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

The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Diary of the Dead (dir by George Romero)


I have to admit that I was a little bit hesitant about watching the 2007 film, Diary of the Dead.

It wasn’t that I don’t like zombie movies.  In fact, it was the complete opposite.  I love zombie films and Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites.  George Romero, of course, went on to make several sequels to Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead are certifiable horror classics.  However, I had heard mixed things about the two zombie films that Romero directed after Land of the Dead.  Seeing as how Diary of the Dead was Romero’s second-to-last film before he passed away in 2017, I was worried that I would watch the film and discover that I hated it.  I didn’t want experience anything that would tarnish Romero’s cinematic legacy.  It didn’t help my expectations that Diary of the Dead is a found footage film and the conventions of the found footage genre tend to get on my last nerve.

(Seriously, nothing makes me throw a shoe at a screen quicker than the sound of someone in a horror movie saying, “Are you filming this?”)

But you know what?

I did watch Diary of the Dead and it’s actually not bad.  It may not reach the heights of Romero’s other zombie films but it’s definitely a worthwhile companion piece.  It opens with news reports about the start of the zombie apocalypse, meaning that Diary of the Dead is meant to take place at roughly the same time as Night of the Living Dead.  (Never mind that Diary of the Dead is full of references to YouTube and blogs and other things that most people probably couldn’t even imagine when Night of the Living Dead first came out.)  A group of film students are in the woods, filming a terrible mummy movie when they first hear reports of the dead coming back to life.  Some say that there’s no way it could be true.  Others say that something must be happening but surely the dead aren’t actually coming back to life.  They soon discover that the dead have indeed returned.

We follow the students as they travel across Pennsylvania, trying to find a place that’s safe from the Dead and discovering that there’s literally no such place left in America.  Along the way, they also discover that the government has no intention of telling the people the truth about what’s happening.  In fact, a group of national guardsmen turn out to be just as dangerous as the zombies.  In their efforts to survive, the students are forced to rely on an underground network of bloggers and video makers.

Diary of the Dead has all of the usual zombie mayhem that you would expect from a film like this but, at the same time, it’s got a lot more on its mind than just the dead returning to life.  Much as he did with Land Of The Dead, Romero uses Diary of the Dead to comment on the state of America under the Patriot Act.  With the government using the zombie apocalypse as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and increase their own power, the film’s characters are forced to depend on new and independent information sources.  It’s not hard to see the parallel that Romero is making between the War on the Living Dead and the War on Terror.  As well, making all of the characters film students allows for some discussion about whether or not horror films should simply concentrate on being scary or whether they should also attempt to deal with real-world issues.  The film leaves little doubt where Romero came down on that issue.

On the negative side, Diary of the Dead struggles a bit to overcome the limitations of its low budget and none of the characters are as compelling as Ben in Night of the Living Dead or Fran in Dawn of the Dead.  At times, you find yourself wishing that Diary of the Dead featured just one actor who was as into their role as Duane C. Jones or Ken Foree were in Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, respectively.  But Diary of the Dead still features enough zombies and enough of Romero’s trademark political subtext to be an acceptable addition to Romero’s vision of the apocalypse.

Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Capote (dir by Bennett Miller)


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The first time I ever saw the 2005’s Capote, I thought it was a great film.

I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise.  I love movies about writers and I love biopics and, as the title indicates, Capote was both.  I’m also fascinated by true crime and Capote told the story of how Truman Capote came to write the first true crime book, In Cold Blood.  Add to that, I was (and am) a Philip Seymour Hoffman fan and Capote provided Hoffman with not only a rare starring role but it also won him an overdue Academy Award.  Finally, to top it all off, Capote also dealt with Truman’s friendship with Harper Lee (Catherine Keener), the author of To Kill A Mockingbird.  Seriously, a film that dealt with the writing of both In Cold Blood and To Kill A Mockingbird!?  How couldn’t I love that?  While everyone else was outraged that Crash beat Brokeback Mountain, I was upset that it beat Capote.

Needless to say, I was really looking forward to rewatching Capote for this review.  But when I actually did sit down and watched it, I was shocked to discover that Capote wasn’t actually the masterpiece that I remembered it being.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  It’s still a good film.  At times, it’s even a great film.  I still think it would have been a more worthy Best Picture winner than Crash.  But still, there seemed to be something missing.  Much as with director Bennett Miller’s most recent film, Foxcatcher, there’s a coldness at the heart of Capote.  One can’t deny its success on a technical level but, at the same time, it keeps the audience at a distance.  In the end, we remains detached observers, admiring the skill of the film without ever getting emotionally invested in it.

Interestingly, the film suggests that the exact opposite happened to Truman Capote while he wrote In Cold Blood.  The film suggests that Capote got so invested in one of the killers at the center of In Cold Blood that the process of writing the book nearly destroyed him.  When we first see Capote, he’s at some social event in New York and he’s amusing his rich friends with charmingly risqué anecdotes about his other rich and famous friends.  As played by Hoffman, Capote is someone who is almost always performing.  It only with his friend Harper Lee and his partner Jack Dunphy (Bruce Greenwood) that he ever lets down his guard long enough to reveal who he actually is, a gay man from the deep South who was fortunate enough to escape.

That’s one reason why Capote grows close to Perry Smith (Clifton Collin, Jr.).  The subjects of In Cold Blood, Smith and Dick Hickcock (Mark Pellegrino) killed the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas.  Capote, who followed the case from their arrest to their eventual execution, becomes obsessed with Smith precisely because he sees Smith, with his dysfunctional background and his overly sensitive nature, as being who Capote could have been if things had gone just a little bit differently in his life.  Miller further makes this point by skillfully juxtaposing scenes of Truman dropping names and telling jokes at New York parties with the grim reality of life and death in Kansas.

Truman finds himself serving as a mentor to Perry.  (Hickcock is neglected by both Capote and the film.)  Of course, Truman’s also a writer and he knows that he needs an ending for his story.  As his editor (played by Bob Balaban, who seems to be destined to play everyone’s editor at some point or another) points out, Smith and Hickcock have to be executed if the book is ever to be completed.  Truman also has to get Perry to finally talk about what happened in the Clutter family farm.  As much as Capote seems to care about Perry, he’s ruthless when it comes to getting material for his book.  The film suggests that Truman Capote got his greatest success at the cost of his soul.

It’s a rather dark movie, which might explain why I was initially so impressed with it.  (I went through a period of time where I thought any movie with a sad ending was a masterpiece.)  Rewatching it, I saw that the film’s triumph was mostly one of casting.  Miller gets some seriously brilliant performances from the cast of Capote.  Yes, Hoffman is great in Capote but so is the entire cast.  Keener and Greenwood are well-cast as the only two people who have the guts to call Truman on his bullshit.  Chris Cooper gives a very Chris Cooperish performance as Alvin Dewey, the no-nonsense lawman who views Capote with a mix of amusement and distrust.  Clifton Collins, Jr. and Mark Pellegrino are both excellent as Smith and Hickcock.  In fact, Pellegrino makes such an impression that you regret the both Capote and the film didn’t spend more time with his character.

As previously stated, Hoffman won Best Actor but Capote lost best picture to Crash.  How Crash beat not just Brokeback Mountain but Capote as well is a mystery that Oscar historians are still trying to unravel.