Archive for August 18th, 2009

Canada Meets Hollywood

I’m afraid I have to call myself out a bit. I’ve sorted my lack of Tifaux posts since the end of the SNL season under the heading “there’s nothing on this summer especially for someone who doesn’t watch Mad Men.” But that’s not entirely true. While I ran out of Pushing Daisies leftovers in June and haven’t been watching those last three Terminator installments idling on my DVR, I have been watching fresh episodes of one of my very favorite shows: Degrassi: The Next Generation. Degrassi airs on a pretty normal fall-to-spring schedule in its native Canada, but when it’s imported to the U.S. via cable channel The N (soon to be rebranded as Teen Nick), they break it up into smaller runs of eight or ten episodes at a time. This summer’s batch rounded out the show’s eighth season, and then chased it with what The N promoted as a full-length Degrassi movie, albeit of a made-for-TV stock: Degrassi Goes Hollywood (it’s unclear to me whether this aired as a full movie in Canada or a four-part episode).

 

WOOO, the number thingies mean we're in a movie!

WOOO, the number thingies mean we're in a movie!

It’s difficult for me to process the enjoyment I got out of Degrassi Goes Hollywood, which expands the show’s usual mix of improbability and surprisingly hard-hitting drama (or, in the various parlances of the N’s promo department, going there, getting real, or reaching an intensity level of one hundred percent). The current Degrassi: The Next Generation is actually more like Degrassi: Deep Space Nine, since most of the familiar Next Gen characters have moved on; the show occasionally follows selected earlier cast members in college or, in Spinner’s case, right down the street from high school, but for the most part, turnover has been achieved. Goes Hollywood mostly serves as a check-up on those older characters we haven’t seen in awhile; it turns out that Paige, for example, is working as the assistant of a reality star in Los Angeles. When she lucks into a leading role in a movie written and directed by friend-of-Degrassi Jason Mewes, fellow alums Ellie and Marco pay a visit. Ellie has her own, go therier story about her ducking some familial responsibilities out of fear (via more flirting with her old buddy Craig); Marco doesn’t have much to do because he’s already had like six coming-out episodes and, frankly, doesn’t do a whole lot else.

There are also a bunch of celebrity cameos. Kevin Smith pops up several times, while Mewes has a bona fide supporting role (and one of the most delightful leaps of logic taken by the show is the idea that a major studio would be desperate to finance an autobiographical Jason Mewes musical — called “Mewesical High,” natch). Pete Wentz and Perez Hilton also appear, forming an efficient conglomerate of people whose faces make me want to punch them. Also, Pete Wentz is an awful, awful actor. It may seem silly to say that after a three-line cameo, but I’ve seen better acting from athletes on SNL.

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2 comments August 18th, 2009


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