'Degrassi' Fans Swarm MuchMusic Parking Lot for 'Degrassi Takes Manhattan'
by Jen McNeely, posted Jul 17th 2010 2:37PM
Now in its tenth year, 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' is known for tackling the toughest of subjects. Ironically, the fictional characters on 'Degrassi' are far more relatable than most reality series, which is why the show has grown and maintained such a loyal following. Teens love how the gloss is stripped -- we see kids with braces, acne, angst and all.
Canadian music channel MuchMusic held a special outdoor screening of the latest 'Degrassi' movie, 'Degrassi Takes Manhattan', in their infamous parking lot, and invited diehard fans to come along.
Like the series, the latest movie doesn't hold back. Starting with a poolside punch and finishing with an impulse wedding, we follow the characters as they graduate high school and have a summer full of unexpected disasters, revelations, and... incest?Yep, while shacked up in Manhattan at the posh family pied-a-terre of her classmate and BF Declan (Landon Liboiron), Holly J (Charlotte Arnold) runs into relationship roadblocks when Declan's sister Fiona (Annie Clark) escalates her disturbingly jealous behavior by dipping in for a smooch with twin bro. What?! It was very 'Cruel Intentions.'
We asked Arnold what her thoughts were on this sibling scandal, and she says, "It was built up throughout the season and it was just a matter of... are they going to go there? These things happen." They do? Yikes!
As if watching her boyfriend make out with his sister isn't enough, Holly J has to put up with a mega-bitchy boss while interning at TVM (rearranged acronym of MTV). Her boss is played by Jessi Cruickshank, the real host at MTV Canada.
Having just wrapped the series finale of 'The Hills,' we gave Cruickshank a call in LA. "When they first called me and asked if I wanted to play this character they were like, 'It's a TV host for a station called TVM.' I was like, 'You're basically asking me to play myself, but the bitchiest possible version of myself. ' It was really fun, I'm not going to lie."
Cruickshank has never been an intern herself, but did tell us about her brief stint as a hotel chambermaid. "I cleaned people's toilets – that was awful." However, she offers some advice to MTV intern hopefuls: "Definitely no demo tape and don't even apply if for an internship if you have a glamor shot! Sometimes we get hilarious half-nude photos of girls applying to be interns at MTV, which is not exactly the best possible way to go about it."
So while Holly J is being belittled in the Big Apple, back at home even bigger drama unfolds. Emma (Miriam McDonald) blows up the local coffee shop, gets drunk in Niagara Falls and wakes up next to Spinner (Shane Kippel) with a veil on her head and a ring on her finger. Wow. We asked the actors if they thought the marriage would work out, "Yeah! Look at her!" Kippel affectionately motions to his long-legged, bronzed blonde co-star.
Having grown up on set since 2001, McDonald and Kippel have seen a lot of cast members come and go, including Shenae Grimes, the reincarnated version of '90210''s Brenda Walsh, Nina Dobrev, who stars in 'The Vampire Diaries,' and of course, Drake, who seems worlds away from former character Jimmy Brooks.
With ex-castmates scattered throughout North America, it's tricky for the friends to stay in touch. Kippel relates it to leaving high school, and hopes someday there will be a 'Degrassi' reunion. (Please invite us!)
Although both he and McDonald are looking forward to some downtime, they are proud to have been a part of a show that has affected youth in such a positive way. On the other hand, Cruickshank wishes she could say the same. "If I could re-do my job for the past three years... I would say I'd do 'Degrassi'. The characters of 'Degrassi' are 100 percent more real than most of the people on 'The Hills.'"
Eight minutes before the premiere begins, girls aged 12 to 20 are still buzzing around the parking lot, gushing with excitement.
Honestly, it was the cutest thing ever – and best summed up by a nervous Grade 8 student who anticipated that the movie would be "A lot of girl stuff and a lot of girl and boy stuff." Or the real stuff, the tough stuff that all kids go through.
'Degrassi Takes Manhattan' airs on Friday, July 16 at 9PM. The tenth season of 'Degrassi: The Next Generation' begins on Monday, July 19 at 9PM, with new episodes airing every night of the week.