Tag Archives: Luke Bilyk

“What happens at Vegas Night . . .” – A Recap of The Season Finale of Degrassi’s The Boiling Point

So, you peed your pants at the end of the episode.  So WHAT?  You’re still pretty cool in my book . . .

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been following Degrassi’s The Boiling Point on Teen Nick this summer.  And if you HAVE been following the show, you know that it’s season finale, entitled “All Falls Down,” aired tonight.  Although the final episode didn’t push the envelope quite as far as I would have liked, I thought it was a fitting end to a surprisingly well-written, and enjoyable season. 

Sure, it got off to a rather slow and awkward start . . .

“I don’t really know you that well.  But you and I are both getting too old to be on this show.  So, what do you say we get married, and ride off into the sunset together?”

 . . . but somewhere around the halfway point, the show really hit its stride.  And, before I knew it, I was hooked . . .

First transgender teen character on television?  AWESOME!

So without further adieu, let’s take a look back on how it all ended, shall we?

Sav and Holly J. – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

*playing guitar and singing off key*  “You’re my one, my only . . .  [Insert your name here].”

Remember a couple of seasons ago when Sav was dating Anya . . .

 . . . and she was mad at him, because he wouldn’t introduce her to his parents (even though they had been dating for six months), because she wasn’t a Muslim?  No?  Well, it happened.  And to make it up to Anya, Sav serenaded her with the cheesiest, most ear-splittingly bad song, EVER!  And it worked!  Why?  Because Sav is such a STUD MUFFIN . . .obviously.

Well . . . now, Sav and Anya are splitsville . . .

 . . . and Sav has started making goo goo eyes, at Anya’s once B.F.F., Holly J . . . 

 . . . who . . . up until a few episodes ago . . . was swapping spit with THIS GUY . . .

 .  . . who once made out with his SISTER . . .

 .  . . who looks like THIS . . .

Hair: The Musical called . . . they want that outfit back . . .

 . . . and is currently best friends with Holly J.

But I digress . . . so Holly J. and Sav are sort of / kind of together.  And at Vegas Night, Sav shows his affection for Holly J. by . . . you guessed it . . . SINGING A CRAPPY SONG to her in front of the entire student body .  . . a song that sounds suspiciously similar to the “Anya Song.” 

It WORKS . . . AGAIN !  

What is wrong with these girls?

 Anyway, Holly J. gives thanks to Sav and his magical musical charms,  by changing into a totally tarty outfit, and stripping for him in an abandoned classroom. 

AND . . . then . . .  just when things are starting to get exciting . . . the cops come and spoil EVERYTHING  . . . (No money shot today!)

I’m thinking the public indecency charge is not going to look so hot on Holly J.’s Yale application.  Just saying . . .  I blame Stud Muffin Sav and his hypnotic (and by “hypnotic,” I mean “awful”) voice.

But believe it or not, the cops didn’t break up Degrassi’s Vegas Night due to a Sav-induced noise violation.  So, why did they come, you ask?  Well . . . we’ll get to that in a bit.  We’ve got other slutty fish to fry first . . .

Some like it hot . . . in the Boiler Room

“I did a BAD, BAD thing . . .”

OK.  So, where was I during high school, that no one EVER invited ME to the hottest room in the building to get “nekkid” with the cool kids?

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bianca!

So, Drew, the Dumb Jock with a Heart of Gold, but NO self control WHATSOEVER  . . .

Keep a bun on that weiner, boy!

 . . . was dating the smart, but super self-absorbed and slightly promiscuous, Alli . . .

 Except the “slightly” part of her promiscuousness was, apparently, not enough for Drew.  So, HE eventually succumbed to the charms of SUPER SLUT from SLUTTY SLUTVILLE, Bianca  . . .

 . . . who inexplicably wears ugly ACID WASH mom jeans from 1982 . . .

 . . . and once ALMOST got it on with Drew’s transgender step-bro, Adam . . .

Not only is Bianca a TOTAL HO, she also has a HUGE MOUTH (which, probably helped things along significantly in the Boiler Room, while these two were going at it). 

At Vegas Night, Big Mouth Bianca tells Drew’s girl, Alli, about the illicit hookup.  And then, when Drew tries to say the two just kissed, Bianca CORRECTS him, alluding to the fact that SHE kissed Drew . . . DOWN BELOW.

So, the now- heartbroken,  still slightly- promiscious, Alli heads off to the Boiler Room with Big Bully, Small Willy, Owen . . .

 .  . . who offers her $50 bucks (Is that play money, or does Canadian cash actually look like that?) to kiss HIM  . . . DOWN BELOW.  But, like I said, Alli is only SLIGHTLY promiscuous.  And, while she DOES want to make Drew jealous, the “Nether Region Kissing thing” is a no-go for her.  So, Alli tells Big Bully, Small Willy, Owen, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Then he tries to RAPE HER!

Fortunately, Dumb Jock with the Heart of Gold, but NO Self Control, Drew comes to her rescue!

But then Drew’s MOM, who is some “big important” school superintendent, or something . . .

 . . . comes to the Boiler Room, finds the pair together, and automatically assumes that Slightly Promiscious Alli seduced her poor little innocent son, Drew.  YIKES!

But that STILL doesn’t explain why the cops were at Degrassi  . . .  Not to worry.  This will . . .

Here’s barfing at you, kid . . .

Smart, sensitive, slightly emo lovebirds, Eli and Clare, have TRULY been the REAL lovestory of this season.

Episode after episode, we have rooted for them, as they overcame eachother’s respective baggage (He sort of / kind of had a role in his ex-girlfriend’s death.  She’s massively uptight, and her last boyfriend dumped her for a prettier, but much less intelligent, blonde.), and tentatively moved toward a surprisingly sexy romantic relationship.

Eli and Clare studying French . . . kissing.

But while Clare and Eli were moving deeper into one another’s pants, Eli was still grappling with the fact that his ass was getting kicked fairly regularly by his Nemesis, Trailer Trash Fitzy . . .

Eli and Fitz have been sparring for most of the season — with Eli using his wits to get the better of Dumb Bunny Fitz, and Fitz responding by repeatedly kneeing Poor Eli in the nuts.  In an effort to evoke a truce between the two, the usually smart Clare inexplicably agrees to go to Vegas Night as Fitz’s date.

Ummm . . . riiiiiight, because the IDEAL way to stop your boyfriend from hating his nemesis, is to DATE that nemesis. 

Understandably, Eli is pissed.  He wants Clare to put some Ipecac in Fitz’s drink to make him puke.  She refuses.  So, at Vegas Night, Eli spikes Fitz’s drink with the “puke juice” himself, and tricks Clare into getting Fitz to drink it. 

Infuriated and still smelling like vomit, Fitz goes to his locker, and gets a knife . . .

 . . . and then THIS happens . . .

. . . just kidding . . . but wouldn’t that have been AWESOME?

What actually happens is that Clare sees Fitz with the knife, and rushes to tell Principal Simpson.  THAT’S how the cops end up coming to the school, and finding Half Naked Holly J humping Sav in an abandoned classroom.  And THAT’S how Drew’s superintendent (or something) mom ended up in the boiler room, where she found Slightly Promiscuous Alli doing precisely nothing but crying, and, yet, jumped to conclusions about her sluttiness, anyway.

Meanwhile, Fitz lunged at Eli with a knife . . .

 . . . but never ended up stabbing him.  Fitz DID make Eli piss his pants though.  One bodily function deserves another, I guess.  Now, they are even!  PlusEli, my favorite character of the season, will live on to brood, smoulder, and drive around town in his cool hearse, another day . . .

Ultimately, Fitz was arrested.  Principal Simpson then told his four once-favorite students that he was mad at them, and planned to make their lives miserable . . .

To prove it to them, he grabbed Fitz’s knife, and did THIS . . .

Kidding again!  Sorry, I couldn’t help myself . . .

Well .  . . there you have it.  That was the Season Finale of Degrassi’s Boiling Point in a nutshell.  What did you think of the episode?  Did you enjoy the Boiling Point?  Do you plan to watch Degrassi next season?  Are you as much of Emo Eli fan as I am?  All good questions . . .

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Degrassi: The Next Generation

All About Adam: Degrassi’s The Boiling Point Tackles Transgender Identity

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the popular Canadian teen show, Degrassi: The Next Generation.  Specifically, I previewed its Summer 2010 soap opera-styled block of episodes, collectively entitled Degrassi: The Boiling Point. 

In the post, I poked some fun at the show’s recent run of lackluster plotlines, and expressed concern over whether the series I had once loved had forever lost its Mojo . . .

Well, this is the blog post where I eat my words . . .

Why the change of heart, you ask?  Well, it has a lot to do with THIS GUY . . .

Meet Adam Torres, a sophomore, and recent transfer to Degrassi Community School.  As far as personalities go, Adam’s got a pretty good one.  He’s smart, funny, a little bit snarky, and a loyal friend.  He’s also biologically female.

Up until this year, Adam was known to the world as Gracie Torres.  And he looked like this . . .

By the way, special kudos to the Degrassi writers for not making the character’s birth name, Eve . . .

That would have been SO uncool!

From the time Adam was a little kid, he always knew he was different.  Adam never felt truly female, thus making the person who stared back at him in the mirror each day a complete and utter stranger.  In short, Adam felt as though he was trapped in a body that was not his own. 

After much discussion and hand-wringing, Adam’s parents reluctantly agreed to let him start over at a new school, as a male.  But in order to truly live the life he wanted, without judgment or prejudice, Adam had to keep his FTM (female-to-male) transgender identity a secret, while at Degrassi.  And, for a little while, he did.  But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inopportune moments.  And Adam’s secret was no exception . . .

This week, Degrassi aired an hour-long episode, over a span of two days, entitled “My Body is a Cage.” During this hour, we watch Adam cope with the realities of living life as a transgender.  In the first part of the episode, Adam’s secret is exposed to his classmates.  The first to find out about Adam’s “origins” are his two friends, Clare and Eli.

Clare becomes suspicious that Adam is hiding “something,” when she bumps into him near the lockers, causing an entire box of tampons to explode on the floor.  

(OK.   Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED this episode.  But come on!  What high schooler carries around an entire box of tampons?  Isn’t “discretion” one of the main benefits that tampons have over pads? Can’t you just stick one or two in the front pocket of your bookbag, and have them go virtually unnoticed?  Wouldn’t you think, of all people, that someone who was trying to HIDE their female parts would be sensitive to this?)

Beware of the Telltale Tampon!

Contrivance aside, Clare handles the situation with class.  When a group of guys pass by, and ogle the tampons on the floor, taking note of Adam’s proximity to them, Clare quickly improvises.  “Silly me, always dropping my feminine hygiene products!”  She sing-songs.  (I love that she calls them “feminine hygiene products” – good ole’ Nerdy Clare!)

Later, Adam sits Clare and Eli down at lunch and reveals his secret to them, permitting them to ask him any questions they might have.  “How do you know you aren’t just a tomboy or a lesbian?”  Clare inquires.  (A good question.)

“I just know,” replies Adam.  (A highly unsatisfactory answer.  But this is an hour-long teen show, where each story only gets 1/3 of the episode’s screentime.  So, I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting here. . . )

Things don’t go nearly as well, later on in the day, when Adam unwisely makes a play for the school’s “Bad Girl,” Bianca, during a Ballroom Dancing class.

Bianca shows interest initially, placing her hand flirtatiously on Adam’s chest, as the two banter back and forth.  But that’s when the problems arise.  “What’s going on there?”  Bianca inquires.  “You’re too skinny to have man boobs.” 

 (Sorry, I’m not buying this scene either.   The actress’ boobs weren’t all that big BEFORE they were taped to her body, and covered with three layers of clothing.  I sincerely doubt this chicky would be able to detect them that easily under these circumstances . . .)

In one swift move, Bianca dramatically rips open Adam’s shirt. (Clearly, she’s got . . .  um . . . experience taking off others’ clothes.)

This is what Adam SHOULD have been wearing under his flannel.

Upon doing this, Bianca spies the “hide the boobies” gauze wrap Adam’s got around his midsection.  (Here’s where the “old sports injury” argument, might have come in handy.  Just sayin . . .). 

Bianca flips out.  “I’ve seen freaks like you on Oprah!”  She yelps, before stomping off . . .

Oh no, you didn’t, Bianca!  You  did NOT just evoke the Wrath of Oprah.  Be afraid, be very afraid . . .

Bianca’s reaction to Adam, though definitely mean-spirited and b*tchy, was, to some extent, understandable.  Unlike Clare and Eli, who were let in on Adam’s secret gently, and heard it “straight from the horse’s mouth,” Bianca was completely blindsided.  She felt attraction for Adam, and then learned he wasn’t AT ALL who she thought he was.  

Bianca must have felt betrayed, tricked, and manipulated.  Her sexuality was challenged, and she felt threatened by it.  So, she lashed out.  And if things ended right there, I would actually have some sympathy for Bianca . . .

I know, crazy right?  But, it DIDN’T end there.  Instead, Bianca told the ENTIRE school, which led to THIS highly uncomfortable to watch scene . . .

Now, while I could slightly commiserate with Bianca’s initial reaction to Adam, the above-illustrated reaction by bullies, Owen and Fitz, absolutely floored me.  After all, however you slice it, these guys joyfully beat up someone they believed to be a GIRL!  (Isn’t that against Bro Code or something?)    And yet, as awful as it was, I can certainly see something like this happening at a real high school.

Fortunately, for Adam, he isn’t without support.  And I love how his relationship with his stepbrother, Drew, is portrayed in this episode. 

Drew is the quintessential school Golden Boy, a popular “dumb jock,” in every sense of the word.  He is even friends with the bullies who beat up Adam.  And yet, Drew stands by his brother, without question.  He is even willing to fight physically with his (former?) friends to defend Adam’s honor.  (He gets his ass kicked doing it, but STILL . . .)

The second part of the episode, deals with Adam grappling with his parents’ inability to come to terms with his decision to live life as a male.  They call him by female pronouns, and force him to dress up as “Gracie,” when Grandma comes to town.  But things really come to a head, when Adam tries to deny his identity, by coming to school dressed as Gracie.  Adam soon becomes so depressed and overwhelmed as a result,  that he turns to self-mutilation, as an outlet for his emotions. 

Despite the aforementioned doom and gloom, the episode actually ends on a relatively positive note, with Adam’s parents coming to terms with the “loss of their daughter.”   They even going as far as to hold a bonfire, where all the material things that represent “Gracie” are burned.

A few unbelievable scenes, and a smidge of cheese aside, I thought this episode was pretty brilliant.  It handled the issue of transgender identity believeably, without being heavy-handed or overly  maudlin.  The actress who plays Adam, was also relatable, and sufficiently understated.  Watching the episode, I could definitely see how a lesser actress could have really “butched it up,” just to prove a point.  Fortunately, that did not happen here.

You may recognize Jordan Todosey, the actress who plays Adam Torres, as little Lizzie, from Life with Derek, a Canadian sitcom about a Brady Bunch-esque blended family with a modern twist.  (It still airs on the Disney Channel, every once in a while, in case you’re curious . . .)

She’s obviously very talented.  I suspect this is not the last we will hear about her . . .

So, there, I’ve said it.  With nearly ten years of episodes behind its belt, Degrassi still manages to surprise me, every once in a while.  O’ Canada, I will never doubt you again.

That’s the crow I just had to eat . . .

Degrassi: The Boiling Point airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on Teen Nick.  Have you been watching? 

[www.juliekushner.com]

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Filed under Degrassi: The Next Generation