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Coming of Age

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"Actually, I just got my period. For the first time. Menstruation, it happens to about, oh, 50% of the population. Perfectly normal and nothing to be ashamed about."
— Emma happily reveals what would embarrass most girls.

“Coming of Age”
Season 1, Episode 9
Emma 109
Information
Can. Airdate

December 16, 2001

U.S. Airdate

May 13, 2002

Prod. Code

109

Writer(s)

Tassie Cameron (teleplay)
Susan Nielson (story)

Director(s)

Bruce McDonald

Episode Guide
Previous

Secrets and Lies

Next

Rumours and Reputations

Coming of Age is the ninth episode of the Canadian television series, Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Main Plot

Ashley and Jimmy's relationship is in danger when Jimmy wants to spend every day at Ashley's house. Ashley tells Terri that she's feeling smothered by Jimmy. When Toby overhears this, he decides to warn Jimmy, who in return does not take the news well. On Jimmy's birthday, Ashley wanted to secretly give Jimmy another chance, while Jimmy gets the wrong signal and breaks up with Ashley and forces her out of his house. They later meet at Jimmy's locker, say a few heart felt words, and she gets back together with him.

Sub Plot

Meanwhile Emma is dealing with an issue of her own. Every now and again her emotions get all mixed up, from yelling to crying. While sitting on a bench with Manny, Emma realizes she got her first period and it soaked through her white skirt. Manny quickly gets Emma to the washroom and retrieves her a pair of over-sized, baggy gym shorts which she wears to class. At the sight of Emma constantly pulling up her over-sized shorts, J.T. makes comments and causes Emma's classmates begin to laugh until Emma bluntly points out that she received her first period which causes the commotion to cease and for Sean to feel proud of her for sticking up for herself.

Extended Overview

While walking Terri and Ashley to school, Jimmy reminds them that his birthday is coming up and him turning 14 now makes him the man. Terri asks what his mom is doing this year, and Jimmy simply then says that she's making lobster. Ashley and Terri are both aware of his parents working all the time, which leaves him at home alone often. When they arrive at Degrassi, Jimmy kisses Ashley good bye. She looks at Terri and rolls her eyes. Terri questions why she looks upset, and Ashley tells her that it's because he's eaten at her house for eight nights and it feels like he's around all the time.

Outside of the school, Ashley, Paige and Terri are taking a magazine poll to test how they feel when guys are around. Jimmy comes by with Spinner and Oskcar and sits down next to Ashley. She tells him to go play football with them as what they were doing was boring. Jimmy tells her that he would never give up a chance to hear his girlfriends inner thoughts. He then asks if they were getting together for dinner, but Ashley claims that her and Terri have planned a girls night. Jimmy says that it's cool and walks away.

Meanwhile, in media immersion, Emma is studying for her science test. Sean leans over to tell her and Manny that he found a cool website about horoscopes. Manny walks over and tells Sean to check hers. She tells him her birthplace and date, while a frustrated Emma quizzes Manny on the planets. Sean continues showing Manny the website and Emma eventually loses it. She yells at both of them and says that she can't concentrate. She gets up and pulls Manny away. After the quiz, Emma whines and says that she failed. Manny reminds her that she studied all night. Emma says that she was counting on this morning to study too, and that she wants to go to university to learn about more than just horoscopes.

Ash Jim Ter 109

Ashley starts to feel suffocated and smothered when Jimmy is hanging around her all the time.

While they are walking home, Ashley tells Terri how relieved she is that they get to have a girls night and that she doesn't have Jimmy around. However, as they walk into the driveway, Ashley spots Jimmy playing basketball with Toby. Jimmy sees her and tells them to pretend that he's not here. Ashley runs inside, frustrated and annoyed. Ashley asks if there's enough food for both Jimmy and Terri. Kate then assures her that there is, but Ashley furiously says that Jimmy is not staying for dinner. Terri leaves the room to let Ashley and her mother talk. Kate asks what was going on and Ashley tells her that he eats with them all the time and that it's too much. Her mother tells her that they don't have to invite him, but she just feels bad since he's home alone most of the time. The two boys come inside and Toby asks Kate if Jimmy can stay for dinner. Ashley hesitantly allows her mother to say yes and then angrily leaves.
Spike 109

Spike (and Emma) are sexually harassed by a man at the mall.

Meanwhile, at home, Emma is watching a soap opera on TV and crying. Spike enters the room and comforts Emma by telling her that soap operas are designed to upset people and then asks if she wants to get her mind off it by going shopping at the mall. After shopping, Emma and Spike buy ice cream and eat it while walking out. They pass by a man who says that he would like a "lick of Spike's cone". Spike turns around and tells the man off and says to not talk to women like that because it's scary and makes them feel bad. He claims that it was a joke then walks away in embarrassment. Spike then turns to Emma and tells her to never let a guy treat her like that.

After Jimmy leaves and goes home, Ashley tells Toby that he can't just invite Jimmy over for dinner every night. She says that she feels smothered and that having him around all the time is driving her crazy. Terri asks what she wants and Ashley decides that she's ready to break up with him.

At school the next day, Toby stops at Jimmy's locker, which is decorated for his birthday. Toby wishes Jimmy happy birthday upon him arriving. Jimmy then asks if Toby mastered the basketball move he had taught him. Toby asks if he ever thinks about leaving something alone and coming back to it later, similar to what Jimmy had said about accomplishing a hard basketball trick. Jimmy asks him if Ashley said something. Toby nods and says that she needs space, as she is feeling suffocated. Jimmy slams his locker and walks away.

Outside, Sean comes up to Emma and apologizes for interrupting her when she was studying and Emma also apologizes for acting mean. She then asks him to do her horoscope and Sean agrees. Emma asks if he would like to do it right now and Sean says that would be good. However, as Emma stands up, Manny pulls her back down and asks if she sat in something. Emma looks at the back of her skirt and her eyes widen when she sees a big spot of blood underneath. She asks Manny what to do and Manny says that she doesn't know, as this hasn't happened to her yet. Sean asks if Emma's coming and she says that she doesn't have time. Manny quickly grabs her book and puts it over Emma's butt to cover the spot.

Elsewhere, Ashley tells Terri that she can't break up with him on his birthday. Jimmy comes by and tells Ashley that she doesn't have to come to his house tonight. Ashley tells him that it's his birthday and she will definitely come over. Jimmy asks if she really wants to and Ashley assures him that she does. Ashley finds Toby and tells her that she won't be home for dinner since she is eating at Jimmy's. Toby angrily says that there is no point in going if she's just going to dump him anyway. Annoyed, Ashley walks away and groans.

Meanwhile, Emma and Manny are heading to the washrooms. Manny tells Emma that the reason she was so moody during the science test was because of PMS. Emma panics and says that they have an oral book report to do and that she can't do it with the stain on her skirt. Manny asks if she has a spare pair of gym shorts or a jacket. Emma says that she doesn't have a jacket, as it is like summer outside and she took her gym shorts home to wash. Manny leaves the washroom to figure out something. While Emma tries to clean up her skirt, Paige walks in and notices the stain on it. She quickly teases Emma for a moment and says that her friend came to visit. Emma tells her that this is her first time and it has never happened to her before. The two girls then enter different stalls and Paige offers her a pad. Emma hesitantly takes it and says that she is so not ready to grow up, as she enjoys being a kid. Paige says that she can still be a kid at heart, while slowly changing. Paige then exits the stall and leaves the washrooms. Manny quickly runs in carrying tissues, spare clothes and baby wipes and helps Emma clean up and change into new clothes.

Emma Manny 109

Emma has her period for the first time and stains her skirt, thus forcing her to change into a pair of oversized gym shorts, before making a presentation in front of the class.

Emma and Manny end up being late for their book report presentation and explain that they had a little emergency. Ms. Kwan tells them to present their project now. Toby and J.T. laugh as they notice that Emma is wearing oversized gym shorts. As Emma is explaining the book, J.T. continuously makes jokes about her awkward clothing. Ms. Kwan tells him and the others to stop, but J.T. makes one more comment and asks if Emma peed her pants. She answers proudly that she just had her period for the first time and says that it's prefectly natural and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Toby, J.T. and the rest class suddenly go quiet and Emma continues her presentation. J.T. and Toby are shocked while Sean is watching from the back and seems to be proud of Emma for standing up for herself.

Meanwhile, Jimmy and Ashley arrive at his house with no one home. Jimmy checks the messages on the phone, only to hear that his mom and dad are working late and won't be home for his birthday. Sad and disappointed he tells Ashley that he's just going to order in pizza. She tells him that they can have dinner at her house. Jimmy sadly says that they should just break up now and get it over with. Ashley is surprised and asks why he would say that. He reveals that Toby told him that she was feeling suffocated and smothered. Ashley tries to explain to him that she's not going to break up with him on his birthday and Jimmy takes it as a way to stall before she dumps him. He angrily says it's over and tells her to leave. Ashley leaves crying and Jimmy orders his pizza dinner for himself.

The next day, Emma holds a petition to put tampon dispensors in the girls washroom. She is overjoyed when Sean signs it and tells her how impressed he was after her announcement to the class. Meanwhile, Ashley approaches Jimmy at his locker and asks if he's okay after yesterday. Jimmy tells her that they don't need to have a talk. Ashley says sorry and tells him that she overreacted and Jimmy apologizes for being clingy. They hug and Jimmy tells Ashley that he loves her.


  • The title of this episode is named after the song "Coming of Age" by Jay–Z and Damn Yankees.
  • As of this episode, Emma, Manny, Toby and J.T. are the only four characters to appear in every episode.
  • Although Spinner makes an appearance in this episode, he has no dialogue.
  • This episode marks the first time that Oscar is credited, despite the fact that he made background appearances in episodes prior.
  • The character featured in the final freeze frame for this episode is Ashley (third time).
  • There is no soundtrack or music featured in this episode.
  • Manny reveals that she was born August 15, 1989 in Manila, Phillipines.
  • In the bathroom stall that Emma was in, there is a doodle that said "I love J.T."
  • It is hinted that the show that Emma was watching at her house was an allusion to either the soap opera The Young and the Restless or As the World Turns.
  • In this episode, Emma claims that there is no tampon or pad dispenser in the washroom and then organizes a petition to have one installed. However, in the episode, "Mother and Child Reunion" a dispenser can be seen on the wall behind Caitlin when she and Joey are talking in the washroom.

  • Ashley: "He's totally everywhere all the time. You know, at this point I'm just about ready to break up with him."
    (Toby drops a plate on the floor in surprise).
    Terri: "You don't mean that."
    Ashley: "No, I'm serious."
  • Manny: "Emma? Did you sit in something?"
    Emma: "No. Why?"
    Manny: "Look."
    (Emma looks under her skirt, gasps)
  • Manny: "We should celebrate."
    Emma: "Celebrate what, exactly?"
    Manny: "Becoming a woman... Em, you can get pregnant now."
    Emma: "Oh great. Can we celebrate by finding me a washroom?"
  • Paige: "I've got a pad, if you need one. You could get one from the office but that would be kind of a drag."
    Emma: "Ew! Just imagine, 'Mr. Raditch, may I have a maxi pad?'"
  • Paige: "Hey, you can get boobs now."
    Emma: (scoffs) "Like I want boobs."
  • J.T.: Yo, yo! Puff Emma's in the house!
    Paige: "You will. They're actually really great."
  • J.T: (baby voice) "Aw, did Emmy pee her pants?"
    Emma: "No, I just got my period, for the first time." (J.T. and Toby's eyes widen in surprise, Sean's jaw drops.) "You know, menstruation? Something that happens to about fifty-percent of the population. Perfectly normal, nothing to be ashamed of, right Ms. Kwan?"
    Ms. Kwan: "Absolutely right, Emma."


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