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


Can you believe that Halloween and Horrorthon are both nearly over!?  I’ve got tears in my mismatched eyes.

Originally, I was planning on posting the final episode of Kolchak tonight but I miscounted and, to make a long story short, I ran out of episodes of Kolchak before I ran out of days in October!

So, for our final Horror on TV of the 2018 Horrorthon, I’m going to share an old favorite of mine, The Curse of 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.

Enjoy!

Music Video of the Day: I’m Upset by Drake (2018, dir by Karena Evans)


We’re not even halfway through 2018 yet and I’m already prepared to declare that today’s music video of the day is the best of the year!  Now, you’ll notice that I didn’t say that it’s the best song of the year but really, the song’s not that important.  What’s important is that, with this video, Drake and director Karena Evans gives us the Degrassi reunion that we’ve all been waiting for!

(Okay, maybe not everyone.  Apparently, some people aren’t as obsessed with Degrassi as the rest of us are.  But you know what?  I love Degrassi.  I’ve got almost the entire series on DVD and I’ve watched and rewatched every episode so many times that I can quote most of them from memory.)

Before he found superstardom as Drake, Aubrey Graham was best known (by people like me) for playing Jimmy Brooks.  When Degrassi first started, Jimmy was something of a random jock.  He got into fights.  He played basketball.  He dated Ashley Kerwin and dumped her after she took ecstasy and ended up making out with Sean.  He dated Hazel until she graduated.  He dated Ashley again until she betrayed him to get a recording contract.  And, of course, he ended up in a wheelchair after a mean-spirited prank led to Rick Murray shooting him in the back.  Jimmy eventually left Toronto for Amsterdam and possibly law school but, as we see in this video, he’s back and so are all of our old favorites.

Admittedly, before this video, there was a previous Degrassi reunion.  Back in 2016, the 500th episode of Degrassi featured a class reunion and several old characters did return.  Unfortunately, everyone’s favorites — like Paige, Spinner, Marco, and Emma — didn’t get much screen time.  Instead, Mo — who really shouldn’t have even been at the reunion since it had only been a year since he graduated — got most of the screen time and seriously, who ever cared about Mo?  Meanwhile, beloved graduates like Ellie, Craig, and Manny didn’t even show up.  In short, the official Degrassi reunion was a huge disappointment!

Fortunately, this video does a better job of bringing back almost all of our favorites.  I guess that’s the power of Drake.  True, it’s hard not to be disappointed that Sean Cameron, Joy Hogart, Alex, J.T. Yorke, Johnny DiMarco, and Bruce the Moose didn’t show up.  (If you ever had any doubt that Degrassi was a Canadian show, just consider the fact that a major supporting character was named Bruce The Moose.)  But check out who did return!

First off, here’s Spinner (Shane Kippel)!

Seriously, it’s not a Degrassi reunion if Spinner isn’t there.  Despite the fact that Degrassi was a four-year school, Spinner was enrolled for seven seasons.  Okay, so Spinner wasn’t that good of a student but so what?  He was the heart and soul of Degrassi!  Not only was he the drummer for Toronto’s greatest band, Downtown Sasquatch, but he was also Jimmy’s best friend, except for that time when Jimmy was angry over Spinner’s part in the prank that led to Jimmy getting shot in the back.  (Fortunately, they made up.)  I’ve seen some people online wondering why Spinner spends so much of this video throwing up.  My theory is that it’s an homage to the seventh season episode, Pass the Dutchie.  That’s the episode where Spinner, while undergoing chemotherapy, throws up on his English teacher.

(That episode also features one of the greatest lines in Degrassi history, when a stoned Spinner realizes that he’s about to fail English for the third time and exclaims, “What kind of idiot fails his own language three times!?”)

Four of my favorites all showed up together.  Getting out of the stylish white car: Paige (Lauren Collins), Ellie (Stacey Farber), Marco (Adamo Ruggiero), and Craig (Jake Epstein).  I always related to Ellie, largely because we both had red hair and always wore black to school.  I also always felt bad that Craig and Ellie could never quite seem to make things works romantically, though Ellie and Sean were actually a better couple.  But I’m just kind of rambling now…

Hey, it’s Terri (Christina Schmidt) and Hazel (Andrea Lewis)!  Terri was on the first three seasons of Degrassi, until she was put into a coma by her abusive boyfriend, Rick Murray.  (This was the same Rick who would later shoot Jimmy in the back.)  Hazel was Jimmy’s girlfriend, until she eventually realized that Jimmy was actually in love with Ellie.  It’s probably not a coincidence that Drake is rapping about his ex at the same time that Hazel shows up.

Then the teachers show up!  Ms. Kwan (Linlyn Lue) was the tyrannical English teacher who was driven to tears when Jimmy and Spinner egged her car.  As for Archie “Snake” Simpson (Stefan Brogren), he’s been the one constant over the course of all the different versions of Degrassi.  He started out as a student on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.  In School’s Out, he was the first character to say “fuck” on Canadian television.  Finally, Mr. Simpson taught the school’s media immersion class and eventually became principal of the school.

About halfway through the video, we learn that Mr. Simpson buys his drugs from Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith).

A longtime fan of the Degrassi franchise, Kevin Smith appeared as himself during season 4 and 5 and also in the second Degrassi movie, Degrassi Goes Hollywood.  Smith came to Degrassi to shoot his latest movie, Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?  Of course, he brought Mewes with him.  While Kevin Smith did end up contributing to the break-up of Caitlin and Joey, he also helped to track down Craig, who was having a manic episode and living on the streets at the time.  Later, Smith would return to Degrassi to encourage Paige to take a chance with Alex and to also help launch the acting career of Manny Santos (Cassie Steele).

Speaking of Manny, she returns for Drake’s reunion and, appropriately enough, she’s seen hanging out with Emma (Miriam McDonald).  Interestingly, in Degrassi Takes Manhattan, Emma ended up marrying Spinner in a plot twist that caused thousands of Degrassi fans (like me) to roll their eyes in unison.  (Seriously, Emma and Spinner barely spoke to each other for 9 seasons and then they suddenly got married.)  In this video, Spinner and Emma don’t even seem to acknowledge each other.  Maybe they got divorced.

Among the other former Degrassi cast members to make an appearance: Melissa McIntyre (a.k.a. the one and only Ashley Kerwin), Nina Dobrev (who played teen mom-turned-super model Mia), A.J. Saudin (a.k.a. Simpson’s autistic godson, Connor), Sarah Barrable-Tishauer (a.k.a., class President Liberty Van Zandt), Jake Goldsbie (a.k.a. adorable nerd Toby Isaacs), Marc Donato and Dalmar Abuzeid (a.k.a. dorky friends Derek and Danny), and Paula Brancati (who played Jane, the girl who Spinner probably should have married.)

And then there’s Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis).  Despite the fact that Rick was reported to have died shortly after shooting Jimmy, he still showed up for the reunion.  Of course, not everyone was happy to see him:

So, for those of you keeping track: Jimmy regained his ability walk, Emma and Spinner are divorced, Rick Murray apparently didn’t die after all, and J.T. Yorke is still dead.  Poor J.T.

(Then again, if Rick’s still alive then you have to wonder how his ghost was able to possess Holy J in The Curse of Degrassi.  Maybe I’m overthinking this.  Anyway…)

Enjoy!

Greatest video of 2018, have no doubt

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


Can you believe it?  The first day of Horrorthon is nearly over!  I’ve got tears in my mismatched eyes.

You may remember, from previous horrorthons, that I like to end each day in October by sharing a classic example of televised horror.  Much as with the the horror movies that I share at the start of each day, it should be remembered that I’m a bit at the whim of YouTube here.  If YouTube decides to yank down a video after I share it on this site, there’s nothing that I can do about it.  That’s why I encourage everyone to watch these now!  Don’t wait until 2024.  Who knows if YouTube will even still be a thing in 2024?

Anyway, let’s start things off with The Curse of Degrassi!

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.

Enjoy!

(Before anyone asks, yes, I did share this same episode last October.  What can I say?  I really like Degrassi and forcing people to watch my favorite Canadian obsession is a bit of a tradition around here.  We’re all about tradition here at the Shattered Lens.)

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


Well, can you believe it?  Halloween is nearly over!  In just four more hours, it will be midnight on the West Coast and October will officially be ended and so will our annual horrorthon.  Thank you to everyone who contributed and read and commented this year!  Y’all make all the hard work more than worth it!

Well, here’s our final excursion into the world of televised horror.  Ready for it?  I’m getting a little teary-eyed.

This is a special episode of my favorite TV show of all, Degrassi!  Originally aired 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!

Happy Halloween and Enjoy!

Love you!

Back to School Part II #44: Degrassi Takes Manhattan (dir by Stefan Brogren)


Cassie Steele, Mike Lobel, Miriam McDonald, and Shane Kippel in Degrassi Takes Manhattan

Cassie Steele, Mike Lobel, Miriam McDonald, and Shane Kippel in Degrassi Takes Manhattan

(Much as with my previous post, this review probably will not much sense to you unless you’re a longtime Degrassi fan like me.  Sorry!)

One year after Degrassi Goes Hollywoodthe third Degrassi movie was released.  Degrassi Takes Manhattan was broadcast on July 9th, 2010 and, ratings-wise, it was a huge success.  Not only did it bring TeenNick its highest ratings ever, it was the number one show viewed by teens that summer.

Why was it such a huge success?

Largely, it was because Degrassi Takes Manhattan served as not only the conclusion to season 9 but it was also the finale of Degrassi: The Next Generation.  By the end of Degrassi Takes Manhattan, all of the original Degrassi: TNG plotlines had been resolved.  Emma Nelson, who was the show’s main character for 6 seasons, married Spinner Mason.  When the series returned for season 10, it would drop The Next Generation from its title and it would simply be known as Degrassi.  All of the original characters would be gone, replaced with new students.  Degrassi Takes Manhattan was a chance to celebrate what had been and a chance to say goodbye.

And yet, Degrassi Takes Manhattan remains very controversial among the Degrassi fandom.  To be honest, a lot of people can’t stand it.  My feelings on it are mixed, though I tend to like it more than some.

One of the big problems with Degrassi Takes Manhattan is that none of the original characters actually go to Manhattan.  Emma, Manny, Spinner, and Jay all remain in Canada.  Instead, the Manhattan portion of the film features Holly J. Sinclair (Charlotte Arnold), Fiona Coyne (Annie Clark), Jane (Paul Brancati), and Fiona’s creepy twin brother, Declan (Landon Liboiron).   The New York portion of the film deals with Fiona, Holly J, Declan, and Jane all staying in a Manhattan penthouse and having various adventures in New York.  As seems to happen to at least one Degrassi student ever semester, Jane launches a singing career.  Holly J interns and falls in love with Declan.  Fiona get jealous.  It’s nothing all that interesting though it does feature the classic line, “This is New York Holly J, bitch!”

(Say what you will about the character she was playing, Charlotte Arnold was always great at delivering angry one-liners.)

Instead, the part of the film that everyone remembers is Emma (Miriam McDonald) falling in love with Spinner (Shane Kippel) and drunkenly marrying him at Niagara Falls.  After Spinner and Emma first look into getting an annulment, they suddenly realize that they really do want to spend the rest of their lives together and they have a recommitment ceremony at the beach!

And it’s actually a pretty sweet scene.  As someone who has watched every season of Degrassi, I liked the scene at the beach.  It provided closures for a lot of characters.  But, that doesn’t change the fact that it didn’t make any sense!  In the 9 seasons that led up to Degrassi Takes Manhattan, Spinner and Emma interacted with each other a few times during the first season but, otherwise, they never had much to do with each other.  The two of them falling in love came out of nowhere and, at the risk of being dramatic, it almost felt like a betrayal.  Anyone who has ever watched Degrassi (and those would be the only people who would really have a reason to watch Manhattan), knows that Emma’s soul mate was Sean Cameron.  As for Spinner — well, he dated pretty much everyone on the show at some point, with the notable exception of his future wife, Emma.  I always thought he and Darcy made a good couple but, by the time Manhattan went into production, Shenae Grimes was starring on 90210 and presumably wasn’t available to return so that Darcy could get married.

(One thing I did like about the ceremony is that it was conducted by Jay Hogart — played, of course, by Mike Lobel.  Jay, of course, was once responsible for Emma getting gonorrhea so it’s nice to see that she’s so forgiving.  That said, Jay did look pretty hot all dressed up…)

In the years since this movie aired, snarky fans like me have been joking about how Spinner and Emma probably got divorced a week after the beach ceremony.  But, as we all learned from watching the recent reunion episode on Netflix, Spinner and Emma are apparently still married!  Well, good for them.

Anyway, controversy aside, I still liked Degrassi Takes Manhattan but, then again, I like anything related to Degrassi.  As opposed to School’s Out and Degrassi Goes Hollywood, Degrassi Takes Manhattan is for hardcore Degrassi fans only.