Back in the pre-Internet era, I remember watching old Degrassi episodes with my teenage friends, and feeling a peculiar emotion that fell somewhere between ironic appreciation and authentic affection. That paradoxical combination of conflicting feelings now seems to be the default setting for a generation of kids who'd rather not be described as hipsters, and the cult appeal of Canada's longest running tween drama is even bigger than it was back in the irony-loving 90s. It seems like there's a constant flow of weird Degrassi-related news popping up all the time, even after 33 years on the air.
Tonight you can catch Odd Future's Syd Tha Kyd DJing at Cheval (a truly bizarre place to book her, but whatever). Matt Martians, Syd's partner in her weirdo R&B project the Internet, is in town with her and tweeted a Degrassi-related message to their fans earlier on today:
Now that might just be a Drake joke. But he did say they want "ancient artifacts", so who knows? In the case of Winnipeg music collective No Label though, they make their affection for the original run of the series pretty clear with their new compilation Songs In The Key Of Hope: The Derek Wheeler Story. The songs are all based around themes that will be familiar to any longtime fans of the show, and proceeds are going to the Canadian Diabetes Association in memory of actor Neil Hope. Hope played the character Derek "Wheels" Wheeler, and died of diabetes-related complications in 2007.
Coincidentally, a new Comedy Central series called the Kroll Show will apparently feature a recurring Degrassi parody called Wheels. What's a bit bizarre about that title is that it's not officially a reference to Wheels himself, but rather to the Jimmy Brooks character that Drake played in his youth. It is possible though that host Nick Kroll is just mistaken, and that his co-star Jon Daly came up with the title from the Derek Wheeler character.
You'd think Kroll would check on the origins before talking to the press, but given that Daly says he loved the original Degrassi "with the punk rock girl" we're going to guess there were some crossed wires. Hey, they're American - we can't expect them to have all their Wheels-related info perfect.
Degrassi is so beloved that the Northumberland News recently ran a full article about a Cobourg hair stylist working on the show. Hey, we'd be pretty proud to be associated with it too. Plus, it would help us impress Odd Future.