“Mother and Child Reunion (1)”
Season One, Episode One
October 14, 2001
July 1, 2002
Aaron Martin (story)
Yan Moore (teleplay)
Mother and Child Reunion (1) is the first half to the two-part series premiere episode of the Canadian teen drama television series, Degrassi: The Next Generation. It originally aired on October 14, 2001 on the CTV Television Network and on July 1, 2002 on The N. The episode was written by story editors Aaron Martin and Yan Moore, and directed by Bruce McDonald. Much like the majority of Degrassi: The Next Generation episodes, Mother and Child Reunion is named after a pop song, sharing its title with the song by Paul Simon.
Spike's daughter, Emma (portrayed by Miriam McDonald), is told by her online boyfriend, Jordan, that he is coming to Toronto for a school field trip. He asks her if she would like to meet him for the first time. Her friends J.T. Yorke (Ryan Cooley) and Toby Isaacs (Jake Goldsbie) warn her of the potential dangers of meeting somebody she knows only on the Internet, also pointing out that schools do not take field trips in the middle of summer. However, Emma is undeterred, convinced that Jordan is just a normal boy with whom she shares the same interests.
Snake Simpson (Stefan Brogren), a former student of Degrassi High and now teacher at Degrassi Community School, has arranged a mixed reunion for the classes of 1991 and 1992. Spike Nelson (Amanda Stepto), Caitlin Ryan (Stacie Mistysyn), and Lucy Fernandez (Anais Granofsky), who also attended Degrassi High, plan on attending and try to persuade Joey Jeremiah (Pat Mastroianni) to join them. Joey, however, is reluctant as he is still dealing with his grief over the recent death of his wife. Along with Caitlin's fiancée, Keith (Don McKellar), the five friends go out to a bar for the night, reminiscing about the past and discussing their present lives.
It is revealed that Caitlin Ryan is now famous and on the cover of a magazine, and Christine (Spike) Nelson has now grown up and is sporting straight, black hair which long replaced her spiky blonde style. The series premiere commences in Emma Nelson's room where she and her best friend Manny are reading a thank you e-mail from Emma's internet pen pal, Jordan. Spike reminds Emma and Manny that they need to leave, as they are late, and J.T. has been waiting for them. They're rushed out to Ms. Nelson's 10 Year Degrassi Reunion before Emma gets to read a new e-mail message sent to her.
Upon arriving at their new school, Emma, Manny, and J.T. are asked to drop off a series of boxes by Spike, as the school will be opening in a few days. J.T. is overburdened with boxes, but Emma and Manny hardly realize that he is straining, as they are too busy talking about Jordan and his environmental efforts. It's discovered that Jordan has received over 6,000 names for his petition, initially suggested by Emma, to "keep the polar wildlife refuge untouched". J.T. eventually, falls from the weight and upon opening one of the boxes on impact, Emma, Manny, and J.T. see a picture of Joey's old band, Zit Remedy, with his flamboyant and retro haircut.
The bald, modern day Joey is now seen as a car salesman trying to sell a Volkswagen Beetle to his old-time friend, Lucy Fernandez. She's skeptical of the car's performance and practicality, due to its size, and states that she needs to move to New Mexico in a more adequate vehicle. Joey eventually convinces Lucy to try it out during the trip to the Degrassi Community School for their school reunion. Angela, Joey's daughter, comes out reminding Lucy that Joey was unconfirmed for the reunion and that it has been a year since Joey's wife, Julia, passed away. Lucy believes that Julia would be upset if she thought that Joey was cutting himself off from people while Joey responds by quickly changing the subject.Back at the empty school, Emma, Manny, and J.T. eventually find an older, more mature Snake (now a teacher at Degrassi) to give the boxes to. Snake reacquaints himself with Emma, and starts to reminisce about some of his high school life by taking Joey's fedora from J.T. Relieved that they had finally dropped off the boxes, the three start to wander the school.
They soon discover the new media immersion computer lab, but much to the ridicule of J.T. and Manny, Emma wished to check Jordan's new e-mail on the computer and is about to enter the lab when they see Mr. Raditch, who is now the principal of Degrassi, giving a tour to Toby Isaacs and his father. Excited to see his friend from camp, J.T. introduces Toby to Emma and Manny while Mr. Raditch carries on his tour with Toby's father. Emma and Manny enter the computer lab while Toby and J.T. stand guard. Emma checks her e-mails and to her surprise, she realizes that Jordan will be coming to Toronto and wants to meet Emma the next day. Emma is excited and thinks about agreeing to his offer, while Manny worries about her decisions.
Outside in the streets of Toronto, inside a limo, an older and now famous Caitlin Ryan is talking on her cell phone with her new fiancé, Keith. She's dropped off at Degrassi and after she and Snake refamiliarize themselves, Joey and Lucy also make it to the school. When Caitlin spots Joey, the moment lingers while the two old friends stare at each other and seeing how much they've changed over the past ten years.
Meanwhile, Emma, Manny, Toby and J.T. are in the playground, contemplating Emma's dilemma in either meeting Jordan or not. J.T. teases Jordan saying that he may be a creep living in Scarborough, and working at a video store while Toby warns Emma about the dangers of meeting someone unknown from the Internet. Emma responds by citing that Jordan is not an unknown person, and that she has known him longer than she has known Toby. Manny explains that Jordan is arriving as part of a class trip and J.T. remarks that it's the summer. Emma defends Jordan by saying that the trip was booked back in the Spring, but he only got to go at the last minute and that J.T. was "making the situation into something it wasn't nor did it have to be".
Emma arrives home to find her mother with Caitlin looking at the Degrassi reunion website and after revealing that she's quite a fan of Caitlin Ryan's work, they quickly become friends. Later, Emma and Manny recheck all the e-mails and find that there were no mentions of a video store or missing teeth when Manny speculates that J.T. was simply just worried about Emma, which Emma quickly rebuts saying that, "J.T. is just immature". She praises that she's never met a guy so smart and mature for her age. Manny also points out that Emma's never had a real boyfriend before.
Meanwhile, at a bar, Spike, Joey, Lucy, and Snake finally meet Caitlin's fiancé, Keith. He's a big time movie producer who critiques one of Joey's car ads which just aired, saying that Joey should avoid the shifty car salesman vibe. The ad, which featured Joey ripping his shirt off for advertisement purposes, makes Caitlin remark that he was a total ham during high school and despite everything he's been through, he's still the same old Joey. Joey remarks by saying "he actually has changed". Upset about what everyone said, Joey promptly gets up and seats himself alone at the bar. Snake walks over and confronts him regarding Joey's life decisions and after a discussion, Joey's left to reconsider his choice to "cut himself off from the world" and perhaps go to the reunion.Spike, Lucy, and Caitlin then arrive back at at the Nelson's house and Emma comes downstairs. She privately talks to Caitlin for advice and asks if she thinks that she should keep seeing Jordan, even though her friends think it isn't safe. Caitlin, not knowing that Emma had met Jordan on the Internet, tells her that sometimes "you just have to take a chance and go for it". Emma thinks about it and decides to meet Jordan despite the warning of her friends. While the three women reminisce in the living room downstairs, Emma e-mails Jordan back saying that she wants to come to Toronto and meet him.
- This episode shares its title with the 1972 song, Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon.
- Although this is the series premiere episode in Canada, it is aired as the season one finale in the US. However, it's currently being aired as the season premiere when shown in rerun on TeenNick.
- This is the only two-part episode of season 1.
- This is the season one episode that features the most absences.
- The character featured in the final freeze frame for this episode was Emma, appearing for the first time.
- The scene, in the beginning of the episode, where Emma is listening to Manny reading Jordan's e-mails is one of the clips used in Miriam McDonald's video montage in the season 6-7 opening credits.
- The pajamas that Emma was wearing in the scene where she asks Caitlin for relationship advice, looks very similar to the ones that Manny wore at the end of the season 5 episode, Weddings, Parties, Anything.
- Although it is never confirmed on-screen or during the episodes closing credits, Internet Movie Database (IMDb) claims that Keith's last name is Barra.
- Joey's fedora goes around and is taken possession by various people in the episode
- Manny finds it at Emma's house as she is seen wearing it when the episode starts.
- Spike then takes it back to bring it to the reunion.
- Spike then places it on J.T.'s head for him to carry upon arriving at Degrassi.
- Snake takes the hat from J.T. and wears it for himself, reminiscing about Joey wearing it.
- Snake shows it to Caitlin and she puts it on.
- When Joey arrives Caitlin takes it off and gives it back to Snake.
- It is eventually placed down on the table at the bar.
- Spike is seen wearing it when she comes back home with Caitlin and Lucy.
- Lucy takes it off to fan herself and then puts it on. She then takes it off and puts it on the couch.
- Finally, in the next episode, Emma seems to have found it and is now wearing it.
- Ironically, Joey, the owner of the hat, is never seen wearing it.
- Emma Nelson was born the end of the school year dance in June 1988 in the original series, Degrassi Junior High. This episode is said to be taking place at the end of the summer in 2001 and therefore, Emma should be 13 by now. However, she claims to be only 12 and starting grade 7.
- The writers seem to have changed Emma's age entirely, making it the same as her best friend, Manny Santos, who claims (in a later episode) that she was born in 1989. This date alteration would make Emma's age make sense in this episode.
- In the beginning of the episode, Christine Nelson (Spike) looks at a photo of her with Emma as a child, proving the continuing storyline of the two reprising characters from the original Degrassi series.
- When Emma shows Spike the Degrassi Reunion website, several Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High characters are shown in the online photos. Spike is later seen looking at a reunion website with Caitlin Ryan.
- When Emma, Manny and J.T. are carrying boxes into Degrassi for the reunion, Emma notices a photo in one of the boxes of Archie Simpson (Snake), Joey Jeremiah and Derek Wheeler (Wheels) as The Zit Remedy, which was a band the three had created in Degrassi Junior High. Emma made a comment by saying, "people in the 80's were weird", noticing the old style clothing and hair.
- When J.T. walks down the hallway at Degrassi with Joey's fedora on his head, Snake says "I can see fedora's are making a comeback", in reference to the fact the Joey always wore a hat, and usually a fedora in Degrassi Junior High and Degrasi High.
- Caitlin arrived at Degrassi with a headband as a item to represent one of her best memories from when she was in high school there. When Snake laughed upon seeing it, Caitlin claimed that it was a phase she went through and that he should remember as it was the 80's.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Manny Santos, J.T. Yorke and Toby Isaacs.
- Although Emma Nelson has already made several appearances in the original Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High series, this episode marks the first time she is being played by Miriam McDonald.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Angela Jeremiah, who is introduced as Joey Jeremiah's four year old daughter, in a recurring role. This suggests that Joey met another love interest during the ten year series hiatus. He confirms this to be true when he mourns about the recent death of his wife, Julia Jeremiah.
- This episode also marks the first appearance of Jeff Isaacs, who is introduced in a recurring role as the father of Toby Isaacs, who plays a central main character.
- In the beginning of this episode, Emma leaves her computer on and her e-mail inbox opened with Jordan's previous messages showing. However, later that day, Spike goes on the computer with Caitlin to look at the Degrassi reunion website and they somehow don't see the message box or e-mails from Jordan. Although, they may have just simply closed it without taking the time to look at anything.
- As previously mentioned, the writers seemed to have made a retcon in Emma Nelson's age as she is only 12 years old in this episode. Unless this is a continuity error, she should really be 13 at this point, having been born in June 1988 and this episode taking place in August 2001 (according to the Degrassi timeline).
Regular Cast (Ordered alphabetically)
- Stefan Brogren as Archie Simpson
- Ryan Cooley as J.T. Yorke
- Jake Goldsbie as Toby Isaacs
- Miriam McDonald as Emma Nelson
- Cassie Steele as Manny Santos
- Dan Woods as Principal Raditch
- Anais Granofsky as Lucy Fernandez
- Pat Mastroianni as Joey Jeremiah
- Stacie Mistysyn as Caitlin Ryan
- Amanda Stepto as Christine Nelson
- Emma: "Read it again, Manny." (Emma Nelson's first line)
Manny: "Again? I've read it six times." (Manny Santos' first line)
Emma: "Just one more time. Please?"
Manny: "Okay." (reading e-mail) "Emma, you saved my heart and my project. If you protect the wildlife refuge, I'll owe it all to you. Love you - Jordan."
- Spike (showing Emma and Manny her high school photo): "What do you think? How's that for a hair-do? Could I have been any cooler?"
Emma: (scoffs) "Yeah."
- Spike: "So, expecting an e-mail from your boyfriend?"
Emma: "You hacked my e-mail? Haven’t you ever heard of privacy?"
Spike: "Relax, I couldn’t hack my way out of a paper bag."
- J.T. (referring to Jordan): "He's probably 40 and drools."
Emma: "So? You still wet the bed, and I'm friends with you!"
- Emma: (reciting Caitlin's advice) "Sometimes you just have to take a chance! Go for it!"
- "Dream About You"
- Written by James McGrath
- Performed by B2krazy
Mother and Child Reunion (1) • Mother and Child Reunion (2) • Family Politics • Eye of the Beholder • Parents Day • The Mating Game • Basketball Diaries • Secrets and Lies • Coming of Age • Rumours and Reputations • Friday Night • Wannabe • Cabaret • Under Pressure • Jagged Little Pill