Degrassi Talks

10:53 PM Posted In , Edit This 0 Comments »
The title of this post is a reference to the supreme cheese documentary segments the original Degrassi series ran in the 80s, featuring Caitlin Ryan (Stacey Mistysyn) singing the theme song. "Degrassi taaaaalks!". Anyway it's summertime, so there isn't much to talk about. Summer movies are balls this year (I've written about the only two worth seeing - Toy Story 3 & Inception), and the only other good shows worth talking about - Mad Men and Friday Night Lights - were covered in my last post.

But really, I have to give kudos to Degrassi for the best week to date of this summer's jam-packed soap opera style scheduling (and oh god do I wish the show were always on four times a week). Or perhaps, just the two best episodes to date. The nice thing about the series this season is they aren't just giving a storyline two episodes and letting the after-effects sort of flutter along. Instead, they're allowing a story to percolate across several episodes, and you get the sense that things aren't really over when the show indicates they might be.

For example, Fiona's abuse storyline earlier this season led into her trying to buy Holly J's friendship which led to Holly J not liking Declan trying to buy her affections which led to Holly J and Sav's illicit affair which was played out to nice effect in last night's episode. And oh yeah, Fiona's abuse storyline is still going to come back later this season. Noice!

I have to say though, I'm pretty impressed at how they've handled this transgender storyline that was the big to-do about the summer series. For the first few weeks when Adam was on screen, they didn't really explain his situation, although I was well aware of it from the online promos / blogs I've read. It helps that the actress that plays the character is named Jordan. I asked my boyfriend if he would have realized if Adam was a girl had I not told him and he said it was pretty close.

Anyway here's the thing. I'm not part of the LGBT community, so I'm sure there will be some dissenters out there who will complain about Degrassi's oversimplification of the issues at hand or not like the treatment of the storyline in one way or another, but to be perfectly honest, I think the show did a fantastic job of enlightening me about the struggles of transgender people, especially young ones.

I never realized how complicated the whole situation was - that you are mentally one gender but born into the opposite body. Adam's mom's struggle to accept that her daughter was long gone, the whole-hearted acceptance from his jock strap brother, changing his identity to appear as a girl to make his grandma and classmates more comfortable, using the special needs bathroom, the self-mutilation that occurred when Adam tried on his Gracie identity again - just everything made me go Wow. That is seriously tough. I sympathized with everyone involved, but also respected the way the actress played the role as someone who managed to be both 100% confident and comfortable with themselves, but also 100% aware of how many people weren't. I fully believed in Jordon Todosey's performance, especially during the scenes when Adam looked fully uncomfortable dressed up in girls clothing. I believed in and understood Adam over Gracie, and that is pretty impressive for a half-hours serial to do.

I hope this relatively groundbreaking plotline is embraced by the LGBT community out there, and I hope Degrassi doesn't drop the ball on this in future episodes. Kudos to them for tackling an entirely new, complex situation with such grace, empathy, and honesty.

Other quick points: Anya finally getting a non-Sav storyline was a refreshing change of pace. The scene when she finally cracked down after Holly J's not-so-big confession felt very honest and one of the actress' best moments on the show to date.

Also, Eli has quickly become one of my fave characters on the show. There is something entrancing about the actor that plays him (he's not nearly as creepy as the previews for the season made him out to be, but there is something enigmatic about his performance) and I look forward to every season with him. Double kudos for the vast improvements to Clare's character this season. I've always liked the actress that plays her, and now she's finally got a developing personality of her own. The natural chemistry between her and Eli has been a highlight this season, and their involvement with Adam this season has been fantastic. Love!

- Britt's On


Design & Google Analytics