Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Noel Buys A Suit


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Oh, boy! We have finally reached an episode with an actor who will go on to be in the rest of the franchise. Yay!

But before we get to them, we join Noel at a paint shop where we find out that he has memorized the names of the paints that his father needs to buy for a job.

His father is played by Bob Reid (R.D. Reid) who you might recognize from Dawn Of The Dead (2004), A History Of Violence (2005), Cinderella Man (2005), Capote (2005), Lars And The Real Girl (2007), and Diary Of The Dead (2007), among other things.

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We’ll also find out that Noel is the cook in the family. A family that is about to be changed by the lady behind the counter named Gayle, played by Charlotte Freelander. She’s going to get married to Noel’s father soon.

As Dad is leaving the store, we see some unfortunate advertising for Kwik Stripper.

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The plot of this episode is about Noel learning to accept Gayle as his stepmother shortly before the wedding, along with the inevitable changes that will bring. That’s why they made sure to show us that Noel remembers the names of the paint colors and that he cooks for the family. He’ll feel like he is being replaced.

While taking screenshots, I wound up with this one that makes Gayle look sinister.

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The time has come.

Enter Stacie Mistysyn, whose first scene in Degrassi has her walking into a dining room to tell a knock-knock joke before spilling some food on the floor.

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Not everyone can be introduced by playing a saxophone next to a river in the middle of nowhere for no particular reason. That’s Pamela Anderson’s ridiculous introduction on Baywatch.

Fun facts: Stacie Mistysyn was born in Los Angeles, California, and moved to Canada as a baby where she would be on Degrassi, up to and including Degrassi: TNG. Four years before Mistysyn was born, only a couple of hours after Canada reached its centennial, Pamela Anderson was born in British Columbia, making her their Centennial Baby. She would move a few years later to Vancouver before winding up in Los Angeles on Baywatch. If their Wikipedia pages are accurate, both have dual citizenship.

On The Kids Of Degrassi Street, Mistysyn plays a prototype for her character in the rest of Degrassi. Here she is named Lisa, and is Noel’s sister. She will be Caitlin Ryan come Degrassi Junior High.

Gayle would like to repaint the house so that we can get some more foreshadowing for the conflict of the episode in the form of her speaking about how the colors should be practical and that “less is more”.

Now we cut to–no, no, no. I don’t want to talk about you regardless of the fact that Lisa is in both episodes.

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Noel has several rabbits. Keep that in mind for a later episode with his sister Lisa.

We have the return of Ida, and the introduction of a new friend named Chuck. He is played by Nick Goddard.

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Noel talks about his father taking him to buy a new suit for the upcoming wedding. All I take away from this conversation is something Ida says in response to Noel when he tells them that Gayle is changing the house:

That’s not too good.

I get the feeling Ida didn’t quite learn her lesson in the previous episode where she wasn’t happy about somebody new moving onto Degrassi St.

Chuck tells Noel that his sister is a little weird, so we cut to Lisa taking things off of a chandelier because she wants jewels on her shirt.

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Noel finds his dad and Gayle painting, and for reasons, he ends up being given money to go and buy a new suit by himself.

Noel runs into Chuck and Ida.

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I think writer Amy Jo Cooper might have a little amnesia concerning the second episode because Noel tells them that his dad gave him the money to go purchase a suit, and Ida says her mom would never let her do that on her own. You mean the mother that let you go to a hospital alone to give a doll to your friend who was going to have surgery when she could have gone on her own, Ida?

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You are currently coming out of some place with Chuck, and you have no parental supervision. I find your story a little suspect, Ida.

Noel tells them that he has 54 bucks to buy a suit. Ida wonders where Noel thinks he is going to buy a suit for that much money. The answer is Moore’s: The Suit People.

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Not only do they appear to be a pretty popular chain of stores in Canada, but this particular one has moved just down the street from where it is in this episode. Only now their subtitle is “clothing for men” and they have dropped the apostrophe.

Surely John Bertram, who wrote, directed, and edited episodes from The Kids Of Degrassi Street and Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High will be able to help Noel find a suit.

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This is the suit that Noel picks out.

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Noel is assured by the salesman that the suit goes with anything and everything, which you can tell Ida buys based on the look on her face.

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Back at home, Lisa is still telling knock-knock jokes.

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Gayle is worried about the alterations being completed the day before the wedding. Noel isn’t worried about that. He’s worried about the fact that Gayle is doing the cooking, rearranging the cupboards, and even wants to measure him in order to buy him a shirt to go with the suit.

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What he should be worried about is the boom mic.

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I can understand how they could miss the boom mic in previous episodes. I don’t know how they missed this one.

Then we see Noel, Chuck, and Ida unloading fiberglass while Noel complains about Gayle.

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Chuck brings up that he’d like someone to do the cooking at his house. Ida reminds the audience again that even an encounter with “Bigfoot” during the last episode didn’t teach her a lesson. She says the following:

Sounds like she’s trying to take over to me.

They say a lot of stupid things from Gayle having tried to choke Noel when she was just trying to measure him for a suit to the possibility that she’ll send him away to a boarding school. Or to put it another way, the screenshot below is how Noel describes Gayle.

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What’s next? Of course it’s more knock-knock jokes with Lisa.

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Noel gets home to find that Gayle has bought him a shirt based on his agreeing with Gayle’s description of how he described the suit: neutral.

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Noel gets angry because Gayle bought it for him. Even Chuck saying that he’ll eat his own hat if the suit is neutral doesn’t calm Noel down. Noel goes back to the store, and buys his own shirt.

Back at the house, someone must have told Lisa to put the jewels back on the chandelier.

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An argument breaks out when Noel gets home and Gayle sees the suit, because of course it does. The pivot point here is in these lines:

Noel: But she’s not my mother. My real mom is dead. We don’t need her.

Noel’s father: I need Gayle. I love her.

Those lines seem to make all the difference because the next morning Noel comes down the stairs wearing his suit and the shirt she picked out. Metaphor!

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Lisa approves, Gayle is shocked…

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and it looks like Noel’s family is friends with the guy who fixed Ida’s camera in the first episode.

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The mystery is solved. The actor’s name is Lewis Manne. He composed music for this show, Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, and even Degrassi: TNG.

They get married,

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Stacie Mistysyn begins plotting her takeover of Degrassi,

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and credits!

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So, did they ask for a suit and Moore’s refused to provide one? Did the store not like the way the salesmen was portrayed? Did the store not have the kind of suit they wanted? I’d love to know what the story is that explains the line: “who provided the location but not the suit!”

This episode tried to tackle a child coming to terms with their dad remarrying after the death of their mom. They did it with the making of a wedding outfit for Noel composed of two main parts as a way of leading Noel and Gayle towards them being okay with each other. This culminating with Noel wearing a visual stand-in for the message of the episode. That message being in his acceptance of Gayle as a new member of his family and Gayle knowing that she is marrying into something preexisting rather than something to build from the ground up.

Stacie Mistysyn will return in the next episode as she tries to make the headlines.

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie
    2. Cookie Goes To Hospital
    3. Irene Moves In

Trailer: Game of Thrones Season 8


Got 8 Night King

Well, we are now at the home stretch of what has been 9 or so years following the events of a little place called the Seven Kingdoms. It’s been a very long wait since the Season 7 ended in the summer of 2017.

When it was announced that there would be over a year of waiting before the final season of Game of Thrones would air, there was a lot of grumbling and bemoaning the fact that such a wait was just too long. Especially since the ending of Season 7 saw the final pieces on the chessboard finally begin to move towards a final showdown between all the different factions.

On one side we have the consummation of the Alliance of House Targaryen and House Stark. On another side we have Queen Cersei in King’s Landing still scheming to try and get the upper hand on all comers. Yet, all must contend with the threat that has just passed through a broken Wall and heading south as the Night King finally invades the Seven Kingdoms.

The series began in 2010 with the tag line, ‘Winter Is Coming,” and Season 7’s finale made a great show of it as winter has even come as far south as King’s Landing. It looks like Season 8 will show everyone that Winter has arrived and fans cannot wait to get on that ride come hell or high water.

Season 8 of Game of Thrones arrives worldwide on April 14, 2019.

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Irene Moves In


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Before we start, let’s check out the back of the DVD case to find out what this episode is about.

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So, blah, blah, blah, Bigfoot. Got it!

The episode starts with some foreshadowing.

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We find Ida, Cookie, Noel, and Fred talking about possible Bigfoot sightings in the area while carving pumpkins. A Halloween party is coming up.

Then a moving truck pulls up to get this plot started.

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Wait a second, she looks familiar.

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It’s Sara from Cookie Goes To Hospital!

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I owe an apology to Nurse Trish. They said Sara was there to have her tonsils removed, but obviously that wasn’t the case. Trish was working with the Canadian Feds in order to put her into a witness protection program. That’s why she was so busy.

Her name this time around is Irene so that she is eligible to join the club and specifically has a name that starts with I to give Ida even more of a basis to exclude her for no good reason whatsoever.

Going back to the title card, I think that might actually be Nancy Lam’s mother playing Irene’s mom. Irene’s mother is played by someone named Linda Lam. It makes sense.

Ida immediately dislikes Irene. And I mean immediately. As her brother Fred points out, she hasn’t even met her at this point. Yet, she somehow knows that Irene is no good.

We cut to inside Ida’s house where her mother finds it amazing and ridiculous that her daughter judged somebody based upon a single glance.

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Even the boom mic finds this hard to believe, which is why it pops in from the top of the screen.

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Ida’s mom suggests that Ida do the unthinkable by going over to introduce herself to Irene. Shock of all shocks, she doesn’t. It’s Irene who comes over to meet the gang.

Ida, Cookie, and Noel are bickering over what colors to use for some billboards they are making. Cookie is nice to Irene, but Ida still looks uncomfortable for no reason.

During their exchange we find out some information about Ida’s father, who up until this point has been mystery. He’s living out west because he does’t live with them any longer. I’m assuming Ida’s parents got divorced, and either Ida is ashamed of it, or her mother is keeping that a secret from her.

Cookie goes to play with Irene, which only angers Ida further.

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While Cookie and Irene play, Ida decides to carry on this pointless grudge by walking over to tell Cookie that it’s time for a club meeting. Irene wants to join, but unfortunately, she meets all the requirements. Therefore, she can’t join on the grounds that she doesn’t meet the requirements of a new rule that Ida comes up with on the spot.

After hearing this, Cookie decides she’d rather hang out with Irene. Ida mopes her way back to the clubhouse.

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Ida tells Noel that the only reason Irene wants to get close to Cookie is because she wants to boss her around. Ida’s excuse for not giving Irene a chance is because she instantly sized her up as being bossy. She even says that something needs to be done about Irene like she’s gonna hire a contract killer. But, to be fair to Ida, Irene is a bit bossy with her kindness and attempts to be friends with her new neighbors.

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I don’t think even Ida bought my sarcasm.

Now we find out for the first time that these kids actually do attend school. Ida watches Irene looking for any excuse to get angry at her. When Irene is genuinely a little pushy and takes away Cookie’s witch hat because she insists that there be stars on it, Ida sees her opportunity to step in for Cookie’s sake. No, I’m not being sarcastic with the last part of that sentence. At the end of the last scene, Ida really did say something needed to be done for Cookie’s sake.

So, Ida gets up, and grabs the witches hat. Ida and Irene proceed to fight over the hat.

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This ends in tragedy as you can see below. It’s unclear whether Ida knocked the paint over on purpose or if it was a result of their fight.

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Okay, Degrassi. You have an episode that has a larger message about racism and xenophobia as well as a smaller one concerning children reacting irrationally to change, so you decide that the color of paint to spill on your Asian character is yellow. Why? No one noticed that?

Ida goes over to get Cookie to come to a meeting of their club…

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and the way the show presents this scene, it comes across as if Irene was waiting just behind the door in order to pop out to tell Ida to go away.

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Back at the secret club, we find out that Irene has picked up a nickname: Private Enemy No. 1.

Noel tries to talk some sense into Ida, but since sense has no place here, the important thing to come out of this scene is that Noel has a Bigfoot costume. That means it’s time to go scare Irene with it.

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After scaring both Cookie and Irene, Cookie says she was afraid because she thought Bigfoot might eat her. Ida tells Irene that she doesn’t have to worry about Bigfoot eating her because she stinks. This causes Irene to tell off Ida before storming off. Cookie tries to convince Ida that she is being downright mean since Irene is a “human being” too.

Both Cookie and Noel leave Ida to stew in her own juices over her prank and the way she has been treating Irene in general. This leaves Ida temporarily unfriended.

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Ida is talking to Noel on the phone where she actually calls him a “traitor” for not ostracizing Irene. Ida’s brother sits nearby. After Ida pisses him off by shaking the table he is trying to do his homework on, Fred tells her that perhaps if she didn’t act like a jerk people might want to be her friend.

Then we see that, yes, the parents on Degrassi St. can pay attention to their children when the show decides to include them, as we see when Ida’s mom talks to Irene’s mom on the phone.

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I’d say that they pay attention when the episode calls for it, but give it a couple more episodes. We’ll see that’s certainly not the case.

I’m sure Fred would also say that the next scene where Ida’s mom talks to Ida about the situation between her and Irene didn’t need to take place with Ida in the bathtub. Ida’s mom tells her that Irene is going to come over for a sleepover.

Fred is the one stuck babysitting, so that means the following:

Hey Fred, can you can tell Irene something she can clearly hear me say since we’re at the same table.

Hey Fred, can you tell Ida my reply that she too can hear despite the fact that we are still sitting at the same table.

The usual nonsense. Cookie comes over at some point as well. She’ll end up joining the sleepover.

Then before they cut to the next scene, ominous music plays over Irene eating a hotdog.

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Ida also makes a great face at Irene while the same music plays.

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Calm down, Degrassi. I’m pretty sure the shot you cut to next of a dog that looks like it’s being walked during day-for-night didn’t call for this kind of scoring.

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We go inside to the slumber party where Cookie and Ida are talking about a story in which a baby had its head cut off. I’m not kidding. It’s even Cookie that tells this story which includes a severed baby’s head.

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They soon get back to more important matters though, like Bigfoot.

Shortly after they try to go to sleep, they hear the dog from earlier outside trying to get into their trashcan. This means they need to get up to investigate because they think the dog is Bigfoot.

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They decide they need evidence to show people. This means taking a picture of Bigfoot. A picture taken with the flash on because if it really is Bigfoot, they need to ensure there could be serious consequences. Ida doesn’t have the courage to potentially put their lives at risk, so Irene takes the picture instead.

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After taking the picture, the kids run upstairs screaming that it was Bigfoot so we can find out that Fred is the perfect babysitter. Upon hearing them, he turns around to go back to his room.

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It could be a person or something else that is potentially dangerous. I don’t have time for this. I’m going back to sleep. Wake me up if you see somebody dressed like Brian Setzer carrying a guitar that has a drill affixed to it. Otherwise, leave me alone.

The kids resolve their issues after their “Bigfoot” encounter, and the Halloween party is shown while dialog is played over the credits. During this, they show Noel and the boom mic the picture, which both are rightfully skeptical about really being a shot of Bigfoot.

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Noel says that it looks like a dog to which Ida responds that it can’t be because she has never seen a dog with such red eyes. Sure.

I like that one of the kids appears to be wearing a homemade Michael Myers mask.

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And so that we can be sure that the dog got home safely, we see it being walked off into the distance by someone who was neglectful about caring for their dog enough that it got out at night.

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I hope that kind of thing doesn’t have tragic consequences in a later episode.

The episode tried to teach about racism, xenophobia, to not fear change, and to not make snap judgments about people. I thought it did a pretty good job. I like that the episode implies that if there is a Bigfoot, we tend to assume it must be out for us even though no one has seen it despite there being costumes and funny faked footage of it. That being said, I do have two complaints about the episode.

They should have gone with a different color than yellow.

The second is a pet peeve–no pun intended. If you have a dog, take proper care of it. I have had to chase dogs so many times to try to prevent them from getting run over by a car that this kind of thing drives me up the wall.

Speaking of the dog, the opening credits list someone as having played Bigfoot.

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The Degrassi Wiki says that the credit is for the dog. I guess the owner’s last name was Marlatt and the dog’s name was Cleo.

See you next time for an episode that introduces one of the most important actors in the entire Degrassi franchise. They’ll last all the way to Degrassi: TNG.

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie
    2. Cookie Goes To Hospital

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Cookie Goes To Hospital


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I don’t care that the DVD menu says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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I don’t care that the individual DVD case says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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And finally, I don’t care that the back of the complete set of The Kids Of Degrassi Street also says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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The title card says “Cookie Goes To Hospital”, so that’s what I’m going with for the title of this episode.

Speaking of goofs, I neglected to include the shot of Ida looking into the camera in the previous episode, so there it is below

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The episode begins by showing us that this is now a series.

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As you may have noticed, there are no kids in that screenshot. There are no kids in several black-and-white stills that they show. Apparently all the kids have gone out into the street to pose for the series title card.

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This immediately cuts to the street sign that says Degrassi St. The store said De Grassi?

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The street was named after an Italian named Captain Filippo De Grassi who emigrated to Canada in 1831. I guess some decided to squeeze the two together and others didn’t.

We are now introduced to the secret club that Ida and some of her friends belong to as of this episode. The conflict is that Cookie would like her doll to become a member. It’s against the rules that could easily be modified.

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The rules are cutoff a bit, so I’ll sum them up. It’s a bunch of nonsense to go with the rules they’ll see at the hospital mentioned in the title and the content is stupid as illustrated by one of the rules that members need names that start with an I, C, or N.

Cookie isn’t worried about her doll getting into the club since I guess she forgot about the previous episode where Ida stood by and filmed her doll being taken away by a garbageman.

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This opening scene with Cookie does answer the burning question I had after the first episode. Yes, Cookie did have a backup doll. She also informs us that her stomach hurts.

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After Ida tells Cookie that her doll can’t join, Cookie leaves her doll in the clubhouse because plot, and Ida goes home to watch what I’m guessing is St. Elsewhere. This episode of The Kids Of Degrassi Street was made in 1980, so that’s the show I’m assuming Ida is watching.

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Ida’s mom gets a call. We find out that Cookie had to be taken to the hospital for appendicitis. Ida’s mom says that she should take the doll to Cookie or give it to Cookie’s mom.

Mom, you could get Ida to give you the doll, and then you could get it to Cookie or her mother, being an adult and all. It’s irresponsible as a parent to send your child off to track down a doll, and then have her potentially go to a hospital all by herself to deliver it.

We now cut to Cookie’s dad who will never show up again in this episode because of course he won’t.

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Next we meet Trish–one of the two neglectful nurses at this hospital.

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During their discussion we find out that Cookie’s real name is Kathryn. In addition, she has no idea why they call her Cookie. I’m going to assume it’s so her nickname meets the club rules when it comes to names.

As for the person who plays Trish, that’s Sue A’Court. She didn’t write this episode, but she will write other ones.

Behind Trish is the first person on The Kids Of Degrassi Street who I can find out went on to do some notable non-Degrassi related things. That’s Sara, played by Nancy Lam. She would go on to be a bit of a celebrity chef.

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Trish decides to explain to Cookie where her appendix is located in the best way possible. Cookie thinks it’s in her stomach. Trish corrects her by pushing on it, which in turn causes her pain. Go figure!

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Cookie brings up her doll with Trish. Cookie would like it to be there with her. Cookie says that her parents don’t know where her doll is at the moment. She tells Trish that a person named Ida knows. You’d think Trish would go to the front desk to tell the one in charge to keep an eye out for Ida and ask Cookie’s parents, like her father we saw previously, about Ida, right? Nope!

Ida and Noel, played by Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, show up at the hospital and get into an elevator. He looks at the camera to make sure it is okay to press the button.

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It’s time to meet Ida as an adult if she doesn’t change her ways concerning the club rules.

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Make sure you read the rules below because while the episode will show them over and over again, I’ll spare you the repetition. These are the hospital’s equivalent to the club rules and they are enforced to the same extent.

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The kids try to go in to give Cookie her doll, and the nurse at the front desk takes the doll to give to their friend who they even say is named Kathryn Peters making it easy for her to have it sent to Cookie’s room. Nope!

She cuts them off and refuses to do anything but say that she didn’t make up the rules before shooing them away from her.

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Noel has a plan to get by the nurse at the front desk, played by Annette Tilden.

While they go off to put Noel’s plan in motion, it turns out that Trish had enough time to find a replacement doll, but still can’t be bothered to go to the front desk to mention Ida, Cookie’s doll, or anything to be passed along to Cookie’s parents.

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Cookie isn’t entirely innocent here either since it appears that she spoke with at least one of her parents between the time Trish was last here and now. Apparently this is something to keep bringing up with Trish, but not her own parents. The parents that know who Ida is since it is Ida’s mother who was called to tell Ida that Cookie had appendicitis and to find the doll.

Meanwhile, we find out the plan to get past Desk Nurse is for Ida to try to sneak past by walking behind a hamper.

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After being caught, Ida is sent away again.

A doctor comes in to explain a few things to Cookie, but we aren’t here for competence, so let’s go back to Trish.

Along with saying a few other things, she lies to Cookie. She says she’ll look around for Ida. She doesn’t look around. In fact, after a short scene with Ida and Noel, she comes in with the anesthetic.

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I will give the episode credit here for having Trish explain to Cookie exactly what they are going to do to her. She even allows her to stick a needle in the other doll to show her how the anesthetic will be administered.

While this was going on, Noel came up with another plan, which was to have Ida put on a Groucho Marx mask and try to walk by Desk Nurse. I get the feeling Noel isn’t the brightest of kids that live on Degrassi St. While we’re on the subject of Noel’s plan, where did he get that mask from anyways?

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As you can see, the plan went over swimmingly.

You’d think at this point that Desk Nurse would begin to think that if two small children have tried this many times to get past her, then perhaps it is something worth asking them about or asking security to look into. Of course she doesn’t. Let’s never mind the little matter that there are two kids under the age of 12 that appear to be unsupervised constantly trying to get past her desk.

Trish, after still not going to the front desk, injects Cookie with the anesthetic. Yet again, Cookie emphasizes just how important this doll is to her. Remember that this isn’t something the hospital doesn’t take into consideration given the fact that Trish brought in another doll for Cookie. It’s just that for whatever reason, Trish doesn’t want to do the bare minimum to find Cookie’s doll. Cookie gives Trish Ida’s phone number. You’d think Ida or Noel’s parents might be wondering where their kids are at this point.

Finally, finally, Trish goes to the main desk to try to do something about this doll situation. Within a couple of minutes she finds the doll. Does it help at this point? Nope! By the time Ida reaches Cookie, she is seconds away from going under.

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In other words, all of this just made Cookie’s experience leading up to her surgery a more uncomfortable and potentially frightening experience.

After surgery, Ida and Noel pay a visit to the recovery room so that we can see the devil doll at the bottom of the screen.

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Afterwards, Ida changes the rules to allow Cookie’s doll to join the club. End of story. Ida learned her lesson and Cookie will probably be scared of hospitals from now on.

Geez, they certainly muddled the lesson they were trying to teach with this episode, didn’t they? I understand why they pushed the parents into the background. It is a show for little kids. However, in the case of an episode such as this, it makes them out to be horrible parents.

Despite my issues with the episode, it, like the show, does a good job with its portrayal of the kids. Unfortunately, the parents’ stuff will continue to come up in later episodes.

In the credits, we find out that Degrassi royalty was involved in this episode.

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Phil Earnshaw would go on to be the cinematographer and director of episodes in the franchise up to and including Degrassi: Next Class. Kit Hood was around for quite awhile. Linda Schuyler was with the franchise the entire time.

Since doing a post on Ida Makes A Movie, I have since found out that, at least according to Wikipedia, the first four episodes were short films that were then turned into a series and originally aired as after-school specials. Why was the first episode the only one not to include an introduction on it for the DVD release? I don’t know.

See you next time!

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie

A Few Thoughts On The Oscars….


Well, that was …. interesting.

Actually, I really enjoyed the 91s Annual Oscar ceremony this year.  And you know why I enjoyed it?

There wasn’t a host.

For all the talk about how not having a host would be the death of the Oscars, the ceremony functioned just fine without an endless opening monologue.  It turns out that the Oscars don’t need someone organizing a huge selfie.  It does’t need someone demanding that the audience buy girl scout cookies.  It doesn’t need Jimmy Kimmel bringing in random tourists or sending actors to crash the theater across the street.  The presenters can do the job of the host just fine and, even better, they’re gone before you get sick of listening to them.

The show seemed to move quicker, though it still went over 3 hours.  In fact, at 3 hours and 20 minutes, it wasn’t really any shorter than the previous ceremonies.

The audience seemed strangely subdued.  Perhaps that’s because so many mediocre films were winning.  Bohemian Rhapsody took home the most Oscars, 4 in total.  Of course, not once was the name Bryan Singer mentioned.  Singer was like Voldemort at the Oscars.  In fact, you could kind of sense that people in the auditorium were cringing with every award that Bohemian Rhapsody won.  They were probably imagining what some of the headlines will be tomorrow.  “While patting themselves on the back for being woke, the Academy honored Bryan Singer.”

According to my TSL colleague, Leonard Wilson, there were boos in the audience when Green Book won best picture.  I didn’t hear them but I don’t doubt they were there.  Green Book isn’t a terrible film as much as it’s just a rather bland one.  It’s a film about a different era that feels like it was made in a different era.  Much like the last film to win without being nominated for best director, it seems destined to be forgotten.

(That last film, by the way, was Argo, which was an okay film — much like Green Book — but which isn’t exactly held up as a groundbreaking winner.)

The top moment for me was Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga performing Shallow. Lady Gaga’s acceptance speech was amazing.  My second favorite moment was when Olivia Colman defeated Glenn Close for Best Actress.  That’s nothing against Close.  It’s just Close was such a favorite that it was nice to see Colman score an upset victory.

Now, we just wait for the ratings to come in.  My fear is that the ratings are going to suck and ABC will be say, “It’s because we didn’t have a host!  It’s because we didn’t do Best Popular Film!  It’s because we didn’t give out any awards during the commercial break!”

Of course, the opposite is true.  Despite some unfortunate winners, this was a pretty enjoyable broadcast.  This was what the Oscars should always be like.  We don’t need a host.  We just need better nominees.

(In my opinion, Eighth Grade was the best film of the year.  Of course, it didn’t get a single nomination.)

Well, this concludes another Oscar Sunday!

Thank you, everyone, for visiting the site today.  With the Oscars now out of the way, we can focus our attention on the films of 2019!  Let’s hope this year in film is a good one!

Thanks, everyone.

Love ya.

 

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Ida Makes A Movie


A couple of years ago Lisa suggested that I review the long running franchise known as Degrassi. I’m sure she was mainly referring to Degrassi: The Next Generation, but, the franchise goes back a lot further than that particular entry. In fact, it goes back to 1979 with a series called The Kids Of Degrassi Street. I feel we should start at the beginning.

I began watching this franchise sometime in the 2000s and fell in love with it. It came in and out of my life after that, but I believe I have seen it all. That being said, it has been a long time since I watched some of these shows. Even then, I saw them out of order and with years in between viewings. As such, it will be a journey of rediscovery for me.

The show began with what I believe was a pilot episode, or at the very least, it was decided at some point to be expanded into an entire series. It’s my guess that this was something along the lines of Panic At Malibu Pier (1989), which was filmed as a movie, but was also intended to be a pilot episode for Baywatch. That way in case the show wasn’t picked up, they could release it as a movie. Or it could have been even simpler and been a pitch pilot such as the one done for Baywatch which had their long running real-life lifeguard cast member, Michael Newman, doing lifeguard things for a few minutes. No matter what it was intended to be, it did end up being turned into a series.

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So what shot opens up a franchise that off and on would last about 40 years? A shot of a “Do Not Litter!” sign.

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As anti-climatic as that is, it does set the tone for the entire franchise: lessons for the audience to learn.

The show essentially began as a series of after school specials where each one would focus on a particular issue or issues. If you’ve seen any later entry in the franchise, then you know that they never stopped doing that kind of thing. The difference is that in later shows these lessons would end up being folded into a normal TV show with an ongoing narrative, regular characters, and actual seasons. Still, you can unpack them and find lesson after lesson that they were trying to get across to the audience as if it were still a series of after school specials for kids. There are some recurring characters on this show, but it’s not like a regular TV Show.

Something else worth noting is that unlike a show such as Beverly Hills, 90210; Degrassi, the school, or the street in this entry, and the kids that happen to pass through are what the shows are about. On Beverly Hills, 90210 we follow a set of characters through high school, college, and beyond. That’s not what Degrassi is really going for with their shows.

I bring this up because it ties back in with what I said about after school specials. The characters on Degrassi aren’t necessarily there for one episode and then tossed away, but the takeaway for the audience are the lessons that are learned by those characters during their time in school or on Degrassi St. Of course there are exceptions since no analogy is perfect and get on with it, I know.

The first episode starts by introducing us to our two main characters for this episode. We have Ida, who is played by Zoë Newman. She is pictured on the right of the title card. We also have her friend Cookie, played by Dawn Harrison. She is on the left. As the show goes on, they fade out as the filmmakers started to find the actors that would go on to be in the next entry, Degrassi Junior High.

This cat may be surrounded by litter, but it doesn’t know how good it has it. We’ll get to that in a later episode.

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There is a bunch of garbage on the ground, and after Ida steps on a sandwich…

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Cookie notices a sign for a film contest geared towards children.

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Ida decides to do what the title of the episode says.

She starts hunting around for a camera in her attic among her dad’s old stuff. She finds one, but it’s broken.

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Enter Mom…

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who suggests that Ida simply go and get the camera fixed.

Cut directly to a guy at a camera store who tells us this was made in the 1970s without needing to say a word.

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He tells her that it needs a new spring, some film, and the cost.

Is that a picture of James Garner behind her? Was he a spokesman for Kodak or something at the time?

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Anyways, she is going to need some money to repair the camera and Mom isn’t going to help with that, so Ida is going to have to raise some money on her own.

Back home, we meet Ida’s brother Fred, played by someone they don’t list in the credits. Proper credits don’t show up until the next episode.

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He suggests mowing lawns and Cookie suggests having a bake sale, but Ida doesn’t want to do the first and doesn’t know how to cook. Thankfully, Mom has some dialog that doesn’t make sense to give Ida an idea.

She says that if Ida doesn’t “find a place for that junk from the attic”, then she is going throw it out. I have no idea if that means Ida took a bunch of stuff out of the attic, which means she could simply put it back, or what. I just know that Ida decides that she should have a garage sale.

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At the sale, Fred buys a military helmet from Ida. It’s important for the plot that he does this.

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Ida raises enough money, and without even counting it, the guy at the store gives her the fixed camera.

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No, there will never be anything about developing, editing, or any of the other things that go into making a movie. You just have to accept that it is fixed, and now Ida is off to make her movie. It’s going to be a movie about garbage of course.

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This leads to a short “Who’s On First” routine with Mom before she leaves her, Cookie, and Fred to make the movie.

While Ida films, Cookie is supposed to dance around the garbage and they have timed the shooting to coincide with the arrival of a garbage truck. Fred is supposed to hand garbage to the garbageman. Fred “accidentally” grabs Cookie’s doll and puts it in with the trash…

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which must mean that Cookie has two dolls, I think, since she is holding another one.

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Now comes my favorite part out of this whole thing.

Despite the fact that Fred and Cookie fight over the doll in front of him…

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and despite the fact that we can see and hear Cookie calling out in his direction that the doll is not trash…

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he takes it and dumps it in the back of the truck anyways before hopping onto the truck to leave.

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Good job, garbageman! Also it’s a little cruel on Ida’s part to keep filming while she knows her friend’s doll is being taken off with actual garbage. Oh, well.

Via a title card telling us that two weeks have past…

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Ida receives a letter telling her that she is one of the finalists in the contest. The problem is that they thought it was about war instead of garbage, probably due to the fight over the doll and the helmet. I guess what the movie is supposed to be about wasn’t something that was to be included with the film when it was sent in.

What follows is some back and forth between Ida, Cookie, and Ida’s mom which amounts to the lesson that Ida should tell them that the movie is about garbage and not war because it’s a kind of lying otherwise.

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That’s an interesting looking award.

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Of course Ida wins. But then she tells the guy giving out the award, played by Elwy Yost, that the film isn’t about war. The guy then all but lets her walk offstage in embarrassment before bringing up that the award is given on merit, so she can have it. It ends right there.

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That’s the beginning of Degrassi! An episode about not lying and not accepting something from someone in return for something the other person misinterpreted as something different than what you intended it to be. It also pushes a “Do It Yourself” ethic and you could make the case that garbage and war aren’t as different a subject as Ida thinks.

They do undercut the first two messages a little bit since she never tells the announcer that she added a “T” to the middle of her name to make it sound more impressive even though the episode reminds us several times that she did.

Also, I understand why they did and will continue to largely push the parents into the background, but it has side effects at times. Not so much with this entry, but it will in later episodes.

We have a long way to go, and actors to discover that will move onto Degrassi Junior High, and beyond.

Guilty Pleasure No. 40: Parking Wars


Strange show, Parking Wars.

Between 2008 and 2012, A&E aired 104 episodes of Parking Wars.  Even though the show’s no longer in production, episodes still seem to air on nearly a daily basis.  If you can’t find it on A&E, check on FYI.  If you can’t find it on FYI, check WGN or TBS or any of the true crime networks.  Nearly seven years after it stopped producing new episodes, Parking Wars airs so frequently that one could be forgiven for thinking that it had never been canceled.

It was an odd show.  It was a reality show, one that allowed viewers a chance to see what it was like to be a part of the parking authority.  You read that correctly.  This show was devoted to perhaps the least useful members of law enforcement.  The first two seasons focused exclusively on the employees of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.  Since the members of the PPA were all municipal employees, I’m going to assume that the show’s producers had to get permission from the city to follow them as they worked.  One assumes that the hope was that the show would improve Philadelphia’s image.  That’s why it’s interesting that the main lesson to be learned from those first two seasons of Parking Wars appears to be that everyone should stay the Hell out of Philadelphia.

Seriously, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would book a flight to Philly after watching an episode of Parking Wars.  Not only do all of the traffic cops come across as being assholes but so do most of the citizens that they meet over the course of their day.  Everyone comes across as being a jerk.  On the one hand, you have the motorists who regularly ignore posted signs and who often have no hesitation about double parking or blocking traffic.  At the same time, the show’s parking cops tend to the biggest bunch of self-important pricks that I’ve ever seen.

Each episode is usually divided into three sections.  In Ticketing, we follow some civil servant in a uniform while they walk up and down the street, looking for anyone to whom they can give a ticket.  While they do this, they talk to the camera about why their job is important and why people shouldn’t hate them.  It usually only takes a minute or so to realize that we’re not exactly dealing with the most eloquent or witty group of people here.  Typical words of wisdom: “People think I’m picking on them but ….. I’m just doing my job.  If they hadn’t broken the rules, I would not be writing them a ticket.”  Never mind that, half the time, the parking meters are broken or that the “No Parking” sign has weathered so much abuse that it can barely be read.  Whenever someone asks a legitimate question about why they’re getting a ticket, the show responds with a silly sound effect.  “Only dummies question authority,” the show is saying.  On those occasions when someone actually proves that they’ve been wrongly ticketed (and it happens more than a few times), they’re told to call a number or go to court and get it dismissed.  “Once I start writing the ticket, I can’t take it back,” the parking cop explains, as if that somehow excuses any inconvenience that anyone else might suffer.

The 2nd section of each episode often took place at the impound lot, where the citizens of Philadelphia would go to get their cars after they had been towed.  The impound lot sequences basically highlight everything that intelligent people hate about bureaucracy.  I’ll always remember the woman from Delaware whose car was impounded in Philadelphia, due to a mistake made by the Delaware Highway Patrol.  Even after the woman got a signed letter from a judge in Delaware exonerating her and saying that her car shouldn’t have been impounded, the lot supervisor said that the car couldn’t be released because the state of Pennsylvania still had her on its impound list.  When the woman was told that she could hire a tow truck (at her own expense) and have the car towed to Delaware, the lot workers were shocked when the woman angrily announced that she wasn’t going to pay any more money just because of someone else’s bureaucratic snafu.  When Pennsylvania finally did get its act together and announced that the woman could have her car back, one of the lot workers had the nerve to say, “Y’know, my supervisor went to a lot of trouble for you.”  (From what we saw on the program, it appeared that the supervisor made one phone call, mostly to get confirmation that she should refuse to release the woman’s car.)  The look the woman from Delaware gave that worker pretty much said it all.

Finally, an episode would usually wrap up with a sequence about booting.  The booting sequences dealt with the people who drive around and randomly search for people with multiple unpaid tickets, so that they can put those big yellow locks on people’s tires.  On the one hand, the booting sequences were a bit less annoying that the ticketing and impound sequences because most of the people getting booted did owe several thousands of dollars in parking tickets.  On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to notice that the boot crew usually only seemed to search for cars in lower-class neighborhoods.  It was rare you ever heard anyone suggest maybe going to a rich neighborhood and seeing if anyone there needed a boot.  Instead the people being booted were often the very people who would need a car if they were ever actually going to get the money necessary to pay their tickets.

Throughout it all, the show punctuated every action or comment with a combination of zoom lenses and silly sound effects.  If someone declared that they needed their car for work, we’d hear someone dramatically go, “DAMN!” on the soundtrack.  If the parking cop pointed out a sign that said no parking, we’d get a zoom to the sign along with a smack-smack sound effect.

Even though the show is less than ten years old, watching it can be strange today.  Parking Wars was clearly made before the era of #MeToo.  If the parking cop is a woman, one can be sure that we’ll get at least a few interviews with the citizens of Philadelphia talking about how cute she is.  If the parking cop’s a man, one can be sure that he’ll take the time to leer at any passing women while the camera zooms in on what part of her body has drawn his attention.

Eventually, it would appear that the city of Philadelphia figured out that being advertised as being the worst cities on Earth was perhaps not the boon for tourism that they thought it would be and Parking Wars started to focus on other cities.  When they started to film in Detroit, we were introduced to a parking cop named Pony Tail.  Pony Tail was perhaps the most obnoxious character to ever be unleashed on the brave viewers of A&E.  Pony Tail was the type of creep who would brag about how he was punishing evil doers (because being parked at an expired meter is a sure sign of evil) but who would then spend his entire segment pouting after a random passerby yelled out, “Parking Authority sucks!”

Things got even worse once the show expanded to New York and started to feature “independent” towing companies.  If it could be said that the parking cops were at least enforcing the law, the independent towing people were just straight-up assholes.  Whenever they towed a woman’s car and responded to her complaints by calling her “sweetheart” or “honey,” you just wanted someone to jump in and smack the Hell out of them.

And yet, oddly enough, Parking Wars was (and is) addictive viewing.  I can’t speak for everyone but for me, it’s a show that I almost hatewatch.  It confirms everything negative thing that I’ve ever felt or suspected about the people in authority.  If you believe that most people will let even the slightest bit of power go straight to their head, this is the show for you.  If you distrust the government and think that most bureaucrats are petty tyrants, Parking Wars is a show that will confirm your every suspicion.  The best moments of Parking Wars are the ones that suggest that maybe the show’s producers were secretly poking fun at the parking authority’s delusions of grandeur.  I’m talking about the moments when the ticketed got their chance to yell at the ticketers and the ticketers, for the most part, were reduced to weakly saying, “I’m just doing my job….”  Could it be that Parking Wars was one of the biggest practical jokes in reality show history and perhaps Pony Tail and the folks at the Impound Lot were being punked without even realizing it?

Probably not but it’s fun to think about….

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer