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


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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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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

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Irene Moves In


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Before we start, let’s check out the back of the DVD case to find out what this episode is about.

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So, blah, blah, blah, Bigfoot. Got it!

The episode starts with some foreshadowing.

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We find Ida, Cookie, Noel, and Fred talking about possible Bigfoot sightings in the area while carving pumpkins. A Halloween party is coming up.

Then a moving truck pulls up to get this plot started.

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Wait a second, she looks familiar.

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It’s Sara from Cookie Goes To Hospital!

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I owe an apology to Nurse Trish. They said Sara was there to have her tonsils removed, but obviously that wasn’t the case. Trish was working with the Canadian Feds in order to put her into a witness protection program. That’s why she was so busy.

Her name this time around is Irene so that she is eligible to join the club and specifically has a name that starts with I to give Ida even more of a basis to exclude her for no good reason whatsoever.

Going back to the title card, I think that might actually be Nancy Lam’s mother playing Irene’s mom. Irene’s mother is played by someone named Linda Lam. It makes sense.

Ida immediately dislikes Irene. And I mean immediately. As her brother Fred points out, she hasn’t even met her at this point. Yet, she somehow knows that Irene is no good.

We cut to inside Ida’s house where her mother finds it amazing and ridiculous that her daughter judged somebody based upon a single glance.

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Even the boom mic finds this hard to believe, which is why it pops in from the top of the screen.

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Ida’s mom suggests that Ida do the unthinkable by going over to introduce herself to Irene. Shock of all shocks, she doesn’t. It’s Irene who comes over to meet the gang.

Ida, Cookie, and Noel are bickering over what colors to use for some billboards they are making. Cookie is nice to Irene, but Ida still looks uncomfortable for no reason.

During their exchange we find out some information about Ida’s father, who up until this point has been mystery. He’s living out west because he does’t live with them any longer. I’m assuming Ida’s parents got divorced, and either Ida is ashamed of it, or her mother is keeping that a secret from her.

Cookie goes to play with Irene, which only angers Ida further.

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While Cookie and Irene play, Ida decides to carry on this pointless grudge by walking over to tell Cookie that it’s time for a club meeting. Irene wants to join, but unfortunately, she meets all the requirements. Therefore, she can’t join on the grounds that she doesn’t meet the requirements of a new rule that Ida comes up with on the spot.

After hearing this, Cookie decides she’d rather hang out with Irene. Ida mopes her way back to the clubhouse.

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Ida tells Noel that the only reason Irene wants to get close to Cookie is because she wants to boss her around. Ida’s excuse for not giving Irene a chance is because she instantly sized her up as being bossy. She even says that something needs to be done about Irene like she’s gonna hire a contract killer. But, to be fair to Ida, Irene is a bit bossy with her kindness and attempts to be friends with her new neighbors.

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I don’t think even Ida bought my sarcasm.

Now we find out for the first time that these kids actually do attend school. Ida watches Irene looking for any excuse to get angry at her. When Irene is genuinely a little pushy and takes away Cookie’s witch hat because she insists that there be stars on it, Ida sees her opportunity to step in for Cookie’s sake. No, I’m not being sarcastic with the last part of that sentence. At the end of the last scene, Ida really did say something needed to be done for Cookie’s sake.

So, Ida gets up, and grabs the witches hat. Ida and Irene proceed to fight over the hat.

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This ends in tragedy as you can see below. It’s unclear whether Ida knocked the paint over on purpose or if it was a result of their fight.

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Okay, Degrassi. You have an episode that has a larger message about racism and xenophobia as well as a smaller one concerning children reacting irrationally to change, so you decide that the color of paint to spill on your Asian character is yellow. Why? No one noticed that?

Ida goes over to get Cookie to come to a meeting of their club…

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and the way the show presents this scene, it comes across as if Irene was waiting just behind the door in order to pop out to tell Ida to go away.

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Back at the secret club, we find out that Irene has picked up a nickname: Private Enemy No. 1.

Noel tries to talk some sense into Ida, but since sense has no place here, the important thing to come out of this scene is that Noel has a Bigfoot costume. That means it’s time to go scare Irene with it.

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After scaring both Cookie and Irene, Cookie says she was afraid because she thought Bigfoot might eat her. Ida tells Irene that she doesn’t have to worry about Bigfoot eating her because she stinks. This causes Irene to tell off Ida before storming off. Cookie tries to convince Ida that she is being downright mean since Irene is a “human being” too.

Both Cookie and Noel leave Ida to stew in her own juices over her prank and the way she has been treating Irene in general. This leaves Ida temporarily unfriended.

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Ida is talking to Noel on the phone where she actually calls him a “traitor” for not ostracizing Irene. Ida’s brother sits nearby. After Ida pisses him off by shaking the table he is trying to do his homework on, Fred tells her that perhaps if she didn’t act like a jerk people might want to be her friend.

Then we see that, yes, the parents on Degrassi St. can pay attention to their children when the show decides to include them, as we see when Ida’s mom talks to Irene’s mom on the phone.

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I’d say that they pay attention when the episode calls for it, but give it a couple more episodes. We’ll see that’s certainly not the case.

I’m sure Fred would also say that the next scene where Ida’s mom talks to Ida about the situation between her and Irene didn’t need to take place with Ida in the bathtub. Ida’s mom tells her that Irene is going to come over for a sleepover.

Fred is the one stuck babysitting, so that means the following:

Hey Fred, can you can tell Irene something she can clearly hear me say since we’re at the same table.

Hey Fred, can you tell Ida my reply that she too can hear despite the fact that we are still sitting at the same table.

The usual nonsense. Cookie comes over at some point as well. She’ll end up joining the sleepover.

Then before they cut to the next scene, ominous music plays over Irene eating a hotdog.

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Ida also makes a great face at Irene while the same music plays.

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Calm down, Degrassi. I’m pretty sure the shot you cut to next of a dog that looks like it’s being walked during day-for-night didn’t call for this kind of scoring.

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We go inside to the slumber party where Cookie and Ida are talking about a story in which a baby had its head cut off. I’m not kidding. It’s even Cookie that tells this story which includes a severed baby’s head.

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They soon get back to more important matters though, like Bigfoot.

Shortly after they try to go to sleep, they hear the dog from earlier outside trying to get into their trashcan. This means they need to get up to investigate because they think the dog is Bigfoot.

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They decide they need evidence to show people. This means taking a picture of Bigfoot. A picture taken with the flash on because if it really is Bigfoot, they need to ensure there could be serious consequences. Ida doesn’t have the courage to potentially put their lives at risk, so Irene takes the picture instead.

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After taking the picture, the kids run upstairs screaming that it was Bigfoot so we can find out that Fred is the perfect babysitter. Upon hearing them, he turns around to go back to his room.

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It could be a person or something else that is potentially dangerous. I don’t have time for this. I’m going back to sleep. Wake me up if you see somebody dressed like Brian Setzer carrying a guitar that has a drill affixed to it. Otherwise, leave me alone.

The kids resolve their issues after their “Bigfoot” encounter, and the Halloween party is shown while dialog is played over the credits. During this, they show Noel and the boom mic the picture, which both are rightfully skeptical about really being a shot of Bigfoot.

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Noel says that it looks like a dog to which Ida responds that it can’t be because she has never seen a dog with such red eyes. Sure.

I like that one of the kids appears to be wearing a homemade Michael Myers mask.

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And so that we can be sure that the dog got home safely, we see it being walked off into the distance by someone who was neglectful about caring for their dog enough that it got out at night.

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I hope that kind of thing doesn’t have tragic consequences in a later episode.

The episode tried to teach about racism, xenophobia, to not fear change, and to not make snap judgments about people. I thought it did a pretty good job. I like that the episode implies that if there is a Bigfoot, we tend to assume it must be out for us even though no one has seen it despite there being costumes and funny faked footage of it. That being said, I do have two complaints about the episode.

They should have gone with a different color than yellow.

The second is a pet peeve–no pun intended. If you have a dog, take proper care of it. I have had to chase dogs so many times to try to prevent them from getting run over by a car that this kind of thing drives me up the wall.

Speaking of the dog, the opening credits list someone as having played Bigfoot.

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The Degrassi Wiki says that the credit is for the dog. I guess the owner’s last name was Marlatt and the dog’s name was Cleo.

See you next time for an episode that introduces one of the most important actors in the entire Degrassi franchise. They’ll last all the way to Degrassi: TNG.

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie
    2. Cookie Goes To Hospital

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Cookie Goes To Hospital


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I don’t care that the DVD menu says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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I don’t care that the individual DVD case says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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And finally, I don’t care that the back of the complete set of The Kids Of Degrassi Street also says Cookie Goes To The Hospital.

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The title card says “Cookie Goes To Hospital”, so that’s what I’m going with for the title of this episode.

Speaking of goofs, I neglected to include the shot of Ida looking into the camera in the previous episode, so there it is below

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The episode begins by showing us that this is now a series.

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As you may have noticed, there are no kids in that screenshot. There are no kids in several black-and-white stills that they show. Apparently all the kids have gone out into the street to pose for the series title card.

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This immediately cuts to the street sign that says Degrassi St. The store said De Grassi?

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The street was named after an Italian named Captain Filippo De Grassi who emigrated to Canada in 1831. I guess some decided to squeeze the two together and others didn’t.

We are now introduced to the secret club that Ida and some of her friends belong to as of this episode. The conflict is that Cookie would like her doll to become a member. It’s against the rules that could easily be modified.

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The rules are cutoff a bit, so I’ll sum them up. It’s a bunch of nonsense to go with the rules they’ll see at the hospital mentioned in the title and the content is stupid as illustrated by one of the rules that members need names that start with an I, C, or N.

Cookie isn’t worried about her doll getting into the club since I guess she forgot about the previous episode where Ida stood by and filmed her doll being taken away by a garbageman.

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This opening scene with Cookie does answer the burning question I had after the first episode. Yes, Cookie did have a backup doll. She also informs us that her stomach hurts.

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After Ida tells Cookie that her doll can’t join, Cookie leaves her doll in the clubhouse because plot, and Ida goes home to watch what I’m guessing is St. Elsewhere. This episode of The Kids Of Degrassi Street was made in 1980, so that’s the show I’m assuming Ida is watching.

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Ida’s mom gets a call. We find out that Cookie had to be taken to the hospital for appendicitis. Ida’s mom says that she should take the doll to Cookie or give it to Cookie’s mom.

Mom, you could get Ida to give you the doll, and then you could get it to Cookie or her mother, being an adult and all. It’s irresponsible as a parent to send your child off to track down a doll, and then have her potentially go to a hospital all by herself to deliver it.

We now cut to Cookie’s dad who will never show up again in this episode because of course he won’t.

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Next we meet Trish–one of the two neglectful nurses at this hospital.

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During their discussion we find out that Cookie’s real name is Kathryn. In addition, she has no idea why they call her Cookie. I’m going to assume it’s so her nickname meets the club rules when it comes to names.

As for the person who plays Trish, that’s Sue A’Court. She didn’t write this episode, but she will write other ones.

Behind Trish is the first person on The Kids Of Degrassi Street who I can find out went on to do some notable non-Degrassi related things. That’s Sara, played by Nancy Lam. She would go on to be a bit of a celebrity chef.

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Trish decides to explain to Cookie where her appendix is located in the best way possible. Cookie thinks it’s in her stomach. Trish corrects her by pushing on it, which in turn causes her pain. Go figure!

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Cookie brings up her doll with Trish. Cookie would like it to be there with her. Cookie says that her parents don’t know where her doll is at the moment. She tells Trish that a person named Ida knows. You’d think Trish would go to the front desk to tell the one in charge to keep an eye out for Ida and ask Cookie’s parents, like her father we saw previously, about Ida, right? Nope!

Ida and Noel, played by Peter Duckworth-Pilkington, show up at the hospital and get into an elevator. He looks at the camera to make sure it is okay to press the button.

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It’s time to meet Ida as an adult if she doesn’t change her ways concerning the club rules.

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Make sure you read the rules below because while the episode will show them over and over again, I’ll spare you the repetition. These are the hospital’s equivalent to the club rules and they are enforced to the same extent.

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The kids try to go in to give Cookie her doll, and the nurse at the front desk takes the doll to give to their friend who they even say is named Kathryn Peters making it easy for her to have it sent to Cookie’s room. Nope!

She cuts them off and refuses to do anything but say that she didn’t make up the rules before shooing them away from her.

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Noel has a plan to get by the nurse at the front desk, played by Annette Tilden.

While they go off to put Noel’s plan in motion, it turns out that Trish had enough time to find a replacement doll, but still can’t be bothered to go to the front desk to mention Ida, Cookie’s doll, or anything to be passed along to Cookie’s parents.

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Cookie isn’t entirely innocent here either since it appears that she spoke with at least one of her parents between the time Trish was last here and now. Apparently this is something to keep bringing up with Trish, but not her own parents. The parents that know who Ida is since it is Ida’s mother who was called to tell Ida that Cookie had appendicitis and to find the doll.

Meanwhile, we find out the plan to get past Desk Nurse is for Ida to try to sneak past by walking behind a hamper.

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After being caught, Ida is sent away again.

A doctor comes in to explain a few things to Cookie, but we aren’t here for competence, so let’s go back to Trish.

Along with saying a few other things, she lies to Cookie. She says she’ll look around for Ida. She doesn’t look around. In fact, after a short scene with Ida and Noel, she comes in with the anesthetic.

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I will give the episode credit here for having Trish explain to Cookie exactly what they are going to do to her. She even allows her to stick a needle in the other doll to show her how the anesthetic will be administered.

While this was going on, Noel came up with another plan, which was to have Ida put on a Groucho Marx mask and try to walk by Desk Nurse. I get the feeling Noel isn’t the brightest of kids that live on Degrassi St. While we’re on the subject of Noel’s plan, where did he get that mask from anyways?

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As you can see, the plan went over swimmingly.

You’d think at this point that Desk Nurse would begin to think that if two small children have tried this many times to get past her, then perhaps it is something worth asking them about or asking security to look into. Of course she doesn’t. Let’s never mind the little matter that there are two kids under the age of 12 that appear to be unsupervised constantly trying to get past her desk.

Trish, after still not going to the front desk, injects Cookie with the anesthetic. Yet again, Cookie emphasizes just how important this doll is to her. Remember that this isn’t something the hospital doesn’t take into consideration given the fact that Trish brought in another doll for Cookie. It’s just that for whatever reason, Trish doesn’t want to do the bare minimum to find Cookie’s doll. Cookie gives Trish Ida’s phone number. You’d think Ida or Noel’s parents might be wondering where their kids are at this point.

Finally, finally, Trish goes to the main desk to try to do something about this doll situation. Within a couple of minutes she finds the doll. Does it help at this point? Nope! By the time Ida reaches Cookie, she is seconds away from going under.

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In other words, all of this just made Cookie’s experience leading up to her surgery a more uncomfortable and potentially frightening experience.

After surgery, Ida and Noel pay a visit to the recovery room so that we can see the devil doll at the bottom of the screen.

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Afterwards, Ida changes the rules to allow Cookie’s doll to join the club. End of story. Ida learned her lesson and Cookie will probably be scared of hospitals from now on.

Geez, they certainly muddled the lesson they were trying to teach with this episode, didn’t they? I understand why they pushed the parents into the background. It is a show for little kids. However, in the case of an episode such as this, it makes them out to be horrible parents.

Despite my issues with the episode, it, like the show, does a good job with its portrayal of the kids. Unfortunately, the parents’ stuff will continue to come up in later episodes.

In the credits, we find out that Degrassi royalty was involved in this episode.

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Phil Earnshaw would go on to be the cinematographer and director of episodes in the franchise up to and including Degrassi: Next Class. Kit Hood was around for quite awhile. Linda Schuyler was with the franchise the entire time.

Since doing a post on Ida Makes A Movie, I have since found out that, at least according to Wikipedia, the first four episodes were short films that were then turned into a series and originally aired as after-school specials. Why was the first episode the only one not to include an introduction on it for the DVD release? I don’t know.

See you next time!

  1. The Kids Of Degrassi Street
    1. Ida Makes A Movie

Degrassi: The Kids Of Degrassi Street — Ida Makes A Movie


A couple of years ago Lisa suggested that I review the long running franchise known as Degrassi. I’m sure she was mainly referring to Degrassi: The Next Generation, but, the franchise goes back a lot further than that particular entry. In fact, it goes back to 1979 with a series called The Kids Of Degrassi Street. I feel we should start at the beginning.

I began watching this franchise sometime in the 2000s and fell in love with it. It came in and out of my life after that, but I believe I have seen it all. That being said, it has been a long time since I watched some of these shows. Even then, I saw them out of order and with years in between viewings. As such, it will be a journey of rediscovery for me.

The show began with what I believe was a pilot episode, or at the very least, it was decided at some point to be expanded into an entire series. It’s my guess that this was something along the lines of Panic At Malibu Pier (1989), which was filmed as a movie, but was also intended to be a pilot episode for Baywatch. That way in case the show wasn’t picked up, they could release it as a movie. Or it could have been even simpler and been a pitch pilot such as the one done for Baywatch which had their long running real-life lifeguard cast member, Michael Newman, doing lifeguard things for a few minutes. No matter what it was intended to be, it did end up being turned into a series.

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So what shot opens up a franchise that off and on would last about 40 years? A shot of a “Do Not Litter!” sign.

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As anti-climatic as that is, it does set the tone for the entire franchise: lessons for the audience to learn.

The show essentially began as a series of after school specials where each one would focus on a particular issue or issues. If you’ve seen any later entry in the franchise, then you know that they never stopped doing that kind of thing. The difference is that in later shows these lessons would end up being folded into a normal TV show with an ongoing narrative, regular characters, and actual seasons. Still, you can unpack them and find lesson after lesson that they were trying to get across to the audience as if it were still a series of after school specials for kids. There are some recurring characters on this show, but it’s not like a regular TV Show.

Something else worth noting is that unlike a show such as Beverly Hills, 90210; Degrassi, the school, or the street in this entry, and the kids that happen to pass through are what the shows are about. On Beverly Hills, 90210 we follow a set of characters through high school, college, and beyond. That’s not what Degrassi is really going for with their shows.

I bring this up because it ties back in with what I said about after school specials. The characters on Degrassi aren’t necessarily there for one episode and then tossed away, but the takeaway for the audience are the lessons that are learned by those characters during their time in school or on Degrassi St. Of course there are exceptions since no analogy is perfect and get on with it, I know.

The first episode starts by introducing us to our two main characters for this episode. We have Ida, who is played by Zoë Newman. She is pictured on the right of the title card. We also have her friend Cookie, played by Dawn Harrison. She is on the left. As the show goes on, they fade out as the filmmakers started to find the actors that would go on to be in the next entry, Degrassi Junior High.

This cat may be surrounded by litter, but it doesn’t know how good it has it. We’ll get to that in a later episode.

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There is a bunch of garbage on the ground, and after Ida steps on a sandwich…

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Cookie notices a sign for a film contest geared towards children.

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Ida decides to do what the title of the episode says.

She starts hunting around for a camera in her attic among her dad’s old stuff. She finds one, but it’s broken.

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Enter Mom…

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who suggests that Ida simply go and get the camera fixed.

Cut directly to a guy at a camera store who tells us this was made in the 1970s without needing to say a word.

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He tells her that it needs a new spring, some film, and the cost.

Is that a picture of James Garner behind her? Was he a spokesman for Kodak or something at the time?

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Anyways, she is going to need some money to repair the camera and Mom isn’t going to help with that, so Ida is going to have to raise some money on her own.

Back home, we meet Ida’s brother Fred, played by someone they don’t list in the credits. Proper credits don’t show up until the next episode.

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He suggests mowing lawns and Cookie suggests having a bake sale, but Ida doesn’t want to do the first and doesn’t know how to cook. Thankfully, Mom has some dialog that doesn’t make sense to give Ida an idea.

She says that if Ida doesn’t “find a place for that junk from the attic”, then she is going throw it out. I have no idea if that means Ida took a bunch of stuff out of the attic, which means she could simply put it back, or what. I just know that Ida decides that she should have a garage sale.

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At the sale, Fred buys a military helmet from Ida. It’s important for the plot that he does this.

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Ida raises enough money, and without even counting it, the guy at the store gives her the fixed camera.

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No, there will never be anything about developing, editing, or any of the other things that go into making a movie. You just have to accept that it is fixed, and now Ida is off to make her movie. It’s going to be a movie about garbage of course.

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This leads to a short “Who’s On First” routine with Mom before she leaves her, Cookie, and Fred to make the movie.

While Ida films, Cookie is supposed to dance around the garbage and they have timed the shooting to coincide with the arrival of a garbage truck. Fred is supposed to hand garbage to the garbageman. Fred “accidentally” grabs Cookie’s doll and puts it in with the trash…

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which must mean that Cookie has two dolls, I think, since she is holding another one.

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Now comes my favorite part out of this whole thing.

Despite the fact that Fred and Cookie fight over the doll in front of him…

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and despite the fact that we can see and hear Cookie calling out in his direction that the doll is not trash…

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he takes it and dumps it in the back of the truck anyways before hopping onto the truck to leave.

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Good job, garbageman! Also it’s a little cruel on Ida’s part to keep filming while she knows her friend’s doll is being taken off with actual garbage. Oh, well.

Via a title card telling us that two weeks have past…

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Ida receives a letter telling her that she is one of the finalists in the contest. The problem is that they thought it was about war instead of garbage, probably due to the fight over the doll and the helmet. I guess what the movie is supposed to be about wasn’t something that was to be included with the film when it was sent in.

What follows is some back and forth between Ida, Cookie, and Ida’s mom which amounts to the lesson that Ida should tell them that the movie is about garbage and not war because it’s a kind of lying otherwise.

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That’s an interesting looking award.

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Of course Ida wins. But then she tells the guy giving out the award, played by Elwy Yost, that the film isn’t about war. The guy then all but lets her walk offstage in embarrassment before bringing up that the award is given on merit, so she can have it. It ends right there.

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That’s the beginning of Degrassi! An episode about not lying and not accepting something from someone in return for something the other person misinterpreted as something different than what you intended it to be. It also pushes a “Do It Yourself” ethic and you could make the case that garbage and war aren’t as different a subject as Ida thinks.

They do undercut the first two messages a little bit since she never tells the announcer that she added a “T” to the middle of her name to make it sound more impressive even though the episode reminds us several times that she did.

Also, I understand why they did and will continue to largely push the parents into the background, but it has side effects at times. Not so much with this entry, but it will in later episodes.

We have a long way to go, and actors to discover that will move onto Degrassi Junior High, and beyond.