he learns that he took Lola’s virginity, but she tells him it’s not that big of a deal…she knows they can’t date, and she wants to just enjoy whatever their relationship is.
We’ve reached the point in this storyline where I’m totally conflicted about what’s going on. Lola’s been an incredible emotional rock for Miles during a really rough time in his life. Not only does she understand what Miles has been going through, she’s also treated him like a normal person through all of this. Miles and Lola go too far when they knowingly cheat, but there’s also this level of emotional chemistry between them that’s impossible to ignore.
What’s crazy about this situation is that after they sleep together, not only do both of them know that what they’re doing is wrong, they both also seem to be fully aware that whatever it is they are is temporary. Or so they think.
This is one of the few times Degrassi has left me struggling to figure out what to say. Part of my own conflict with this is knowing this is an extraordinary circumstance these characters are in. We’re talking about a teenage boy trying to carry the emotional burden and uncertainty of someone he cares about fighting for their life. We know without a doubt Miles and Lola crossed the line, but the buildup to this moment over the course of multiple episodes has been flawless. Not only am I able to see how Miles and Lola got to this point, but I clearly get why it’s playing out the way it is.
SHAY PLOT RECAP: Whenever Frankie starts talking about how she wants to have sex with Jonah, Shay tells her not to sleep with him simply because he expects it. Shay says Tiny isn’t like other boys, but Frankie says all guys think about sex all of the time. During ‘Never Have I Ever’ Tiny takes a drink when questions are asked about having sex, and he also takes a drink when it’s asked if you want to hook up with the person to your right (in his case, Shay). Shay and Lola fight again, with Shay saying Lola’s jealous of the fact she’s in a relationship, and Esme dares Tiny and Lola to spend 7 minutes in heaven together. Shay nervously paces around while the two are upstairs, and when time’s up she accuses Lola of kissing Tiny in the closet. Shay’s also upset with Tiny for admitting that he wants to have sex with her, because she assumed he wasn’t the type who’d ever expect sex from her.
With Shay, Degrassi finds itself back to addressing the oh so common “all or nothing” mentality that society has about literally anything and everything. There’s absolutely nothing wrong Shay having zero desire to have sex, but her attitude toward sex and her belief that everyone is overly obsessed with it has essentially caused her to create an idealistic version of Tiny in her head.
“Tiny is not like other boys,” she tells Frankie, “He’s not obsessed with…all that stuff.” Tiny’s never once pressured Shay or even talked with her about sex, so we see why she was so caught off guard when she learned that Tiny wants to hook up with her. But there’s a difference between thinking about/wanting to have sex, expectations of sex and actually having it, and that’s the nuance Shay’s missing here.
Based on previous episodes, one has to wonder if there’s some truth in Esme’s comment about Shay. “She thinks she’s so much better than me just because she won’t let her boyfriend touch her,” she says. However, a huge part of Shay’s insecurity has to deal with her not wanting the pressure of having a guy she’s dating expect sex from her, and she doesn’t want to feel like she’s not good enough simply because she doesn’t put out. Even in this episode when Tiny both mentions alone time and is dared to play 7 Minutes In Heaven with Shay we see her tense up, because she’s got it in her head that Tiny’s going to expect sex from her (again, despite him having never pressured her about anything sex related).
“I’m sorry if I’m not good enough for you,” she says to Tiny, who has no clue what on earth she’s talking about. With Shay so far in Season 3 we’ve seen that some of the biggest mind games we end up playing are with ourselves.
FRANKIE PLOT RECAP: Despite Shay telling her she shouldn’t have sex with Jonah, Frankie says that it’s her decision and she’s finally ready to do it. During ‘Never Have I Ever’ she abruptly invites Jonah to go upstairs for some alone time. The two have a hot and heavy makeout session, but Jonah stops Frankie when she tries to unbuckle his pants. Frankie points out that Jonah’s had sex with other girls, and asks if it’s because he has feelings for Grace; he says he and Grace are just friends, and says he doesn’t want to sleep with Frankie because he doesn’t want to rush into things and ruin their relationship. Frankie feels as if Jonah’s rejecting her, and while getting off of her bed she knocks over a candle and starts a fire. Miles bursts into the room and they put out the fire, and when Jonah says they should talk later she tells him that she needs space.
Frankie’s insecurity rears its ugly head again as Jonah refuses to have sex with her. Sex is one of the most intimate things you can do with someone else, so being rejected in that way can hurt regardless of who you are.
However, how you respond to that situation and understanding why the other person has rejected sex is even more important.
#HugeIfTrue makes my point above because this episode covers a topic Degrassi did just a couple of seasons ago, only this time it’s the female who’s being sexually rejected by the male. In Season 14’s I’ll Be Missing You Dallas was so hung up on the fact Alli didn’t want to have sex with him (despite her having done it with other guys in the past) that he missed the point that her not wanting to have sex didn’t mean she wasn’t in love with him. “Sex is complicated for me Dallas,” she said. “And I’ve let it mess things up way too many times for me, and I can’t let that happen again.”
Jonah essentially says the same thing to Frankie; “Back when I was doing it, I wasn’t a good guy,” he tells her, “And I don’t wanna rush things and risk ruining what we have.” However, all Frankie hears is “You don’t want to have sex with me, so that means you don’t want me at all.” The importance of Degrassi repeating storylines is to show that situations happen in different ways and have different outcomes because no two people are alike. Mike Dallas was able to understand Alli’s point all those seasons ago, and their relationship became stronger because of it. But now we’re seeing through Frankie what happens when a person isn’t emotionally mature enough to understand that sex doesn’t equal love or commitment.
HUNTER PLOT REVIEW: Hunter plans on spending the evening with Yael, but that changes with Baaz and Vijay unexpectedly drop by. While browsing the closet of clothes and shoes Hunter never wears they get onto the topic of shoes and how big feet means you have a big penis. The guys then decide to measure themselves to see which one of them has the biggest; Hunter lies to Yael about being sick to cancel their plans, but she drops by anyway. Embarrassed to tell Yael what they’re doing Baaz says they’d planned on watching porn together, and Yael forces them all to watch it together. Hunter finally tells Yael that the guys were planning on measuring their penises, and she seriously offers to be the one who judges them. Hunter’s freaked out because Yael will see his and they haven’t had sex yet. Baaz goes off on Hunter, saying that Hunter thinks he’s better than him and doesn’t every realize how good his life is. Not only is Baaz jealous of Hunter, Yael is worried that the dynamics of her and Hunter’s relationship have changed just because they’re dating. Hunter says he doesn’t know when Yael is his friend or his girlfriend, and she tells him she wants to be both. Hunter won the contest, but he tells Yael to lie and say Baaz won so it’d make Baaz feel like he has something over Hunter.
It goes without saying that a storyline about a couple of teenage guys measuring their dicks is hilarious, however, there are some bigger things at play when it comes to both Hunter and Yael’s relationship and the relationship of the entire group.
“You have no idea how lucky you are,” Baaz says angrily to Hunter. “You have all this money, and a girlfriend, and you take it all for granted.” Hunter’s completely baffled at the fact Baaz is jealous of his life, but just as we’ve seen Frankie in the past, the Hollingsworth kids don’t realize what a privileged life they live. They’ve always had money and nice things like Hunter’s entire closet of clothes that he never wears, so he’s oblivious to the fact other people don’t have that type of luxury.
Not only are Baaz and Vijay jealous of that, but they’re also concerned about the group changing because of Hunter and Yael’s relationship. “This could ruin the delicate dynamics of our friend group,” Baaz said back in Next Class Season 2, and we’re seeing rifts indeed as Baaz points out that Hunter’s ditched them seven times to hang out with Yael.
Ironically, Yael feels like an outsider as well when she sees her only social group hanging out without her. “That’s all I am now? Your girlfriend?” she asks Hunter. These two were best friends before they started dating, but we’re seeing this amazingly complex scenario where everyone is having trouble adjusting to the changes that can happen when two people in a social group pursue a romantic relationship.
*I’m very disturbed at the fact Zig only brought one pizza for a party with 8 people. One slice each? This is a travesty in my book.
*Instead of “Never Have I Ever,” they should’ve played a game called “Take A Drink Every Time Someone Slut Shames Esme In Season 3.” It’s wild how multiple people have had the nerve to say this stuff straight to her face! Yes Esme can be a jerk, but I also loved the nugget she threw out there about her also being a straight A student.
*I love how Grace is just sitting amidst all these couples and sipping on ginger ale.
One of the really good uses of ironic echo is the word awesome. Tiny uses it to describe Lola during 7 Minutes in Heaven, then Miles uses it before they start sucking face. That word is probably part of what pushed Miles and Lola into that space.
Also all four plots have to do with insecurity in some form. Hunter’s insecurity about his friend dynamic falling apart, Baaz’s insecurity about his penis, and Yael’s insecurity about being a second class friend now that she’s dating Hunter. Shay’s about girls who have sex, Frankie’s about being wanted by boys, and Lola’s about being wanted by people. Each plot feeds and needles the other plots toward where they go. While the dick measuring plot gets written off for, you know, being about dicks. It is still three insecurities playing off each other.
And everyone seems to miss the major part of Lola and Miles is that basically everyone treats Lola as second class at some point. In this ep. She comes out of a touching build up conversation with Tiny to an accusation from her best friend she’s a boyfriend stealing slut. How messed up is all of this?
I used to love Triles but….I’m so sorry, I think after S3 I’m jumping ship to Miles/Lola (Mola?). The chemistry is crazy.
Also I’ve fallen in love with Maya this season, even if the new and improved version feels like the writers caving to Olivia Scriven’s persona outside Degrassi. Thank god they let her evolve and organically grow to fit the actor (unlike, say, Connor in S13-14). But it does suck that Olivia and Lyle for that matter have done zero Degrassi promo or interviews since Next Class started. I really would love to hear from them, especially Olivia, on what it was like taking on darker material in s3
I agreed with Shay when she said “I dont understand why everyone is so obsessed with sex”. Frankie was trying to do it with Jonah. I don’t understand why most kids in Degrassi think this is some kind of race. Sex is not a game. Considering age and unwanted pregnancies that we’ve seen all throughout the show, sex can be a dangerous step for most people even though its supposed to be an important step in everyone’s life
lol kary zig is a high school student without a job and living in a group home! im surprised he has money to buy even ONE PIE! im actually wondering how he even paid for that pizza… I doubt his foster parents gives allowance for pizza pies
I really wish Degrassi would do an asexuality plotline. It’s on of the few the haven’t covered yet. Especially if it focused on how asexual people sometimes still engage in romantic relationships. Maybe Shay could discover that she doesn’t actually like physical intimacy but still wants to have a relationship with Tiny for instance.
I’m still trying to get into the coma plot line. I like the Miles/Lola stuff, but somebody being in a long term coma feels too soapy even for Degrassi. It’s pretty rare to thing to happen and it honestly takes away from the Degrassi’s realism for me. But I guess as long as Degrassi stays away from evil twin plots.
Sometimes I feel like Jonah acts way too paternalistic towards Frankie. Given the events of the next few episodes, I hope the writers pick up on that thread next season.
YASSSSSS thats EXACTLY how i felt about Tristans coma!! Ive been a fan of degrassi 14 years now and when this season opened up with his coma I almost lost hope in my favorite show entirely! but this season was the best in years!
But its interesting you think the coma is too soapy but not asexuality cuz ive nvr met or heard of any in my life..
I disagree about long term coma is rare… I work in hospital I see it from time to time.. Not common but definitely not rare.. And What makes a story feel soap opera is how the writers handle the storylines.. I mean I would call it soap opera if tristan recovers so fast n continues ruling as president.. Being back to himself with no impact of traumatic brain injury.. But so far it doesnt happen like that.. And it would be realistic to explore someone after on long term intubation, on prolonged oxygen n i trust degrassi writers to be just in this
Btw I cant help myself but falling for MOLA.. I’m way to old for OTP but seriously, the way their storylines written is juz amazing.. Like, wow i’m surprised at how mature Lola is, n how they didnt end up in cliche pattern.. Clingy girlfriend, jerk player/cheater, using pregnancy for attention/affection/money trap.. They r handled even better n more mature than many adult romantic tv series/movies
I’m the unusual here… I can’t get behind Miles/Lola and Miles is a twit in this episode… I rarely want to strangle a character, but I SERIOUSLY want to strangle Miles after this episode. Lola… um, I’m not sure what I think on her.
Also, comment on Esme. She’s definitely a unique and awesome character… bit nuts, but definitely dynamic and interesting. Definitely had enough with the slut shaming on Esme. Truth is with sex and whether or not you want to “do it”, it’s up to the people/person in question. BOTH Shay and Esme are doing what is right for THEM and the back conversation between the two of them is idiotic and immature. ENOUGH already, you two.
Also, the guys… the guys… just hilarious and awkward and ridiculous. And I love Yael. That be all.
I really love how contrasting Frankie and Shay’s stories were. Whether or not Shay is asexual would be an interesting topic to discuss but I don’t know if the show would tackle it.
The way that Yael keeps making herself be one of the guys is more fuel to the Yael-could-be-transgender fan theory. It sucks that she doesn’t have any female friends, which is why I’m happy that down the line she will be closer to Lola.