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Welcome to the Degrassi universe. Popular in Canada and on American public television, the Toronto-set Degrassi Junior High kicked into gear in 1987 as a follow-up to the short-lived The Kids of Degrassi Street, then morphed two years later into Degrassi High. Several specials followed, leading to Degrassi: The Next Generation, still going strong since 2001 and featuring some of the original teen actors from the first series, their characters now parents and teachers. Degrassi Junior High: Season One is the ideal way to begin exploring many years of Degrassi's slice-of-life fare from longtime co-creators Linda Schuyler and Kit Hood, who positioned the early series as a realistic yet entertaining alternative to frothier sitcoms set in schools.
The first thing one notices about the show is that the cast members look like real kids: largely unformed, physically awkward, short, initially indistinguishable from one another. This less-than-idealized picture of flowering youth perfectly suits the dramedy's sometimes unflattering if sympathetic portrait of adolescent experimentation and angst. Degrassi's characters frequently act before they think, leading to embarrassment and dilemmas over values, such as a decision by 8th-grader Steph Kaye (Nicole Stoffman) to run for class president at the same time she's tarting up her wardrobe and allowing every boy around to kiss her. Confusing one type of popularity for another, Steph grows uncomfortable and experiences a loss of esteem. In "The Big Dance," Steph and three friends get drunk before a school hop; in "The Experiment," Yick Yu (Siluck Saysanasy) deals with academic despair by copying another student's old assignments; and in "Smokescreen," Rick Munro (Craig Driscoll) tries to impress a girl by joining an anti-pollution committee despite having little interest in the subject. On the other hand, Degrassi's students often do the right thing for the right reason. In the sweet "Rumor Has It," Caitlin (Stacie Mistysyn) denies that her favorite teacher is gay, only to confide in that same teacher that she dreams, too, that her friends perceive her to be gay as well. Whether the subject is teen pregnancy, child abuse, or body development, Degrassi Junior High has a way of tackling tough material in an enjoyable, family-friendly, and unusually forthright manner. --Tom Keogh
Great show and my kids just love it and it gives me fond memories of the pastPublished 6 months ago by Linda Battenberg
love those 80's tv drama shows it makes me think back at school and those memories with friendsPublished 11 months ago by Federico Martone
This is a great dvd for degrassi fans. Besides season one of the show, it also includes episodes from DEGRASSI TALKS. Read morePublished on March 3 2005 by Laura