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Film / Degrassi: School's Out!

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"They've graduated. Now the real education begins."
Degrassi: School's Out! (or simply School's Out!) is the 1992 Series Finale movie to Degrassi High.

It's the end of the semester for many of the Degrassi students, who have graduated are preparing for everything from college to marriage. Joey (Pat Mastroianni) and Caitlin (Stacie Mistysyn) continue their relationship as they prepare to go off to school. While she is working hard at her job to save money and mulling over taking their relationship to the next level, he decides to carry on with Tessa Campanelli (Kirsten Bourne), who is willing to give him what he wants, to eventual dire consequences. Meanwhile, as Snake (Stefan Brogren) attempts to find some good fortune during this time in spite of his string of bad luck, Wheels (Neil Hope) develops an alcohol addiction that has fatal consequences.

The film was Darker and Edgier than the TV series that preceded it, with Downer Endings for nearly everyone, fanservice in regards to Tessa, swearing, Wheels getting incarcerated, and Joey Jeremiah becoming a jerkass. Other prominent characters of the show also appear but in diminished roles (such as Spike and Yick; some characters such as Dwayne and Melanie don't even appear at all. The movie was followed by Degrassi Talks before the franchise went on a nine-year hiatus.

Followed by Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Degrassi: School's Out! has the following examples:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Much of the film centers around Tessa, a character who had (up to this point) only made minor appearances from Season 3 of Junior High onwards, via her growing relationship with Joey.
  • The Alleged Car: Played with. As is the Running Gag in this franchise, Wheels buys a junker early on in the film, and spends weeks unsuccessfully trying to get it working, until it finally kicks in and starts working normally towards the end of the film. However, the fateful crash that Wheels and Lucy are involved in is not caused due to the car malfunctioning, but due to Wheels having been inebriated.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Whether or not Tessa went through with the abortion, as pointed out by Pat Mastroianni (Joey) himself during a 2017 interview. The last time Tessa's seen, she's shown sitting in a clinic waiting for her appointment to get an abortion, but the look on her face makes it clear that she's conflicted over the situation, and she's not seen in the franchise again after this.
  • Ascended Extra: After spending the entirety of the preceding two series as a minor character, Tessa finally comes into focus when she finally gets her own A-plot... in a Darker and Edgier film adaptation.
  • Babies Ever After: Alexa openly tells people about how she's looking forward to having kids with Simon, who's been more-or-less rushed into the marriage. As Next Generation reveals, they are having their third child by the time the 10-year reunion party takes place.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: On the rebound, Tessa begins dressing more provocatively and all but lets Joey get "a home run" the first time they get intimate, finally putting out the moment she has a chance to get him alone when her parents are out of town.
  • Book Ends: The film begins and ends with a giant party — the first is an end-of-semester/graduation party, while the end has many of the characters reunite for Alexa and Simon's wedding.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: By the end of the movie, the Power Trio of Joey, Snake and Wheels, which had been in place since Degrassi Junior High, is utterly shattered. It isn't until well over a decade later that it finally starts to mend.
  • Break the Haughty: Joey spends most of the film riding high, due to stringing along Caitlin while carrying on an affair with Tessa behind her back. This comes back to bite him hard when he loses both of them — the former, due to him making her pregnant and forcing her to get an abortion in secret, and the latter after she'd initially pledged to scuttle her plans to go to a distant university to be with him instead.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
    • Joey tries to pawn off Tessa towards the end of the summer by deliberately avoiding her calls... only to get called out by his own mother for not manning up and taking control of the situation, and forcing him to confront things head-on.
    • Wheels' decision to slowly start developing an alcohol dependency problem comes to a head during the last long weekend of the summer, when he goes on a bender during a trip to a summer home and offers to drive Lucy to a nearby store (while drunk). The resulting experience leads to the Death of a Child, Lucy being critically injured and Wheels going to prison for several years as a result.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Tessa spent most of Degrassi High pining for Joey, who never notices her interest due to being with Caitlin. In this film, after Tessa breaks up with her current boyfriend, she finally acts on her feelings for Joey, who (having more-or-less parted with Caitlin) decides to date her over the summer.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Early on, Snake gets a job as a lifeguard, ostensibly to meet, rescue and fall in love with a girl who is drowning in the local swimming pool. The entire summer goes by and Snake functionally gives up hope, chalking it up to being a silly dream. After he unintentionally spills the beans to Caitlin about Joey's affair and goes outside to contemplate what happened, he is pressed into action when Allison (another student) becomes intoxicated and starts drowning, leading him to step up and save her.
  • Darker and Edgier: None of the television series that came before it were exactly lighthearted fluff to begin with, but the film was considerably more serious, with very small amounts of humor.
  • Demoted to Extra: Several characters, including Yip, Heather and (notably) Spike, who's only apparent purpose is to work in a photolab and intermittently dispense advice to Tessa.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: All of Joey's plans are ruined — his attempt at a fling with Tessa over the summer ends when she realizes she's pregnant (and doesn't tell him), then breaks up with him while telling him to never talk to her again. Conversely, Caitlin discovers Joey's affair and dumps him. While they are shown to dance at Alexa and Simon's wedding "as friends", it's clear that they are highly unlikely to ever rekindle their relationship.
  • Downer Ending: The film has this for nearly everyone: Joey and Caitlin break up after he's forced to admit to cheating on her with Tessa. Tessa herself gets pregnant, has an abortion and while she keeps this from him, tells him how she hates him and ruined her life. Wheels drives drunk and both kills a child and critically injures Lucy, who ends up blinded and unable to walk and unable to honor her scholarship to college. Snake ends up finding a girl (who he saves from drowning), but now has a strained relationship with Joey and cuts off ties with Wheels.
  • Drunk Driver: Wheels, which is ironic considering his parents were killed by one.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Snake, aside from being the Only Sane Man among his friendships with Joey and Wheels, is so angry over both of his friends actions and otherwise crappy treatment of him and others, that he rats out the former and severs ties with the latter.
  • Food Fight: During a date at her house, Tessa and Joey resort to this when her cooking is ruined and he starts teasing her.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: Well, they're all in Canada, but Wheels seemingly has a real one: "Karen", who took his virginity and who he's moving to Alberta to be with after the summer. What happens to her after he goes to prison is never explained.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Averted with Tessa, who soon aborts her pregnancy by Joey and never tells him about it.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Joey and Tessa due to their actions: the latter ends up pregnant by him, aborts it and now had her life ruined while the former loses his girlfriend once she learns of his cheating and without his two best friends, one of whom is in jail and the other is likely to end their friendship.
  • Literal Genie: The entire film revolves around characters getting their desires filled in the most roundabout (and often mean-spirited) way possible.
    • Joey wanted to get laid. He is able to bed both Tessa and Caitlin, buts ends up with neither of them by the end of the summer.
    • Wheels didn't want to live with his grandparents. He winds up echoing his parents' fate, and winds up in prison for several years.
    • Caitlin wanted to choose between university and love. Joey made the choice very easy for her.
    • Snake wanted a lifesaving fantasy. When he gets it, it doesn't help him feel any better. Despite getting into a relationship with the girl he saves, it's ambiguous whether he's actually happy about the whole situation.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Tessa and her friend are the only ones who know about her pregnancy and subsequent abortion. As far as we know, Joey never learned of this, even during his time on The Next Generation.
  • Never My Fault: Wheels has already been pulling this off by blaming everything he's done on his parents being killed by a drunk driver. In a case of bitter irony, he ends up being one himself and injures Lucy and kills a small boy. Unfortunately, as he's being visited by Joey, he still refuses to take responsibility for his actions, saying "It's not my fault that that kid wasn't wearing a seatbelt, or that Lucy wanted chips!" This disgusts Snake so much that he breaks off his friendship with him.
  • No-Respect Guy: Snake gets this for the majority of the film, being treated horribly by Joey and being portrayed as a hapless, loveless loser who can't do anything right. It makes no sense, considering he had multiple girls interested in him all through junior high and high school, and was respected by everyone. Thankfully, it appears this attitude is dropped by the end of the film, as people thank him after he saves Allison from the lake.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: By the end of the film, nearly everyone's lives have changed primarily for the worse. The only characters shown to "escape" the film unscathed are minor characters who don't have any impact on the film's plot (Spike, Yick, Erica and Heather).
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Lucy and Bronco. The last reel of the film partially revolves around Bronco having to come to terms with the fact that his long-term girlfriend is now critically injured, with no clear timeline for recovery.
  • Oh, Crap!: Snake has this reaction upon realizing that Lucy has gotten a ride with Wheels to buy more snacks even as he was liberally drinking. Sure enough, the next scene is of him under arrest for severely injuring her and killing a three-year-old boy.
  • Plot Hole: At the end, Spike tells Caitlin she is already at university. In The Next Generation, she tells Manny that everyone else went to university while she stayed home due to her motherly obligations. Some fans have handwaved this by bringing up the fact that some people really do just attempt university briefly before dropping out, but it's implied in Next Generation that she never went at all.
  • P.O.V. Cam: As is par for the franchise, the opening party sequence has several clips shown through the perspective of a camcorder filming students for post-graduation interviews.
  • Precision F-Strike: The most iconic part of the movie and of the original Degrassi era as a whole, and it happens twice. Snake has one when he blurts out about how Joey, who was mocking him about his lackluster love life, had spent his whole summer "dating Caitlin and fucking Tessa". Caitlin in turn does this as well when she confronts Joey about it.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Snake does this to Joey in front of Caitlin due to his relentless bullying of him over his "sad" love life by calling out what a "stud" he is to string along two different girls.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The movie primarily focuses on Joey, Caitlin, Snake, and Wheels, and pushes aside other popular and known characters like Spike to the sidelines. Not every fan was pleased with this.
  • Smoky Voice: For some non-smoking related reason, Spike has one during her scenes working as a film processor. This is never explained and magically goes away by the end.explanation 
  • Tempting Fate: Joey spends nearly the entire film mocking Snake for his inability to both find a girlfriend and get laid, to the extent that he verbally bullies him throughout the entire summer. This comes back to bite Joey hard when his repeated teasing leads Snake to snap and rail at him for carrying on a relationship with two women at the same time... right as Caitlin walks into the room to hear it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Compared to his characterization in Junior High and High, Joey gets this in spades. He spends the entirety of the summer mocking Snake for not getting laid, carries on an affair behind Caitlin's back (while still letting her think they're going to lose their virginity together), and clumsily tries to deny the whole matter when he gets caught by Caitlin.
  • Wedding Finale: The film ends with several characters attending the wedding of Simon and Alexa. Ten years later at their class reunion, they are still Happily Married and expecting their third child.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last time Tessa is seen, she's shown entering a clinic and waiting for her appointment to have an abortion. She is never seen in the franchise again, even when the Class Reunion occurs in Next Generation (though Caitlin does reference her several times after the fact).
  • Wild Teen Party: The film opens with an end-of-school-year party, which is full of the kind of raucousness one expects from the Degrassi franchise.