Now I don’t remember watching this one when The N was airing the show. Maybe it was too controversial because it has to do with hate crimes against Muslims, plus 9/11 had barely happened 2 years before I think. So maybe they thought it was too much to take for American audiences. Way to puss out The N!
Pre-credit opener: Hazel and Terri are at their lockers discussing what dish they should bring for international day. Terri thinks she should bring some Haggis. Hazel clearly disgusted points out that it’s just full of sheep guts. Paige comes along and gives Hazel a ticket for being a fashion victim. Just then this girl named Fareeza comes along and we can tell right away that she’s a Muslim because of the head scarf she has on. Terri wonders out loud, “Do you think they’re bald under there?” Ashley get’s all offended and points out to Terri what a shitty thing that was to say. But oh it’s get’s worse. Hazel stops her and says that she’s under arrest for “terrorist chic.” Fareeza all pissed off rolls it up to a ball and throws it away. Not only is she a terrorist, she’s a litter bug! I’m just kidding with that, so don’t be sending me angry comments. But even Paige being a major bitch is shocked at what Hazel just did. Yup, it’s going to be a special episode of Degrassi. Even though most of them are, or at least the writers think they are.
In the MI room Snake comes along and takes away Spinner and Jimmy’s hacky sack away from them. Why? Because he’s a dick still. He reminds everyone about how it’s going to be international day and Spinner tells him that he doesn’t have a culture. Snake says that it’s bullshit and that everyone has something ethnic about them. It’s obvious that Hazel has a real issue with International day and doesn’t want to participate. Paige wonders why she hasn’t even bothered starting yet, let alone being invited to her house.
Oh lord we come to the B plot and I knew it was going to involve Toby or JT. Luckily for all of us we get stuck with JT in this episode. Liberty comes along and she fucking sucks at sewing things together. JT meanwhile seems to be a professional seamstress. No way did he do that, it looks store bought. Toby and Sean come in the class and Sean complains about how much the class sucks because it’s for girls. Then why did you sign up for it then, cause I’m assuming it’s an elective. Anyways Liberty points out how good JT’s project is and Sean calls him “Gay T.” I admit, I laughed my ass off at that. Good one Sean. We then get the old sitcom device of a misunderstanding. JT takes Liberty’s project and calls it his own. The teacher now thinks that Liberty is a seamstress genius.
In the hallway Spinner is telling Drake how he asked his mom where his family came from and she pointed to a globe and said he was from Earth. I can totally relate to that. My dad would be just as helpful about his family line because he doesn’t give a shit. Glad I never had to do such a project in school because I’d be so boned. Paige is telling Hazel all about her Ukrainian outfit that she has planned but Hazel is dead set about international day. It doesn’t take a genius to already know that she’s ashamed of where she’s from. It’s hilarious how Paige just assumes that Hazel is from Jamaica. To make the point we get this lame Jamaican music cue as the scene changes.
Outside Liberty is begging JT for some help because she has to make a skirt now. JT says that he doesn’t care about her problem and neither do I. Of course she black mails him and now he’s stuck having to do her project.
Ok, stop it Degrassi, we get another Jamaican cue and Hazel is going to a Jamaican restaurant to get some jerk chicken to show her class the real Jamaica. As the guy is giving her the chicken for her project he points out to her that she’s not Jamaican. This guy is way too fucking nice. He gives her a discount on a large order of chicken and gives her a poster of Jamaica.
Finally it’s International day and Spinner is dressed like a cowboy for some reason. He gives Snake a pizza with Polish, Italian and Russian sausage. Snake wants to immediately throw up though because dumbass barely cooked it. So it’s safe to assume that Snake is now dying of Salmonella poisoning. Mr Raditch meanwhile is fighting against getting a boner and trying not to look at Paige’s body because of her slutty version of her Ukrainian costume. Hazel get’s some high marks for her chicken and Snake points out that it’s just as good as the Jamaican place he lives near by. Yeah, of course he just happens to live near the place.
It’s lunch time and Fareeza decides to confront Hazel. The way she looks and talks, I thought it was Lani Billard who played Busy in Ready or Not. But Busy is around my age and she would have been too old for this already. Anyways, Fareeza points out to Hazel how her last name sounds like it’s more from Somalia, she even points out how she even looks Somalian. Hazel tells her to fuck off and to mind her own goddamn business before Jamaica nukes Iraq. Oh God, JT and Liberty are working on the project and JT is showing her his magic. He goes on to say that his mom is a seamstress and that’s where he got his mad skills. I’m convinced that he is gay now.
As the students are walking in to the gym again they’re all in shock to see that someone defaced Fareeza’s project on Iraq. Even writing Terrorist across her damn board. Did 9/11 really create this kind of hatred in Canada too? How interesting.
Back in the MI class Fareeza is in tears talking to the police and Mr Raditch. Snake is outraged at this heinous act and says that a hate crime was committed. He says that for now International day and all classes are on hold. Me being an asshole I would be all too happy to hear this news. Terri blurts out that none of them did it and that none of them are like that. That’s when Ashley decides to be a shit head and calls her out on what she said about Muslims earlier. Fuck off Ashley. I hate shit starters like her. Spinner goes on to point out how people are scared and what does she expect. Jimmy tells everyone about a neighbor who has had his bank account frozen a few times because his name just happens to be Osama. Ah the times when people were really paranoid of Muslims and terrorist attacks. Actually that shit has gotten worse, especially here.
Here we get a montage of different class rooms talking about what happened. Toby just says, “Come on Sean, it’s hate!” I rolled my eyes so hard I now need surgery. Then he goes on to mention the Holocaust and if he was around at the time he and Gilbert Gottfried would have been the first one’s thrown into an oven. Kendra goes on to point out that she’s Asian and her family are white people. So she’s proof that different races can get along. Spinner saying what people really think says that he doesn’t want to be blown out of the sky from some terrorist. Ashley just can’t help being all judgmental towards everyone who disagrees with her. Can you all sense that Degrassi wanted to start a dialog with kids back in the day? It’s so damn preachy though.
Uh oh, Hazel seems to be in deep shit because Raditch has now called her up to his office. Turns out that Hazel is the prime suspect because of how shitty she treated Fareeza the whole episode. Hazel goes on to say that she can’t stand Fareeza because she’s a shit head. But that she would never do something like that to her display. Raditch get’s a call and then tells them that they caught who did it. Turns out it was two guys in grade 10. If I was Hazel I would demand a fucking apology from Raditch for being quick to lay blame. Instead he lectures her some more and tells her that her harassment was still a fucked up thing to do. So Hazel still loses in this.
In the Home Ec class Liberty admits to everyone that JT is the real genius and everyone is surprised to learn that JT isn’t completely retarded. Of course Sean and Toby make fun of him until JT get’s surrounded by all the Degrassi women who want to pay him to make them custom pants. He’s charging up the ass for them, so it seems like JT has the last laugh here. Especially since that little horn dog get’s to measure their bodies.
So here we come to the heart to heart scene of the episode. It turns out that Fareeza was completely spot on about everything Hazel. Turns out that she is a skinny and at her last school Hazel was hella harassed for being a Muslim and her head scarf. Fareeza not even having one trace of compassion for her doesn’t give a shit about what happened or for her tears.
In Snake’s class Hazel gives everyone a presentation and admits that she’s from Somalia and they came to Canada because of the civil war there. Terri not even waiting for her to finish talking interrupts and asks her why she doesn’t wear the head scarf thing. Hazel says what it is and that it’s a choice if she wants to wear it or not. Funny, I always assumed that it wasn’t a choice. But Degrassi says so, so it must be true. The episode ends with Hazel telling everyone like in X-Men First class, “Muslim and proud.”
For this being Hazel’s one and only episode, I think it was a good one. We finally got to see what makes a minor character tick. But this episode was so goddamn preachy too. The lesson is kids, be tolerant. Funny how it was never mentioned again that she was a Muslim. Degrassi sure ran away from that issue real fast.