Degrassi: 11.32 & 33 “Underneath It All”

The Preamble to the Review

In 2011, we stopped reviewing Degrassi, which we had been doing for six years. There were a few reasons. One, the show had gotten lousy, even more than in the earlier seasons. Also, there were suddenly 300 episodes per year and it was impossible to keep up. Finally, as I have written many times, our interest in writing about Degrassi originated from making of the show while watching it with friends in high school. But high school was a long time ago. It’s less fun to watch the show and make fun of it alone. Depressing really.

In 2011, we moved from Boycott the Caf to Porpoise of Life. I wanted to start using WordPress because it takes a lot of work out of maintaining a website. More importantly, I also wanted to sort of start over at a new domain name, as I had been writing stuff at since my late teens. The Degrassi reviews are what built Boycott the Caf and brought us the large majority of the readership we still have today (Hi guys!), so it was appropriate if we were going to give that up, to go to a new site. I didn’t really have a plan for what would make Porpoise of Life different from Boycott the Caf other than that. I had vague plans to do videos or podcasts or something—partly because it would be something new for me, partly because way more people will watch or listen to something than read—but wasn’t sure what they would be about. Even if I did, I don’t even have good enough equipment to do anything that technical.

So Porpoise of Life turned into me writing recaps of ABC Family shows. Jane by Design is more asinine whe it’s a good episode than Degrassi is when it’s a bad one, so I really don’t have a good reason to never recap Degrassi. Maybe I just needed a long break from that fucking show rather than abandoning it. I even said in the farewell article that I may do some recaps in the future, so I will do a few. Not every episode—no fucking way—but I think I will for very special episodes. It’s not like my life is moving forward, anyhow.

This episode is very special because of Alex Steele. We all know who that little lady is. She was part of DTNG since the very first episode. She was Angela, Joey’s 4-year-old daughter and Craig’s half-sister. In real life, Alex is Cassie Steele’s (Manny) little sis, which makes the Steele sisters a Degrassi dynasty, the Ashley and Mary-Kate of Canada. Strong as Steele! They’ll Steele Your Heart! Such are catchphrases millions use to describe the sisters.

Alex Steele in 2001

Angela disappeared from the show in 2006. When Pat Mastroianni (Joey) was fired for stealing props to sell in eBay, there was no need for Alex. Off screen, Alex grew into a teenager in the standard number of years it takes, and that is when fans wondered if maybe Angela would reappear as a student at Degrassi Community School. It would have been a neat nod to old school Degrassi, which now means the show in 2001. God damn, do I feel old.

And Alex Steele was cast in the 11th season. However, she would not be playing Angela. She would be playing a new character, Tori Santamaria. I don’t know the reason Alex wasn’t set to play Angela again. The most likely explanation is that none of the Degrassi producers or writers remembered Angela. I bet after Cassie was cast in The L.A. Complex, she told them, “Hey my little sister is 13 and wants to be an actress. Her name is Alex. Can she be on Degrassi?” “Never heard of her. But OK, we’ll do it for you, sweet thing. Now shake it. Shake what your mama gave you.”

I chose to review this episode because the Degrassi Wikia says this was Tori’s first appearance. The Degrassi Wikia also appears to be written by retards. Let’s do this. Let’s party like it’s 2007, and I’m in college typing up Degrassi reviews on a Saturday night. Then my roommate pops in to get his car keys and looks at me weird.

Also, keep in mind that I haven’t watched Degrassi since I stopped writing reviews, so I have no idea what has gone on since. Please do not bother to fill me in on what I missed. I 100% genuinely and honestly do not fucking care.

Go to the next page for the review.

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