Lisa Marie’s Week In Television 10/24/21 — 10/30/21


Needless to say, this week was more about movies than it was about TV.  Here’s what I did watch.

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

“Some you may be wondering what I am doing in my office, bricking myself up.”  Oh, Rene …. I’m sure you have a good reason.  In this case, it was because Rene was concerned that the Germans were looking to arrest him.  It’s far more probable that Rene just wanted an excuse to get away from all of the drama in the cafe.  Eventually, Michelle showed up to give Rene both a medal to honor his bravery and a suicide pill for him to take once he was captured.  Fortunately for Rene but unfortunately for the Resistance, the attempt to send all of the German generals to England failed and Rene was in the clear.  The Resistance took back both the suicide pill and the medal.

Eventually, this all led to Rene pretending to be a member of the clergy, Michelle pretending to be in love with Rene, Mimi pretending to be s baby, Herr Flick also pretending to be a baby, and a group of Italian soldiers running around the village with bayonets.

It was all very odd but rather funny.

Dancing With The Stars (Monday Night, ABC)

It was horror night!  All of the dances went pretty well, in my opinion.  I did have to smile a bit at the dance that was described as being “an homage to The Purge,” as if the Purge is some decades-old classic.  And I groaned when one of the dancers said he was “dressed as Hellraiser,” when he was clearly dressed as Pinhead.  JoJo’s It-inspired dance was good.  The judges were too hard on Melora Hardin.  To be honest, the judges remain the worst part of this show.

Degrassi: The Next Generation (DVD)

I watched the classic Breakfast Club episode from season 3 and I wrote about it here!

Fear the Walking Dead (Sunday Night, AMC)

I reviewed the latest episode here!

Firing Line (Sunday Night, PBS)

On this public affairs show, Margaret Hoover was interviewing a woman who was very concerned about Donald Trump’s policies.  It was a new episode but no one was interested in talking about Joe Biden’s policies.  In its way, this episode was actually a perfect reflection of what politics is like in America right now.  We have a president that few people take seriously and an ex-president who everyone either fears or loves.

Friday the 13th: The Series (YouTube)

Discovering this series has been one of the true pleasures of this year’s horrorthon.

It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (Sunday Night, PBS)

Erin and I watched this classic on Sunday.  Two years ago, Erin wrote an essay about why we love this special and it’s still relevant today.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright’s attempt to set up a mobile food truck nearly killed Grandville.  All of the neighbors were, as usual, upset at being inconvenienced.  No one seemed to have too much of a problem with Grandville nearly dying.  Poor Grandville.

Seinfeld (Every Day, Comedy Central)

I watched two episodes on Friday.  One featured Jerry dating a Miss America contestant and Elaine getting a job with a cranky old man.  The other featured Elaine ordering a “Big Salad.”  I relate to Elaine.  Big salads are the best!

Survivor 41 (Wednesday Night, ABC)

I wrote about this week’s episode here!

Toy Story of Terror (ABC, Thursday Night)

Erin and I watch this Halloween special every year.  Though it may not bring me to tears like the movies do, it’s still nice to see all of the toys together and looking out for each other.

The Walking Dead: World Beyond (Sunday Night, AMC)

I’ve actually reached the point where I’ve gone from being totally indifferent to kind of liking this show.  The idea of teenagers trying to enjoy their youth in a world that will probably not allow them to grow old is actually more compelling than I thought it would be.  Plus, it’s not quite as slow as the other two Walking Dead shows.  I still spend a good deal o this show feeling confused but still, it does mange to consistently hold my interest for the hour that it’s on.  That may be a long-winded compliment but …. well, so be it.

Bonus Horror on TV: The Curse of Degrassi (dir by Stefan Brogren)


How about a bonus installment of Horror on TV?

This is a special episode of my favorite TV show of all, Degrassi!  Originally airing on October 28th, 2008, The Curse of Degrassi features Degrassi’s main mean girl, Holy J Sinclair (Charlotte Arnold), getting possessed by the vengeful spirit of deceased school shooter, Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis).  Chaos follows!  Fortunately, Spinner (Shane Kippel) is around to save the day.  As any true Degrassi fan can tell you, only Spinner has a chance against the forces of the undead.

What I like about this episode is that, in the best tradition of Degrassi, it goes there.  Holly J does get possessed.  Just about the entire cast end up dying horribly.  Spinner has to battle the undead spirit of Rick Murray and he has to do it without the help of Drake.  And, as far as we know, this episode is canon.  So, yes, Rick Murray’s ghost actually does haunt Degrassi Community School and yes, only Spinner can save us all.

Go Spinner!

Enjoy!

What Lisa Marie Watched Last Night #217: Degrassi: The Next Generation 3.16 “Take on Me” (dir by Phil Earnshaw)


Last night, I watched a classic episode from the 3rd season of Degrassi: The Next Generation, Take On Me!

Why Was I Watching It, eh?

A few days ago, when I wrote my review of R.L. Stine’s Trapped, I started thinking about how much I love Degrassi‘s take on The Breakfast Club.  That led to me getting out my Season 3 DVD and watching Take On Me!

What Was It Aboot?

This episode originally aired on February 16th, 2004.  It’s the weekend in Canada but instead of watching a hockey game and studying the dual languages of their native country, five Degrassi high school students are serving detention.  Ellie Nash (Stacey Farber) skipped school.  Hazel Aden (Andrea Lewis) used the school computers to look up porn.  Jimmy Brooks (DRAKE! — back when he was still known as Aubrey Graham) and Toby Isaacs (Jake Goldsbie) hacked into the school’s computers in an attempt to change Jimmy’s grades.  And rebel Sean Cameron (Daniel Clark) is in detention because he’s suspected of being a part of a gang of thieves who are terrorizing the entire school!

Together, the five students talk about their different cliques, play truth or dare, and sneak up to the roof.  Ellie and Sean start to fall for each other but how will Sean react when he discovers that Ellie has a secret motive for being in detention?

What Worked:

This is one of those episodes of Degrassi that you either love or you hate. You either can’t believe how blatantly the show ripped off The Breakfast Club or else you watch it and go, “Oh cool, they’re ripping off The Breakfast Club!”

Myself, I love this episode!  Not only does it center on two of my favorite characters, Ellie and Sean, but it’s also the start of the Ellie/Sean romance!  Unfortunately, the Ellie/Sean romance would only last a few episodes but they were a great couple.  Stacey Farber and Daniel Clark had a really great chemistry in their scenes together, as can be seen in this episode when they go up to the roof and they talk about thievery and self-harm.  The scene where Ellie shows Sean the scars on her arm is one of the best in the history of Degrassi.

This episode also features one of my favorite Degrassi exchanges.  When Ellie says she’s in detention for skipping school, Jimmy deadpans, “Wow, that’s a great story, Ellie.”  It’s just the way the line is delivered.

What Did Not Work:

There’s this really weird subplot involving the principal, Mr. Radish (Dan Woods).  Radish is at the school to supervise detention.  He brags about how it’s all a part of his new “no tolerance” policy for misbehavior.  However, Archie “Snake” Simpson (Stefan Brogren), the media arts teacher, stops by the school and tells Mr. Radish that there’s more to life than just following rules.  Sometimes, tolerance is a good thing.

At the end of the episode, a chastised Mr. Radish tells the detention kids that he’s just trying to do the right thing.  He suddenly decides to show some tolerance and he lets everyone go home early.  The thing is, though — Sean was stealing things from the school.  And Jimmy did bully Toby into trying to change his grades and Toby did hack into the school’s computer.  Hazel and Ellie were both in detention for minor reasons but the three guys actually did some serious things wrong.  Their behavior was exactly the sort of thing that would get most students in a lot more trouble than just weekend detention.  If anything, Mr. Radish was being nice by just having them give up a few weekends as opposed to calling the cops.

Finally, the end of the episode reveals that Ellie was actually working undercover for the local news station, for a story they were planning on doing about the thefts at the school.  But why would a big city news station care about such a minor crime and whose bright idea was it to get the story by putting an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl in potential danger by sending her in with a tape recorder?  And couldn’t they have at least given Ellie a less bulky tape recorder?  It’s almost like they wanted her to get caught.

“Oh my God!  Just Like Me!” Moments

Honestly, every single minute of every single episode of Degrassi is pretty much an “Oh my God!  Just like me!” moment, as far as I’m concerned.  That said, I always related the most to Ellie.  We both have red hair.  We both spent a good deal of high school dressed in black.  We both went through a cutting phase and a rubber band on the wrist phase and I’ve always appreciated the sensitive way that Degrassi handled that subject matter.  (Whatever flaws it may have had, Degrassi was way ahead of its time when it came to dealing with anxiety.)

I especially related to Ellie in this episode, both because I always ended up crushing on the sensitive rebels like Sean Cameron and I also got assigned detention a few times.  Of course, I always skipped detention because I was really into the whole “No one’s going to tell me what to do” thing.  Strangely, I never got in any trouble for not showing up to detention and I always wondered if everyone regularly skipped or if it was just me.

Lessons Learned

There’s nothing more fun and emotionally rewarding than weekend detention!

Music Video of the Day: Whatever It Takes by Imagine Dragons (2017, dir by Matt Eastin and Aaron Hymes)


Whatever it takes

I know I can make it through….

Oh wait a minute, this isn’t the Degrassi theme song.  Sad to say but there has never been an official music video released for the Degrassi theme song.  If there had been, I would definitely be sharing it today for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Still, this Imagine Dragons song isn’t bad and the video features a lot of fire and destruction, which fits in with our horror theme this month.  So, I’ll take it.

Enjoy!

Horror on TVL Degrassi 11.30-31 “Nowhere to Run” (dir by Pat Williams)


Degrassi goes slasher!

Well, kinda.

In this episode, the latest batch of students at Toronto’s Degrassi Community School decided that the perfect way to end their summer is to go up to an isolated cabin in the woods.  I know, it doesn’t make much sense to me, either.  No one invites Clare because, by this point in the series, Clare had started to transform into Canada’s most dramatic yandere.  However, because Clare is upset over her mom marrying the father of her ex-boyfriend, she goes up to the cabin anyway and ends up getting lost in the woods.

Of course, all sorts of weird things are happening around the cabin.  Are the Degrassi students about to fall victim to the Canadian version of Michael Myers?  Or do they just have an overactive imagination?

This episode originally aired on October 24, 2011, in Canada.  It didn’t make it’s way over to the U.S. until November 18th, which definitely diluted its horror-themed impact.  In many ways, it’s typical of later-era Degrassi, in that the plot is kind of fun and cute but you can’t help but think about how much more fun it would be if it was Ellie, Emma, Manny, Craig, and Spinner in the cabin instead of their replacements.  But then again, that’s true to life.  No one stays in high school forever.

Anyway, enjoy the horrorthon’s final episode of Degrassi!  Tomorrow, we start a new show!

Horror on TV: Degrassi: The Next Generation 9.17 “Innocent When You Dream” (dir by Eleanore Lindo)


The world of Degrassi is like our own but not quite.

For instance, on Degrassi, Kid Rock was named Kid Eldrick.  When Darcy started posting racy pictures of herself, she posted them not on MySpace but instead on MyRoom.  A few seasons later, when Alli created the infamous I Hate Holly J group, she did so not on Facebook but instead on Facerange.  Oddly enough, I think Degrassi‘s Twitter was called Twitter as well, which just proves that Twitter is the one social media network that you can’t escape.

Finally, in the world of Degrassi, students did not read Twilight and then fantasize about being a vampire’s lover.  Instead, they read a series of YA books called …. Fortnight.  Of course, this was before Fortnite itself became a thing but still, it’s always somewhat amusing to hear Degrassi students talk about how romantic they find Fortnight to be.

In tonight’s episode of Degrassi, it turns out that Clare Edwards (Aislinn Paul) is not only obsessed with Fortnight but she’s also having dreams about her classmate, Declan (Landon Liboiron).  It kind of makes sense because Declan is totally a vampire name.  The first problem is that Declan is dating the seemingly-evil-but-not-really-that-bad Holly J (Charlotte Arnold).  The second problem is that Clare might be turning into a vampire herself.

In this episode’s subplot, Sav (Raymond Ablack) directs a music video and Degrassi‘s house band, Studz, performs House Arrest for the thousandth time.  Even though Spinner (Shane Kippel) graduated several seasons ago, he’s still Studz’s drummer.  It’s all so Sav can try to win back Anya (Samantha Munro), which was a storyline that just went on and on.

This episode first aired on May 7th, 2010.

Horror on TV: The Curse of Degrassi (dir by Stefan Brogren)


This is a special episode of my favorite TV show of all, Degrassi!  Originally airing on October 28th, 2008, The Curse of Degrassi features Degrassi’s main mean girl, Holy J Sinclair (Charlotte Arnold), getting possessed by the vengeful spirit of deceased school shooter, Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis).  Chaos follows!  Fortunately, Spinner (Shane Kippel) is around to save the day.  As any true Degrassi fan can tell you, only Spinner has a chance against the forces of the undead.

What I like about this episode is that, in the best tradition of Degrassi, it goes there.  Holly J does get possessed.  Just about the entire cast end up dying horribly.  Spinner has to battle the undead spirit of Rick Murray and he has to do it without the help of Drake.  And, as far as we know, this episode is canon.  So, yes, Rick Murray’s ghost actually does haunt Degrassi Community School and yes, only Spinner can save us all.

Go Spinner!

Enjoy!

Horror On TV: Degrassi: The Next Generation 4.15 “Secret: Part 2” (dir by Eleanore Lindo)


When last we checked in with Toronto’s Degrassi Community School, the school was recovering from a recent school shooting by putting on a production of Dracula.  While a fake vampire drained blood onstage, his real-life equivalent tempted girls into his van at the ravine with the promise of cheap bracelets and an escape from all the trauma of the past month.

In the second part of Secret, the play is finally ready to open but, much as how Dracula has infecting the stage with vampirism, Jay (Mike Lobel) has infected the school with gonorrhea.  Can Emma (Miriam McDonald) get through the play without having a complete breakdown?

There’s a B-plot here, of course.  Jimmy (Drake …. yes, the Drake) has been in the hospital ever since getting shot in the back by Rick Murray.  With the help of Craig (Jake Epstein) and Marco (Adamo Ruggiero), Jimmy escapes from the hospital so that he can attend a Kid Eldrick show.  (Kid Eldrick is Degrassi‘s version of Kid Rock.)  It’s actually kind of a nice little story.  My favorite line is Marco’s one about wanting to look like a ninja.

That said, this is the episode will forever be known for making national news when it aired in the United States.  Though it may seem strange now, this was considered to quite a controversial show back in 2005.  (Canadians, of course, got to see the episode first, when it aired on December 7th, 2004.)

One thing I like about this episode — and the reason why I am specifically sharing it now — is the way that the school staged their production of Dracula.  It looks like they did a good job.  I especially liked the way that they faked the blood in the staking scene.

Enjoy!

Horror on TV: Degrassi: The Next Generation 4.14 “Secret, Part One” (dir by Eleanore Lindo)


Tonight’s televised horror comes to use from the year 2004 and the nation of Canada!  Love you, Canada!

In this episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, the students at Toronto’s Degrassi Community School are still struggling to come to terms with a recent school shooting that left one student dead and another paralyzed.  What better way to help the school deal with their trauma than a play?  And what better play to select than an adaptation of …. Dracula?

J.T. (Ryan Cooley) and Libertry (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) are directing their own script.  Starring in the play is Emma Nelson (Miriam McDonald).   Before the shooting, Emma was known for being rather strident about her political and environmental activism.  After the shooting, Emma has been spiraling out of control.  And, as we all know, spiraling out of control on Degrassi inevitably leads to a visit to the ravine where all-around trouble-maker Jay (Mike Lobel) has a van and a collection cheap bracelets.

Meanwhile, in another part of the school, Ashley (Melissa McIntyre) tries to get Craig (Jake Epstein) to join a support group that will help him deal with his recent bipolar diagnosis.  Craig is upset to discover that Ellie (Stacey Farber) is in the same group.  This episode was the start of the very long and very angsty Craig/Ellie relationship arc.  When I first watched Degrassi, I always related to Ellie and I still do to a certain extent but, in retrospect, I think I was probably a lot more like Ashley when I was in high school.

This episode of Degrassi aired, in Canada, on November 30th, 2004.  This episode was considered to be so controversial that it actually made national news when it later aired in the United States.  (I can actually remember watching some outraged wannabe censor talking about how Degrassi was a corrupting influence.)  Part Two of Secret, which we’ll get to tomorrow, was even more controversial.

As for how this fits in with October …. it’s Dracula!  And really, when you think about it, Jay’s a bit of a real-life Dracula.  That’ll especially become clear in the next episode.

Anyway, here is tonight’s episode.  Remember — whatever it takes, you can make it through!

 

Horror On TV: Degrassi High 4.14 “It Creeps!!” (dir by Kit Hood)


During the month of October, we like to share classic episodes of horror-themed television.  That was easier to do when we first started doing our annual October horrorthon here at the Shattered Lens because every single episode of the original, black-and-white Twilight Zone was available on YouTube.  Sadly, that’s no longer the case.

However, there is some good news!  Twilight Zone may be gone but every episode of Degrassi is currently available on YouTube!

Yay!

Now, I know what you’re saying.  “But Lisa, I thought you said there were classic episodes of horror-themed television?”

Degrassi is a classic!

“No, Lisa, the horror part….”

Believe it or not, Degrassi wasn’t always about kids going to school in Toronto.  Quite a few episodes of Degrassi actually touched on the horror genre.

For instance, there’s this episode of Degrassi High, which originally aired on February 6th, 1990.  (Degrassi High was one of the forerunners to the Degrassi that we all know and love.)  In this episode, aspiring filmmaker Lucy Fernandez (played by Anais Granofsky) uses the school and her classmates to shoot a “feminist horror film” called It Creeps!!  And while her fellow students may have been dismissive of Lucy’s goal to make a slasher film in which only boys are slashed, modern audiences will immediately see that Lucy was ahead of her time.

Of course, while Lucy is making her movie, Spike (Amanda Stepto) is having to deal with her former boyfriend and the father of her child, Shane (Billy Parrott).  Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Shane went to a concert, dropped acid, and then literally dropped off a bridge.  Of course, if you’ve seen Degrassi: The Next Generation, you know that Shane and Spike’s daughter grew up to be Emma Nelson, the lead character for that show’s first few seasons.  You also know that Spike ended up marrying Snake, one of the co-stars of Lucy’s movie.

(Of course, Lucy herself ended up getting blinded and crippled in an auto accident that was the fault of Wheels, yet another costar in It Creeps!!)

Anyway, enjoy It Creeps!!