In case you didn’t know, a treasure trove of classical Canadian shows have been released on YouTube through Google Canada and the Canada Media Fund with Encore+. Ready or Not was among the shows that I couldn’t wait to binge watch all over again. The teen drama, which let’s face it, was always more of a dramady, followed two best friends named Busy and Amanda, as their friendship experienced puberty, romance, and family drama.
While the show’s original Global TV run lasted from 1993 until 1997, Canadians have fond memories of the series as it continued to air all five of its seasons for many years after that in syndicated runs. “You’re a part of peoples’ growing up. You have no idea the importance you have in their psyche. It’s crazy,” said Fab Filippo in an interview we did earlier this year for his CBC web series Save Me, when asked why Ready or Not still resonates with viewers 20 years after its final episode. Fab played one of Busy’s brothers, Dom.
Take a look as I list the top five episodes from Ready or Not’s first season below. (You can check out the playlist for the entire first season here.)
Season 1, Episode 2 — “Smoke Screen”
Ready Or Not’s second episode is about smoking cigarettes. Busy’s brother Frankie is trying out for the high school basketball team. Amanda and Busy go to watch Frankie try out, where Frankie gets a crush on Jessica Purdy. Amanda thinks Jessica is like, the worst, because she stuffs her brad and dyes her hair with Kool-Aid… But you know what? It’s good enough for Frankie. Busy is a very pushy basketball mom. She’s there on the bleachers in her vest, yelling at Frankie to hustle.
So, of course, Amanda develops a crush on Frankie. I know what you’re thinking… Amanda had a crush on everyone. And you’re absolutely right. Busy even tells her that. Amanda leaves an anonymous note for Frankie but he thinks it’s from Jessica. He realizes that in order to impress her, he needs to start smoking. Busy then wants to impress Frankie and also starts smoking…inside…the basement. All in all, it’s embarrassing to watch. But it’s hilarious. This was also in the ‘90s… when you could smoke inside an arcade.
Season 1, Episode 4 — “Busy’s Curse”
Busy, you’ll be a woman soon… Busy gets her period (What? Already?!) Yes.
Of course, Busy’s mom’s away when this is going on and her dad doesn’t really know how to help. He can’t even say tampon. Busy’s too embarrassed to go to the drug store so her father has to go. It’s really cute. He got her the maxi. It would have been easier for Busy if she had just told Amanda at school. She would have known what to do (after yelling in celebration). Shocker: Amanda is disappointed she didn’t tell her immediately. Amanda has also been using a tampon for two months “in preparation.”
Season 1, Episode 5 — “The Big Gulp”
Amanda and Busy crash Chrissy’s slumber party… Chrissy’s mom is out with her new boyfriend, who smokes.
But then Justin’s crew crashes as well and they start drinking — first beer, and then mixed alcohol in an ICEE cup. We’re introduced to Troy in this episode, although I think it’s the first time we noticed him. Troy was the nicest. Gus and his crew were the worst. There was some crazy bullying in this episode when Busy and Amanda were being forced to kiss Emm.
The best is when Justin throws up in Chrissy’s mother’s hedge after Troy delivers a truth bomb, “Look at you man, you’re wasted.”
Season 1, Episode 10 — “Black or White or Maybe Grey”
I think what many really appreciated was the real sense of family we got while watching Busy’s family. They weren’t “TV perfect.”
In this episode, Busy’s dad Sam gets Troy a job at the butcher shop. When money goes missing, Sam assumes that Troy stole the money because he’s black. Not only that, but that Busy shouldn’t be interested in him for the same reason. Ready or Not wasn’t afraid to make Sam a bigot.
They found a good way to teach out that Sam’s attitude was wrong and that we would find authority figures who weren’t always right.
Season 1, Episode 13 — “Tricky Kisses”
A lot happened in Busy’s family during the first season. Who could blame her mother for wanting to get away and focus on herself? Meanwhile, Amanda wants to throw a party so that she can finally have her first kiss.
The party was… lame. Monkey ears and his friends were the life of the party and spilled a soda. They play spin the bottle and Amanda gets to have her first kiss (on the cheek) with Monkey Ears, who’s the life of the party and wasn’t even invited. Troy spun the bottle and it landed on Busy. Amanda couldn’t believe her luck.