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!

O Canada: The 20 Best Episodes of Degrassi


Happy Canada Day!

Today, in honor of Canada, I’ve decided to share my picks for the 20 best episode of my favorite Canadian television show, Degrassi!

 

  1. Take On Me (Season 3, Episode 16)

Degrassi does The Breakfast Club!  In fact, this episode so closely follows the plot of The Breakfast Club, one has to wonder how John Hughes would have felt about it.  This episode is classic Degrassi in that it shouldn’t work but it does.  Plus, it’s the start of the Ellie (Stacey Farber) and Sean (Daniel Cameron) romance!  Ellie and Sean were one of the best couples in Degrassi history, I don’t care what Emma says.

  1. Time Stands Still (Season 4, Episodes 7-8)

This is probably best-remembered for the scene where Jimmy (Drake) gets shot in the back but the entire episode is actually a sensitive look at the school shooting phenomenon.  Ephraim Ellis deserves a lot of credit for making school shooter Rick Murray both deeply creepy and, occasionally, pathetically sympathetic.  Still, one has to wonder why Alex (Deanna Casaluce) was never punished for her part in the prank that drove Rick over the edge.  Our beloved Spinner (Shane Kippel) and Jay (Mike Lobel) were expelled and treated like pariahs.  Alex not only remained class Vice President and somehow became far more popular with all of Jimmy’s friends.

  1. Ghost in the Machine (Season 4, Episodes 1-2)

Two years after being raped by Dean, Paige (Lauren Collins, giving one of her best performances) learns that the case is finally coming to trial.  At first, Paige doesn’t want to testify, saying that she doesn’t want to relive the ordeal and that it won’t make any difference anyways.  With Spinner’s support, Paige finally does testify but, despite her testimony, Dean is still acquitted.  Paige spirals into self-destructive behavior before finally destroying Dean’s car in one of the show’s most cathartic moments.  The first time I watched this episode, I was stunned and horrified by Dean’s acquittal.  Even though Paige eventually took responsibility for destroying Dean’s car, I still cheered when she did it.  If only Dean had been inside of it at the time.

  1. Whisper to a Scream (Season 3, Episode 8)

Ellie deals with the stress of having an alcoholic mother and a media internship by cutting herself.  Degrassi was one of the first shows to deal with self-harm and it did so with a commendable sensitivity.

  1. Pass the Dutchie (Season 7, Episode 10)

Due to his cancer treatments, Spinner is given medicinal marijuana and is soon wandering around the entire school stoned out of his mind.  Not only did this episode feature one of Shane Kimmel’s best performances but it also featured the classic line, “I’m going to fail English!  What type of idiot fails his own language!”

  1. Secret (Season 4, Episodes 14-15)

Emma (Miriam McDonald), who was previously the show’s token good, liberal activist, grows increasingly self-destructive in the wake of the school shooting and eventually heads into “the Ravine.”  The end result is that she gets a STD from Jay but she also gets the lead role in Degrassi’s production of Dracula.  This one of those Degrassi episodes that was so controversial, it almost didn’t air in the United States.

  1. Voices Carry (Season 4, Episodes 11-12)

Craig Manning (Jake Epstein) asks Ashley Kerwin (Melissa McIntyre) to marry him, beats up his stepfather, trashes a hotel room, and eventually learns he’s bipolar.  This was a powerful episode, one that wasn’t even harmed by a subplot about Liberty (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) and J.T. (Ryan Cooley) working together to write the spring musical.

  1. Paradise City (Season 8, Episodes 19-22)

Also known as Degrassi Goes Hollywood!

  1. Rock This Town (Season 6, Episode 11)

Since the start of the series, J.T. Yorke (played by Ryan Cooley) had been one of the show’s most popular characters, a former joker who got serious.  However, when Cooley decided to leave the show to go to college, Degrassi killed J.T. off in a scene that was so violent that it’s still shocking to watch to this day.  Making the scene all the more powerful is that J.T. was, more or less, a random victim.  He just happened to walk out to his car at the wrong time.  Degrassi was a dangerous place.

  1. Eyes Without A Face (Season 6, Episodes 5 and 6)

Darcy (Shenae Grimes) starts posting racy pictures on her “MyRoom” page.  A fat, middle-aged guy shows up at her house and introduces himself as the dude who has been sending her all of the complimentary comments and money.  Along with introducing the character of Clare Edwards (Aislinn Paul), who would eventually became the show’s main character, this episode was also the start of a series of episodes in which Darcy transformed from being the somewhat boring, token Christian to being the most interesting person on the show.

  1. U Got The Look (Season 3, Episode 3)

Tired of being called “cute” and “adorable” and wanting to be known as “sexy,”, Manny Santos (Cassie Steele) changes her look and her attitude.  In the process, she alienates her best friend Emma, picks up a host of new admirers, and causes JT to repeatedly walk into walls.  This is one of the best-remembered episodes of Degrassi, largely because Manny never went back to her “old” self but instead embraced her new persona.

  1. Mother and Child Reunion (Season 1, Episode 1-2)

In the very first episode of Degrassi, Emma makes a creepy friend online and nearly gets kidnapped.  Fortunately, Snake (Stefan Brogren) is there to toss the guy against the wall and threaten to snap his neck.  Along with introducing almost all of the main characters of the show’s first 6 seasons, this episode also started the spark that would lead to Snake eventually becoming Emma’s stepfather.

  1. Death or Glory (Season 7, Episodes 5 and 6)

After being diagnosed with cancer, Spinner gets a mohawk and gets out his aggression by accepting random fights.  Who knew that Degrassi had a fight club?

  1. Redemption Song (Season 5, Episode 10)

Still being rejected by his old friends because of his role in Jimmy’s shooting, Spinner spends the weekend at the beach with the ultra-religious Friendship Club.  Jay complicates things by showing up.  Darcy and Spinner were an underrated couple and this is one of their key episodes.

  1. Turned Out (Season 5, Episodes 7-8)

Oh my God, JT’s selling drugs!  Well, Liberty is pregnant and JT does need the money but still!  This episode is remembered for the final freeze frame of JT sitting in a hospital bed and sobbing.  Degrassi could be a dark show.

  1. What’s It Feel Like To Be A Ghost (Season 6, Episodes 9-10)

Craig’s back in town.  Ellie and Manny are both excited but …. oh my God!  Craig’s picked up an addiction to cocaine!  This is best-remembered for the scene in which Craig gets a sudden nosebleed while performing during the intermission of a Taking Back Sunday show.

  1. Accidents Will Happen (Season 3, Episodes 14-15)

Manny discovers that she’s pregnant.  This is the episode that was considered to be so controversial that it didn’t even air in the United States until two years after it was originally broadcast in Canada.

  1. Heat of the Moment (Season 8, Episode 12)

The later seasons were never quite as good as the first few but still, we got a few good episodes out of them.  Like this episode, in which Alli (Melinda Shankar) starts the “I Hate Holly J” Facerange group.  Yes, Facerange.  Degrassi wasn’t going to get sued.

  1. Jagged Little Pill (Season 1, Episode 15)

Ashley Kerwin’s the most popular girl in school until she takes ecstasy and ends up telling everyone what she really thinks about them.  Fortunately, Ashley became a much more interesting character afterwards.

  1. Bust A Move (Season 7, Episodes 13-14)

In a last hurrah for the original Degrassi gang, everyone goes on a road trip to Smithdale College.  With Jay’s “help,” Manny gets into acting school.  Meanwhile, Ashley reunites with Craig.  Craig sings “My Window” and it was a fitting send-off to what was left of the show’s original cast.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. The Curse of Degrassi — This Halloween-themed episode was technically a Degrassi mini but I like to think that it’s canonical.  Holly J. (Charlotte Arnold) get possessed by the ghost of Rick Murray and kills all of her friends.  Fortunately, Spinner is there to reverse time.
  2. School’s Out — This made-for-TV movie was the finale of the original Degerassi High.  It featured the first two instances of the F-word being used on Canadian television.  In the start of a Degrassi tradition, it ended with Joey alone, Snake bitter, Lucy blind, and Wheels heading to prison.

 

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!