Kolleen: HOLD UP. Is “Basketball Diaries” even a song? I don’t think it is (I could be wrong, feel free to correct me). I know it’s a MOVIE (and a not very good one at that). Dammit DGN, get your crap together!
This is a Jimmy- centric episode, which we DEFINITELY need. We need as much footage of Jimmy walking and running as possible. We open with basketball try-outs. Coach Armstrong says they’re playing Earl Grey soon, and he needs to make 3 cuts. Who will make the team? Jimmy is obviously a shoe-in. I can’t wait for them to play Rooibos Chai later in the season. Jimmy has doubts and skips homeroom to practice more, even though Spinner insists he is “burning up the floor out there”, which I’m pretty sure is a felony, but whatever.
As Jimmy saunters into English, Miss Quan (I think I spelled her name wrong in previous posts– oh well) asks him for his English assignment that she ALREADY gave him an extension on. He is really amped on making the team and is slacking in her class big time, but he says he’s on top of his reading. I’ll bet you a fiver he isn’t.
Liberty is rushing to get the morning announcements to Ashley. She gets in right before the bell and Ashley gives her the bitchiest look in Degrassi history.
Of course the joke is HILARIOUS (“If you see the Earl Grey team holding lighters, it’s because they always lose their matches”– excuse me while I compose myself) and a huge hit with the kids. Everyone tells Liberty that she should be mad because she does all the work and gets none of the mad swag that comes with doing the morning announcements. Sean tells her not to bother because extracurricular activities are for chumps. Toby points out that he’s going out for b-ball, but Sean says his social worker is making him and he couldn’t give a rat’s a—-
OH! Mr. Snake pops in and cuts off Sean’s swearing. Good thing, he probably would have landed back in juvie or whatever. Liberty says she gets mad that people think Ash is so clever when she’s just reading Liberty’s words, and Manny says “Yeah, a monkey could do that.” WAIT A MINUTE. Was that a racist shot at Liberty? I think it was. Manny is so rude.
Miss Quan opens up the class to a discussion about chapter 8 of Lord of the Flies, which I had to read twice in grade school because I was so gifted. She asks Jimmy about his thoughts and he says “It’s great”. Oh Jimmy COME ON. Do they not have Cliffs Notes in Canada? She asks what character he relates to and he says “the main one. The Lord of the Flies.” She informs him that the LOTF is a severed pig’s head resting on a stake (because of course British kids can’t keep a handle on things for more than 10 minutes while left alone).
It’s a sad day when SPINNER is telling Jimmy to get a handle on his academics. As they discuss, Spinner’s alarm goes off and he downs a pill. It’s Ritalin, and it makes him a complete zombie, but without it he’s a maniac– it’s why they call him Spinner!
Liberty tells Ashley she wants to read the announcements and Ashley scoffs at her. Remember when your whole life was this chaotic? When you fought about such things as who would read morning announcements at school? Now I stress about paying my car insurance. Oh to be young and stupid. Liberty tells Ashley she is going to go on strike if she doesn’t give her some face time. Liberty says Ashley can do all the research, it only takes like “an hour a day, IF you’re fast”. Remember the school is running on dial- up so it must be hard to look up whatever the hell they’re talking about. What the hell research do you need to do for morning announcements? At my school it was all “Today’s lunch will be turkey slop. Thank you” (I’m not kidding, every third Thursday was Turkey Slop, and it was the best). Ashley relents because she knows Liberty is going to make a fool of herself.
In the locker room, Jimmy is still stressing about making the team and Spinner is busy reassuring him while touching the same three basketballs on a shelf over and over. I can’t tell if this is a subtle nod to his Ritalin making him ULTRA focused or if he’s just killing time method acting. As Spinner takes yet another pill, Jimmy says he wishes there were a pill he could take to “boost [him] up” since he has to pull an all- nighter for Mrs. Quan’s class. Jimmy, stop being coy and just ask Spinner for a Ritalin already. I hate when people do that “oooh I don’t know what I need to help me but you might know” thing. If you want to steal your friend’s medicine because you can’t handle basketball and Lord of the Flies then at least be a man about it.
Jimmy finishes his assignment (handwritten on loose leaf– an automatic F in my book) but now he’s dead on his feet. He FINALLY gets the nerve to ask Spinner for his Ritalin. Just this once. Riiiiiiight. “It’s not illegal,” he says. Um, I don’t know about Canada, but in AMERICA swapping pills is most definitely frowned upon. Spinner relents anyway. Have you ever taken a Ritalin pill? It’s not fun. This is not going to end well.
Liberty’s time to shine has arrived! She is ready for the morning announcements. Will she be the next Connie Chung?
We are subjected to 9 minutes of Liberty pretending her face is a glob of silly putty before she realizes she’s on air. Then she reads from the cue cards like she’s Burgess Meredith in “Time Enough At Last”. Ashley feels so bad. So bad. Everyone in school is making fun of Liberty and she’s running away with her hand over her mouth every two seconds. She does the typical high school girl thing and cries in the bathroom. I never used the bathrooms at my high school. They were disgusting and some of them even had missing doors. In the event I had to use the facilities, I used the nurse’s office, every time. So I really can’t relate to this “having a heart to heart in the bathroom” thing. Ashley finds her there and gives her these comforting words: “You weren’t great, but you weren’t horrible”. Well, at least we know Ash is truthful if nothing else.
Meanwhile that Ritalin has kicked in and Jimmy is acting like any old addict on Intervention, stopping short of picking the invisible bugs off his skin. Of course because he missed a pill, Spinner is ~spinning~ out of control, and at halftime does this awful dance and moons the whole gymnasium. Mr. Radditch (I want to call him Mr. Radish. Can I?) is NOT impressed. Meanwhile Coach A is telling them all to play like a team and Jimmy is just flying off the rails like he’s an extra in that movie Spun.
Mr. Radish tells Spinner he can’t participate in any after school activities until the end of the semester, and tells him that he’ll have to take his pills in front of the secretary from now on. Sounds rad to me, he gets to get out of class 3 times a day!
On the court, Jimmy is being a ball hog and Coach A is not pleased. Sean gets the ball and Jimmy fouls him on purpose to score some points and win the game. Everyone thinks Jimmy is the man and no one seems to care that Sean is crippled on the floor because he basically tore an ACL or whatever.
Degrassi won 39-37! But Emma wants to know why Jimmy was acting like a total dick. Liberty shows up on the announcements, calm cool and sure of herself like Ashley taught her, but then she is reminded that she’ll have to wait til next year to do them on the reg, since this is Ashley’s world and Liberty is just lucky enough to be living in it.
After the game Coach A lists of Jimmy’s infractions. They are:
-Not being a team player
-Hurting Sean and not caring
Coach A has a zero tolerance policy for violence, and he can’t take a chance on Jimmy’s wildcard behavior. He cuts him from the team, and hopefully Jimmy has learned that drugs are never the answer. I’m really bummed that I didn’t have a Coach Armstrong in my life when I was a teenager, but then again, I hated basketball.
God, I’m glad this episode is over. Where is an episode just about Paige? Or Manny? When will Hazel show up? WHERE IS CRAIG? Since there are only 15 episodes this season, I hope these questions are answered soon!
Letty: Oh Liberty. Liberty, Liberty, Bliberty. It’s a shame that Spinner wasn’t on Adderall instead of Ritalin, because that is a much better recreational drug (DON’T DO DRUGS, KIDS) BZZZT, IMPORTANT ALERT: My friend Margaret informed me that she once saw Sean on the subway in New York and he was as moody and smoldering in person as he is on television.