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!!

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Sophie Minds The Store


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In the last episode, we followed Lisa step by step through the process of nearly releasing a story that her brother Noel is a thief. This time we are essentially getting a reworked version of that same story about trust and responsibility, which is fine by me. It gives me a good excuse to skip over the many ways they try to tie these lessons together.

This is Sophie, played by Stacey Halberstadt. Her mom is played by Lydia Chaban.

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As per the usual for the parents of the kids Of Degrassi Street, Sophie is going to be left unsupervised in a situation where she definitely should be. Her mom is going out of town for a wedding. Her dad is in the apartment above the store in a body cast. We only hear him once in a while when he yells down at her. This means Sophie will be left alone to run the De Grassi Grocery. There is mention of an aunt that is cooking her meals, but we never see her. All that said, if this wasn’t the case, Sophie wouldn’t have the chance to open the episode with the catchphrase of the episode which she says to her mom: “Trust me!”

I think this might be Lewis Manne again playing the cab driver picking up Sophie’s mom. If it is him, then it looks as if he has shaved his beard. It’s hard to tell for sure.

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It looks like him from the back…

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when you compare it to the way he looked in the last episode.

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Throw in the way he appears while getting out of the cab, and it sure looks like him to me.

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I’m gonna go ahead and say it is him. Especially since two people from behind the scenes make cameos later on in the episode. At this rate, Manne is becoming the Alfred Hitchcock of The Kids Of Degrassi Street.

While I’m aware that we did get a glance at a school in Irene Moves In, for me this counts as the first real appearance of a school in the Degrassi franchise. As you might have guessed from the Christmas tree in the distance, they are about to be let out for the holidays.

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It’s a little difficult to make out that board, but a math contest was recently held. Whoever won got an “earphone radio”.

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The camera pans down this hallway to show us the kids exiting from a room to go to their lockers. While it does so, I swear the voice coming over the PA system to tell us about the math contest is none other than Sue A’Court. You might remember her as Nurse Trish from Cookie Goes To Hospital. It would make sense since this is one of the episodes she wrote.

Sophie is the winner of the math contest. She didn’t get a single answer wrong. “Homework Causes Brain Damage”??? That’s a new one on me. Having numerous things that keep interrupting you so that it winds up taking you an inordinate amount of time to write a simple post about an episode of Degrassi, now that causes brain damage.

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Chuck asks if he can see her radio, but with her ego at maximum size, she ignores Chuck at first by inviting Noel to try it on. He refuses. Then she tells Chuck that he might “wreck” it.

Apparently Noel is a fan of the Rolling Stones.

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There’s a little exchange between the three of them. What’s important is that we find out Chuck’s dad is in jail and that Chuck was suspended from his hockey team for fighting. The second of which he blames on the other person.

Sophie does as the title says; she tries to mind the store. She is a very “I don’t need any help person” that her recent win at the math contest only makes worse.

Chuck is out collecting bottles to try and raise money to get one of those radios that Sophie won in order to give it to his dad.

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What follows is a series of situations where Sophie could get robbed without her knowing it.

Some examples include this highly suspicious little girl.

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When Chuck turns in some of his bottles for cash.

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This guy who causes her to have to come out from behind the counter to fix a display he knocks over. By the way, that’s Bruce Mackey who was gay in real life. He passed away in 1997, they named a park on De Grassi St. after him, his house is where they shot the first episode of the show, and according to the The Queer Alliance Of Degrassi Next Class, he is the reason the franchise had a mandate to include LGBTQ characters and issues. This was due to a friendship with one of the show’s creators.

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That would be the person below, Linda Schuyler, who comes in after Sophie has left Chuck in charge of the store–“Trust me!”–while she goes out to deliver a package to a customer.

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Noel even shows up for an after-hours milk purchase.

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During most of this, Chuck hangs around the store and tries to help out Sophie. He keeps asking her about coming to skate with him, but she dismisses his offers. She says she doesn’t have any skates, and despite the fact that Chuck says she can wear his sister’s skates, she still says no.

Things weren’t great between Chuck and Sophie before, but they reach a boiling point after Sophie counts the money in the register at the end of the day in order to compare the total with the day’s receipts, and comes up $20 short.

Assuming that it must be Chuck’s fault, because she couldn’t have possibly added it up wrong, she crosses the line when she tries to use Chuck’s father being in jail as proof that it must have been him that caused her to come up $20 short. Chuck’s response is to push over Sophie after saying “that nobody accuses him and gets away with it.” Chuck has anger issues.

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Getting pushed into a bunch of Wonder Bread is pretty good, but it’s no Irene getting paint splattered on her while looking like she is posing for a crime scene photograph.

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Chuck has a conversation with Noel about what happened. Noel’s remarkably mature about it. He doesn’t defend what she did and doesn’t give Chuck a pass for what he did. Noel agrees that it was wrong for Sophie to assume Chuck stole money from the store and for Sophie to say that Chuck must have learned how to steal from his father. But he reminds Chuck that it wasn’t his father who pushed her over. That’s something he did, and since he could have just walked away, pushing her over is something he has to take responsibility for regardless of the fact that Sophie provoked him.

He also points out the obvious that Chuck knows he didn’t do it, and since it makes no sense that Sophie would’ve taken money from her own store, one of them must have made a mistake.

Chuck tries to apologize, but Sophie won’t have any of it. It’s not till Sophie takes the money to the bank and the clerk informs her she added things together wrong that she’s open to admitting that she was wrong.

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Sophie finds Chuck at an ice rink and gives Chuck her radio to give to his dad. Chuck happens to have brought his sister’s skates with him, so she agrees to skate with him.

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I really appreciate that much like previous episodes, despite learning a lesson during the episode, they don’t immediately lose the part of them that caused the issue in the first place. The instant Sophie gets on the ice, she says she doesn’t need Chuck’s hand, and proceeds to fall down.

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Speaking of not changing instantly, it takes till the moment in the credits below for Sophie to remind Chuck that he hasn’t actually apologized to her for pushing her over.

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He does, and despite the fact that she falls down again saying that’s it’s helpless, he tells her once more over the final set of credits to trust him.

A fairly unremarkable episode, but it did have Linda Schuyler and Bruce Mackey in it. It does have a happy ending, teaches a good lesson, and I’d say the writing was solid as just about everything links together with the themes of trust and responsibility. It’s just not particularly memorable aside from the cameos.

Stacey Halberstadt passed away in 2006. To the best of my knowledge, this is her only appearance in the series. We’ll see Chuck again, though.

Next time we finally get to the episode I’ve wanted to talk about since I started writing about Degrassi–Casey Draws The Line. This time there are permanent consequences to Casey and Lisa’s actions.

As a footnote, while looking into this episode, I found out that they used to sell books to go with the show, such as the one below for Lisa Makes The Headlines.

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  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie
    2. Cookie Goes To Hospital
    3. Irene Moves In
    4. Noel Buys A Suit
    5. Lisa Makes The Headlines