Hello, bonjour! Welcome to Grading Degrassi, the column that exists solely so I can (re)watch and rank every episode of every season of every series of the Degrassi franchise under the pretext of productivity. It’s the millennial dream, y’all.
Here are all 16 episodes of Season 3 of Degrassi Junior High, ranked from worst to best:
(Spoilers, of course.)
“Bye-Bye, Junior High” (S03E16)
Recap: The school burns down — the title is punny, you see — at a school dance. Also, Joey (Pat Mastroianni) and Wheels (Neil Hope) find out they’ve passed their respective grades. Meanwhile, Ms. Avery (Michelle Goodeve) pressures Spike (Amanda Stepto) to redo her year via correspondence.
Reasoning: A woman weaponizing her infertility to guilt a teenage mother into continuing her education, really!?
Recap: Teens drink. There are consequences.
“Taking Off” (S03E11 & S03E12)
Recap: Wheels isn’t getting along with his grandparents (Dorothy Phillips, Rod Rekofski), so he decides to run off to find his bio dad (Dave James). That doesn’t go as smoothly as he’d like. Meanwhile, Shane (Bill Parrott) drops some acid and ends up in a coma under a bridge.
Reasoning: Stranger-danger, fine. But did we need the creepy molester (James Knapp) to look and act like a queer Mister Rogers? Also, does the drug dealer really have to be Luke (Andy Chambers), one of the few Black kids?
“A Big Girl Now” (S03E03)
Recap: Lucy (Anais Granofsky) keeps ditching her friends for Paul (Michael Blake). They break up after she doesn’t want to have sex with him.
Reasoning: Holy slut shaming, batman! L.D. (Amanda Cook) is so judgy towards Lucy when she thinks she’s been having sex. Ugh.
“Food for Thought” (S03E09)
Recap: Kathleen (Rebecca Haines-Saah) develops some disordered eating habits as a coping mechanism for all the pressures in her life. Melanie (Sara Ballingall) tries to help her, but she isn’t a therapist. Meanwhile, twins Erica (Angela Deiseach) and Heather (Maureen Deiseach) wrongly assume Alexa (Irene Courakos) and Lucy are dealing with disordered eating of their own.
Reasoning: It seems like Degrassi did a better job teaching ways to eat disorderly than how to get help if you are.
“Season’s Greetings” (S03E04)
Recap: Spike’s been withholding their daughter from Shane, but she finally brings her to school so he can hold her. Yick (Siluck Saysanasy) and Arthur (Duncan Waugh) deal with how the latter’s new-found richness affects their friendship.
Reasoning: It’s fine … I guess. The Yick and Arthur subplot concludes strangely, with Yick being miffed that Arthur didn’t spend much on his present for Yick. Plus, It’s weird to remember how it used to be so OK to pretend Christians were the only people who exist.
“Black & White” (S03E14)
Recap: Michelle (Maureen McKay) and Bryant (Dayo Ade) — I refuse to call him BLT — like each other. They decide to go to the dance together. Too bad Michelle’s parents are racists.
Reasoning: Points for trying? I guess? I get that this was 1989 (February 20, 1989, to be exact), but ooof. Not only does Bryant experience a gross amount of overt and covert racism, but the episode is also centered on Michelle, the white girl. You coulda done better, Degrassi Junior High.
Recap: One of the twins likes a boy, but he asks the wrong one out; they switch places on their date. Meanwhile, Alexa and Simon (Michael Carry) start going out again.
Reasoning: Is it just me? Is the joke that these twins aren’t actually identical? Also, it’s tough to ship these revolving doors of couples when there’s zero time spent on developing them.
“He Ain’t Heavy … “ (S03E06)
Recap: The kids’ AIDS education coincides with Snake’s (Stefan Brogren) brother, Glen (Montgomery Randal), coming home to tell his family he’s a homosexual! Dun dun dun!
Reasoning: This was only marginally better handled than Degrassi Junior High’s attempt to address racism. What was that weird classroom exercise at the top of the episode where Snake gets dealt “The AIDS Card?” Yeesh.
The line: “GLEN, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in med school!” saved this from a lower ranking.
“The Whole Truth” (S03E07)
Reasoning: This started out all right, but as an epileptic vegan, let me say that yes, the issue of animal testing is nuanced, but not the way that Degrassi is implying. But again, 1989…
“Loves Me, Loves Me Not” (S03E05)
Recap: So many crushes!
Reasoning: Honestly, this episode is this high up on the list because it’s one of the few that didn’t actively anger me.
“Making Whoopee” (S03E13)
Recap: Arthur is not a fan of his dad’s girlfriend (James Johnston, Donna Tunney), especially after he catches them in bed together.
Reasoning: Even if the episode had sucked, I’d give it a high rating for the title alone. If Arthur’s family situation were an AITA Reddit post, it’d be a hard ESH.
“Can’t Live With ‘Em” (S03E01 & S03E02)
Recap: After they all get into a fight, Wheels’s parents (Timm Zemanek, Nancy Sinclair) get into a fatal car crash.
Reasoning: I really could have done without “the appreciate your parents because they won’t be around forever” thing, but I’m kind of in awe that Degrassi actually killed off a set of parents.
“Twenty Bucks” (S03E10)
Recap: No money, mo’ problems. Snake asks Melanie out, but the problem is that they’re planning on sharing the cost. She steals the money she needs from her mom (Vanessa Dylyn). Shane, on the other hand, wants to have some fun, so he withholds child support.
Reasoning: This felt relatable, and I don’t think money issues are talked about enough on TV. Though why Melanie’s mom had USD in her purse remains a mystery…
Y’all, this season was not it. I’m disappointed. The saving grace was the weird subplot of Arthur randomly becoming rich — I kept thinking it would lead somewhere, be a red herring or something, but no. Dude just became rich because his mom won the lottery.
Final grade for Season 3 of Degrassi Junior High: C
Season 2 was undoubtedly the highlight of this particular series. Too bad they didn’t go out on a high. Oh well.
Overall series grade: B
Grading Degrassi will be back next month to start ranking Degrassi High! See you then!