Dreams of Degrassi [ASU.EDU]

Dreams of Degrassi

The tale of three obsessed fans’ meeting with their favorite stars
by Tara Brite, Kristi Eaton and Brian Indrelunas

For the last nine months, our Friday nights have revolved around “Degrassi.” When Kristi missed the season premiere, we called her at least 50 times. It only got worse from there.

When JT Yorke died, Brian brought a photo and a candle, and we dressed in black to mourn our loss. And when Peter planted marijuana in Sean’s locker, we swore him off for life.

Needless to say, when four members of the “Degrassi” cast came to the University of Phoenix Stadium on Saturday for the Arizona Women’s Expo, we braved bad traffic for a pilgrimage to Glendale.

“Degrassi: The Next Generation” is a show that goes there. It’s a high school drama where 14-year-olds have abortions and students have coke addictions. But it’s not like that “90210” and “The OC” hooey. The characters are in high school on the show – and so are most of the actors.

And it’s Canadian. ‘Nuff said.

Flash to the Arizona Women’s Expo: The three of us are standing face-to-face with Darcy Edwards, Gavin “Spinner” Mason, Emma Nelson and Jay Hogart. We’re too shocked at first to remember their real names. We just know that Darcy posed nearly naked on MyRoom (the Degrassi version of MySpace.com) and that Spinner once got Jimmy Brooks shot.

We were awkwardly standing around in a concourse at the Women’s Expo, half waiting to see where we’d be interviewing them, and half because we were shocked that Jay is so small in real life.

Because we were there as reporters, a “Degrassi” spokesman asked us, “Um, did you want to ask them questions?”

We fumbled a bit, but we managed basic introductions. Turns out that Darcy, Spinner, Emma and Jay are actually Shenae Grimes, Shane Kippel, Miriam McDonald and Mike Lobel, respectively.

Who knew?

Every Friday night we only see these names for a split second as they flash on the television, but we see Jay and Spinner, every night in our dreams.

But it turns out we’re not the only ones who get the “Degrassi” characters confused with their real-life counterparts.

See, in the show, Jay has gonorrhea. In fact, he gave it to Emma when he cheated on his girlfriend, Alex, with her in the back of a van down by the ravine.

“I’m always getting the ‘Do you really have gonorrhea?'” said Lobel, who plays Jay. “The answer is no.”

Kippel, who plays Spinner, often gets a similar reaction.

“They yell at me for getting Jimmy shot,” he said. (Spinner and Jay set up this kid, Rick, who had been getting bullied, to get painted and feathered in front of everyone. So Rick brought a gun to school and shot Jimmy, because Spinner made it seem like Jimmy was behind it.)

We don’t blame them. That episode still makes us cry.

But we did think for a second that Grimes was as slutty as Darcy is and that McDonald might be a bitch like Emma.

Turns out we were wrong.

Just because they’re on TV doesn’t mean they are their characters. But if Spinner gets expelled one more time, we might have to de-friend Kippel on Facebook.

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