So, just the other night, I got to talk to Stacie Mistysyn on the phone. Her chat with us will be up next Saturday!
It just seemed a perfect way to highlight the wonderful experience of revisiting the halls of Degrassi as I work my way through these episodes. And I have to tell you, she’s awesome!! Hopefully somewhere down the line, we’ll be able to invite her back, and have an actual sit down chat with her.
In the interim, I have worked my way through the final season of Degrassi Junior High, and the first season of Degrassi High.
The show continues to tackle the important issues, while making the characters and situations completely believable.
Season 3 of Junior starts pretty intense for our good friend Wheels, his adoptive parents are killed in an accident with a drunk driver. This event affects Wheels character arc for the entire season, but not only him, Joey and Snake are unsure of how to act around him, or even how to treat him, causing a painful rift in their friendship.
Lucy begins a relationship with a fellow named Paul, but gas a bit of a drinking problem.
But that’s not it for the season, the deal with homosexuality, the importance of objectivity in journalism, eating disorders, running away from home (including an assault on Wheels by a man in a station wagon… GAH!), prejudice and racism,.
Each of these moments in Season 3 are still done with the same attention to detail of the teen experience as the previous ones, often ending on a perfect point for discussion. Though having been a teen once myself, I can’t imagine discussing any of these issues with my parents, especially at the time. I was more prone to bringing it up with my friends.
To make sure all the kids make the jump to the same high school, the junior high actually catches fire during the year-end dance!
Once again, they start off with some big issues, resisting the concept of teen pregnancy, this time Erica learns she’s pregnant. For the first time ever, there’s a real strain to their relationship as Erica contemplates abortion.
Caitlin’s activism leads her to breaking up with Joey, and falling in with Claude (less said about that little poser the better :D) and getting busted for trespassing, and detention as well!
Kathleen, who had a rough time with an eating disorder last year, as well as her alcoholic mother, adds another problem to her list. She finally gets a boyfriend, but along with it comes an abusive relationship. This girl can’t get a break.
We also deal with bullying, divorce, crushes, growing apart from friends, bullying, more prejudice, going to strip clubs, getting your driver’s license, arguing with your parents, moving out, getting a job, leukemia, single parenting, substance abuse and dealing with handicaps both physical and mental.
While it sounds grim the series is still a lot of fun, has a lot of humor, and above all honest. There’s also an appearance from Lost Girl alumnus Vincent Walsh!
And thanks to Lucy, the Zits (they’re in high school now, so they went with a more adult name than Zit Remedy) shoot their first music video, for their one and only song. They also had a nice little homage to the shower scene in Psycho.
The sad thing is, there is only one more season in the series, and one follow-up movie in the classic series. I’ve really enjoyed revisiting with my old friends, you don’t realize how much you miss them until you see them again.