Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Lisa Makes The Headlines


1.jpg

This is a landmark episode in the series for two reasons.

It’s the first episode that is from the series proper, whereas the first four “episodes” were short films that become the first four episodes of the show. You can think of them as four pilot episodes that were aired over several years.

The second reason is that while the show isn’t in the same universe as the rest of Degrassi, they did take elements from it that would be incorporated into the rest of the franchise. Such is the case with this episode where Stacie Mistysyn’s character Lisa wants to become a reporter. She ultimately would in the other entries in the franchise as the character Caitlin Ryan.

In the last episode called Noel Buys A Suit, we saw Noel go through the tough process of having someone new marry his father at some point after the death of his mother. While the episode primarily focused on him, we could also see his father’s fiancee Gayle begin to develop a healthy relationship with Noel so that she wouldn’t be marrying into a hostile situation. We also saw Noel’s father convey to Noel that he’s marrying Gayle because he loves her, not because she’s a replacement for Noel’s birth mother or that he is somehow disappointed with Noel for all the help he’s been giving him at work and at home. That’s why it’s odd and disappointing that despite this episode focusing on Noel’s sister Lisa, Gayle seems to have disappeared into thin air. She will return later on. Still, it’s a little disorienting when you watch the episodes back-to-back.

With all of that out of the way, let’s talk about Lisa Makes The Headlines.

The episode starts off with us seeing Chuck go to deliver some newspapers followed by a newspaper truck stopping to make a delivery to the De Grassi Grocery.

He’s back!

1.jpg

Okay, so let’s try to piece together the life of Lewis Manne’s “character” so far.

We know that in 1979, he either owned or worked at a camera store based on his appearance in the episode called Ida Makes A Movie.

vlcsnap-2019-02-21-12h21m28s831

A few years later he attended the wedding of Noel’s parents.

1 (25)

Now we know that he either lost the camera store, was fired, or has a second job delivering newspapers.

I love trying to create a narrative for this guy who in reality is just making cameo appearances because he was their music guy for the show. According to IMDb, he even wrote a famous song for Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High called Everybody Wants Something.

We’ve already met Chuck. This is Casey, played by future Degrassi High cast member Sarah Charlesworth.

1 (1).jpg

Casey and Lisa have started a newspaper together.

Much like a film noir, this episode opens with narration from Lisa, which we’ll get throughout the episode. She explains that she wants to be a reporter because people want to read the news whether it’s good or bad. You can start to foresee the problem she’ll deal with in this episode, especially since the title is Lisa Makes The Headlines.

While Lisa still has to eat her breakfast, Casey is off to start the plot by visiting Ida’s house to sell subscriptions. We find out that Fred still exists.

1 (2).jpg

Casey has caught him while he is vacuuming and listening to music. She’s able to sell Fred a subscription to the paper and before leaving, Casey asks if she can borrow some joke books. Fred tells her sure, he will tell Ida that she stopped by the house. He doesn’t say anything about the joke books. This little miscommunication is what will turn into something else as Lisa takes her first swing at investigative reporting for The Degrassi Journal.

1 (3).jpg

They print the paper using a press that Casey’s mom lets them use. Casey’s mother being played by Sarah Charlesworth’s own mother, Barbara Charlesworth.

They go to sell the papers on a street corner, and we meet Lisa’s first potential customers played by twins Dale and David Callender.

1 (4).jpg

I only mention them because come Degrassi Junior High, a set of twins will be important characters on the show. Like this entire series, it’s a look into the what would become the Degrassi universe.

All the stars are returning for this episode. Noel’s here as you would expect him to be.

1 (5).jpg

Even the Do Not Litter Sign from the first episode (as shown below) makes a return.

vlcsnap-2019-02-21-10h38m53s425

It turns out the secret club still exists too, but is meeting on an unusual day. This starts to peak Lisa’s interest since Noel doesn’t seem to want to tell her why they are having a meeting on a different day than they usually do.

Irene is here as well.

1 (6).jpg

They are meeting on a different day so that Ida won’t be there while they pick out a present for her. Irene knows this sweatshirt is perfect for her after that whole Bigfoot incident a few episodes ago.

1 (7).jpg

To make sure that Ida doesn’t sneak up on them, they’ve made Chuck their lookout. You can see how happy he is at having to do that job.

1 (8).jpg

I hate to break it to you guys, but your secret club meeting security has already been compromised by gaffer Jim Aquila as shown by the boom mic in the lower-left-hand corner.

1 (9).jpg

The boom mic is showing up in so many episodes, it’s practically becoming a character. Judging by the fact that it looks silver, it might be the same boom mic from the last episode.

1 (17)

Casey and Lisa aren’t selling any papers. Casey thinks that they need a “scoop” of some sort.

1 (10).jpg

 Lisa: But this is Degrassi St. Nothing big ever happens around here.

Expanding that statement to Degrassi as a whole makes that line hilarious in retrospect. Yeah, nothing ever happens here. A twin getting pregnant while the other doesn’t. A teenage father jumping off a bridge. Pedophilia. Eating disorders. A penis measuring contest. Everything the writers thought they could get away with happens on Degrassi.

While passing by Ida’s house, they run into her and ask why she isn’t at the club meeting. Ida is her usual self, and tells Lisa to get her facts straight about when the club meets. I mean she’s the president, so she would be the first to know if the meeting time changed.

1 (14).jpg

Half of the fun of writing about this show at this point is catching some of the faces Zoë Harrison makes.

Finding out that Ida doesn’t know about this meeting makes Lisa jump to the obvious conclusion that the other members of the group are going to do something bad to Ida. This includes her brother.

At the Canard residence, we find Noel playing Scrabble with his father. Lisa has graduated from knock-knock jokes to trying to solve a symbolic Rubik’s Cube.

1 (13).jpg

Lisa is upset that she won’t be able to get a “scoop” for the paper. She doesn’t take kindly to her brother making fun of the paper either.

Noel says he’s willing to be interviewed, and Lisa starts champing at the bit.

1 (15).jpg

However, immediately asking a relevant question about the secret club meeting gets her the response that it’s none of her business.

While Lisa doesn’t know it yet, Scrabble tells us where this is going: Robbery.

1 (16).jpg

If you take a look at the other words, then you’ll find that some of them have an attachment to the first four episodes. The one ending with “al” is “pal”.

Going back to Chuck for a second, we can see the front page article of the Toronto Sun is about a boom in crimes committed by children.

1 (17).jpg

You might think this paper would lead Lisa to think a kid may have committed a crime on Degrassi St., but it doesn’t. We just cut to her feeding her cat Meow Mix. It’s just more foreshadowing.

1.jpg

Lisa decides that if her brother won’t talk to her, then she is going to go and talk to Ida to see what she knows.

Ida tells her that she is missing a couple of joke books. The joke books we saw Casey borrow earlier in the episode. Ida acts appropriately in that it’s nothing big, and since anyone could have taken them, there’s no way anyone is going to track them down.

1 (1).jpg

Lisa assures Ida that she can find the missing books.

Instead of looking into this possible robbery, the first thing she does is run to Casey to publish a newspaper article about this supposed robbery. She says to Casey that “all” of Ida’s books were stolen and possibly other things as well. Casey is so amazed that she fails to mention she borrowed some books from Ida. To make matters worse, we hear Lisa, via a voiceover, tell us that the article is going to say that “all” of Ida’s stuff was stolen. We went from a few joke books that Ida is missing to all of her books are missing to all of her stuff missing in the span of about two minutes.

1 (2).jpg

Almost 20 years later, Lisa would find that she lived long enough to see herself become an actual robber on Degrassi.

1 (3).jpg

As you can see from the screenshot above the one from Degrassi: TNG, this article has made Lisa and Casey’s paper a hit. It probably helps that in promoting it, they even throw in that people should lock their windows and doors. Lisa has deluded herself so much that she believes that this story and the subsequent sales of their newspaper means that her and Casey have a “good” newspaper.

Irene picks up a copy of the paper which is how it makes its way back to the secret club, leading to one of my favorite lines in the episode. Chuck says that if this happened to him then he would have called in the RCMP. That stands for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The RCMP are the rough equivalent of the FBI in that they have jurisdiction at the federal level. So it would be like the FBI being called in to investigate a local robbery of a couple of joke books.

After discussing Lisa and her paper further, they conclude that they shouldn’t say anything, but instead let her embarrass herself.

Ida and Noel give some excellent looks.

1 (4).jpg

1 (5).jpg

Lisa brings home a copy of the newspaper for Noel to look at and give his opinion on. An opinion she refuses to listen to because he tells her that her story is false. She takes great offense. She’s even more determined to catch this thief.

In the next scene, Lisa is jumping to the conclusion that Noel must be a “rat” that is trying to keep this story out of the paper. Casey also jumps to conclusions by telling Lisa that Noel isn’t acting the way he is because he wants to see her fail. He’s acting that way because something “fishy” is going on. Again, she still doesn’t mention that she borrowed a couple of books from Ida.

Lisa comes home, and hears Noel talking on the phone. By hearing him on the phone, I mean she hears him at exactly the right moment to make her even more suspicious.

She goes up to Noel’s room, and with a little poking around, she finds the sweatshirt the other members of the group got for Ida.

1 (6).jpg

Noel catches her in his room. Lisa says she knows about his “plan”. Does she think he is going to start robbing other places on Degrassi Street? That’s the way it sounds.

Now we have an important conversation between Lisa and her father as he washes her hair.

1 (7).jpg

I think the shot above sums it up quite nicely since without context I could just as easily have led into it by saying, “clearly somebody needs to straighten out Lisa even if her father’s methods are a bit extreme.”

He gives her some good advice about being a responsible journalist. However, without context for her questions, his advice leads her in the wrong direction. Cut to the next shot, and she is printing a paper that not only says that the “Theif Confesses”, but also that Noel himself stated that “he did it just for fun.”

1 (8).jpg

Not exactly what her father thought she was asking him concerning whether it is a journalist’s responsibility to report news even if its bad. She also ignored his statement about having facts.

I feel stupid, but it did take me till that shot in this episode to notice that the secret club only accepting people whose names start with an I, N, or C means that the club is Degrassi Inc.

The episode has to bring things to a close soon, so Casey’s mom has some papers that need to be given to Ida’s mother. Casey figures she’ll drop off the joke books that she borrowed while she is delivering them.

After we get a shot of some of the club members complaining about Lisa and wondering whether she’ll publish a story about finding their present for Ida, we finally get something that is sorta like the summary on the back of the DVD.

1 (11).jpg

Lisa wonders whether she should publish this “story” about her brother being a thief considering he is her brother.

Casey returns the joke books to Ida, which Ida recognizes as the missing books. She thinks it’s funny considering that this whole robbery story sprung from a couple of joke books and one of her friends being so eager to be a journalist. She takes it with a grain of salt. She doesn’t blow up like she might have a few episodes back when she was younger.

1 (12).jpg

Casey does the right thing by running off to tell Lisa before she starts selling their newspaper which contains an unsubstantiated story based on misconstrued information.

Just before Casey arrives, Lisa tosses the newspaper. The show could have left it there, but it doesn’t. Casey takes the newspapers out of the trash because they not only owe Noel an apology, but it is their responsibility to print a corrected story explaining what really happened.

Lisa apologizes in person at the secret club. When Noel realizes that no one read the paper where Lisa actually named names, he rushes her into the secret club because Ida is coming. They are ready to give her the surprise birthday party they had been setting up for Ida while we followed Lisa.

This party doesn’t just seem like an ending to this episode. I think they tried to gather as many of the children we had been introduced to at this point together in order to celebrate what had been four separate short films being turned into an ongoing series. You can even see a reminder of the first episode, Ida Makes A Movie, as Fred’s war helmet is on the wall of the club.

1 (13).jpg

Another thing that leads me to believe that is the fact that Ida was the character the series started with and that first episode had themes similar to this one in it.

A final nod to the first episode that I spotted is that the sweatshirt doesn’t say Ida Lucas. It includes the meaningless middle initial that she thought would be impressive to the judges of the film contest.

To cap off the episode we get a mature conversation between Noel and Lisa which amounts to him telling her that she should have listened to him, but that she shouldn’t take this a sign to not pursue becoming a journalist. He even goes so far as to ask her whether she knows why she’s here. The answer he gives her is that she is the only reporter on Degrassi Street. That’s what makes her unique.

I liked this episode. I appreciated the visual nods to film noir.

1 (15).jpg

1 (16).jpg

1 (17).jpg

I thought it was neat to not give us visuals to show us that she is snowballing the few things she wanted to hear into something they don’t add up to, but instead, gave it to us by mostly keeping us in her head with voiceovers where the only voice is her own.

It reminds me of a story I recently heard on a computer security podcast. The main host told a story about somebody who used to work for them that would jump to a possible explanation for a bug in a piece of software they were working on. Having this possible bug in their head gave this person a vested interest in proving that they were right. The host would have to remind them that they were going to look over everything rather than jump to a conclusion. The lessons in this episode don’t only apply to journalism.

Next time, we meet Sophie who will also jump to conclusions about somebody being a thief.

  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

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Noel Buys A Suit


1.jpg

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.

1 (1).jpg

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.

1 (2).jpg

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.

1 (3).jpg

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.

1 (4).jpg

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.

1 (5).jpg

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.

1 (6).jpg

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.

1 (7).jpg

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.

1 (8).jpg

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?

1 (10)

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.

1 (9).jpg

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.

1 (11).jpg

This is the suit that Noel picks out.

1 (12).jpg

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.

1 (14).jpg

Back at home, Lisa is still telling knock-knock jokes.

1 (15).jpg

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.

1 (16).jpg

What he should be worried about is the boom mic.

1 (17).jpg

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.

1 (18).jpg

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.

1 (19).jpg

What’s next? Of course it’s more knock-knock jokes with Lisa.

1 (20).jpg

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.

1 (21).jpg

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.

1 (22).jpg

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!

1 (23).jpg

Lisa approves, Gayle is shocked…

1 (24).jpg

and it looks like Noel’s family is friends with the guy who fixed Ida’s camera in the first episode.

1 (25).jpg

vlcsnap-2019-02-21-12h21m28s831

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,

1 (27).jpg

Stacie Mistysyn begins plotting her takeover of Degrassi,

1 (26).jpg

and credits!

1 (28).jpg

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

Back to School Part II #28: School’s Out (dir by Kit Hood)


schools-out

School’s Out, a 1992 film that was made for Canadian television, is historically important for two reasons.

First off, it featured not only the first use of the F-word on Canadian broadcast television but the second as well!  The first actor to say the word was Stefan Brogren who, in the role of frustrated lifeguard Snake Simpson, complained, “Joey Jeremiah spends his summer dating Caitlin and fucking Tessa!”  About a minute later, Stacie Mistysyn (in the role of Caitlin), yelled, “You were fucking Tessa Campanelli!?”

I’m not sure what exactly went on behind-the-scenes before School’s Out broke the F-word barrier.  Help me out, Canadian readers.  Was this a big deal in your country?  Was this controversial?  Did you get weeks of warning or was everyone taken by surprise?  And was happened afterwards?  Does the F-word now show up regularly on Canadian television?  I’m sincerely curious and I guess I’ll find out for myself when, after the presidential election, I move to Toronto.

Still, regardless of whether there was any drama behind-the-scenes, it’s interesting that, in 1992, Canada had already progressed beyond America, as far as censorship and broadcast standards concerned.  24 years later, actors on American network television are still not allowed to say what Stefan Brogren said during School’s Out.

Of course, if you’re a fan of Degrassi, you can probably appreciate the irony of Stefan Brogren being the one to break the Fuck Barrier.  Brogren plays Archie “Snake” Simpson.  When Degrassi: The Next Generation began in 2001, Archie was a teacher at Degrassi Community School.  Over the course of the series, Archie married, became Emma Nelson’s stepfather, and was eventually appointed principal.  Through it all, Archie has been a well-meaning but somewhat dorky authority figure.  Simpson has always been the guy who you can depend on to explain why condoms are important and stalkers are bad but he’s also always been the guy who inevitably says something unintentionally humorous and then wonders why everyone is laughing at him.

But before Degrassi: The Next Generation, there was Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.  These two shows aired in the 80s and featured Brogren (and Snake Simpson) as just another student, worrying about getting a girlfriend and occasionally dealing with an issue-of-the-week.

That brings us to the other reason why School’s Out is historically important.  School’s Out was meant to serve as the finale of Degrassi High, a chance for the show’s fans to get one last chance to hang out with Snake, Caitlin, Wheels (the tragic Neil Hope), and Joey Jeremiah (Pat Mastroianni, with hair!) and perhaps get a glimpse of what the future held in store for them.

Though the producers may not have realized it at the time, School’s Out also perfectly lay the foundation for Degrassi: The Next Generation.  I have to admit that, as much as I love Degrassi, I haven’t seen many episodes of Degrassi Junior High or Degrassi High.  Fortunately, that didn’t make it difficult for me to follow School’s Out.  In fact, many of the things that happened in School’s Out would regularly be referred to in Degrassi: The Next Generation.

The film opens with the senior class of Degrassi High graduating and preparing for their final summer before university and responsibility.  Joey Jeremiah plans to ask his longtime girlfriend, Caitlin, to marry him.  However, when Joey proposes to Caitlin, she turns him down.  She’s not ready for that type of commitment, not when she’s about to leave town to go to college.  (For his part, Joey failed a grade during Degrassi Junior High and, as a result, he’ll finally be starting his senior year while all of his friends are getting on with their lives.  While Caitlin is studying journalism at university, Joey will presumably still be trying to pass Mr. Raditch’s history class.)  Hurt over being turned down by Caitlin, Joey ends up sleeping with Tessa Campanelli (Kirsten Bourne).  Soon, he is — as Snake memorably puts it — dating Caitlin and fucking Tessa.

What amazed me, as I watched School’s Out, was just how much of asshole Joey Jeremiah was truly portrayed as being.  If, like me, you previously only knew him from Degrassi, then you know Joey as being a widowed used care salesman, a loving father, and an all-around good guy.  So, it’s strange and a little bit jarring to see him here as a remorseless cheater who brags about betraying Caitlin and who cruelly teases Snake for being a virgin.

(Then again, seeing School’s Out adds an interesting shading to Joey’s character.  Watching the film, I suddenly understood why Joey often seemed so overprotective of his stepson, Craig.  During the third season of Degrassi, Craig made many of the same bad decisions that Joey previously made in School’s Out.  Much as Joey was “dating Caitlin and fucking Tessa,” Craig was dating Ashley and fucking Manny.  Watching School’s Out, I finally understood that, during seasons 3 and 4 of Degrassi, Joey was often looking at Craig and seeing himself.)

Of course, it wouldn’t be Degrassi if there weren’t a few other subplot going on at the same time as the Joey/Caitlin/Tessa love triangle.  Seriously, hardly anyone gets a positive ending in School’s Out.  Not only does Joey cheat and Snake curse but there’s also an unplanned pregnancy.  There’s a party that leads to a major character driving drunk, killing a child, and blinding a classmate.  Yes, the film does end with a wedding but we barely know the people getting married.  Nobody, it seems, gets a truly happy ending.

Seriously, Canadian readers, how traumatizing was School’s Out when it was originally broadcast!?

Fortunately, I was able to watch School’s Out with the knowledge that, as bad as the summer was, Joey would eventually find love and Snake would get a job.  As for Caitlin, she would not only end up hosting a public affairs show called Ryan’s Planet but, at the end of the 4th season of Degrassi, she would have a brief flirtation with director Kevin Smith.

(Both Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes were in Canada, filming Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, eh?  It’s a long story.)

Anyway, I’m very happy that I finally watched School’s Out.  I may even go back and watch Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.  They’re all available on YouTube now!

On a final note — LOVE YOU, CANADA!

degso