"Do you like girls... at ALL?"
Ellie to Marco

Careless Whisper is the fourteenth episode of Season 2 of the Canadian television series, Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Main Plot

Marco's been acting very strange, and Ellie wants to know how to help him. But Marco's convinced that his secrets will drive her away and all of his friends, too. He may be in for a surprise.

Sub Plot

Toby and Kendra seem to be having 'marital problems'; Toby doesn't know when to chill out and stop being so clingy. Somebody is going to have a conversation about space and relationships.

Extended Overview

Marco is playing a game of shirts-on-skins basketball with his friends Jimmy, Sean, and Spinner. Spinner and Sean are skins while Jimmy and Marco are shirts. Marco's gaze lingers on Sean while he plays and Marco holds his gaze until Sean throws the ball towards Marco and exclaims, "What are you lookin' at, fag?" Marco is caught off guard and questions what Sean is talking about, and Sean says that he feels like Marco can't take his eyes off of him before chuckling. Marco brushes off the comment and Spinner jokes that maybe he and Jimmy should be "skins" for a while. Marco quickly retorts by saying that Spinner and Sean just want to see him take his shirt off. The boys quickly say no and Marco shoots a basket and asks "Who's the man now?" Spinner refers to the group as "girls" and says that it's time to keep playing. Marco looks nervously around at his teammates as the game continues.

Later that day, Marco and Ellie are standing at their lockers talking. Ellie is stressing about how she looks that day, and when Marco asks her why she cares what everyone thinks, Ellie says she only cares what some people think, referring to Marco. Marco compliments her but is quickly distracted when he sees Spinner and Jimmy down the hall. He says goodbye to Ellie and hurries off to join his friends as Ashley approaches. She wonders aloud why there was no kiss goodbye between Ellie and Marco. Ellie says she wishes there was, and that Marco was a great friend but that she wanted more with him.

In class, Mr. Simpson announces that Dr. Sally would be returning to speak to the freshmen. Jimmy raises his hand and asks why she's coming back when they already got "the sex talk" last year in the eighth grade. Simpson tells Jimmy, and the rest of the class, that there is always more to learn, such as healthy sexual relations, sexual identity, and being gay positive. Spinner turns to Jimmy and makes a snide remark, "Are you sure you don't mean HIV positive?" Jimmy stares at spinner, clearly not amused, while the class reacts, some laughing and some scoffing. Simpson calls out Spinner, saying that derogatory jokes are never acceptable. He continues saying that intolerance comes from ignorance, and that it's great that Spinner will be talking to Dr. Sally. Marco nervously stares at his computer until the bell rings.

Dr. Sally is giving her lecture and begins talking to the class about how important condoms are before pulling out a bunch from her pocket. The class nervously chuckles, including Marco, who is being stared at by Ellie. Dr. Sally tells the class that condoms are necessary in both heterosexual and same-sex relationships, causing another quip from Spinner, who asks Jimmy, "Same sex?" Jimmy tells him it means two guys, prompting the class to chuckle. Mr. Armstrong hears and calls on the two boys to share with the rest of the class. Spinner nudges Jimmy, who looks around before speaking. He asks how it's possible for a man to get turned on by seeing another man. Dr. Sally explains to Jimmy that it's no different than how seeing an attractive woman turns on a straight man.

Paige raises her hand and tells Dr. Sally that her older brother is gay, and that he's known forever and believes he was born that way. Dr. Sally explains that some people believe that their sexuality is there when they are born, but that others believe it's genetic. Ashley asks if that means that gay parents would have gay children, leading Dr. Sally to explain to her that if a child is born with a so-called "gay gene," then it is possible for it to be passed along to their offspring. Terri chimes in saying that some people think being gay is a sin, causing Dr. Sally to impart some words of wisdom, asking the class if being gay is a sin, rather than pretending to be someone you're not.

After the lecture, Ellie approaches Dr. Sally to ask her for advice on getting Marco to make the first move. Dr. Sally tells her that sometimes boys get nervous too, and that maybe Ellie should make the first move instead. Meanwhile, Marco is jotting down the website URL that was written on the blackboard.

While leaving the classroom, Spinner jokingly hands Marco a sample pack of feminine hygiene products. Marco tells Spinner to shut up, and Spinner makes another joke about Marco being distracted by Dr. Sally talking about "boy on boy love." Jimmy tells Marco to ignore Spinner, but Marco bursts out with, "I hate fags, okay? What they do makes me sick." Spinner and Jimmy are taken aback and Marco grabs his sample pack and storms away.

After media immersion, Marco stays behind to check out Dr. Sally's website. He clicks the link about sexual orientation and starts to read, when Spinner and Jimmy come to the classroom. They start heading for Marco and Marco hurriedly tries to close the webpage, but to his horror, the computer freezes. Marco keeps pressing buttons until finally the webpage minimizes just as his friends arrive at his side. They ask him if he'll be walking home with them, and Marco tells them that he isn't, but that he'll just see them tomorrow.

After school, Marco is hanging out with Ellie. The two are sharing a bag of gummy candy and talking about their favorite kinds. Marco says he enjoys gummy keys, but Ellie has him try one of her favorites. Their hands touch and Marco is startled and looks away. Ellie nervously asks him if the two are just friends. Marco tells Ellie that he really likes her, and asks her out on a date. Ellie is overjoyed and hugs him, but Marco is tense, knowing that he is just lying to himself and pretending to be someone he's not.

On their date, Marco and Ellie are watching a French film. Ellie moves her hand to the armrest and Marco holds it. Ellie smiles and begins running her thumb along the back of Marco's hand, but Marco becomes uncomfortable and pretends to sneeze to avoid holding his date's hand. Ellie rolls her eyes and sighs, knowing that the date isn't exactly going as planned.

The next day at school, Ashley and Terri are walking together talking about their media immersion group project and saying that they'll meet at Ashley's house to work. Ashley says that it's weird having Jimmy over, and Terri reminds her that Jimmy is in their group. Ashley spots Ellie walking along by herself and catches up to her, telling Terri she'll meet her inside. Ellie quickly snaps at Ashley, saying she doesn't want "cheesy girl talk" and that she's fine. Ashley assumes that Ellie had a bad date. Ellie tells Ashley that the date was fun, and that she always has fun with Marco, but fun was all they had. Ashley is surprised that Ellie didn't even get a goodnight kiss. Ellie sadly remarks that maybe Marco just doesn't like her, but Ashley suggests that maybe Marco just doesn't like girls. Ellie is irritated by this, and says that while she expects those kinds of comments from someone like Spinner, it's just disappointing to hear Ashley say it. Ashley quickly explains that she isn't trying to be offensive, but that her family went through a difficult time before her father came out. Ellie doesn't listen and just insists that Marco is straight before walking away.

In the change room after gym class, Spinner jokes that Marco's name is Marcy and that he's in the wrong locker room. Jimmy is tired of Spinner's jokes and tells him to knock it off, since he killed it already. Marco says he doesn't care, since he now has a girlfriend. The other boys are shocked and stop what they're doing. They ask who it is, and Marco tells them it's Ellie. Jimmy jokes that Ellie is just Marco's friend who is a girl, but Marco hints that they hooked up after their date. Jimmy asks how far Marco got, and Marco says that they made out, but as he continues, Spinner realizes he's lying. Marco is upset and starts to change.

After school, Marco, Jimmy, Spinner, and Sean are heading out of the school when Sean spots Ellie sitting at a picnic table by herself. She sees the guys and waves to Marco. Sean jokes, "Hey! It's Marco's girlfriend! Or is it his wife...? I can't keep up." The boys all laugh and Marco rolls his eyes, hands Sean a basketball and smirks before telling the guys to wait. Marco heads over to Ellie and tells her that he forgot something after their date. He leans over and kisses Ellie, much to the delight of his friends, who all whoop at the couple. Ellie beams at Marco and Marco walks away to join his friends.

That night, Marco, Ellie, Spinner, Jimmy, and Terri are all over at Ashley's house watching the movie for their media immersion project. Spinner is asleep on the floor while Marco and Ellie cuddle on their side of the couch. Jimmy and Terri watch the movie, and Jimmy is not entertained by the boring, long movie about beavers. Ashley announces that the pizza they ordered has arrived, and everyone jumps up in excitement. Spinner and Jimmy tear open the box and Marco says, "Ladies first," implying that the guys should let Ashley, Terri, and Ellie have first pick. Spinner jokes once again that Marco is a woman, telling him to pick a slice first. Ellie rolls her eyes and gets up. She starts heading upstairs, and Spinner jokes that they offended Ellie. Ellie tells him not to flatter himself, and that she's just going to the bathroom. Marco turns to Ellie, who gestures that he follow her upstairs. Marco tells the group that he's going to get some water. Ashley offers to get it for him, but Marco tells her not to worry and starts heading upstairs. Ashley starts giggling when he does, saying, "I didn't know my kitchen was upstairs."

Marco and Ellie enter Ashley's bedroom and Ellie kisses Marco. She quickly apologizes, but Marco says she doesn't need to. He nervously leads her over to the bed and they sit down. Ellie notices that Marco is shaking, and asks if he wants to go back downstairs. Ellie kisses him again, but he doesn't kiss back. She is offended and Marco says he wants to kiss her because he likes her. Ellie tells him to kiss her, but he doesn't react. Marco tells Ellie that she's perfect, and that she's beautiful. Ellie awkwardly asks Marco if he thinks she's hot. Marco doesn't answer or look at Ellie. Finally, she sighs and remembers what Ashley said. She asks Marco if he likes girls at all. Marco stares at Ellie, taken aback, and hesitates before saying that he wants to. Ellie explains that she wants him to as well, but that if he can't, it isn't fair to lead her on like this. Finally Marco breaks down and tells Ellie that he doesn't know if he likes girls or not, and that he's trying but he's extremely confused about his sexuality. The two sit in silence.

Monday morning at school, Marco opens his locker and pauses, lost in his own thoughts. He is interrupted when Spinner and Jimmy walk up, calling him "Marco Del Studly" and "Marco 'Was Just Getting a Glass of Water'" and asked Marco if his water tasted sweet. Marco takes a deep breath and shuts his locker, grinning and telling the guys that the water was "sweet like sugar" and tells them that they can officially be jealous of him. Ellie approaches and asks what exactly Spinner and Jimmy are jealous of. Jimmy says that they're jealous of her and Marco's "extended bathroom break" on Friday night. Marco looks pleadingly at Ellie and Ellie quickly smirks and says that yes, they should be jealous of them. She gives Marco a kiss and his friends walk away, smiling and proud of Marco. Marco starts to thank Ellie, but she stops him and says, "you're welcome," and tells him that she can't pretend to be his girlfriend forever, just like how Marco can't pretend to be straight forever. She offers to go with Marco to a youth group for LGBT teens, but Marco turns down the offer. He tells her he isn't ready, and Ellie says that she'll be there for him when he is ready. The two embrace and Marco smiles softly, glad that he has Ellie's support and friendship.


Meanwhile, Kendra feels that Toby isn't giving her enough space. While sitting in Simpson's media immersion class, she spots Toby waving to get her attention through the window. She smiles and goes back to paying attention to the lesson, but Toby gets her attention again. She nervously smiles again before turning to Nadia. Nadia says that she thinks it's cute, but Kendra disagrees, thinking Toby is obsessed. Suddenly, to Kendra's horror, Toby starts making out with the window with his eyes closed. Kendra isn't the only one to notice. Simpson storms over to the window and shuts the blinds, telling Kendra, "Tell your boyfriend that class time is my time."

At lunch, Toby, Kendra, and J.T. are eating together as Toby swoons over Kendra. J.T. comments that he's still there and trying to eat. Kendra apologizes, but when J.T. brushes it off, Toby starts holding Kendra's hands, causing J.T. to leave to eat his lunch in peace. Kendra tries speaking to Toby about his recent behavior, and an argument breaks out when Toby creates a study schedule so that he can spend as much time with Kendra as possible.

The following day, Toby is decorating Kendra's locker with paper hearts, roses, and posters when Manny approaches. She smiles and says that it looks like someone is in love. Toby says he is, but that he thinks Kendra's mad at him. Manny is amused to learn that Toby is decorating Kendra's locker for her, and warns Toby that Kendra is going to feel smothered. Toby disagrees, believing that it'll show Kendra that he cares. Kendra approaches, and is horrified to see her locker. She asks what he's doing, and Toby hands her a large heart with his photo on it. Kendra takes it, gives a curt "thanks," and turns to open her locker. She rips a paper poster that Toby had taped to her locker, covering the lock, and opens the locker. She tosses the heart inside as Manny watches, laughing at Toby for not taking her advice. Toby sighs and starts taking the decorations off the locker.

In class, Toby is staring off into space as the teacher says that he wants the class to write an essay about their dream career, and not to worry about practicality. Toby murmurs that his fear is that Kendra hates him, and that his hope is that he dies. J.T. scoffs and begins working on his assignment.

After her soccer practice, Kendra is excitedly talking to her friends about how great a play she made was. She spots Toby and happily greets him. Toby ignores her and Kendra follows, wondering what's wrong. She gets annoyed when Toby says that she thinks he's smothering her, as she never said it, and Toby says that she didn't need to say it to think it. He storms out of the school, leaving Kendra confused and hurt in the foyer.

On Monday, Toby pulls pictures of Kendra off his own locker while J.T. tells him that he thinks Toby might be overreacting. Toby says that it's impossible for a girl to ever like him. J.T. jokingly says that it's hard to believe, but assures Toby that Kendra does like him. Toby responds by saying, "Kendra doesn't," when Kendra arrives behind him. She says, "Kendra speaks for herself, thanks," and crosses her arms, glaring at Toby. J.T. hurries off as Toby tells Kendra to break up with him. Kendra tells Toby that she isn't there to dump him, but that she doesn't want Toby constantly answering for her, and always being around her. Toby shouts that Kendra can't stand being around him, and Kendra quickly kisses him. She smiles and tells him that she loves to be around him, just not all the time. She hurries off to class, leaving Toby standing at his locker, grinning.

  • This episode is named after the song "Careless Whisper" by George Michael.
  • Marco is revealed to be gay in this episode, but he does not officially come out until How Soon is Now?.
  • Marco and Ellie each have their first kiss in this episode.

  • Spinner: "Hey, Marcy don't forget your 'fem care.'"
    Marco: "Shut up."
    Spinner: "What, distracted by Dr. Sally's advice on boy-on-boy love?"
    Marco: "Spinner, shut up! Okay?"
    Spinner: "Um, it was a joke dude."
    Jimmy: "Just tune him out. He's just trying to get you started."
    Marco: "I hate fags, okay? What they do makes me sick..."
    Jimmy: "...hey Marco..."
    Marco: " just quit it! I mean like yesterday okay?"
  • Ellie: "Are we just...friends?"
    Marco: "Ellie, I like you... a lot. And I mean you like me too, right? (Ellie nods) So let's go out, like on a real date."
    Ellie: "You're serious?"
    Marco: "Yeah...totally."
    (Ellie hugs him)