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Old Articles from Degrassi Focus

From The-N.com.

25 Years In
posted 06/05/2006

25 years ago today, the Center for Disease Control reported the first five cases of a disease that we now know of as AIDS. When I heard that fact this morning, it reminded me that, if you're reading this (which you are) you've never known a world without AIDS.

I usually hate pointing out that I'm older than you, but today I'm remembering when I was in junior high and high school, which, though it was several years after those first cases were reported, was right at the time when AIDS took over the public consciousness and changed ideas of sex forever. When I first became a teenager, a high school student going into a drug store and asking for condoms would've been treated roughly equivalent to a high school student going into a drug store and asking for a bag of weed. By the time I graduated, high school students could pick up condoms from the school nurse.

Right at the time when I and my friends madly hunted after our first sexual experiences, sex became something that could give you an incurable disease that would kill you and that you could give to the people you cared about and kill them too. For us, sex became inextricably intertwined with AIDS, and so inextricably intertwined with fear. Fear of getting sick. Fear of already being sick and not knowing it. Fear of others that were sick. The fear of standing too close to someone with HIV. Every day on TV, the images of young people emaciated to corpses from AIDS. Frightened people talking seriously about creating "camps" to house HIV-infected people to keep them "safe."

Those days are gone, hopefully forever. AIDS has become manageable for many HIV-infected people through an expensive mix of pharmaceuticals. For most of us, the disease has departed our everyday lives, and, thankfully, so has the fear. But I'm worried that we've traded it for complacency.

I talk to you guys, and many of you seem to think AIDS is yesterday's problem, that it won't affect you, that it won't infect you, or that if it does it can be cured. There are disturbing indications that condom use among sexually active teenagers may be leveling off or declining. Most of you probably worry more about avian flu than about AIDS. This despite the fact that in 2004 (the most recent year with data available) there were nearly 40,000 new cases of HIV-infection in the US. This despite the fact that the number of HIV infections increased for the first time since 2001. Despite the fact that 39 percent of those infections became full-blown AIDS within a year. And despite the disturbing fact that nearly half of those HIV infections were among African-Americans, even though African-Americans make up only 12 percent of the population.

I'm not telling you these things because I want you to be afraid. I'm telling you specifically because I DON'T want you to have to live with the fear that I lived with as a teenager. AIDS is a disease that thrives on complacency. The more we stop trying to prevent it, the more often sexually active people don't use protection, the more it will sneak back into our lives, the more of us it will kill, the more we will return to the bad old days. 25 years ago, only five people in the world had AIDS. Today, 38 million people have it. That's how quickly AIDS can spread if we let it, how quickly it can storm back. So I'm asking you: Be smart. Be conscientious—so that you'll never have to be afraid.

–The-Seth

 

I wrote the following for a recent English assignment, and I thought I would share it with Degrassi Freak site visitors. Enjoy.

 

Degrassi: The Next Generation

 

If you’ve been sleeping under a rock the last couple of years, you might not know about Degrassi: The Next Generation (recently proclaimed by New York Times Magazine the best TV show in the world). Degrassi is a fictional, dramatic series on cable network The-N (originally broadcast in Canada on CTV). It tackles both tough issues and everyday experiences in a realistic way. The series follows various (15 major characters in all) teens going through the trials and tribulations of adolescence in the 21st century at Degrassi Community School in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is “the next generation” of students attending Degrassi; the show existed in three previous incarnations during the 1980s and early 1990s.

 

So what would drive an American college student to spend her weekends obsessively watching a Canadian show about teenagers? As it turns out, quite a lot.

 

Why I Spend My Friday Nights Watching Degrassi

1)      It sucks you in like an industrial vacuum cleaner.

2)      11 Gemini Awards can’t be wrong. (Let alone an additional 27 prestigious awards.)

3)      Degrassi is Kevin Smith’s (of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and Dogma fame) favourite show, so you know it must be good.

4)      Teenage characters are played by actual teenagers, a novel concept considering the average age of the “teen” stars on The O.C. is 24. (Average Degrassi cast member age? 17)

5)      Where else in America could you learn the upwards of 23 definitions for the term “eh”?

6)      Sex, rape, racism, homosexuality, bullying, teen pregnancy, STDs, a school shooting, drug use, alcohol abuses, cutting, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and abortion . . . not many shows geared toward teenagers would be willing to address these issues.

7)      Even fewer shows would deal with those issues in a realistic and mature manner.

8)      Fans of the original 80s show get a chance to relieve their youth.

9)      The writers realise that real problems can’t be solved within 22 minutes.

10)  But it’s not afraid to make you laugh in spite of the seriousness.

11)  How can you resist adorable words like “aboot” “ooout” and “eh”?

12)   It understands that adolescence is a time of contradiction and uncertainty, a limbo between childhood and adulthood, where the future is met with both fear and uncertainty, and sometimes you just have to stumble your way through.

13)  Poutine, hurling, bacon, euchre, French, hockey, and socialised healthcare . . . Degrassi’s the only show exposing viewers to such intricacies of Canadian culture.

14)  It knows that being a teenager is about facing serious issues with dangerous repercussions, but also about the less serious issues such as crushing on your best friend, embarrassing moments, fighting with parents, learning to drive, rocking it out at the talent show and learning who you are and how to be yourself.

15)  Yeah, it’s Canadian, but I promise it’s better than CÚline Dion.

 

The real reason I watch Degrassi? I fell in love with it the first time I ever watched it and for some unexplainable reason I haven’t been able to stop. In fact, I’ve convinced a vast majority of my friends to start watching it as well. Perhaps the greatest reason to watch Degrassi can be explained in the native tongue of Quebec: “Je ne sais quoi.”

 

Degrassi airs every Friday night (with replays through the weekend) on The-N.  You can also watch the show online at: http://www.the-n.com/ntv/shows/degrassi/video/

 

 

There is an AWESOME article about Aubrey Graham (Jimmy) at Thabiz.com. Due to copyright issues, we can't post it here, but Degrassi Freak heartily recommends that you read the interview with Drake at http://www.thabiz.com/drakeinterview.htm.

 

Degrassi Freak Anniversary

 

For newcomers to this website, I am Akin and I started Degrassi Freak. Since it’s the one year anniversary of Degrassi Freak, I have decided to write something about the start and rise of this site.

 

I began my Degrassi craze ever when dad shut down my digital cable. The fact that I couldn’t watch the show made me want to go on websites to find out what the new characters were or what “so and so” did. I didn’t know about downloading episodes so these websites were my only outlet. After many Google searches I discovered that fan sites were the way to go! There were lots of good ones and a lot of bad ones and a lot of sites that seemed like they hadn’t been updated since the 2nd season. The only problem was that I ended up going on 10 different sites to get the full coverage. I wanted to make a site that had full coverage on every aspect of Degrassi. So, that’s my inspiration.

 

I knew about Tripod at that time and I knew that a lot of fan sites used Tripod and I knew these sites were popular so I instantly knew that I would use Tripod. I was worried because I thought making a site was going to be hard but it was actually fun. This was in August after my 13th birthday. It took me about an hour to get everything set and figured out. I immediately wanted to work on a “Quotes” page so I spent 2 days finding and putting together Degrassi’s best quotes that I found and had remembered over the years. I finally finished the quotes page. Keep in mind, this wasn’t published to the web yet so it wasn’t an official site. 

 

After that I stopped. For some reason the preparation of school made me forget about the site and soon it was blocked out of my mind. It’s funny because I still went on other sites. That hiatus lasted until late December when I finally realized that I should continue with it. So, I typed in “tripod.com” and continued with the program. After a week I had a “Quotes page” and 3 character pages done. Also, I had a “Media page” with songs and some video. My homepage was set and I decided to publish my site and make it open for the entire world to see. True, I wasn’t even close to done but I thought I could work on the site while people came in. I put my email on the site and hoped people would email saying how much they liked the site.

 

I got no emails.

 

I started pleading for emails. I said that would be the only way I knew people were coming. And on top of that, I was so stressed and it was hard to keep up the site. Then I got an email. It was from some girl named Whitney. She said a song link on my site didn’t work and she needed help. I gave her 2 websites where she could find the song. I was so happy that I got an email that I even posted it on my site because I wanted all visitors to email me. Soon, she emailed me again saying that I should have a counter so I could have an idea on how many people were visiting the site. I installed one. It was a good idea. I soon learned that the only person that visits the site is…me.

 

After that I just got tired of it and stopped updating. I did get a couple emails but that didn’t lift my spirits. I just stopped again until I got an email from my only loyal fan, Whitney. She noticed I hadn’t updated and she asked to be my co-editor. I quickly jumped at the offer and said a big “YES!” I really needed the help. The next day, she emailed me ideas and soon I was back in the habit. Knowing that there was someone next to me, on my side, made me stronger and more enthusiastic about the site. Soon, my website was the talk of the Degrassi community.


Now, the site is one of the biggest Degrassi websites on the web. I got many emails asking me to be affiliates with them. I even got emails saying that our advice helped them. I soon realized that the website was becoming more of a committed job rather than a fun hobby like I originally intended it to be. In late November, I decided to quit the site and leave it for Whitney. Even though I did, I am no way bitter about this experience and I have really enjoyed it. Also, Whitney and I still email each other about ideas and thoughts about the site. I am glad at the success of it and I hope Degrassi Freak lasts for another year!

 

Akin

Owner, Degrassi Freak

 

This is Drake

 

Aubrey Graham (Jimmy) is taking a large portion of 2006 to get his musical career off the ground. In relation to his music, Aubrey will be going by his middle name Drake. His debut album should be out in a few short months. This is quite an achievement, considering his busy acting career, in addition to the fact that 2/3 of his album was lost last year due to computer problems, and the studio he recorded the album in was burglarized . . . twice.

 

Drake credits his father Dennis Graham (who performed with some legendary soul musicians), his uncle Teenie Hodges, family friend Willie Mitchell and Al Green with influencing his musical journey. Drake’s music is a mix of R&B, hip hop and soul. He’s an incredibly talented lyricist, with more than enough rapping skills, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t typically like hip hop. Drake definitely brings a lot of depth to his lyrics; something sadly missing from most hip hop today.

 

Drake does not have a record deal any label. Being Canadian, he faces an uphill battle to find success in music. Canadian media is notoriously inept at promoting home-grown music, preferring instead to play American artists. As Drake phrased it, “I live in the city that loves everything from everywhere else BUT home.”

 

You can listen to some of Drake’s music over at his myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/thisisdrake) and download his latest single “Do What You Do” here. Check out his official site at http://thisisdrake.com/ If you like what you hear, help him fight the Canadian odds, and request his single; you can do so by e-mailing scratch@flow935.com and asking the DJ to play “Do What You Do” by Drake.

 

Whitney

Webmaster, Degrassi Freak

 

Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi

 

You’ve seen the last three episodes of Season Four, so why do you need to spend over 20 bucks on a DVD of just three episodes? The reasons are endless, but here are just a few:

 

  • If you’re so inclined, you can get the unedited version, because cursing is the one real-life aspect Degrassi leaves out (understandably so).
  • Kevin Smith is a true Degrassi fan. Even if you don’t care who he is, just watching his interview on the DVD is like watching yourself on screen. No matter how old he is, what he’s done, what you think of him, he’s a Degrassi Freak, just like all of us . . . except he can use his fame to spread this awesome show to a wider public. Plus the interview is amazingly eloquent and enjoyable and funny.
  • You get a behind-the-scenes look at how Degrassi is filmed.
  • You’ll get deleted scenes, bloopers and clips of filming which give an unprecedented look at life on the Degrassi set.

 

Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi is so much more than three episodes, so head over to the Degrassi Freak Shop and Check It Out.

 

Note: There is an edited version for a reason. The unrated version does contain explicit language, and a lot of it. The explicit language, however, is limited mainly to the Extras. Use your own judgment in deciding which to buy.

 

Whitney

Webmaster, Degrassi Freak

 

 

Degrassi + Christians = Bad Television?

 

    I am a die-hard Degrassi fan. There's no mistaking that. I have friends that love Degrassi, too, but not nearly as much as I do. We all believe that Degrassi is a show that shows the truth behind tons of issues that are supposed to be handled by teenagers today. My friends and I think everyone on the show does their job well.

 

That is, however, until the Christian aspect comes in.

 

    When it comes right down to certain issues, my friends and I clash. They all think one way and I another.

 

    For instance, when the episode declaring that Marco was gay aired, I thought it was a very well created episode because homosexuality is something I thought needed to be addressed. My friends, however, were very much against it and began telling me how it was sickening it was that gay people were coming out of the closet instead of "staying in the closet where it's dark and nobody sees them or cares." Their opinion angered me, but the Christian view on homosexuality is that it's a sin against God. I don't feel that way, even though I am Christian, but they've got their minds made up.

 

    Another example is when I told them about the unaired episode, "Accidents Will Happen." I gave as much detail as possible and later let them watch it at my house one evening. Their comments afterwards were comments I expected from them. They said such things like, "Manny just killed a human being!" "She's a murderer!"  I don't understand why she's trying to run away from her own mistake." The comments kept going and I kept my mouth shut. Between us, abortion is a touchy topic because we both have extremely different views. Although I feel in some cases it is wrong, I do believe that in other cases, it's...well not right, but understandable. They think it's wrong no matter what. I've come to learn that there's no point in fighting with them and only voiced my opinion once. They've shunned Degrassi for even making that episode because they feel they are promoting abortion as a "Get Out of Jail Free" Card.

 

    There are plenty of other issues I could tell you about, but that'd take too long. I feel that if they have a problem with Degrassi addressing homosexuality and abortion among other things, maybe they should stop watching it. If what they're expecting is a totally Christian-based show where there are no gays and nobody has sex or gets pregnant or has an abortion or anything like that, then they should feel free to make the dumbest show ever created. The real world is not the way they want it to be and Degrassi shows them that flat out. I'm not sure if my friends realize that they are technically pointing out that Degrassi is a bad television show, but that's what they're doing.

 

    I do feel part of this is out of personal opinion, but the rest is just them as a group. I don't agree with them and hate the way the criticize Degrassi for the way the portray those things, but there's nothing I can do to change that. I can only hope they learn to see the truth behind everything.

 

Trish

lucine_tobias@hotmail.com

 

 

Mini-note from Whitney: Just wanted to point out that Degrassi was the first show to use the word “fuck” on prime-time Canadian television (School’s Out) and the first children’s television to feature a gay kiss (Marco and Dylan, The Next Generation).

 

Angst’s Response to Trish's Article

 

After reading Trish's article about my article I started to think for a very long time. I was very close to changing my position on this argument but I decided to back up my argument even more.

 

Now, I understand that Degrassi handles lots of issues very, very well. It is a very good show and maybe they deserve a little bragging now and then but that doesn't mean they have to make other shows feel bad. Yes! I am saying it! They look at other shows very lowly! They act like they are the best in the world. Just because they won a Gemini for best Children program, doesn't mean they should rub it in other people's faces!

 

It is also tiring because I hear it all the time. Tell me something I don't know! We all know that you guys talked about rape! Do we have to reminded!? When I read their book, I heard more about how their show is unique rather than how to actually make the show. Same with tv special!

 

Lastly, how the heck do we that Degrassi was the first!? Fans and actors of the show have no right saying that "Degrassi talked about rape the best!?" Unless someone is a real professional critic that has seen every single show, there is no way of telling if Degrassi is the best.

 

In conclusion, it's ok to say that Degrassi is a good show, but the people who for Degrassi shouldn't have a holier than thou attitude. Thank you for letting me state my opinion.

 

 

 

Rebuttal to "What's with Degrassi lately?"

 

    Degrassi is one show among many that deals with the issues, trials, and all around drama that is the life of teens today. You've probably seen the challenges portrayed in many different ways and you know that Degrassi definitely wasn't the first to address these issues. But I don't think that's the point. It's not whose done it first. It's who’s done it best.

 

    There will always be issues that the world will try and show to the public and make it seem real. It's been happening since before Degrassi began. But that doesn't mean that just because they addressed the issue, they told the truth. Most are off-base by a good percentage or just seem to not have a clue what really happens with whatever the topic is. Degrassi, however, seems to do a very good job at showing what needs to be shown and showing it in an informative, but entertaining way.

 

    Degrassi has bragging rights. That's all there is to it. I've put them in my list for Best Portrayal of Teenage Issues. Why? Because they’re among the best there is. They deserve to brag. They work hard to do what they do and I don't think it's easy to do it and do it well. As much as I understand Angst's point of view and totally respect their opinion, I strongly disagree. As long as Degrassi continues to do its job and inform and entertain, they can brag all they want. If they did everything badly, they have no right. But they do everything well and therefore, should be proud.

 

    The people of Degrassi are not proud (in a bad sense) or conceited or anything like that. They most certainly do not look down on other shows. They're being honest. And so am I when I say that Degrassi does it best (or really close). As far as I see it, their attitudes are just fine.

Trish

lucine_tobias@hotmail.com 

 

 

What’s with Degrassi lately?

 

      I remember when I was little. I used to love watching Degrassi. It was a cool show and it didn’t make kids feel stupid or gullible. It had real kids with real shows. I respect them for their bravery. I remember watching interviews and reading articles about them. The cast and the people who make Degrassi talked about how proud they were of their show and how they hoped it would be good. They seemed like normal kids with fears yet confidence.

 

      Four years later they’re an international success. Everyone has heard the words “Degrassi” and fanfics and fan sites are booming with popularity. I see the same interviews. Everything is the same except the cast and crew are boasting about how wonderful of a show they are and how they are the best and BLA BLA BLA! The people of Degrassi are very vain and very annoying. Seriously, every 3 pages of the book I read a passage about how they are unique and “the first to…” I am sick of them!

 

      It’s not bad enough they brag, they also over exaggerate. They think they were the first television show to talk about sex, or pregnancy or depression! There have millions of TV shows in the world and they act like they are the best. They think very other show’s a sitcom and we all know that’s untrue! What about 7th Heaven or ER or “James at 16”! They sure talk about a lot of issues even Degrassi hasn’t touched on! Forget what I said earlier, even sitcoms talk about a slew of important issues. Blossom talked about rape and Different Strokes talks about racism. Degrassi has no right saying they are the best.

 

      I admit, Degrassi’s amazing. I love the show and it is a special show. But it was not the first. We the people aren’t afraid to talk about important issues and some little teenage soap isn’t going to change the world or our minds. Degrassi’s great but I’m just sick of their bragging. They should just be glad at what they have and not look at other shows lowly.   

 

Angst

teenangerst@gmail.com

 

Goodbye From Akin

 

Hey guys. I just want to say doing this site has been wonderful. I've learned so much and has made some good friends. But...this was not intended to be a big thing. I always thought of this as a hobby. Now that more people go on this site, it's been very stressful keeping up with demands. I decided to quit this site. Not exactly because Whitney will be taking over. I just feel that it is time to go. This doesn't mean I have lost my desire for Degrassi, but it means that I just won't be doing this site.

 

I just want to say thanks to all our regular visitors and contributors. I also want to say thanks to Whitney. She has been lots of fun and I am positive that this site is in goods hands with her. These 11 months have been fun and I'll never forget it. Thanks and seeya!

 

Akin,

Owner, Degrassi Freak

 

 Degrassi Generations tells us the truth

 

I hate liars. I just don't tolerate them. That is mostly why I hate The-N. Noggin treats us like we are stupid and don't think we know about Degrassi. I bet every single real fan knows about the pregnancy episode, whether they live in Canada or not. Also, what they tell us about Degrassi is also a little fictitious and sometimes I don't feel they are telling us the 411.  If you are like me, you should get Degrassi Generations by Kathryn Ellis. It tells us everything, even stuff we "shouldn't know". The facts are real and the cast interviews are genuine. I finally know why Daniel Clark left the show and what Christina Schmidt is doing. I fell in love with this book, when Spike admitted that her character was wayyy too boring in the new series.

 

They even have interviews from guest stars, recurring characters and crew members who had small cameos on the show. And for old '80's fan, they have "then and now" pictures of more than half of the classic cast. Now that’s information!

 

This book is also good because it isn't like a text book. It's not like it's important to memorize the whole entire book. It's basically a book of facts about...well everything Degrassi. It's like taking a virtual tour through the sets of Degrassi, old and new! They tell us the writers’ process and the pains of doing a scene. I didn't know it took a full day to do, like, 3 scenes.

 

You might be thinking, 'this is the same old stuff, you can get this off the internet". Well, unless someone illegally scans every page on the book and puts it on the internet, you'll never get stuff like the book. On the internet, you can barely find sites dedicated to Degrassi Classic. With this book, you learn about Degrassi old, really old and new!

 

The chapters are split between different aspects of the show and there is an introduction by Kevin Smith, on his crush on...well I won't tell you! It also talks about how Degrassi is unique and all the major issues they have covered. And don't be intimidated by the price, it so worth it!

 

So, that's it. That's my thoughts on the book. I would tell you more, but I don't want to spoil it for you guys. I hope this article helped you understand why this book is a "must have" for every Degrassi Freak!

 

What to expect:

Thoughts by Kevin Smith

Character descriptions for old and new cast

Over 700 pictures that can't be seen anywhere else!

Episode Guides for every single season of Degrassi history

Cast interviews

and so much more!

 

So order Degrassi Generations today!

                                                                      

                                                                     

   Akin

Owner, Degrassi Freak

 

 

Violence at Degrassi

 

Note: Saw the following over at The-N, and thought it was worth posting. The-Seth is hilarious.

 

Now for something really important: is there anybody left on Degrassi that HASN'T been beaten up? When I saw Craig getting whaled on by Skinny the Friendly Derelict last night, I suddenly realized that everyone on the show has been smacked down at least a little bit. Seriously, Degrassi has become a bloodbath of senseless Canadian-on-Canadian savagery, and I can prove it. I made a list:

 

Craig:

Brutally clobbered by whacked-out homeless felon.

Marco:

Victim of tragic attack by despicable gay-bashers.

Emma:

Hurled to the ground by hotheaded goofball Sean Cameron during fit of juvenile male puffery.

Toby:

Scuffled with J.T over their locker like two toddlers fighting for a turn on the Sit 'n Spin.

Manny:

Locked in embarrassing hair-pull-a-thon with Paige, touching off Mattgate.

Jay:

Came to blows with Sean over the Great Vending Machine Caper.

Hazel:

Subject of relentless wet spitballing by Heather Sinclair.

Spinner:

Rolled around with Craig in discarded Goobers on ugly movie theater carpet.

Jimmy:

Faced off with Sean in ridiculously pointless eighth-grade after-school Ragnarok.

Dylan:

Chalked up countless bloody hockey fights, probably.

Joey:

Landed on the receiving end of bare-fisted Craigrage.

Alex:

Took Emma's bony knee to the face.

J.T.:

Caught up in shoving match with Liberty's little brother brought on by too much sister-kissing.

Liberty:

Mauled by a Kodiak bear in the background of the bird-poop scene in "Friday Night."

Paige:

Viciously assaulted by a pack of bloodthirsty cheerleaders led by power-hungry crazy psycho Manny.

Ashley:

Impaled on a spontoon during drama-class reenactment of the Hundred Years War

Ellie:

Left leg severed at knee by white whale.

Sean:

Engaged in violent acts of varying severity with pretty much everybody except Dr. Sally.

 

Can't we all just get along?

 

Monday,
The-Seth

The-N.com

 

The End

 

 

If you haven't had the chance yet, please read the Guidance section of this website. Even if it doesn't apply to you, it might just come in handy. The reason I mention this is because an acquaintance of mine tried to commit suicide last week.

 

It seems crazy. He graduated toward the top of his class, went to a fantastic university, had some of the best friends a person could want, a job in local politics (his dream), and the talent, dedication and drive to take him anywhere. But somewhere along the line he must have started to feel like he didn't measure up; that his life had no meaning; that life was not worth living; that he and the world would be better without him in it. At only 19 years old he tried to end his life.

 

Luckily, his suicide note was posted online, for all his friends to see. His friends found it, called the police, and saved his life. He alive. He's not well, it is going to be a very hard journey, but he's alive, and for now, that's all that matters. What matters more though, is that his friends didn't sit idly by, or discount his note as a joke, or assume that someone like him would never commit suicide. Instead, they called for help.

 

Being friends has nothing to do with laughter and jokes and fun times . . . if so, everyone would be friends. Friendship is about toughing it through the rough spells. It's about late-night moaning over lost boyfriends, frantic calls due to divorces, shoulders to cry on, wounds to heal. It's about being there for the worst.

 

If you know someone contemplating suicide, DO SOMETHING. You just might save a life. Be there for your friends when they can't even be there for themselves. Lift them up when they've fallen down.

 

Whitney

 

 

Thoughts on London

 

On Thursday, at around 9 in the morning (British Summer Time), terrorists attacked the public transport system in London, injuring 700 and killing at least 49 innocent people much like you and I who were simply trying to make a living. In light of these attacks, Degrassi Freak would like to give our viewers the opportunity to voice their thoughts, opinions and condolences about this tragic event.

 

Shortly after December's Tsunami, a survivor of that event voiced the following, which I feel is appropriate in these circumstances: "We must not feel guilty as we reengage in the trivia of daily life, for we have the chance to do so, those we have lost do not. Out of respect for them, we should all, regardless of which faith we hold, resolve to define the rest of our lives by exhibiting the limitless generosity of spirit, love and compassion that we found residing in all of us this week. We also owe them a promise this day: to make the rest of our lives a beautiful and noble example to all." ~Trevor Fisher

 

Reports from London state that the British police were wonderful; responding quickly, appropriately and wonderfully in the face of such destruction. The citizens of London were equally fantastic; they have served as shining examples of the best humans have to offer. Our sympathy, thoughts and condolences are with the citizens of London and the nation of Great Britain as they continue to deal gracefully with tragedy.

 

If you wish to learn more about this, please see the following sources:

Whitney

 

Day Three of the Degrassi Marathon

 

That's right, two days done which means just a little less than 12 hours left to get your Degrassi Marathon fix. Trish is still holding out in front of her TV, and we expect her day two report shortly. Until then, here's a run-down of the past two days:

 

 

So far Friday and Saturday we've dealt with:
An Internet stalker, Internet porn, drunk girl at the middle school dance, two condom purchases, Ritalin abuse, one gay dad, one guy fake coming-out, one guy coming out for real, first period + white miniskirt, uncontrollable boners, Toby in tights, physical altercation: Sean vs Jimmy, physical altercation: Jimmy vs Spinner, Ecstasy-taking, reputation-losing, one abusive dad and the death thereof, a license-less joyride, belly-button piercing, eating disorders, religious tolerance, suspension, inter-friend thievery, a search for an AWOL parent, thongs, Leukemia, gay-bashing, wet dreams, cutting, psychotic secret admirers, and oh yeah, rape.

And a little preview of tonight's exploits:

 

A guy getting caught cheating on his gf, Paige's FIRST crush on a teacher, a Breakfast Club tribute, cutting school, two relationships that actually go (for the most part) right (Ellie and Sean, Marco and Dylan), a relationship that goes every kind of wrong imaginable (Rick and Terri), The Craig vs. Ashley revenge song-off (8 pm et!), alcohol poisoning, a rape trial, a fire at the prom, a school shooting, manic depression, a marriage proposal, and a student-teacher affair.

 

Thanks to The-Mary over at The-N for those wonderful summaires. Happy watching on the last night everyone!

 

Dispatches from the Front Line – Degrassi

 

The second day of the Degrassi Every Episode Ever Marathon has begun. Thanks to our friend Trish, we are able to provide you with minute-by-minute dispatches from the Degrassi front line. Trish has taken on the challenge of making it through the entire marathon; that means 12 hours throughout the middle of the night for three straight nights with no breaks, tons of caffeine and the daylight hours the only chance for sleep. She’ll be providing us a detailed run-down of her Degrassi activities.

 

Day One – Popcorn and Pepsi – What have I gotten into?

 

6 P.M. -- Fully awake. No caffeine used. One bag of popcorn.

 

7 P.M. -- Still fully awake. Still no caffeine used. Second bag of popcorn.

 

8 P.M. -- Still fully awake. No caffeine used yet. No popcorn. Mom walks in and watches with me.

 

9 P.M. -- Awake, but feeling the effects of sitting for hours. Third

bag of popcorn. Mom falls asleep on me. Poor trooper...

 

10 P.M. -- Awake. First can of Pepsi. Feeling...not as jumpy. Mom is

still sleeping.

 

11 P.M. -- Second can of Pepsi. Fourth bag of popcorn. Worrying since

I'm running out of popcorn.

 

12 A.M. -- Started a new plan of napping during commercials. Setting my

watch to beep after three minutes to wake me up. Third can of Pepsi.

Mom wakes up.

 

1 A.M. -- Feeling the burn. Getting drowsy. Holding off the popcorn

until seriously needed. Fourth can of Pepsi and a Kit-Kat bar...frozen, that is.

 

2 A.M. -- First bathroom break since 6 P.M. Napping during commercials

not helping. Washed face with cold water to help me stay up. Fifh can of Pepsi and a Snickers bar with cheese doodles.

 

3 A.M. -- Really need popcorn. Fifth bag of popcorn. Feeling more

energetic. Still drowsy, though.

 

4 A.M. -- Total zombie. Sixth and final bag of popcorn. Sixth and

seventh cans of Pepsi. One more Kit-Kat bar.

 

4:30 A.M. to 6 A.M. -- Watching Shout. Happy that this is almost over.

Ready for bed. Eighth can of Pepsi.

 

6:38 A.M. -- Finally sleeping soundly on the carpeted floor in my room.

Too tired to reach bed.

 

My strategy for Night Two is to sleep at random intervals during the

day to rest up. During the later hours, since I've already slept, I shouldn't tire out so quickly.

 

Trish

 

Degrassi Freak is happy to announce that Trish made it through the first night in one piece. We anxiously await news on her condition during this trying second night as she begins to feel the effects of sleep deprivation.

 

Degrassi Marathon!

 

Starting Friday evening (24 June), The-N will be airing a Degrassi “Every Episode Ever” Marathon! The Marathon begins at 6 pm Eastern Time (which means 5 for Central Time, 4 for Mountain Time and 3 for those of you on the West Coast). Each night the Marathon will air for 12 hours and then restart again the next evening until every episode of Degrassi EVER has been aired (which will be the early hours of Monday morning).

 

            If any of you diehard fans happen to watch the ENTIRE marathon, we here at Degrassi Freak want to know! Write down your experience: did you watch with friends or alone, how much caffeine did you have to drink to stay awake the whole time and what did you do during the periods without Degrassi?

 

            So get your caffeine, snacks, alarm clock (in case you fall asleep), and comfiest chair and get ready for three straight days of Degrassi!

 

            Day One: Friday at 6 pm Eastern Time; airing episodes from Mother and Child Reunion to Shout.

 

            Day Two: Saturday at 6 pm Eastern Time; airing episodes from Mirror in the Bathroom to This Charming Man

 

            Day Three: Sunday at 6 pm Eastern Time; airing episodes from Holiday to Bark at the Moon

 

Happy Birthday to Melissa and Shane!

Melissa McIntyre (Ashley) and Shane Kippel (Spinner) both celebrated their birthdays recently. Melissa turned 19 on 31 May and Shane turned 19 on 4 June. We hope the both of them had very wonderful birthdays, likely on the Degrassi set. If my knowledge of Canadian law is correct, it means the both of them have reached the legal age to drink alcohol. We hope they are responsible in light of their new rights.

In light of Ryan's, Melissa's, and Shane's birthdays, Degrassi Freak has decided to create a Degrassi Calendar to help make you aware of important dates.

 

Happy Birthday Ryan!

 

 

Ryan Cooley (a.k.a. JT) is 17 years old as of 18 May 2005! Here's wishing him a happy, healthy and enjoyable day, which will likely be spent on the Degrassi set. If my knowledge of Canadian law is correct, that means Ryan will be able to drive now.

 

Degrassi Freak sends Ryan the warmest wishes on his big day!

 

 

Degrassi Fan Tragedy

 

I was just doing my traditional Google search for Degrassi news and stumbled upon something rather sad. I hope you'll take the moment to read this.

 

On 6 May 2005, a 13 year-old eighth grader in Queens, New York died, along with her parents, in a house fire. Her name was Sarah Ramkhalawan. What struck me was the fact that the article I read about her specifically mentioned that she was a fan of Degrassi: The Next Generation.

 

Sarah was the same age as so many Degrassi fans (and many visitors to this site). I hope all who read this will take the time to simply think of Sarah, and send some mental well-wishes or prayers to her surviving family. To find out more about the tragedy, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/07/nyregion/07fire.html

 

Also, keep in mind that no house in 100% safe from fires. Talk to your parents (or even do it youself) to make sure that you have at least one smoke detector on every level of your house, check them once a month, and replace the batteries at least once a year. It may sound cheesy, but sit down with your family and organise a fire escape plan. Know the closest exit from your room and have a designated meeting place away from your property to meet in case of a fire. Find for fire safety information at: http://www.firesafetytips.com/default.htm

 

Whitney

 

Vindication is at Hand

 

 

She's been off the show for a year now, but New Dundee resident Chrissy Schmidt's role as an abused teen in a controversial episode of the Canadian youth series, Degrassi: The Next Generation, has finally been recognized with two nominations at the U.S.-based Young Artist Awards.

 

"It's what I worked for," says the 17-year-old Cameron Heights grad, nominated as best supporting young actress and, with nine other cast members, as Outstanding Young Performers in a TV Series. "It makes me feel great about the show I was on. It's good that a Canadian artist has been recognized for her acting."

 

Schmidt played Teri McGregor, an underconfident teenager whose relationship with the school psycho -- a smooth-talking control freak with anger management issues -- ended with him smashing her head into a rock at the end of last season. "I couldn't be happier for Chrissy being recognized," says Linda Schuyler, the Toronto series' executive producer. "Because it was such an important storyline and she did such a believable job. It was a very tough role to play."

 

In the best supporting young actress category, Schmidt -- now taking acting classes in Toronto before heading off to study travel and tourism at college -- goes up against Danielle Bouffard (Doc), Vivien Cardone (Everwood), Megan Fox (Hope and Faith), Sarah Ramos (American Dreams) and Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development).

 

For the group nomination, Degrassi competes with American shows All That, That's So Raven and Unfabulous. The awards -- restricted to performers under age 18 -- will be handed out April 30 in Los Angeles. Win or lose, Schmidt says Degrassi's enduring popularity is a thrill in itself.

 

"When I was in L.A. last year, I was walking down the street and I hear 'Teri! Teri! -- I saw you on Degrassi last night!"' she laughs, noting the series is rerun constantly on American cable.

 

"Sometimes when I go to the mall (in Toronto), I sign 50 autographs!" Young people wanting to hear Schmidt's take on acting, fame and the audition process can attend a Waterloo region children's drama workshop at the Registry Theatre, 122 Frederick St., on May 7.

 

Joel Rubinoff
[The Record]
April 22, 2005

 

Source: Degrassi Online:  http://news.degrassi.ca/article.php?a_id=1066

 

Since there has been so much focus (pardon the pun) on Cassie Steel's music career, Degrassi Freak thought it was time to let you know about the Andrea Steele's music career.

 

Grown up Degrassi star not jaded by fame...

 

Renaissance woman Andrea Desiree Lewis uses showbiz clout to boost black and West Indian communities

 

By Tatenda Musewe
Culture Writer

 

As far as up-and-coming young Canadian artists go, one could not find a more promising and talented prospect than Andrea Desiree Lewis. With a West Indian background but raised in Pickering, Ontario, this aspiring singer, songwriter, and actress already has a superb track record and is well on her way to establishing a reputation of excellence. You might recognize her from the hit Canadian TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation, where she plays the role of Hazel, the only black woman in the cast. She has also acted in other productions including Disney’s Cadet Kelly, The Natalie Cole Story, and Maya Angelou’s Down in the Delta with Wesley Snipes.

As impressive as these accomplishments are, Lewis’s endeavours do not stop there. Though she has been performing her whole life, starting at the tender age of two appearing in commercials and magazines, she also pursued singing in her youth. Lewis already has two hit songs, “I’m Like (Ooh Oh),” and “Superwoman,” now circulating on popular
Toronto
radio, and she plans to release her self-titled album later this year. When asked what her preference is – singing or acting – she said, “I’d like to do both, but I’ve sung since I can remember.” According to Lewis, singing takes a lot more work than acting. In singing, “You’re expressing yourself,” she says, whereas in acting you’re taking on different roles.

The demands on Lewis in terms of acting have been rigorous since her high school years. She was working professionally while attending Catholic school. She finished high school two years ago and is now acting full-time, but remembers the days when she would film six months a year for five days a week, while having a tutor on set for the required minimum of two hours a day.

Lewis has been acting on Degrassi for four years now and has enjoyed many opportunities to travel and gain exposure to thousands of Canadian and American fans. Through this all she has been well supported by her manager, who also happens to be her mother and her biggest fan. Of course, everyone’s mother is their biggest fan, but she says, “I like it; I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Lewis’s acting and singing influences include a range of reputable artists. Her music is reminiscent of soul artists like Gladys Knight and Otis Redding. More contemporary inspirations include John Legend and Alicia Keys. “Right now I’m in love with Alicia Keys, because that’s real stuff. Ten years from now we’ll still be listening to her.” Lewis’s acting has been motivated by a number of actresses like Julia Roberts and Dorothy Dandrige, the latter of whom gained fame from singing as well as from being one of the first African-American actresses. Lewis describes Dandridge as someone who “combined it all” and broke down boundaries, opening doors for young black talent such as herself.

Lewis also plans on giving something back to the West Indian community in which her heritage is rooted. She has already started writing her own scripts, and hopes to produce a movie or TV series with which she can provide opportunities for other young black actors and actresses to get exposure. She also hopes to produce a show that is based around the West Indian community in
Toronto
so she can enlighten Canadians about a community they know little about. She points out that there is a lot of black American culture on TV that black Canadians can relate to, but she wants to produce something that truly represents the many dimensions of the black Canadian experience.

Lewis is a multi-faceted artist who will certainly be interesting to follow as she pursues her career in entertainment. She is releasing a new album this spring, and she has been nominated for Best Independent Video at the Canadian Music Week Conference. But entertainment is one thing. Lewis truly demonstrates her mettle through her commitment to the black and West Indian communities from which she came.

 

Source: McGill Daily, McGill University, http://www.mcgilldaily.com/view.php?aid=3661

 

 

 

What's Different About Degrassi?

 

Why is Degrassi such a great show? Well, that's a simple question and I am going to answer why I like this show better than any other teen drama.

“MOVE OUTTA MY WAY!” my sister said as she pushed me out of the way. It was Thursday, 8:00, and that meant The OC was on. My sister loves the show. So does every 8th grade girl in my school. I was bored so I decided to watch it with her. I had never seen an episode and I was curious. It was about some guy who loved a girl who was dating this other guy. Also, it was about a girl who told her mom she was a lesbian and that her girlfriend is her “girlfriend.” I started observing the show. After about 20 minutes, I wanted to leave but I didn’t want to be assuming, so I stayed. I thought The OC, overall, was okay, but I think I’d rather watch Degrassi. Moost people think Degrassi isn’t diverse enough but The OC isn’t diverse at all. I didn’t see, truthfully, a singly black person, but that is okay. In Degrassi there are only 2 black people, not including Chris. But Degrassi has a lot of rich people (Jimmy), poor people (Spinner and Sean) and a lot of non-traditional families. In The OC, everyone is rich. I know Orange County is known for its big houses and lots of business people, but I think the show should find a way to include people of little money. Lastly, this is a question of reality. Sure, both are pretty real, but I have a feeling that in real life couples won’t breakup . . . then hookup . . . then breakup . . . then . . . Also, everyone in The OC world is beautiful and hot and perfect. In Degrassi’s world there are overweight people, and bipolar people, and gothic people . . .

And that is not only The OC. If you watch One Tree Hill or Dawson’s Cree, you know that I am talking about. The think I like about Degrassi is that it has a huge cast. In some teen drama, there are only 3-6 people in the cast. That could be okay, but in real life rape, violence, abuse and sex don’t happen to one girl. It can happen to everyone. Even though Degrassi has had people that have dealt with all those things, it doesn’t happen to everyone.  

But maybe The OC and other shows are OK. The real bad shows are the fake DISNEY AND Nickelodeon shows. I know I like "That's So Raven" and "Unfabulous" but the way they handle some subjects are too cheesy and corny. The worst is family sitcoms. Someone could steal but it will still turn out to be a happy ending.

 I have one question: why haven’t more Americans seen how good Degrassi is? And I, truly can’t answer that. Only time will tell. Maybe when America is looking for truth and meaning, they’ll learn that Degrassi has that.

 

Thank you.

Akin (Owner)

 

 

 

Hell Hath No Africans?

 

Okay here’s the deal: I live in Canada and I'm best friends with Cassie Steele. I have met every cast member and think all of them are super nice. But my problem is the fact that there are hardly any African Americans (or African Canadians for that matter) on the show. When I met Aubrey Graham (who plays Jimmy), he stated that it would be cool to have some more "homies" on the show. See I am half black and half Italian but I'm more black than my other nationality. And it hurts to know that Degrassi would not take time and put more color on the show. I'm not putting anything against the cast members but, and this is a real quote Cassie commented to me, "I have more fun with diverse people. I think being on this show should be a half and half thing." If anyone agrees or disagrees, please let me know because this is my opinion and I would like to know how people felt.

 

Trisha

trishdancer42@yahoo.com

 

P.S.  I will definitely tell Cassie to talk to Linda, one of the executive producers.

 

 

 

Jake Epstein and Radio Free Roscoe

 

This is almost painful to say. I love Radio Free Roscoe and I think Jake is an amazing actor. You would think that the two would then go together perfectly. Unfortunately, it was . . . bad, and not in the good way.

 

The premise of the show is such: Jackson, played by Jake, is a transfer student who (surprise, surprise) plays the guitar. No one can pass up the chance to let Jake sing, so our first glimpse of Jackson is him in the music room performing a very beautiful song (I would LOVE to get my hands on that song, so let me know if you have it). Once he opens his mouth, it is clear that Jackson is an alternative/gothic musician. He bonds with Lily over the fact that for both of them, music always comes first. Lily puts music so far ahead of everything else; she loses all of her friends. Lily starts dressing like Jackson (leather jacket, black clothes, necklace with a skull), and loses herself in the process as well. She finally realizes that Jackson is so caught up in his art, that he has no time for Lily. They break up, and Lily gains back all of her friends.

 

The show had a good enough premise, I will concede that. Actually, any premise that gives Jake Epstein a guitar and a microphone, that’s a good enough premise for me. Unfortunately, the premise was just about the only good thing. Seeing that Jake plays Craig, a emo/altenative musician on Degrassi, and the fact that he has been great in all his previous roles (Quints, Mom’s Date with a Vampire . . .) you would think that he could pull off the goth/bad-boy role. And you would think wrong.

 

            Jake’s acting seemed forced. He is a great actor, so I think some of the blame should go to the writers of the episode. Perhaps it was really the words that just did not seem realistic. In fact, because he can pull of nervous breakdowns, being beaten, dating two girls . . . I really don’t think it was his fault that the acting seemed forced. Either he had much too little time to learn the lines and rehearse, or the writing just really sucked. I’m going to endorse both points of view.

 

            Speaking of forced, Jackson and Lily spent just about the entire episode making out. There was absolutely no chemistry between the two of them, and the kissing was just excessive. Back when I was in high school (recently, and it was a very liberal high school), principals did not let students make-out freely in the halls, nor did the students (who really needs to see two people sucking face in the hallway?). I had no desire to see the two making out, and not because I was jealous. If you saw the kissing, you know there was nothing to be jealous about . . . because it looked like the two were kissing family, such was the awkwardness. 

 

            I hate to trash RFR and Jake Epstein. I adore them both. I really do. Either one can get away with just about anything, but unfortunately the two together makes a lethal combination. Jake has a brilliant future ahead of him, and I hope RFR gets renewed next year. I just hope they don’t cross paths again. Here’s hoping Lauren Collins and RFR are a better match.

 

Whitney

 

 

 

So Many Changes!

(I know we wrote a disclaimer saying we wrote these articles but I found this on another site and I had to have it! So, this isn't a Degrassi Freak article.)

 

Since season 4 is over I decided to write how the characters changed over this season...

Jimmy went from walking to wheelchair

Rick went from living to dead

Sean went from degrassi to wasega

Emma went from green peace to green bracelet girl

Alex went from Jay to single

Jay went from Degrassi to expelled

Spinner went from popular guy with the popular girlfriend to less popular than Rick

Toby went from guy that no one cares about to well not much has changed here

Kendra went from Tobys girlfriend to dissapeared (my guess is that shes locked up in Tobys closet)

Manny went from hateing Emma to best friends with Emma (probably cause she likes Emmas bracelet)

Terry went from the hosiptal to some un-named school

Craig went from the cheater to the crazy boy now back with the girl he cheated on

Ashley went from unpopular goth girl to emo girl with crazy boyfriend

Marco went from gay boy to gay school president

Dylan went from Marco to single colledge boy with ugly hair

Liberty went from Towerz to longtime crush JT

JT went from slutty Manny to dorkey Liberty

Ellie went from living with alcoholic mommy to boyfriend Sean to dead Buller back to mommy

Paige went from Spinner to having an affair with Mr. O

Hazel went from Paige's sidekick to Paige's sidekick who you never see

Staci

http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=stacisdegrassi

 

 

 

The Real Cassie Steele

 

How do you describe Manny from Degrassi? Bubbly? Sweet? Kind? "Pink"? Well, you'd probably think Cassie Steele's like that. She plays her character so well that she basically is that character! Well, the fans who think that are wrong. Cassie is not bubbly or sweet. She is a mean and dirty gothic. Remember when, in season one, when Manny wore the nail polish called "Passion Red"? Well, you probably think Cassie likes wearing pink and read make up. Well, she might but her favorite nail polish color is black! Have you seen Cassie in Degrassi promo pictures? She is wearing that tight, little, pink outfit. Did she chose to wear those clothes? Are those her clothes in real life? Maybe she does own that pink outfit but if you're close friends with her and asked her  to go to the mall. She'll probably be wearing dark and "gothic" clothing.

You can see her mysterious attitude on her new cd coming soon. I know I'll be getting her new cd!

 

Akin

 

 

 

Degrassi Episodes Censored by The-N

 

The-N censors Degrassi somewhat regularly. I am a firm believer in free speech and felt it was important to let the Americans (like me) know what was taken out of the episodes.

 

Mother and Child Reunion (II): The-N censors Caitlin saying “ass” and a poster that reads “The Pill is Not Enough”

 

The Mating Game: the episode was not censored, but there was a Parental Discretion warning

 

Wannabe: The-N Censors a poster that reads “Hate: It’s tough.”

 

Jagged Little Pill: The-N changes Sean replacing the ecstasy with aspirin, to him replacing it with a vitamin. The-N deletes Sean saying “Chew it slower. It gives you a better high,” and the scene where Emma catches Ashley and Sean making out. The-N also added a section where Daniel Clark (Sean) advises viewers on the dangers of drugs.

 

When Doves Cry (I & II): The-N edited some of the scenes where Craig’s father beat him. They also edited Sean and Craig playing “chicken” with a train.

 

Weird Science: The-N edited some of the scenes where Spinner has an erection.

 

Drive: The-N edited a poster in one scene (not sure what of) and a poster of some tattoos where Ashley got her bellybutton pierced.

 

Shout (I & II): The-N edited part of the scene where Dean rapes Paige. The episode also included a Parental Discretion warning. In the scene where Paige sings with PMS, The-N edited one of the judges’ facial expressions.

 

Careless Whisper: The-N issued a Parental Discretion warning for this episode.

 

Pride (I & II): The-N censored the use of the word “fag” in this episode. They also edited the scene where Marco is beaten in the park.

 

Accidents Will Happen (I & II): episode never aired

 

Whitney

 

 

 

 

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