In the last episode, we followed Lisa step by step through the process of nearly releasing a story that her brother Noel is a thief. This time we are essentially getting a reworked version of that same story about trust and responsibility, which is fine by me. It gives me a good excuse to skip over the many ways they try to tie these lessons together.
This is Sophie, played by Stacey Halberstadt. Her mom is played by Lydia Chaban.
As per the usual for the parents of the kids Of Degrassi Street, Sophie is going to be left unsupervised in a situation where she definitely should be. Her mom is going out of town for a wedding. Her dad is in the apartment above the store in a body cast. We only hear him once in a while when he yells down at her. This means Sophie will be left alone to run the De Grassi Grocery. There is mention of an aunt that is cooking her meals, but we never see her. All that said, if this wasn’t the case, Sophie wouldn’t have the chance to open the episode with the catchphrase of the episode which she says to her mom: “Trust me!”
I think this might be Lewis Manne again playing the cab driver picking up Sophie’s mom. If it is him, then it looks as if he has shaved his beard. It’s hard to tell for sure.
It looks like him from the back…
when you compare it to the way he looked in the last episode.
Throw in the way he appears while getting out of the cab, and it sure looks like him to me.
I’m gonna go ahead and say it is him. Especially since two people from behind the scenes make cameos later on in the episode. At this rate, Manne is becoming the Alfred Hitchcock of The Kids Of Degrassi Street.
While I’m aware that we did get a glance at a school in Irene Moves In, for me this counts as the first real appearance of a school in the Degrassi franchise. As you might have guessed from the Christmas tree in the distance, they are about to be let out for the holidays.
It’s a little difficult to make out that board, but a math contest was recently held. Whoever won got an “earphone radio”.
The camera pans down this hallway to show us the kids exiting from a room to go to their lockers. While it does so, I swear the voice coming over the PA system to tell us about the math contest is none other than Sue A’Court. You might remember her as Nurse Trish from Cookie Goes To Hospital. It would make sense since this is one of the episodes she wrote.
Sophie is the winner of the math contest. She didn’t get a single answer wrong. “Homework Causes Brain Damage”??? That’s a new one on me. Having numerous things that keep interrupting you so that it winds up taking you an inordinate amount of time to write a simple post about an episode of Degrassi, now that causes brain damage.
Chuck asks if he can see her radio, but with her ego at maximum size, she ignores Chuck at first by inviting Noel to try it on. He refuses. Then she tells Chuck that he might “wreck” it.
Apparently Noel is a fan of the Rolling Stones.
There’s a little exchange between the three of them. What’s important is that we find out Chuck’s dad is in jail and that Chuck was suspended from his hockey team for fighting. The second of which he blames on the other person.
Sophie does as the title says; she tries to mind the store. She is a very “I don’t need any help person” that her recent win at the math contest only makes worse.
Chuck is out collecting bottles to try and raise money to get one of those radios that Sophie won in order to give it to his dad.
What follows is a series of situations where Sophie could get robbed without her knowing it.
Some examples include this highly suspicious little girl.
When Chuck turns in some of his bottles for cash.
This guy who causes her to have to come out from behind the counter to fix a display he knocks over. By the way, that’s Bruce Mackey who was gay in real life. He passed away in 1997, they named a park on De Grassi St. after him, his house is where they shot the first episode of the show, and according to the The Queer Alliance Of Degrassi Next Class, he is the reason the franchise had a mandate to include LGBTQ characters and issues. This was due to a friendship with one of the show’s creators.
That would be the person below, Linda Schuyler, who comes in after Sophie has left Chuck in charge of the store–“Trust me!”–while she goes out to deliver a package to a customer.
Noel even shows up for an after-hours milk purchase.
During most of this, Chuck hangs around the store and tries to help out Sophie. He keeps asking her about coming to skate with him, but she dismisses his offers. She says she doesn’t have any skates, and despite the fact that Chuck says she can wear his sister’s skates, she still says no.
Things weren’t great between Chuck and Sophie before, but they reach a boiling point after Sophie counts the money in the register at the end of the day in order to compare the total with the day’s receipts, and comes up $20 short.
Assuming that it must be Chuck’s fault, because she couldn’t have possibly added it up wrong, she crosses the line when she tries to use Chuck’s father being in jail as proof that it must have been him that caused her to come up $20 short. Chuck’s response is to push over Sophie after saying “that nobody accuses him and gets away with it.” Chuck has anger issues.
Getting pushed into a bunch of Wonder Bread is pretty good, but it’s no Irene getting paint splattered on her while looking like she is posing for a crime scene photograph.
Chuck has a conversation with Noel about what happened. Noel’s remarkably mature about it. He doesn’t defend what she did and doesn’t give Chuck a pass for what he did. Noel agrees that it was wrong for Sophie to assume Chuck stole money from the store and for Sophie to say that Chuck must have learned how to steal from his father. But he reminds Chuck that it wasn’t his father who pushed her over. That’s something he did, and since he could have just walked away, pushing her over is something he has to take responsibility for regardless of the fact that Sophie provoked him.
He also points out the obvious that Chuck knows he didn’t do it, and since it makes no sense that Sophie would’ve taken money from her own store, one of them must have made a mistake.
Chuck tries to apologize, but Sophie won’t have any of it. It’s not till Sophie takes the money to the bank and the clerk informs her she added things together wrong that she’s open to admitting that she was wrong.
Sophie finds Chuck at an ice rink and gives Chuck her radio to give to his dad. Chuck happens to have brought his sister’s skates with him, so she agrees to skate with him.
I really appreciate that much like previous episodes, despite learning a lesson during the episode, they don’t immediately lose the part of them that caused the issue in the first place. The instant Sophie gets on the ice, she says she doesn’t need Chuck’s hand, and proceeds to fall down.
Speaking of not changing instantly, it takes till the moment in the credits below for Sophie to remind Chuck that he hasn’t actually apologized to her for pushing her over.
He does, and despite the fact that she falls down again saying that’s it’s helpless, he tells her once more over the final set of credits to trust him.
A fairly unremarkable episode, but it did have Linda Schuyler and Bruce Mackey in it. It does have a happy ending, teaches a good lesson, and I’d say the writing was solid as just about everything links together with the themes of trust and responsibility. It’s just not particularly memorable aside from the cameos.
Stacey Halberstadt passed away in 2006. To the best of my knowledge, this is her only appearance in the series. We’ll see Chuck again, though.
Next time we finally get to the episode I’ve wanted to talk about since I started writing about Degrassi–Casey Draws The Line. This time there are permanent consequences to Casey and Lisa’s actions.
As a footnote, while looking into this episode, I found out that they used to sell books to go with the show, such as the one below for Lisa Makes The Headlines.