Before there was 90201 or Saved by the Bell or any other American melodramatic teen series, there was Degrassi High — homegrown Toronto TV goodness. Groundbreaking, ultra low budget, and wholly authentic.
Back in the 80’s, Degrassi High was the international portal to Toronto youth; these were real Canadian kids turned actors, dealing with real life issues that, at the time, no other TV show had the guts to deal with — teen pregnancy, homophobia, suicide.
As a kid, I used to watch re-runs after school in my suburban hometown, thinking one day I’ll move to Toronto and shave my head and be somebody.
Each character had panache — Snake the romantic, Joey the joker, Spike the punk-rocker, Caitlin the wanna-be activist, Yick the lone Asian. They were real people. I wanted to be real too.
This year Degarssi High celebrates its 25th year anniversary. Local alt. paper, The GRID, wrote an excellent article on the show’s evolution. Read it here.
Yesterday we were feeling rather ambitious, and ran out and bought a Degrassi High DVD box set (something I’ve been meaning to do for years). My life is now complete.
True factoid: John and I live on Degrassi Street (yes it’s a real street) — and it’s the coolest street in Toronto.
Also, our local Shopper’s Drug Mart is where bad-girl Erica bought her first home pregnancy test and where Wheels picked up his first pack of condoms. Tsk Tsk.