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Secrets and Lies

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"My mom died, Ash... She's never coming back. But you? You have your dad back."
"Terri, it's not the same."
"No! It's not the same! And you wanna know why? You have a choice, I don't... don't make the wrong one.''"
Terri setting Ashley straight.

“Secrets and Lies”
Season 1, Episode 8
Ashley Robert 108
Information
Can. Airdate

December 9, 2001

U.S. Airdate

May 6, 2002

Prod. Code

108

Writer(s)

Aaron Martin

Director(s)

Bruce McDonald

Episode Guide
Previous

Basketball Diaries

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Coming of Age

Secrets and Lies is the eighth episode of the Canadian television series, Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Main Plot

Ashley is so excited about her dad coming home from his long trip to Europe, but when he gets back, she senses something is up between him and her mom. They seem to be getting along very well. Ashley continues to enjoy his company and attention, but she still senses that something isn't right. Under pressure, her mother reveals that her dad is gay. Ashley is angered that her father has been lying to her for all these years and decides to cut him from her life.

Sub Plot

Meanwhile, Liberty has the biggest crush on J.T.., but he's not interested in her. After hearing the news about Ashley's father, J.T. figures out and easy way to reject Liberty, by telling her he too is a "gay". Liberty is crushed by this and with J.T. eventually tells her that he isn't gay, he's just isn't really interested in her. Although Liberty is somewhat still hurt, she is happy that he finally told her the ultimate truth.

Extended Overview

Ashley and her dad pull into the driveway and she thanks him for taking her out to brunch. He tells her that he had a great time and that he's looking forward to coming into school with her as Mr. Simpson's guest speaker. Ashley happily walks inside the house. She comes into the kitchen and her mom asks how brunch was. Ashley says it was great and tells her mom about all of the stories her dad told her about his oversea travels. Kate then asks her if her dad talked about anything else. Ashley claimed that he didn't and then asked why. Her mother quickly dropped the topic and said that it was just her being nosey as usual.

The next day at school, Terri showed Ashley a golden heart-shaped locket that had a picture of her mother and father in it. She said that it was given to her after her mother had passed away. Ashley tells her that it's beautiful and then brings up the topic about what her mother said yesterday. She told Terri that her mom was acting weird and that it felt like she was dropping hints.

Meanwhile, class clown, J.T. shoots a paper airplane in media immersion class. It flies past Mr. Simpson's head and he sternly asks who threw it. J.T. is quiet but smiles, when unexpectedly, Liberty runs to the front of the class and claims that the airplane was hers. Mr. Simpson seems surprised and tells her not to do it again.

In the hallway, Manny, Toby and J.T. question each other why Liberty was acting so strangely during class. Emma says that it's so obvious that Liberty has a crush on J.T. He is grossed out by the thought and denies it. Liberty then walks up to the group and hands J.T. his airplane back. J.T. tells her that she didn't need to get it back for him, but she claims that somebody has to watch his back. She then suggests that J.T. be in an article for The Grapevine's Student of the Week column. Upon saying that he could be famous one day, J.T. quickly agrees. After she leaves, Toby, Manny and Emma tease J.T. about her crush on him. His fears worsen when Liberty writes a haiku poem on him for Ms. Kwan's English class.

J.T. Toby 108

Toby finds J.T. hiding in his locker, trying to avoid Liberty.

In Mr. Simpson's grade 8 class, Ashley's father tells the students about his life in the war and how a shrapnel hit him, thus putting him in the hospital. Paige admires Mr. Kerwin and constantly asks him questions. In the hall, Ashley, Terri and Paige talk about his stories in class. Paige also brings up how hot Mr. Kerwin is (for an older man). Ashley uncomfortably says that he's her father and that sounds weird. Terri and Paige then ask why he left her mom. Ashley says that he moved to Europe and there wasn't much her mom could do. Paige then suggests that there may be another woman. Ashley says that he hasn't had a girlfriend for a long time, leading her to think that her parents will get back together.

Elsewhere, J.T. calls Toby's name from inside a locker. Toby opens it to find J.T. inside. He says that he's avoiding Liberty, but Toby reminds J.T. that he has an interview with her today. Liberty finds J.T. and asks where he's been. She then takes his picture and pulls him away. J.T. whispers help to Toby before leaving.
Ashley 108

Ashley is shocked, upon discovering that her father is gay.

Meanwhile, Ashley and her dad arrive home and she thanks him for guest speaking to her class and reminds him again how happy she is that he's back. He tells her that he is happy too and then suggests that they talk, but are interrupted by Ashley's mom. She greets Robert and then asks Ashley to go inside while her and Robert catch up. Ashley starts walking inside but stops and watches them from behind the house.

In the kitchen, Ashley tells her mom about how much everyone at school loved her dad. Her mom then mentions that she thinks he's the most charming and handsome man on the planet. Ashley suggests that maybe this will mean they're going to get back together. Her mom denies this and Ashley asks why. She also brings up the fact that she feels like their hiding something from her and then asks if he's found another woman. Her mom finally reveals the ultimate truth. Ashley's father was gay. In shock, she stares at her mother horrified.

The next day, a grumpy and annoyed Ashley sits in the cafeteria pouring her chocolate milk into a cup. Terri and Paige join her and asks if she's okay. Ashley insists that she's fine, but Paige then brings up a thought. She asks Ashley that if he's not still hung up on her mom and at the same time single, if she ever considered that her dad may be gay. Ashley is furious at Paige for asking that and then proceeds to dump her chocolate milk in Paige's face. Ashley then gets up and tells Paige to mind her own business before leaving. Paige tells Terri that her older brother's gay and that she was just trying to help.
Liberty 108

Liberty gazing at her crush, J.T.

While eating lunch outside with Emma and Manny, Liberty gazes at J.T. from afar. She asks the girls if she should ask him out. Emma suggests that it would be okay if J.T. likes her back. She happily looks at him again but looks away once he notices. J.T. puts his foot down and says that he has to find way to avoid Liberty's crush. He thinks about the situation with Ashley's father and then tells Toby that he's going to pretend to be gay, keeping Liberty away from him.

Inside, J.T. calls Liberty and drags her under the stairwell. Pretending to confess a secret, J.T. tells Liberty that he's gay and does not like girls. Liberty is confused and thinks he's joking but J.T. claims that it is true and makes Liberty swear that she won't tell anyone. She sadly promises to keep it a secret.

Outside of the school, an depressed Ashley is sitting at a table. Her dad sits down and tells Ashley that he was going to tell her, but waited as she was too young at the time. He also admits that the situation was not handled in the best way but it was also a hard thing for him to do. She even questions why they got married if he does not love her. Mr. Kerwin admits that he did love her and still does, but he's not in love with her. Ashley then asks if her dad had been with other men before. Robert then claims that he had been with his boyfriend, Christopher. Ashley is angry that when she met his partner before, her dad said he was a friend from work, and angrily walks away yelling to her father saying that all he's done is kept secrets from her for most of her life. Liberty meets up with J.T. and she reveals that her article was about helping teenagers dealing with homosexuality. J.T. cringes and blurts out the truth in that he is not really gay. Liberty is hurt that J.T. would have to pretend to be gay so he didn't have to go out with her. She then says that if he didn't want to go out with her, he should have said so.

Meanwhile, Ashley is at her locker, still in a cranky mood. Terri comes up to her and asks what happened. Ashley reveals in a depressing way, that not only is her dad gay, but he also left his family to be with his boyfriend. Ashley claims that she will now be cutting her father from her life. Terri knows that Ashley does not mean what she's saying, but Ashley quickly snaps at her and says that Terri has no idea what she's going through. Terri is hurt and says that she knows exactly what Ashley is going through, but the situation is not as bad as she thinks. Terri then snaps at Ashley explaining that her mom died and she's never coming back, while Ashley still has two parents. She also says that the difference between the two of them is that Ashley has a choice in life and to not make the wrong one.


  • This episode shares its title the song by Jonatha Brooke and a 1996 British film.
  • The character featured in the final freeze frame for this episode is Ashley (second time).
  • There is no soundtrack or music featured in this episode.
  • This is the first episode that deals with sexual orientation in DTNG.
  • This episode marks the first time that Terri mentions her deceased mother.
  • J.T. mentions he has a sister. This is the second and last time we hear of him having any siblings.
  • This is the first time that Paige mentions her brother, Dylan, who will be introduced in the Season 3 episode Pride (1).

  • Sean: (reciting his haiku poem) "Poetry is crime. No idea how to rhyme. Stupid waste of time."
  • Paige: "Ash, have you ever wondered if your dad might be... gay? It would explain a lot."
    Ashley: (angrily) "Is that supposed to be a joke?"
    Paige: "No, hun..."
    (Ashley throws chocolate milk in Paige's face)
    (Paige gasps)
    Ashley: "Maybe you should just mind your own business for once, Paige!"
    Paige: (sadly): "But my oldest brother's gay. Ash, I was trying to help."
  • J.T.: (trying to convince Liberty that he's gay) "Hey, Liberty girlfriend."
    (Liberty frowns, J.T. sits down on a chair and crosses his legs)
  • Sean's haiku: "Poetry's a crime. Have no idea how to rhyme. Just a waste of time."
  • Ashley: "You have no idea what I'm going through."
    Terri: "My mom died, Ash. She's never coming back. But you, you have your dad back."
    Ashley: "Terri... it's not the same."
    Terri: "No, it's not the same, and you wanna know why? Because you have a choice, I don't. Don't make the wrong one."
  • Liberty to J.T.: "Everyone knows you're going to be famous one day."


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