for February 6, 2004
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Let's Move To Canada
by Stiffy Biceptz
Compelling. That's been one of my favorite words lately. I've used it a lot recently to describe books, movies, music and TV shows that have affected me, moved me in some way. Authentic. That's another long time favorite. I like things that are authentic and compelling. It's part of our Alternative credo.
Having been reintroduced to children's programming by way of my 4-year-old, I've discovered a lot of it is really good. A recent discovery of mine has been Degrassi, a show that plays on Noggin in the evenings, after the tots have gone to bed. It's one of several teen/ adolescent dramas that anchor Noggin's grown up kid package, which also include Radio Free Roscoe, Clueless and Daria, the great animated series from MTV. They're all smart, well written and worth watching, regardless of your age. And they play some cool videos between episodes too.
In particular, I find Degrassi both compelling and authentic. It's set in a Canadian junior high-high school and follows the trials and tribulations of a dozen or so main characters as they stumble their way through adolescence. The topics are universal: Sex, drugs, love, hate, cliques, self-identity, and very screwed up families. There isn't one of them whose parents aren't divorced, gay, alcoholics, dead, beaters or some combination of the above. If these are typical Canadian family values, we might have to invade there too.
Of all the teen shows that have come and gone since my time in high school, none has felt as authentic as Degrassi. I often have a hard time believing this is not a documentary, the young actors are so real, so not Hollywood. The dress, the dialogue, the hormones, the behaviors and the stereotypes are all right on the money. I wish I were in that high school, I'd tell that Paige a thing or two...
And the whole deal that this is in Canada makes it even more interesting. The show is a purely Canadian public TV product, and the differences between it and mass produced domestic products are subtle yet unmistakable. Heck, they even use Canadian money! This is without a doubt a very Alternative show, made in an very weird, Alternative place, known as Canada.
I cannot get enough of this show, and its not just to watch hot teen girls, although that is a bonus. I can't wait for the new season.
©2004 Stiffy Biceptz
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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