The kids of Degrassi street have now grown to be teenagers attending Degrassi Jr. High where they face the facts and problems that are typical for people their age.Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First syndicated in Australia on the ABC's "Afternoon Show" with James Valentine from 1988/1989 onwards, this was a terrificly topical show for elderly children and younger adults. Episodes concerning teenage alcoholism, pregnancy, delinquency, child abuse, homosexuality, harassment, puberty and depression were delivered with an immediate frankness not previously produced for the little screen.
"Degrassi Junior High" was throughly entertaining; creating many lasting characters, particularly Joey Jeremiah and Derek "Wheels". The show lost its earnesty - though not its appeal - when it became "Degrassi High", the tele-movie extrapolation, "School's Out" was subpar whilst strangely compelling and the most recent series deplorably banal, but the original series was a classic.
"Degrassi Junior High" looks as if it was hastily filmed; with post-production added only sparingly - the show looks scant and cheap - but it was undeniably charming; the very theme song ("Wake up in the morning...feeling shy and lonely...") alerted me to the joy that would unfold over the next 22 minutes or so. The Junior High School looked anitiquated, dirty, cold and industrial - the Toronto skies were perpetually grey, the stories and familiy life not alway positive, but it was thoroughly commendable.
I haven't seen an episode in years; I try desperately to remember more of the plotlines, more of the obscure characters. I can't - only the vibes remain. But what vibes! And what a show! It has deservedly won quite a cult following around the world, particularly Australia and the U.K, but the author is surprised to discover that it is virtually unknown in the U.S and to some extent in its homeland!
Let's see it on DVD soon!
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