Degrassi News for April 2013

Headlines:


Alex Steele Leaves Degrassi

Alex Steele, who plays fan favorite Tori on TeenNick’s long-running hit drama, will not be returning for the 13th season, we’ve exclusively learned.

“I’m very proud of my time on Degrassi and feel very lucky to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew,” Alex tells us in a statement. “I’ve decided to take on a new focus pursuing film. I have a few opportunities already in the works and am excited to get started!”

TeenNick had no comment on Steele’s exit from the series, and we’ve yet to learn how the show will address Tori’s absence in the new season.

from eonline

Alex Steele as a budding teenage furry.

Alex Steele as a budding teenage furry.

This may explain why Tori wasn’t in the last few eps of season 12. I don’t care how they will write Tori off the show, because a character’s departure has rarely made sense. It’s likely she’ll get hit by a meteor or eaten by a bear.

Her statement is really vague and I can’t find any news of her being cast in a TV show or movie. It sounds like she went down to Los Angeles and had some auditions that she thinks went well. The L.A. Complex was cancelled, so her big sister Cassie is no longer attached to Degrassi Studios either. Perhaps they went to LA together? That would be awkward since they would end up going to all of the same auditions.

It’s futile anyway because we already have Vanessa Hudgens. Hollywood only has room for one girl of Philippine descent. And Vanessa Hudgens is doing just fine. She’s in some sexy movie with Selena Gomez where they are all Fuck You Disney Channel. No Jew studio boss is going to open up a slot for a second Filipino, much less a third. It’s like how there is only one redhead movie star at a time. You know who is the happiest that Lindsay Lohan went on drugs? Emma Stone, that’s who. If Alex Steele wants to make it in Hollywood, she’s going to have to find a way to poison Hudgens’s food or get her hook on crack.

I’m also wondering if the chick who plays Adam, Jordan Todosey, is still a cast member. Adam has been MIA for a while and Jordan’s a good actress. Too good for Degrassi. She won awards and got a lot of press for playing Adam, and we know that was the reason she took the part. She’s been playing Adam since 2010 and got what she needed. She’s been working at Degrassi longer than she needs to be. If she got hired on another show, I hope it’s one I watch. Like Breaking Bad. She could play Jesse Pinkman’s spunky little sister who we have oddly never met before but is going to shadow Jesse as his assistant because it’s her dream to one day take over the meth business. She’ll make adorable wisecracks. Like, when Walter and Jesse have to dissolve a dead body in a vat of hydrofluoric acid, she’ll pipe in with, “So you just put whatever you want into that acid and it makes it go away? I hope you can make some when I get my next report card!” And Walter and Jesse will laugh and it will freeze frame and the episode will end.


Andrea Lewis Claims Racism for Lack of Hazel Episodes

Forum Fag shoes22 altered us to a blog entry written by Andrea Lewis, who played Hazel. In “A REAL conversation about Degrassi” she alleges that the producers did not give Hazel airtime because of racism (bolding mine):

In my 6 year run of being on the show I only had ONE major story line around my character and all the other episodes I was the token dose of color or a glorified extra. […]

Recently I had a conversation with a filmmaker in Canada who had worked with me while I was on Degrassi and he unfortunately confirmed to me the feelings that I had always had but never wanted to admit to. Degrassi had an issue with my race. He told me how the writers and producers had no intentions of developing the story lines of my character unless it was to enhance the story of one of their other white characters. […] He told me to get them to do the one major story line that my character had was like pulling teeth and after a few more years of working on the show he had to leave because of the blatant hierarchy system that they had in place and he couldn’t work with people who didn’t share the same beliefs.

This conversation, hurt me but it didn’t surprise me. I knew I wasn’t crazy all those years and it sucks to think that there are people who think like this and treat kids this way […] I know that “Hazel” and myself never got a chance to shine on the show for very ugly reasons.

TV land and the entertainment business is a tough place. Its sad to think that we still live in a world where we have to fight for equal rights whether it be for marriage or just to get a story line on a tv show.

You can read the entire post on her official website. It’s a serious allegation. Any long time viewer of Degrassi remembers that Hazel was on the show for a long, long time but always as a sidekick. She made a pretty convincing claim that it was because the producers were racist. As much as I would absolutely love for the producers to be exposed as racists, the case is far from proven. In the comments, someone under the name “Degrassi Insider” refuted Lewis’s claim (bolding mine):

As one of the executives Andrea is referring to, I need to set the record straight.

To start, this “insider” she is referring to, does not exist. There is no director on the show who fits this description. […]

Almost every actor/character on Degrassi is given a chance to shine. […] Its up to the actor to nail it, and if they do, they’re given more. […] Toby, Terri, Emma and Ashley were supposed to be the leads of the show and they were all pushed aside by the sidekicks of JT, Paige, Manny, Jimmy, Spinner, Ellie and on and on. That’s how the show works. If you’re awesome, you’re given more to do. If you’re lame, you’re given less.

Andrea was given a strong A plot to run with in second season. Her performance was flat and the episode ‘Don’t Believe the Hype’ was a dud. […]

In contrast, Jimmy was a character who was given a chance to shine. At first he wasn’t great. I was one of the insiders who pushed to keep him alive and give him more to do. And over time Aubrey grew as an actor and started killing it. Look at Jimmy in season one and again at Jimmy in season three and it’s night and day. The actor worked at his craft and improved and was rewarded. Andrea did not work at her craft. […]

I know it is easier on the ego to blame racism than to admit your own shortcomings. What Andrea needs to know is that as an actress she didn’t kill it. […]

And if she is truly so brilliant as an actor/performer where has she been in the last seven years? Her costar at the time, Drake, has done rather well for himself. Many of her costars have gone on to find fame elsewhere. But Andrea has done nothing.

You can read the entire comment here. I hope that was written by a Degrassi producer, because it is hilarious! I love that he straight up called her a liar and untalented. This is what makes Degrassi different from an American show. If a former actress on an American show made those accusations, the producers would have released a statement, but they would have been really diplomatic. They would have complimented her acting skills and talked about how they are committed to diversity. No way would they say

“I know it is easier on the ego to blame racism than to admit your own shortcomings.”

Degrassi ain’t pull any punches. The nasty voice inside me wants to put that quote up in billboards all over Detroit.

 

In related news, Lewis is working on a webseries called “Black Actress”. There are some teaser clips on her Youtube channel. It’s about Lewis going to auditions and the difficulties she encounters because she is a black actress. I can understand sort of understand why Lewis is frustrated. She probably expected to be successful in Hollywood by now because a girl as stacked as her usually would be regardless of talent. Look at Scarlett Johansson. You ever notice that Scarlett isn’t much of an actress? No, because we all distracted by her huge breasts, even women. I’m sure she is under the mistaken belief she’s an excellent actress because she always has work. But no one is like, “Hey, you should see the new Scarlett Johansson movie. She’s really good in it.” People are always, “Hey, you should see the new Scarlett Johansson movie. She’s fucking hot in it.”

On the other hand, Tom Cruise may be crazy, but he’s damn good actor. He’s a tiny little man so he has to deliver in every single movie so audiences don’t notice. He’s a leading man because he can act like he’s 6’1″. When Cruise was with Katie Holmes, he had to walk on his tippy toes all the time. Jerry Maguire is one of my favorite movies and Cruise was great in it. And so was Cuba Gooding Jr., but the reason Gooding was cast because they needed the other male in the movie to be as short as Cruise.

Anyway, Lewis managed to raise $20,000 for her webseries on a site called indiegogo.com. I have never heard of Indiegogo. I’ve heard of Kickstarter. Maybe Indiegogo is Kickstater for black people. Which is a silly thing to say because black people could never raise $20,000. You ever see the shape of the average black church? Lewis should have skipped internet fundraising and asked Drake for money. Then call it “Drake Presents: Black Actress”. Even if he doesn’t fund it, still put his name on it. If he sues, just be like, “Hey man, you don’t own the word ‘drake’. We meant the kid from Nickelodeon. If he sues, we mean the duck.”

degrassi_blacks


Degrassi Writer Made it to Community

In the recap of “Zombie” I mentioned Abed from Community as an example of how to do a good autistic character and wondered if the Degrassi people watched. Forum Fag Sara wrote in the comments: “They do know about/watch Community. A former Degrassi writer, Vera Santamaria, wrote/produce a few episodes in season 3.”

Ethnically ambiguous Vera Santamaria

Ethnically ambiguous Vera Santamaria

That’s  sweet. I looked up Vera Santamaria on IMDB. Her entry lists mostly Degrassi and other Canadian programs. In America, she wrote two episodes of Outsourced, a horrible NBC show about a call center in India. It was cancelled because it turns out no one wants to watch a series about the place American jobs are being sent to while we are in a severe economic Depression. You could tell an entertainment writer was a wildly out of touch idiot if they blamed Outsourced’s failure on Americans being unwilling to accept a show with a large Indian cast. Fuck you.

Anyway, Vera is listed as a producer on season 3 of Community. She has one writing credit, “Urban Matrimony and the Sandwich Arts”, the episode where Shirley got married. That was a good one. It had Troy and Abed trying to act normal, Pierce and Shirley pitching their sandwich shop, Jeff and Britta getting drunk, and Troy saw Annie’s Boobs! And that silly wedding dance. It ended with Pierce drunkenly gloating over his father’s grave! That episode was so good I am surprised someone from Degrassi could have been responsible for it.

Vera doesn’t appear to be involved in the fourth season. Maybe since she was new, she made the mistake of siding with Dan Harmon out of loyalty. “Hey NBC, if you fire Dan Harmon, you’ll have to fire me too!” Her most recent IMDB entry is with another NBC sitcom, Up All Night. I have never seen it, but it was on with Whitney, so I assume it was awful. Up All Night appears to have been canceled, so Vera is going to have to find a new job. Maybe she can write for “Black Actress”.