The Little Canadian Show that Never Grew Up made its premiere appearance this weekend (starting January 15th) in its new home (Netflix), with ten highly binge-able half hour long episodes. The episodes were all conveniently titled using hashtags to make them seem “all cool” and “millennial-approved” and stuff. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to watch something called #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin and #SinceWeBeinHonest?
As the Proverbial Peter Pan of Television Shows, this little gem has been around in various iterations, since some time in the early eighties. (That’s a REALLY long time to be in high school!) As such, its seen a whole lot of cast members come and go, some of whom (well, mostly just Drake) went on to become major household names.
Admittedly, I’ve been a bit of a fairweather fan of Degrassi, which makes sense, seeing as I’m no longer exactly (cough, cough) part of its target age group. I was all about the show during the early “Paige, Spinner, Jimmy, Emma, Manny” years, but found myself watching a bit less diligently as time went on. This was so much the case, in fact, that when I readied myself to watch the new Degrassi: Next Class, I was surprised at how few of the current castmates I actually recognized from previous viewings.
Like this guy . . . I had no clue who he was before I started watching.
Fortunately (though I’m sure it helps to have seen previous episodes, to provide context and understand inside jokes), Degrassi: Next Class functions pretty well as a standalone series. The characters’ personalities, their various relationships to one another, and their basic backstories, are pretty easy to pick up within the first episode or two. (Though I did often find myself consistently confused as to which characters were in which grade.) The rest of the gaps, you can fill in fairly easily, by paying a visit to your local Degrassi Wikia.
I’m only a little ashamed to admit that I completed the entire season in a single weekend. And you know what? I really enjoyed the darn thing!
All the things I loved about “old school” Degrassi (the humor, the drama, the friendships, the cute little high school romances, the surprisingly sensitive tackling of current teen issues) were all there. But the series also had a new modern spin to it. Throughout the episodes, there was a pervasive undercurrent of online activity in all its various forms: texting, vid chatting, gaming, tweeting, cyber stalking. I found this to be a pretty accurate reflection of today’s world, in which most of our lives and relationships, particularly those of teenagers and young adults, are carried out online and through social media.
This fairly recent change to our society really impacts the way in which we all interact with one another. It also tends to lead to some pretty humiliating hijinks, the likes of which Jane Austen never could have predicted.
Issues addressed during this season included, to name a few: new feminism, cyber bullying and stalking, drug addiction, mental illness, masturbation, sexual consent, homosexuality and bicuriousity, depression, panic attacks, school shootings, STDs, and battling with terminal illnesses.
Another thing I enjoyed about the new series was the wide array of characters. No matter who you are or were in high school, there’s going to be someone on this series with whom you could relate.
Stand out performances for me this season, included Eric Osborne as Miles Hollingsworth, the guy who, at least on the surface, seems to have everything, tons of money, good looks, and the kind of superficial popularity most of people dream of in high school. However, as with most characters, Miles’ inner demons, anxiety, and the unrealistic expectations placed on him by his family and himself begin to take a toll on him in a major way throughout the season.
This gives the Osborne the chance to show some real vulnerability, and unravel in a way that seems raw and real. It also makes the character’s journey intriguing and immersive. So, by the end of the season, when Miles is able to turn around and help someone else in need, the emotional gravity of his scenes with that character feel particularly well earned.
For Olivia Scriven’s Maya Matlin, the shy band geek turned feminist rockstar, the issues she copes with this season are more external. As anyone who has ever published their work online can tell you, not everyone is going to like what you do, or agree with your message. And standing behind the safety of a telephone or laptop screen makes it a heck of a lot easier for those people to tell you exactly what they think of you, without fear of repercussion. It also makes it easier for those same people to find out personal details about your life that wouldn’t have been accessible ten, even five, years ago.
If you have ever felt unsafe or targeted, while you go about your daily life, for whatever reason, you can relate to the trauma and transformation Maya undergoes throughout the season. And Scriven does a nice job of portraying that unique mixture of fear and frustration.
The third big stand out performance of the season, for me, was Spencer Macpherson, as the young Hunter Hollingsworth, an introverted gamer with a hair-trigger temper, who seems to teeter on the fine line between reserved dejection and uncontrollable anger, throughout the entire ten-episode season.
It’s the kind of character, which, if put in the wrong hands, could seem at best, unbelievable, and, at worst, a cartoon villain. But Macpherson handles the role with a surprising sensitivity and finesse, offering the character of Hunter some complex and interesting layers that might not be successfully conveyed if the character were played by a lesser actor.
But lest you think Degrassi: Next Class is all doom and gloom, there are a lot of laughs to be had throughout the season as well . . .
. . . like, for example: an entire episode about masturbation, a classic sitcom-worthy misunderstanding involving online medical diagnoses, an important warning of the dangers of stuffing things down your pants to make your ass look larger, and a very special, highly meta, visit with the dad from Gilmore Girls.
In short, if you like teen dramas, with humor, heart, solid character development, and lots of talk about butts, junk and vibrators, Degrassi: Next Class is right up your alley. If not, stick to the shows about really old people . . . you know, the ones over 20 . . .
(This article has been cross posted at Happy Nice Time People.)
A few years ago, Degrassi (a.k.a. The Little Canadian Show that Could) introduced us all to the remarkable talents of one, Nina Dobrev. Nina eventually went on to star in my now – FAVORITE television show, The Vampire Diaries . . .
You are hearing it here, first, my fellow teen television drama fans! Munro Chambers will be Degrassi’s next Big Breakout Star.
Week after week, this guy FLOORS me with his Mad Acting Skillz! Munro intrigued me, when he first came on the scene, this past season, as the guyliner-wearing, sort of emo, hearse-driving, tortured artist, with a rebellious streak, and biting sense of humor, Eli Goldsworthy . . .
He then won my heart, as the epicurean, closet romantic, whose sheer love of life, and unwillingness to take no for an answer, brought the uptight brainiac Clare Edwards out of her shell . . .
He frustrated me, when he pushed away the very some woman he so vehemently pursued, the following week. Eli was afraid of letting Clare get too close . . . fearing she would see beneath his cocksure facade, to the scars that lurked beneath the surface . . .
And they were some UGLY scars! When Eli finally admitted his true feelings for Clare, and entered into a relationship with her, she began to see his Dark Side. But far from scaring her away, seeing Eli’s flaws, only made Clare (and us fans) love him more.
When Eli antagonized bullies twice his size, until they kicked his ass. And then he tricked those SAME bullies into getting ARRESTED through a very cunning bait-and-switch, involving Fake IDs, we questioned whether he had a Death Wish . . .
And when we met his parents for the first time, we wondered whether he was adopted (and kind of hoped that he was, for the sake of genetics) . . .
The Future of EClare? Oh HELL NO!
And when we found out about Eli’s Big Secret, we were shocked and saddened. Our hearts broke for this fictional character, who suddenly felt so very real to us, both in our minds and our . . . ahem . . . other parts . . .
Eli became even more complex and multi-layered, when we discovered that the untimely loss of his girlfriend led to his struggles with hoarding . . .
I hate to say it, but as grossly messy as that room is, it also looks pretty cool! Doesn’t it?
But just when us fans thought we had learned everything there was to know about Eli, he introduced us to a whole new side of himself, his PSYCHO SIDE!
This week, on Part 2 of Jesus, Etc., an old enemy of Eli’s found the Lord, and tried to use HIM to get into Clare’s pants . . .
Ummm . . . righteous?
Though this recent turn of events would be enough to piss off even the most calm and collected of boyfriends, the already volatile-natured Eli took things harder then most. Throughout the episode, we witnessed the character slowly unravel, and gradually descend into madness.
Watching Eli waver between agressively trying to protect his girlfriend from “The Jesus Guy” (through blustery anger and controlling manipulation), and placating her, with over-exaggerated declarations of love, and increasingly desperate demands for forgiveness, was both cringeworthy, and deliciously fascinating. I didn’t know whether to turn away in horror, or wiggle closer to the television screen . . .
“I feel like you are slipping away,” complains Eli, during one of his softer, more emotionally moments moments.
“Don’t leave me. OK? Please?” Eli begs, during another one.
Amidst it all, were a trio of genuinely creepy moments, during which Eli would break the Fourth Wall, and stare directly at the viewers at home, with a look that was both inviting, and, at the same time, undeniably evil.
But it was not until the final scene of the episode, that things with Eli got REALLY psychotic (and, therefore, CRAZY FUN!). Check out the “interesting” way in which Eli chooses to conclude the horror story, “Stalker Angel” that he’s been working on throughout the episode. In particular, pay attention to the the uncomfortably ironic similarities between the fictional story being described, and the Bizarre Love Triangle that is Clare / Eli / and the Born-Again (so-called “Angelic”) Fitz:
Eli: The hero, Malcolm, realizes that he could never protect his heroine, Rachel, from Stalker Angel, so he has no choice but to . .
Clare: (interrupts) . . . kill Stalker Angel
Eli: No, he kills Rachel. He grabs his knife, cuts her throat, drinks her blood, and forever they are one!
Clare: That’s disturbing.
Eli: It’s brilliant. It wouldn’t be much of a horror story, otherwise.
Clare: (with uncertainty) Of course.
Eli: It’s my masterpiece. And I couldn’t have written it without you. It’s all about YOU, Clare!
Clare: (laughs nervously) Great . . .just . . . try not to kill me, K?
Eli: Don’t I owe you a driving lesson? The HEARSE awaits.
Check out the scene in its frighteningly foreboding entirety here, IF YOU DARE!
The last shot of the episode, which features Eli loudly declaring his love for Clare, as he possessively wraps his arm around her, and glares sadistically at the camera, genuinely gave me chills! After all, when it comes to Eli, I literally never know what he’s going to do next. And THAT is was keeps me coming back to the show, week, after week.
Kudos to Degrassi for creating such a wonderfully relatable, and, at the same time, definitively insane, character, in Eli Goldsworthy! And even bigger kudos to Munro Chambers, for bringing Eli to life on the small screen! I can’t wait to see YOU in prime time, Mr. Chambers!
FIONA: “Oooh, Adam. I LOVE surprises! You can’t tell, because I’m wearing a mask, but I’m totally winking seductively at you right now. Where are you taking me?
ADAM: “Oh . . . well . . . it’s a really cool place. Lot’s of celebrities have been there: Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey Jr., Amy Winehouse, Britney Spears . . .
FIONA: “Wow, it must BE a cool place, if all those famous people went there. Is it some kind of Hollywood Party?”
ADAM: “Not exactly . . .”
Welcome back, Degrassi fans! As you probably all know, last night was the mid-season premiere of Degrassi’s “In Too Deep” collection of episodes. I’ve decided to try my hand at recapping it.
Well, at least someone is excited about it . . .
So, here’s how it’s going to go. I’m going to start with Anya’s storyline, cruise into Danny’s, and then, for the BIG FINALE, I’m going to address Fiona and Adam, which, let’s face it, is why you are all really here, anyway.
So, without further adieu, let’s get recapping. Shall we?
The Doctor is in (Anya’s Pants).
“Funny . . . this isn’t the way my last doctor tested me for strep throat.”
We kick off the season with Sav looking as DORKY AS POSSIBLE in his toga, and gold crown. Honestly, I’m not really sure what the get-up has to do with Valentine’s Day (or should I say “Sweet Hearts” week). But this Degrassi, and this is Sav. And Sav likes to dress up . . . a lot. (Remember that geeky cowboy outfit he wore to the Degrassi Hoe-down last season? I do . . . but I kind of which I didn’t) So, I’m just going to go with it . . .
“I better be getting paid extra for this.”
Sav’s here so we can all laugh at his outfit to tell everyone that, even though they can’t PDA with their loved one inside the hallowed halls of Degrassi, they CAN buy them cheap half-dead flowers, and take them out to the CHEAPEST DATE EVER, at the Romantic School Cafeteria. YAY!
Anya’s buying some some flowers from Holly J, who’s probably concerned they will be for Anya’s EX-BEAU, and her current, sort of beau, Cheeseball Sav . . .
“Buy my man a rose, and I will CUT YOU with its thorns.”
But Holly J. can breathe easy. Anya just wants to buy flowers for her mom, who’s getting the results of her cancer treatment at the doctor’s office today. Can anyone guess what those results were? I’ll give you a hint . . .
OK . . . so Anya’s obviously thrilled. But why does her mom look vaguely constipated?
Anya’s mom is CANCER FREE! YAY! This thrills Anya, put only partially so, as it means that her weekly sort-of dates with her own personal Dr. McDreamy have ended. Before Anya leaves, she manages to get a peek at the Good Doctor’s date book, which has been conveniently left open on his desk, for her viewing pleasure. I’ll admit that, when I read the date book at first, I thought it said, “Pizza WITH Leslie – 7 p.m.” But, it actually said Pizza Leslie – 7 p.m., which by the way is the LAMEST NAME FOR A RESTAURANT, EVER!
The next day at school, Anya tells Holly J. that she’s TOTALLY crushing on Dr. McTooOld, and plans on stalking him that night at Pizza Leslie. Does Holly J. want to come with? You bet she DOES!
“Fine, I’ll go stalking with you. But you’re buying dinner. I’m poor now, remember?”
Honestly, I’m not sure WHY Anya would assume that Dr. McTooOld would make dinner reservations for JUST HIMSELF (Who does that?). But, assume she did. And that night, when she spied Dr. McTooOld alone, by the entrance to the restaurant, she nearly had an “O” right at the dinner table . . .
*sigh* “Doctor and Mrs McTooOld. It has a nice ring to it. Don’t you think?”
But, so far, Dr. McTooOld hasn’t noticed Anya yet. So, she has this plan for Holly J. to choke on something, so that he can give her the Heimlich, and, in doing so, lock eyes with his Lady Love. (Way to put your friend’s life in DANGER, so you can get laid, ANYA!) “I faked a pregnancy for you,” Anya helpfully reminds Holly J., as the latter reluctantly chokes on an olive.
I think my favorite part of the whole scene, was when Anya called for a doctor, and that Old Guy sitting next to them got up from his chair. So, Anya snarled at him to sit down. “I meant the HOT doctor, dammit!” (AGAIN! Way to risk your friend’s life, so that you can pork the Stud with the Stethoscope, ANYA!) Then this happens . . .
ANYA: “Get your hands off my friend, Dr. McTooOld. You are MY MAN!”
DR. MCTOOOLD: “But Anya, she’s choking!”
ANYA: “Oh . . . yeah . . . right. I forgot.”
HOLLY J.: “Umm . . . there’s something poking my ass. Do you have a medical tool in your pants, or something?”
So, Holly J. was “saved” by Dr. McTooOld, who wisely reminds her to be more careful about her olive chewing. Then some chicky, who’s way more age-appropriate looking for Dr. Too Old than Anya, arrives on the scene. Dr. McTooOld gives Random Chicky a big old hug, and the two sit down to dinner together. Oh well!
But Anya is not giving up! At school, the next day, she calls what I thought was Dr. McTooOld’s cell phone at school to ask him out on a date. But then loses her nerve, and hangs up. So, when she gets a call back from “THE HOSPITAL” I was a bit confused. Since when do First Year Medical Residents have their own line extensions at MAJOR state facilities?
Maybe, he saw Anya’s number on his cell phone, but called her back on the hospital phone. Or, maybe, it was just a coincidence. And he was planning to call her anyway. Maybe I’m spending way too much time thinking about on a two-second clip for this show . . .
Anywayyyyyy . . .
Dr.McTooOld wants Anya to go out on a date with him. And she is THRILLED. As the site for their first date, she chooses Little Miss Steaks, where Holly J. works. (And because the name sounds like Little Mistakes . . . and that’s what this date is . . . a mistake . . . for Dr. McTooOld at least . . . I let out a little giggle here.)
Because Dr. McTooOld thinks Anya is in college, she tells him she will meet him after her “college seminar . . . at college.” And it sounded so lame, and was such an obvious lie, that I don’t know how a “smart” doctor like Dr. McTooOld, didn’t put two and two together. But he didn’t . . .
And so, Anya and Dr. McTooOld went on their little mistake date. Anya arrives at the restaurant, dressed like a middle-aged woman attending her 40th high school reunion. The up-do hairstyle, and over large FLOWER necklace, were a bit much for a date at a steak house, where the waitresses dress like cowgirls, don’t you think? I suspect Anya dressed like this, so she would look older. But it just sort of made her look like a high schooler attending a 50’s theme dance . . .
At dinner, Anya immediately spills the beans about her LARP-ing obsession. (Note to the ladies: This is NOT first date material. Please save this type of Deep Dark Secret, until AFTER date 3. K?) But, guess what? Dr. McTooOld LOVES that Anya LARPS. As it turns out, he’s a BIG Dungeons and Dragons fan! OMG! It’s a Match Made in Dork-dom!
(All kidding aside, these two are actually pretty cute together. And I’m willing to bet, that in real life, their ages are not nearly as far apart, as they are on the show.)
After dinner, Anya wants dessert (Hint, Hint, Wink, Wink). But Buzzkill Holly J. arrives to tell her she can’t have any.
“Oh . . . that’s right . . . I have CURFEW,” says Anya. *facepalm*
Now, Anya COULD have said that her SORORITY institutes curfew. THAT would been a decent excuse for her verbal flub. But, instead, Holly J. insists that Anya’s curfew is self-imposed, because she is so “conscientious.” It was a nice try, but it made Anya sound kind of lame. Not that her LARPing confession didn’t.
So, the date ends early, but it ends well, with a sweet kiss shared by two very attractive, but very nerdy, people . . .
After talking with Holly J., Anya is convinced she should come clean with Dr. McTooOld about her age. So, she calls him and makes an impromptu office lunch date. But before she can confess to him, he springs THESE on her . . .
They are tickets to a Renaissance Fair! *facepalm* The invitation comes with a fun-filled romantic evening, spent at a bed-in-breakfast nearby. “I booked two rooms. So, there’s no pressure,” says Dr. McTooOld quickly. (Riiight, and you just know that when they arrive at their destination, one of those two rooms will magically disappear . . .)
Anya’s over the moon about the concept of sharing her love for all things Medieval with Dr. McTooOld! But then, just when she’s ready to leave for her extended date. This happens . . .
Anya’s mom is not pleased about the prospect of her daughter getting down, dirty and Medieval, on her overnight with Dr. McTooOld. And so, she marches her daughter right to the hospital, so that Anya can make her age confession, while her mom watches . . .
But, just when all hope seems lost for a long lasting relationship between Anya and Dr. TooOld, she pulls a Hail Mary, by inviting him out to lunch . . .
On their not-so-date, Anya tells Dr. McTooOld that she will be 18 in two months. And then, they can hook up, without him having to worry about those pesky Statutory Rape charges. YIPPEE! Dr. McTooOld agrees to the plan, after all, not many women his age (which is 25, since I realize I haven’t mentioned it before) are big fans of Dungeons and Dragons, and LARPing . . .
“I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller . . .”
It’s your typical love story, really. Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Boy asks Girl out on a date. Boy finds out Girl is WAY taller than boy, which makes boy feel inadequate and effeminate. Girl overhears Boy calling Girl a Giraffe to his friends. Girl dumps Boy. Boy gets Girl back, using his limited social skills and shoddy basketball-playing abilities.
Was it a cliched C-plotline? TOTALLY. And yet, here’s what I liked about it . . .
Dave’s been such an unlikeable tool of late, that it was nice to finally be able to root for him again. The way he managed to segway from snarking with a girl about the pair’s shared supposed hate for Valentine’s Day Sweet Hearts week, to scoring a date, should be written up in some Girl-Macking Handbook, or something. (By the way, what was with the couple making out in front of his locker? Don’t they know PDA’s aren’t allowed at Degrassi? What would SAV SAY if he found out? :))
Sadie. I like her. Usually, it takes me a while to warm up to new Degrassi characters, because they don’t always initially mesh well with the rest of the cast, and their acting inexperience shows. But the actress who plays Sadie, actually seems pretty talented right off the bat. And the character is cute, smart, and spunky. Plus, her chemistry with Dave seemed natural, and not too forced.
Ahh, the Three Tenners. Sometimes Connor and Wesley bug me a bit. But they were ON FIRE this week with their Short Jokes! And yet, even funnier for me, was how, after Dave and Sadie “broke up,” Wesley switched sides, and tried to list the many benefits of dating a tall girl. “She looks older. And can help you reach things in high places.”
Oh, Wesley . . .
As for Dave’s and Sadie’s newfound relationship, methinks it’s about to verge into the Dreaded Love Triangle territory very soon because we haven’t seen THAT on Degrassi in about two episodes. How about you?
And now . . . the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . .
They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab, But I Said, NO, NO, NO (and then Yes)
Remember a few seasons back when Declan was the school’s resident Drama Maven / Play Producer? Well, it seems as though Eli has taken the reigns from him. When we first see Adam, he is talking to Eli, about the upcoming school play, which Eli is producing, and in which Adam is playing the romantic lead. Apparently, at some point, the female lead “Marisol” (whoever THAT is) backed out of the play, because she didn’t want to make out with a transgender person like Adam.
Other girls have read for the role. But none are as good as “Marisol,” at least in Adam’s estimation. Adam offers to resign from the play, to make things easier on Eli. But Eli refuses the offer, because he is AWESOME.
Eli then suggests that Adam ask FIONA to take the role. (By the way, am I wrong in thinking that it was established that Fiona was a CRAP actress, back when Declan was directing things a few seasons back? In fact, didn’t someone FORCE him to fire her from the play, and relegate her to Costume Design instead? Am I completely making this up?)
The problem, of course, is that Adam is still REALLY PISSED at Fiona for bailing on the party he MADE JUST FOR HER, during the mid-season finale. So, when Fiona first tries to talk to him at school, he’s kind of cold to her . . .
Fiona apologizes to Adam for skipping the party, by making some lame excuse about her Great Aunt dying. And Adam doesn’t believe a word of it. But he loves Fiona so much and wants to get into her pants so baldy, that he lets it slide. So, Adam asks Fiona if she’d be willing to star in a play where she has to kiss him. And when she AGREES, he makes this face . . .
“Awwwwww yeahhh, I’m the Pimp Daddy!”
We are then treated to a little clip of Fiona “auditioning” (Casting Couch Much?), and I’m surprised by how NOT SUCKY she is, especially considering what she was like the last time we saw her audition for a play . . .
“Why is ‘She takes her top off’ added in pencil here? I don’t remember that from the original script.”
I’ll admit, I was cracking up laughing, when Eli starting baiting Adam, as he drooled over Fiona’s audition. “You liiiiiike her. You luuuuuuuve her,” crooned Eli, adorably.
(By the way, if anyone out there has ever seen the movie Miss Congeniality, I’m pretty sure that this scene is a sendup to the classic one from that movie, where Sandra Bullock’s character has just been made over, and she starts singing to her prospective love match, “You really liiiiiike me. You think I’m sexxxxxy. You want to daaaaate me.” Just sayin’.)
Oh, and as for those Degrassi Drama shirts Eli and Clare are wearing in this scene: I WANT ONE!
No one should be surprised to hear that Fiona got the part, or that Adam “generously” offered to come over to her condo that night to help her get naked “rehearse.”
When Adam arrives at Fiona’s house, she acting flighty, and (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!) drinking like a fish . . .
Adam, of course, wants to practice the kissing scene first. However, before Adam can tongue Fiona, he has a confession to make (insert dramatic music here). He’s transgender.
“Well . . . duh!”
Fiona claims that she immediately knew Adam was transgender, because she grew up IN NEW YORK, where EVERYONE IS TRANSGENDER. (Yes, I’m from around there . . . and yes, I’m being sarcastic here. I just find it funny how the media likes to portray New York City, as way more exotic than it actually is.) Adam is pleasantly surprised that Fiona STILL wants to kiss him, even though she knows his backstory. “”I’d rather kiss you than any other guy at this school BECAUSE I AM CLEARLY A LESBIAN,” says Fiona.
And then she spills champagne all over Adam’s crotch . . .
“Awwww yeah! She wants me to take off my pants. I’m a TOTAL PIMP!”
Fiona then rushes to get Adam some of Declan’s clothes, which were conveniently lying around the apartment for this exact circumstance.
YAY! A Declan reference!
Fiona and Adam then share a sweet moment, while Fiona is fixing Adam’s tie. (Ummmm . . . if they are just hanging out around the house “rehearsing,” WHY is he wearing Declan’s TIE?) Adam wants to play Truth or Dare with Fiona. She choose “truth.” He wants to know why she ditched his party. “You look at me, like I’m this perfect princess,” she admits. “I’m scared that once you realize that I am not, you will get sick of me.”
Now it’s Adam’s turn. He chooses “dare.” Then THIS happens . . .
So, Adam is understandably crushed, when, the next day, Fiona tells him that their hook-up was just a “One Time Thing.” Needing some manly advice, Adam regales Eli with the gory details of his Hot Night with Fiona. He wonders whether Fiona only made out with him, because she was drunk, as Clare had more or less suggested, when he told HER.
Eli thinks the opposite is true, “In vino veritas,” Eli explains, looking Super Sexy and Not-at-all-Effeminate in his Man Scarf.
I used this picture before, but it bears repeating . . .
Adam doesn’t know what the heck his friend is talking about. So, Eli elaborates. “When people are wasted, they do things they REALLY want to do, but wouldn’t have the guts to do, if they were sober,” Eli explains, more or less. (I ad-libbed a bit here.)
That night, Adam arrives at Fiona’s place to return Declan’s clothes . . .
Declan Reference #2
He also tells Fiona that he is going to resign from the play, because he can’t bear porking Fiona’s character on stage, if he can’t pork her in real life too. But wonder of wonders! Fiona DOES WANT TO PORK ADAM! Yippee!
Fiona invites Adam for dinner, and proceeds to chug down a glass of champage, like it’s going out of style . . .
“Thirsty?” Adam asks, with a bit of concern.
Fiona carelessly explains that in France EVERYONE drinks before a meal. Remembering Eli’s whole “in vino veritas” speech, Adam suggests that Fiona DRINK MORE! And his evil plan works! Because THIS happens . . .
Things seem to be going great for Adam, until Cock Block Holly J. comes along, and messes everything up, by point out how TOTALLY WASTED Fiona is! Fiona insists she’s not drunk, however, and blows Holly J. off. So, Holly J. reluctantly leaves with some concerned advice to Adam on how to take care of Fiona if she “goes off the rails,” and her personal cell phone number, if he needs her.
Adam shows up late for rehearsal the next day, and again, “kisses and tells” Eli and Clare about his Hot Night with Fiona, The Sequel. But Clare’s concerned that EVERY Hot Night with Fiona seems to involve LOTS OF ALCOHOL. So, she invites Adam and Fiona to double date with her and Eli at the Romantic School Cafeteria . . .
But when lunch rolls around, Fiona arrives to the double date late, and (SURPRISE) wasted! (How do none of Fiona’s teachers realize that she’s drunk all the time?)
I had to laugh, when a slurring Fiona plopped down at the table and proceeded to HIT ON CLARE. “You have really beautiful eyes. That top you’re wearing just doesn’t do them justice . . . Call me!”
ELI: “You will NOT call her! I saw the promos for the upcoming episode, and know all about Fiona and her . . . preferences. I’m the only one allowed to tell you that you have nice eyes.”
CLARE: “I saw the promos too. And you’re lucky I’m even talking to you right now, considering what they say about YOU!”
Afraid that a teacher will catch on to how drunk Fiona is (like I said . . . how have they NOT yet?), Adam pulls Fiona outside. “Drinking makes it easier . . . being with you,” Fiona drunkenly explains to Adam, while the two are huddled together on a bench in the school hallway
“You are drinking because of ME?” Adam asks.
“See? You DO understand,” Fiona coos.
“No, I don’t,” scowls Adam, as he storms off.
The next day at play rehearsal, Fiona is late AGAIN, and Adam is heartbroken. “I want what YOU two have,” he whines to a PDA-ing Eli and Clare. (DOES NO ONE LISTEN TO SAV? NO PDA!)
Then Fiona comes and conveniently tells Adam that she’s in LOVE with him (Where the hell did that come from?) So, he forgives her for the 80th time this hour.
Later on in the day, Holly J. tells Adam that Fiona is an alcoholic, and her family wants to ship her off to rehab ASAP. They will be holding an intervention for her after school, and think Adam should come. But Adam doesn’t want to lose Fiona, so he tells her that they’ve got to GO AWAY together NOW. (Way to be an ENABLER, Adam!)
Adam and Fiona rush home after school to pack their bags. But Fiona doesn’t get very far with hers . . .
Did I mention that RALPHED all over herself and the carpet! (Ewwww!) Realizing that he can’t deny Fiona’s drinking problem any longer, Adam sneaks off to call Holly J. He has agreed to take Fiona to the intervention. (Hopefully, he cleans her up first!)
“Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me how you get vomit stains out of cashmere?”
After telling Fiona that he is taking her on an Exotic Vacation Getaway, Adam blindfolds Fiona, and drives her to the Intervention. He doesn’t even let her change out of her pukey clothes, first! Now, that’s just rude!
FIONA: “Something smells funny. What is that?”
ADAM: “It’s YOU!”
To be honest, I was kind of excited for the intervention. Because I thought, for sure, that Declan would be there.
After all, his MOM came in for New York for the event, so why the heck didn’t HE? Actually, Fiona’s Intervention was the lamest one EVER. In fact, the only people in attendance, aside from Fiona herself, and Adam, were Holly J., Fiona’s mom, and Fiona’s . . . maid?
“Where is my brother? And why don’t I have any friends at my intervention? And why is there vomit in my hair?”
Fiona is understandably pissed at Adam for betraying her. So, she kicks him out of the “party.” He’s understandably crushed. And my heart goes out to the guy . . . really.
The next day, Adam is back to third-wheeling it with Eli and Clare, when Holly J. stops by to assure Adam he did the right thing.
Check out how Clare is in the background, pretending not to be listening in on Holly J.’s and Adam’s conversation, even though she TOTAL is!
Holly J. informs Adam that Fiona has been shipped off to rehab. Adam worries that the love of his life will never forgive him. But Holly J. doesn’t seem particularly concerned. To prove it, Holly J. TOTALLY violates every friend code in the BOOK, by giving Adam a page from Fiona’s JOURNAL . . .
The “journal” entry is a love letter Fiona wrote to an unnamed person, who “just left [her house]” and who she “can’t stop thinking about.” “There are a million reasons why we shouldn’t work. But, despite all that, I really, really hope that we will,” the letter concludes.
Adam, of course, is thrilled, because he assumes that the letter is about him. However, those of us who saw the promos for upcoming episodes, are hesitant to rejoice with him. After all, isn’t it possible, given what we know, that the letter is about Holly J.?
Watch this promo, and you’ll see what I mean . . .
And that was “When Loves Takes Over (Parts 1 and 2)” in a nutshell. Now, that I’ve said my part, what did YOU think of the episode?
REJOICE, DEGRASSI FANS! THE NEW PROMOS ARE FINALLY HERE! 🙂
Last night, Teen Nick aired two much anticipated trailers for Degrassi‘s upcoming new season, entitled In Too Deep, which is set to premiere on February 11th at 9 p.m. The first trailer was relatively short (lasting only about 30 seconds). However, it was comprised almost entirely of NEW footage, never before seen by Degrassi fans . . .
The second trailer was double the length of the first (clocking in at about 1 minute, 30 seconds), and was an amalgamation of scenes from the first trailer, scenes from the trailer that Teen Nick aired last season, and some extra “bonus” scenes . . .
So, now that you’ve seen them, let’s discuss what we’ve learned. Shall we?
Fadam is ON! / Fiona is still drinking. / Fiona may be gay (and into Holly J)?
When we last left our favorite (and only) transgendered Degrassi student, Adam Torres, he was putting some major effort into wooing the object of his affections, Fiona Coyne. He even went so far as to throw a genuine New York-style ball, fit for a Princess, in her honor. However, up until this point, Fiona’s feelings for Adam have shown little evidence of venturing beyond the platonic. She might be aware of Adam’s attraction to her, but she hasn’t done much to show that she reciprocates those feelings. In fact, she BAILED on the party he threw for her — a major NO-NO, in Relationship World.
But if the promos we’ve seen for next season are any indication, all of that is about to change, BIG TIME . . .
Though Fiona and Adam’s first kiss may be the result of a drunken (at least on Fiona’s part) game of Truth or Dare (as suggested in the first promo), clearly their relationship extends far beyond this “momentary indiscretion,” as the season progresses. We know, from last season’s promos (plus, many of those scenes were repeated in the new trailers), that Fiona and Adam (or Fadam, as the cool kids like to call them) engage in a full on, Horizontal Couch Makeout Session, later on in the season. And it is this couch session that Holly J. unceremoniously interrupts.
Sounds great, right?
Well . . . maybe not . . .
When we first watched the earlier promos, many of us Degrassi fans speculated as to the “logistics” of Fiona’s and Adam’s relationship. Specifically, we wondered how Fiona would react, when she learned that Adam was born female (and still has lady parts). Based on the promos we saw last night, Fiona’s knowledge regarding Adam’s trangender status doesn’t seem to be the issue . . .
Both promos feature Fiona telling Adam that “drinking makes it easier to be with [him].”
This line suggests three things: (1) that Fiona is still abusing alcohol; (2) that she is aware that Adam is transgendered; and (3) while that knowledge has not caused her to stop seeing him, it still makes her feel at least somewhat uncomfortable.
But here’s the REAL twist . . .
Could Fiona actually be a lesbian? Is she merely using Adam to “safely” evaluate her attraction to people of the same sex, while secretly vying for her bestie, Holly J? This would be an interesting plot development indeed!
Sound crazy and completely out of left field to you? Here’s my take on why this might be a real possibility . . .
For starters, Fiona has always been someone for whom relationships seemed more about status and convenience, than about genuine attraction. She briefly dated Riley (before he was officially out of the closet) because she thought he was a nice guy who would keep her away from the advances of douchebags. The fact that Riley was gay, and would likely never want to be intimate with her, almost seemed like an added bonus, as far as Fiona was concerned.
Fiona dated the ultimatey abusive Bastard Bobby, back in New York, because he was rich, popular, and had the right family name.
She hooked up with her brother Declan (INCEST! GROSSSSSS!) , because she worried that she was losing him (He was her only friend, at the time,) to Holly J. So, she assumed that, by being DISGUSTING, she could scare her brother’s boyfriend away . . .
So, we’ve never actually seen Fiona exhibit feelings of attraction for a man of the opposite sex. And, based on the promos, she does seem more open to beginning a relationship with a transgendered male, than most heterosexual women her age, and in her situation, probably would be. In conclusion, what initially might have seemed like a bizarre “out-of-character” plot twist the Degrassi writers inserted into their story to appeal to a considerable fanbase of “Dudes Who LOVE HOT LESBIANS,” makes more and more sense to me, the more I continue to think about it . . .
As for Holly J. . . .
Apart from her scenes with Fiona and Adam, we really don’t get to see all that much of her in these new promos. However, the above shot, seems to suggest that she gets injured at some point during this season. She may even end up in the hospital, as a result of said injuries? (Based on the white background, behind Holly J., I thought she might be laying on a hospital bed in the picture above.)
Could Holly have somehow been involved in the EPIC CAR ACCIDENT to which all the Degrassi spoilers keep referring? And, if so, why did the hospital choose to cope with injuries, by merely pasting a cheap bandaid over them? (Random Canadian Hospital FAIL!)
Ali gets in trouble again. / She runs away from home, is robbed, and wears an UGLY wig?
When Alli told her parents that she wanted to be transferred to private school, she never expected that they would ship her off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Although we didn’t learn too much more about Alli’s predicament than we had already deduced from previous promos, these new trailers helped us fill in a few of the blanks as to what actually happens to Alli during this season. First, we see her at home, in her school uniform, complaining, that while she tries to be “good,” bad things continue to happen to her . . .
Combine this scene, with the one from the earlier promo, in which she is arguing was Sav (“You are ruining MY life,” he screams at her.) and you can deduce that Ali got into some trouble at her All-Girls private school, and shamed the family, as a result. She may have even been EXPELLED from that school. After all, we do see Alli later on in the promo, talking to Clare, at what appears to be a Degrassi Dance . . .
There is no way of knowing for certain whether this “Dance Scene” comes before or after Alli runs away from home. But we do know that she’s on the run at some point during the series, and is away from home long enough to be declared a Missing Person . . .
This information is all but spelled out for us, when we see Alli at home, threatening to run away . . .
We then see her out in the street dressed in that RIDICULOUS OUTFIT, ripping down Missing Person posters of herself . . .
I didn’t know Lindsay Lohan was on Degrassi!
After that, Alli gets mugged by some lowlife, who steals her purse and runs away (probably, because he thought she was Lindsay Lohan, and that he could see the purse on Ebay for some serious dough. He was probably super disappointed, when he found out that the purse he stole belonged instead to “some chick from Degrassi”).
Then, finally, Alli’s dad, and Sav go out searching for her in the family car, during a rainstorm. Presumably, they find her, and bring her back home .. . just in time for the Degrassi Dance!
And now for the storyline, you’ve all been waiting for . . .
Eli flips out. / He becomes super possessive of Clare. / She dumps him. / And he gets into a car accident on the anniversary of his dead girlfriend’s death?
Of all Degrassi’s upcoming season storylines, I’d say Eli’s and Clare’s is the one about which fans are the most excited. And why not? After all, the Degrassi: In Too Deep Season finale is set to air on April 22, 2011, precisely two years (maybe one in Degrassi world), since the tragic and untimely death of Eli’s former girlfriend, Julia, who was hit by a car.
I know that, in real life, this is the picture of a model in a bad black wig. And yet, “Dead Julia” still gives me the creeps every time I look at her . . . kind of like that Freaky Chick from The Ring movies . . .
To add fuel to the Eclare fire, Degrassi Writer/Producer Stephen has publicly admitted that the Eli/Clare/Dead Julie saga will be featured prominently in the latter episodes of the season. He also teased that something will happen to a creepy “picture” of Julia, and that Eli is in that picture as well. Speculation as to what Sohn meant by this cryptic statement has ranged widely from the literal (a picture of Eli and Julia is stolen during the finale) to the practical (Eli accidentally ran Julia over with his car), to the outright BIZARRE (“Julia” is actually Eli in a black wig, a la Psycho)
This eye-catching shot from the extended promo seems to show a bereft, and tear-stricken Eli clutching Julia’s picture while standing next to his trusty hearse Morty. The question is, where the heck is he? The library? (There are shelves of books shown behind the car); His garage? (Where else do you put a car indoors?) Degrassi High? (Did he DRIVE THE CAR INTO THE SCHOOL?)
In the promos, we see that things between Eli and Clare aren’t nearly as rosy as they were last season — back when the pair bonded over Eli’s hoarding issues, and Eli helped Clare cope with her parents’ impending separation.
Suddenly, Clare is talking about “taking a break” and “needing space” from Eli. This is an unusual turn of events, especially considering that in previous episodes, it was Clare, who seemed the more “clingy” of the couple, while Eli was a bit more standoffish, and constantly required time alone to “sort things out.”
“Could someone tell me when exactly I became the GIRL in this relationship?”
Now, suddenly, Eli never seems to want Clare to leave his side . . .
Whenever they are together, he constantly has his arm wrapped around her protectively, as if he is afraid that if he lets go, she will get run over by a carhe will lose her forever . . .
The usually adorable Eli is suddenly saying creepy lines like the guys in the Lifetime movies do . . . right before they go after their girlfriend with a hatchet. (“If I can’t have you, NO ONE CAN!”)
“You promised me you’d never leave me,” he tells her in one scene.
“We need some time ALONE together . . . just you and me,” he says to her in another.
It seems obvious that, as the date on the calendar creeps closer and closer to the anniversary of Julia’s death, Eli is becoming more unhinged. He copes with these feelings, by sticking close to Clare, the only person who has the power him feel safe.
But Clare almost makes Eli nervous. After all, Eli presumably felt “safe” with his last girlfriend too, and look what happened to her! So, just like Eli “hoarded” random objects in his room, to preserve Julia’s memory, he is, in essence, “hoarding” Clare now, to keep her out of harms way.
But Clare isn’t an old notebook, or smelly shoe. She’s a person, who needs her own space. Clare confides this in Alli at the school dance. So, Alli suggests that Clare be honest with Eli about how she’s feeling . . .
Ummm . . . Clare? 1993 called . . . And they would really like that lipstick back! (Seriously, why does the wardrobe department always insist on dressing this character like a 43-year old Soccer Mom?)
But was this the right advice? In both of the promos, we see Clare confronting Eli, frustratedly telling her boyfriend that he is “suffocating her.”
Needless to say, Eli does not take this accusation (or possibly being dumped?) very well. In the final scenes of both of the above trailers, we see Eli driving his car recklessly into the night, with tears streaming down his face . . .
Though a clearly anguished and incredibly guilty feeling Clare, calls Eli repeatedly on his cell phone, begging him to answer her, we can see that he does not do so . . .
Could THESE be scenes from April 22nd’s Season Finale, entitled “Drop the World?” Could this be the Massive Car Crash Degrassi spoilers have been teasing us about since last year? Is Julia’s picture in the car with Eli, while he’s driving? Could Eli’s reckless driving, be construed as a suicide attempt, as a result of guilt over his girlfriend’s death?
I guess we will just have to wait until February 11th to find out. (But until then, speculations and spoilers are always welcome in the comment section, and would be much appreciated. 🙂 )
So, you peed your pants at the end of the episode. So WHAT? You’re still pretty cool in my book . . .
If you’re like me, you’ve probably been following Degrassi’s The Boiling Point on Teen Nick this summer. And if you HAVE been following the show, you know that it’s season finale, entitled “All Falls Down,” aired tonight. Although the final episode didn’t push the envelope quite as far as I would have liked, I thought it was a fitting end to a surprisingly well-written, and enjoyable season.
First transgender teen character on television? AWESOME!
So without further adieu, let’s take a look back on how it all ended, shall we?
Sav and Holly J. – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
*playing guitar and singing off key* “You’re my one, my only . . . [Insert your name here].”
Remember a couple of seasons ago when Sav was dating Anya . . .
. . . and she was mad at him, because he wouldn’t introduce her to his parents (even though they had been dating for six months), because she wasn’t a Muslim? No? Well, it happened. And to make it up to Anya, Sav serenaded her with the cheesiest, most ear-splittingly bad song, EVER! And it worked! Why? Because Sav is such a STUD MUFFIN . . .obviously.
Well . . . now, Sav and Anya are splitsville . . .
. . . and Sav has started making goo goo eyes, at Anya’s once B.F.F., Holly J . . .
. . . who . . . up until a few episodes ago . . . was swapping spit with THIS GUY . . .
. . . who once made out with his SISTER . . .
. . . who looks like THIS . . .
Hair: The Musical called . . . they want that outfit back . . .
. . . and is currently best friends with Holly J.
But I digress . . . so Holly J. and Sav are sort of / kind of together. And at Vegas Night, Sav shows his affection for Holly J. by . . . you guessed it . . . SINGING A CRAPPY SONG to her in front of the entire student body . . . a song that sounds suspiciously similar to the “Anya Song.”
It WORKS . . . AGAIN !
What is wrong with these girls?
Anyway, Holly J. gives thanks to Sav and his magical musical charms, by changing into a totally tarty outfit, and stripping for him in an abandoned classroom.
AND . . . then . . . just when things are starting to get exciting . . . the cops come and spoil EVERYTHING . . . (No money shot today!)
I’m thinking the public indecency charge is not going to look so hot on Holly J.’s Yale application. Just saying . . . I blame Stud Muffin Sav and his hypnotic (and by “hypnotic,” I mean “awful”) voice.
But believe it or not, the cops didn’t break up Degrassi’s Vegas Night due to a Sav-induced noise violation. So, why did they come, you ask? Well . . . we’ll get to that in a bit. We’ve got other slutty fish to fry first . . .
Some like it hot . . . in the Boiler Room
“I did a BAD, BAD thing . . .”
OK. So, where was I during high school, that no one EVER invited ME to the hottest room in the building to get “nekkid” with the cool kids?
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Bianca!
So, Drew, the Dumb Jock with a Heart of Gold, but NO self control WHATSOEVER . . .
Keep a bun on that weiner, boy!
. . . was dating the smart, but super self-absorbed and slightly promiscuous, Alli . . .
Except the “slightly” part of her promiscuousness was, apparently, not enough for Drew. So, HE eventually succumbed to the charms of SUPER SLUT from SLUTTY SLUTVILLE, Bianca . . .
. . . who inexplicably wears ugly ACID WASH mom jeans from 1982 . . .
. . . and once ALMOST got it on with Drew’s transgender step-bro, Adam . . .
Not only is Bianca a TOTAL HO, she also has a HUGE MOUTH (which, probably helped things along significantly in the Boiler Room, while these two were going at it).
At Vegas Night, Big Mouth Bianca tells Drew’s girl, Alli, about the illicit hookup. And then, when Drew tries to say the two just kissed, Bianca CORRECTS him, alluding to the fact that SHE kissed Drew . . . DOWN BELOW.
So, the now- heartbroken, still slightly- promiscious, Alli heads off to the Boiler Room with Big Bully, Small Willy, Owen . . .
. . . who offers her $50 bucks (Is that play money, or does Canadian cash actually look like that?) to kiss HIM . . . DOWN BELOW. But, like I said, Alli is only SLIGHTLY promiscuous. And, while she DOES want to make Drew jealous, the “Nether Region Kissing thing” is a no-go for her. So, Alli tells Big Bully, Small Willy, Owen, “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Then he tries to RAPE HER!
Fortunately, Dumb Jock with the Heart of Gold, but NO Self Control, Drew comes to her rescue!
But then Drew’s MOM, who is some “big important” school superintendent, or something . . .
. . . comes to the Boiler Room, finds the pair together, and automatically assumes that Slightly Promiscious Alli seduced her poor little innocent son, Drew. YIKES!
But that STILL doesn’t explain why the cops were at Degrassi . . . Not to worry. This will . . .
Here’s barfing at you, kid . . .
Smart, sensitive, slightly emo lovebirds, Eli and Clare, have TRULY been the REAL lovestory of this season.
Episode after episode, we have rooted for them, as they overcame eachother’s respective baggage (He sort of / kind of had a role in his ex-girlfriend’s death. She’s massively uptight, and her last boyfriend dumped her for a prettier, but much less intelligent, blonde.), and tentatively moved toward a surprisingly sexy romantic relationship.
Eli and Clare studying French . . . kissing.
But while Clare and Eli were moving deeper into one another’s pants, Eli was still grappling with the fact that his ass was getting kicked fairly regularly by his Nemesis, Trailer Trash Fitzy . . .
Eli and Fitz have been sparring for most of the season — with Eli using his wits to get the better of Dumb Bunny Fitz, and Fitz responding by repeatedly kneeing Poor Eli in the nuts. In an effort to evoke a truce between the two, the usually smart Clare inexplicably agrees to go to Vegas Night as Fitz’s date.
Ummm . . . riiiiiight, because the IDEAL way to stop your boyfriend from hating his nemesis, is to DATE that nemesis.
Understandably, Eli is pissed. He wants Clare to put some Ipecac in Fitz’s drink to make him puke. She refuses. So, at Vegas Night, Eli spikes Fitz’s drink with the “puke juice” himself, and tricks Clare into getting Fitz to drink it.
Infuriated and still smelling like vomit, Fitz goes to his locker, and gets a knife . . .
. . . and then THIS happens . . .
. . . just kidding . . . but wouldn’t that have been AWESOME?
What actually happens is that Clare sees Fitz with the knife, and rushes to tell Principal Simpson. THAT’S how the cops end up coming to the school, and finding Half Naked Holly J humping Sav in an abandoned classroom. And THAT’S how Drew’s superintendent (or something) mom ended up in the boiler room, where she found Slightly Promiscuous Alli doing precisely nothing but crying, and, yet, jumped to conclusions about her sluttiness, anyway.
Meanwhile, Fitz lunged at Eli with a knife . . .
. . . but never ended up stabbing him. Fitz DID make Eli piss his pants though. One bodily function deserves another, I guess. Now, they are even! Plus, Eli, my favorite character of the season, will live on to brood, smoulder, and drive around town in his cool hearse, another day . . .
Ultimately, Fitz was arrested. Principal Simpson then told his four once-favorite students that he was mad at them, and planned to make their lives miserable . . .
To prove it to them, he grabbed Fitz’s knife, and did THIS . . .
Kidding again! Sorry, I couldn’t help myself . . .
Well . . . there you have it. That was the Season Finale of Degrassi’s Boiling Point in a nutshell. What did you think of the episode? Did you enjoy the Boiling Point? Do you plan to watch Degrassi next season? Are you as much of Emo Eli fan as I am? All good questions . . .
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the popular Canadian teen show, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Specifically, I previewed its Summer 2010 soap opera-styled block of episodes, collectively entitled Degrassi: The Boiling Point.
Well, this is the blog post where I eat my words . . .
Why the change of heart, you ask? Well, it has a lot to do with THIS GUY . . .
Meet Adam Torres, a sophomore, and recent transfer to Degrassi Community School. As far as personalities go, Adam’s got a pretty good one. He’s smart, funny, a little bit snarky, and a loyal friend. He’s also biologically female.
Up until this year, Adam was known to the world as Gracie Torres. And he looked like this . . .
By the way, special kudos to the Degrassi writers for not making the character’s birth name, Eve . . .
That would have been SO uncool!
From the time Adam was a little kid, he always knew he was different. Adam never felt truly female, thus making the person who stared back at him in the mirror each day a complete and utter stranger. In short, Adam felt as though he was trapped in a body that was not his own.
After much discussion and hand-wringing, Adam’s parents reluctantly agreed to let him start over at a new school, as a male. But in order to truly live the life he wanted, without judgment or prejudice, Adam had to keep his FTM (female-to-male) transgender identity a secret, while at Degrassi. And, for a little while, he did. But secrets have a way of coming out at the most inopportune moments. And Adam’s secret was no exception . . .
This week, Degrassi aired an hour-long episode, over a span of two days, entitled “My Body is a Cage.” During this hour, we watch Adam cope with the realities of living life as a transgender. In the first part of the episode, Adam’s secret is exposed to his classmates. The first to find out about Adam’s “origins” are his two friends, Clare and Eli.
Clare becomes suspicious that Adam is hiding “something,” when she bumps into him near the lockers, causing an entire box of tampons to explode on the floor.
(OK. Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVED this episode. But come on! What high schooler carries around an entire box of tampons? Isn’t “discretion” one of the main benefits that tampons have over pads? Can’t you just stick one or two in the front pocket of your bookbag, and have them go virtually unnoticed? Wouldn’t you think, of all people, that someone who was trying to HIDE their female parts would be sensitive to this?)
Beware of the Telltale Tampon!
Contrivance aside, Clare handles the situation with class. When a group of guys pass by, and ogle the tampons on the floor, taking note of Adam’s proximity to them, Clare quickly improvises. “Silly me, always dropping my feminine hygiene products!” She sing-songs. (I love that she calls them “feminine hygiene products” – good ole’ Nerdy Clare!)
Later, Adam sits Clare and Eli down at lunch and reveals his secret to them, permitting them to ask him any questions they might have. “How do you know you aren’t just a tomboy or a lesbian?” Clare inquires. (A good question.)
“I just know,” replies Adam. (A highly unsatisfactory answer. But this is an hour-long teen show, where each story only gets 1/3 of the episode’s screentime. So, I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting here. . . )
Things don’t go nearly as well, later on in the day, when Adam unwisely makes a play for the school’s “Bad Girl,” Bianca, during a Ballroom Dancing class.
Bianca shows interest initially, placing her hand flirtatiously on Adam’s chest, as the two banter back and forth. But that’s when the problems arise. “What’s going on there?” Bianca inquires. “You’re too skinny to have man boobs.”
(Sorry, I’m not buying this scene either. The actress’ boobs weren’t all that big BEFORE they were taped to her body, and covered with three layers of clothing. I sincerely doubt this chicky would be able to detect them that easily under these circumstances . . .)
In one swift move, Bianca dramatically rips open Adam’s shirt. (Clearly, she’s got . . . um . . . experience taking off others’ clothes.)
This is what Adam SHOULD have been wearing under his flannel.
Upon doing this, Bianca spies the “hide the boobies” gauze wrap Adam’s got around his midsection. (Here’s where the “old sports injury” argument, might have come in handy. Just sayin . . .).
Bianca flips out. “I’ve seen freaks like you on Oprah!” She yelps, before stomping off . . .
Oh no, you didn’t, Bianca! You did NOT just evoke the Wrath of Oprah. Be afraid, be very afraid . . .
Bianca’s reaction to Adam, though definitely mean-spirited and b*tchy, was, to some extent, understandable. Unlike Clare and Eli, who were let in on Adam’s secret gently, and heard it “straight from the horse’s mouth,” Bianca was completely blindsided. She felt attraction for Adam, and then learned he wasn’t AT ALL who she thought he was.
Bianca must have felt betrayed, tricked, and manipulated. Her sexuality was challenged, and she felt threatened by it. So, she lashed out. And if things ended right there, I would actually have some sympathy for Bianca . . .
I know, crazy right? But, it DIDN’T end there. Instead, Bianca told the ENTIRE school, which led to THIS highly uncomfortable to watch scene . . .
Now, while I could slightly commiserate with Bianca’s initial reaction to Adam, the above-illustrated reaction by bullies, Owen and Fitz, absolutely floored me. After all, however you slice it, these guys joyfully beat up someone they believed to be a GIRL! (Isn’t that against Bro Code or something?) And yet, as awful as it was, I can certainly see something like this happening at a real high school.
Fortunately, for Adam, he isn’t without support. And I love how his relationship with his stepbrother, Drew, is portrayed in this episode.
Drew is the quintessential school Golden Boy, a popular “dumb jock,” in every sense of the word. He is even friends with the bullies who beat up Adam. And yet, Drew stands by his brother, without question. He is even willing to fight physically with his (former?) friends to defend Adam’s honor. (He gets his ass kicked doing it, but STILL . . .)
The second part of the episode, deals with Adam grappling with his parents’ inability to come to terms with his decision to live life as a male. They call him by female pronouns, and force him to dress up as “Gracie,” when Grandma comes to town. But things really come to a head, when Adam tries to deny his identity, by coming to school dressed as Gracie. Adam soon becomes so depressed and overwhelmed as a result, that he turns to self-mutilation, as an outlet for his emotions.
Despite the aforementioned doom and gloom, the episode actually ends on a relatively positive note, with Adam’s parents coming to terms with the “loss of their daughter.” They even going as far as to hold a bonfire, where all the material things that represent “Gracie” are burned.
A few unbelievable scenes, and a smidge of cheese aside, I thought this episode was pretty brilliant. It handled the issue of transgender identity believeably, without being heavy-handed or overly maudlin. The actress who plays Adam, was also relatable, and sufficiently understated. Watching the episode, I could definitely see how a lesser actress could have really “butched it up,” just to prove a point. Fortunately, that did not happen here.
You may recognize Jordan Todosey, the actress who plays Adam Torres, as little Lizzie, from Life with Derek, a Canadian sitcom about a Brady Bunch-esque blended family with a modern twist. (It still airs on the Disney Channel, every once in a while, in case you’re curious . . .)
She’s obviously very talented. I suspect this is not the last we will hear about her . . .
So, there, I’ve said it. With nearly ten years of episodes behind its belt, Degrassi still manages to surprise me, every once in a while. O’ Canada, I will never doubt you again.
That’s the crow I just had to eat . . .
Degrassi: The Boiling Point airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on Teen Nick. Have you been watching?
The cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation . . . NONE of these people are actually on the show anymore. Seriously.
Once upon a time (the early 2000s) in a land far, far, away (Canada), a bunch of folks got together and created a half-hour television program called Degrassi: The Next Generation. It wasa show about high school kids (well . . . actually, they started out in junior high), one which starred actors and actresses who were ACTUALLY teenagers . . .
. . . as opposed to the 35- and 40-year olds who typically starred in teen television dramas at that time.
Meet the first 16-year old to ever suffer from menopause . . .
And the first 17-year old to experience erectile dysfunction disorder.
But what most of us fans of the show DIDN’T know, was that Degrassi wasn’t exactly NEW. It was actually a revamp of a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY old show (from the 1980s) that ALSO featured high school kids. Except THEY looked like THIS . . .
. . . and had HAIR like THIS . . .
How exactly did one sleep at night, with hair like THAT? Wouldn’t it puncture holes in the bedroom wall, in the middle of the night?
Throughout the years, the NEW Degrassi grew more and more popular. And as its cast aged (into their LATE teens, mind you, not their LATE fifties like those OTHER shows), its storylines became more and more provocative. Degrassi began to tackle REAL issues that REAL teens faced everyday, like . . .
Addiction to Prescription Pain Medication;
School Shootings; and
Due largely to the success of the show, and the innate talents of its stars, many Degrassi: The Next Generation cast members went on to become big stars in . . . wait for it . . . THE UNITED STATES. For example, you may remember Darcy Edwards (played by Shenae Grimes), the “good little Christian girl” . . .
“OMG! You just CURSED! You are SO going to hell!”
. . . turned Skanky Ho / Internet Porn Star . . .
. . . or, as you NOW know her, Annie from the NEW 90210.
Then, there was Little Jimmy (played by Aubrey Graham), the Rich Kid Jock . . .
. . . who was tragically confined to a wheel chair, after being shot in the back by a psycho. But you might know him better as kickass rapper dude, Drake . . .
And who could forget my personal favorite? Baby Mama Mia.
She doesn’t look familiar to you? Perhaps you’d recognize her more, if she was attached to the lips of some VERY HOT VAMPIRES . . .
It’s Nina Dobrev! Or as you know her better, Elena Gilbert of The Vampire Diaries!
Can I get a, “Hell yeah!”
Unfortunately, soon after the departure of these folks (along with most of the rest of the show’s original cast) came an inevitable drop in the show’s ratings . . .
Coming up on its tenth season, Degrassi: The Next Generation was staring down cancellation. To stay afloat, it needed a MIRACLE! It needed a HAIL MARY!
So the producers of Degrassi came up with a plan . . .
Why not spice things up a bit, by changing the show’s format to one that’s already proven successful? Why not make Degrassi into . . . a SOAP OPERA!
So what if HALF of the longest running soap operas on television have been CANCELED within the past two years?
Clearly, this is an AMAZING and FAILSAFE idea!
And so, starting this week, Degrassi: The Next Generation has traded in its weekly airings for daily ones. This summer, a half-hour episode of the series will air every weekday at 9 p.m. on TeenNick for six weeks. This television viewing event is being referred to by advertisers as THE BOILING POINT . . . though I’m not quire sure why . . .
(Maybe watching it gives you hot flashes . . .)
The promo is pretty cool though!
THE BOILING POINT kicked off early this week, with a two-hour special entitled Degrassi Takes Manhattan. The series got off to a good start, at least in terms of “shock value,” if not exactly for “good plotting” or “good acting.” During the special, two characters who had precisely NOTHING to do with one another for the ENTIRE ten years they were on the program together (Spinner and Emma), inexplicably declared their “love” for one another, and got married . . .
“And you are . . .?”
(Man! That drunken Vegas Toronto casino sex must have been REALLY GOOD . . .)
Then, an, admittedly very attractive, brother / sister duo (Declan and Fiona) engaged in a very public, disturbingly sexy, MAKEOUT session with eachother!
“So, Declan. What do you think we should name our three-headed kids?”
But then, things kind of went downhill . . .
Take this first week of episodes, for example. It featured the following plotlines . . .
THIS couple is NOT pregnant . . .
THIS girl is NOT getting a boob job . . .
THIS girl did NOT try to commit suicide (ugly ass headband, notwithstanding).
If this keeps up, they may have to change Degrassi’s infamous tagline from “It Goes There” to “It Goes . . . Where?”
I mean, really! Fake pregnancies to win ELECTIONS? Rumors about someone getting a boob job, when she is actually getting LASIK EYE SURGERY? Could THIS be the same program that brought us this shocking scene?
OR this one?
Then again, maybe I’m being too harsh. It IS early in the season, yet. And maybe things will start to pick up, as the weeks wear on . . . Here’s hoping . . .
So, I have to ask. Have YOU been watching THE BOILING POINT? If so, what do you think so far?
[Degrassi’s THE BOILING POINTairs weeknights at 9 p.m. on TeenNick this summer]