All the Way with Stephanie Kaye

So, a little history. In seventh grade, which was my first year of junior high, we had a class called “guidance”. And it was “taught” by the guidance counselors. And I think it was a time when they were supposed to connect with us and talk about the real problems of being a teen, and to talk about life choices. You know, to keep it real. I don’t know. The only thing I remember doing is watching episodes of Degrassi Junior High. And I was utterly fascinated. I couldn’t figure it out- there was something off about it. The fashions seemed a decade behind. And they spoke kind of funny. It wasn’t until year later I figured it out- THEY WERE CANADIAN!

Thanks to the wonders of technology, the whole series was released on dvd. And what’s even better is that the first episode is the one I remembered the most! Seriously, it’s like if you took all the clothing descriptions from a BSC book and made a half hour tv show. Shall we get started?

We see the illustrious Stephanie Kaye walking into school. Dressed like a school marm. A pudgy, awkward redhead calls after her, and she is having none of that. It turns out it’s Arthur, her brother, although they live separately. He cannot talk to her, because, “that’s the way things are”. Stephanie’s in Grade 8, so she’s really important. Also, they say “grade eight” and not “eighth grade”. Very Canadian, eh?

I hate putting down girls’ appearances- but seriously, this show is choc full of UGS. And I’m not talking about the shoes. Steph needs some major dental work and hot oil treatment. We head into school and get the credits. Arthur seems to have failed his summer drama camp acting lessons.

Steph heads the the bathroom and meets her bff Voula, who is the sheltered goody goody type. You can tell because she has big ass glasses and is wearing a frilly dress. Steph begins to change out of her conservative clothes and undergo her transformation to Voula’s horror. We are talking makeover to epic proportions. If this were a bsc book, this is how it would be described: “Steph was wearing a stretchy striped shirt, which she had pulled off her shoulders and clamped it in the middle of her boobs with a hair clip, to reveal her stomach and to show off as much skin as possible. On anyone else, it would like like a baby hooker outfit, but on Steph it looked cool. She wore black leggings down to her ankles. She had teased her hair into a gigantic cloud of rattiness, and smothered on blue eyeshadow.”

Voula’s a little shocked, but she’s going with it. They hear an announcement about running for president, and Voula gets fired up. Steph suddenly thinks that running for president would be super rad, and talks about giving less homework and more school dances. As if that would happen. I doubt even Barack Obama has any say over how many social events he has to attend. Voula is dubious of Steph.

Voula changes her name to Toula but still is a loser because she wears the big glasses of shame

You know what? Voula has a right to be grumpy, because she’s going to live a hard life being a lowly waitress in her father’s restaurant. Until she meets John Corbett, that is. And they have a wacky wedding but then finds out that underneath, everyone’s family is crazy and that’s what you love them for. But that’s another story for an overhyped movie.

Oh, and Arthur makes a friend named Yick Yu, who is just open to so much ridicule, but its great because they are both nerds and outcasts but found each other and they meet then infamous Joey Jeremiah whose hat, denim vest and semi-mullet and dead brown eyes are burned into our preteen memories forever. He tricks Arthur into getting locked in the janitor’s closet. Watch out Joey, Karma’s a bitch. And so is being height challenged.  Joey’s tight jeans become tighter as he sees Steph’s new look and attempts to hot on her but scary, mustachioed Mr. Raditch enters class and people sit up a little straighter.

Right when Mr. Raditch is speaking, Steph admits to Voula that she’s just a dumb girl! Voula gladly volunteers to be her campaign manager. Voula wants to write about important stuff, like having input into the curriculum. Steph is more interested in rubbing her crotch up against Joey J in the library. Aren’t we all? Joey whistles and wiggles his eyebrows at her. Steph loves it. I vomit.

In a campaign montage, Voula makes up catchy slogans like “Stephanie for Prez” and Stephanie teases her hair three feet higher.

The kids have a political rally outside on the steps. Stephanie dresses like an Atlantic City Applebee’s waitress and gives Voula’s inspiring speech. Is anyone else running?

Snake comes out in some animal print capri pants (no joke) and plays a ditty about Stephanie on his guitar. Ah, the early days of the Zit Remedy! Joey comes over and kisses Stephanie on the neck and acts all rapey, and Stephanie loves it. Wheels, with his Farrah Fawcett haircut (RIP) asks Steph if he promises to vote for her, can he get a kiss too? Steph agrees as long as he promises! Suddenly all the boys of Degrassi form a single line to smooch Steph. Voula looks on, seething. Voula is pretty much Elizabeth Wakefield. Complete with the prairie jumper. Steph’s cavity-rotted teeth are on full display as each of the guys plant one on her. Seriously, is this England or Canada? Sorry, too easy.

Oh no, a comedic interlude. The Canadians gave forth Kids in the Hall, you’d think they couldn’t screw up comedy. Arthur and Yick sneak around trying to get back at Joey, but all the plans backfiring in a slapstick way. I won’t bore you or take away from Stephanie’s outfit descriptions. Meanwhile Arthur encounters a crowd of guys chanting “All the Way with Stephanie Kaye” which would later become a third wave feminist anthem when it was reclaimed as a harrowing acknowledgment of women’s struggles within the two-party system.

Stephanie's look has been an inspiration to many designers, and most recently to American Apparel.

Steph comes out in another craptastic outfit (how many bandeau tops does this girl own?) and starts spouting off campaign promises, and Wheels is right there to sexually harass her. She promises rock music on the PA, more dances, and coed swimming in gym.

Male in crowd: “We get to see girls in bikinis!”

Male in crowd: “I wanna see Steph in a bikini!”

Wheels: “withOUT a bikini!”

Males in crowd: “Take it off! Take it off!”

Joey: “Vote for Stephanie and who knows what she’ll do!”

Back in the 80s, we all wore chip clips in our hair.

Where is Mr. Radditch to break this shit up? The gaggle of feminists in the crowd, which includes Caitlin Ryan (no not her) yell “talk about anti-feminist!”

said feminists

Stephanie announces that she’s like to thank someone special who has helped her with everything and it’s…Joey J! Voula is PIIISSSSSED. She friend-breaks up with Stephanie. Shock to no one, Stephanie wins the election, and she gets a huge smile, big gums, missing teeth and all, and another grope from Joey. Voula is still pissed. On her way out of class, Steph runs into Suzy, who is her elected vice present, who is probably a model for Monique Coleman’s character in High School Musical. The fact that I thought of this makes me want to kill myself. Anyway, Suzy is super excited because she wants to major in political science and this will be such a good experience for her and omg she can’t wait for the next student council meeting. ….[NEEDLE SCRATCHING ON RECORD]. Wait, what? Student council meeting? Steph has to attend those? Also, she has to give a speech at the next PTA meeting. Why, she didn’t think of that! She catches Joey J harassing Arthur and realizes that Joey is kind of a tool and runs off to find Voula.

Voula, to her credit, stands her ground and calls Steph out for thanking Joey instead of her. Steph explains it as “we’re in Grade Eight now. Boys like that sort of thing.” Voula answers, “So do girls! And best friends!” Ouch, she is a firecracker! Voula storms off, and Steph retreats to the bathroom. She’s serious, y’all. She turns back into her old self, which includes matting down her rat’s nest of hair, wiping off her makeup, and wearing her grandmother’s shirt.

Inner monologue! Except it’s not inner. “I’ll be the best president ever! And I’ll give a great speech to the PTA! Even if I had to write it myself! But I wish I had someone to help me…” DUN DUN DUN. Reap what you sow. You made your bed, lie in it. And other sayings.

Steph meets Arthur outside and half apologizes for being an ass to him. Arthur offers to help Steph on her speech but she says condescendingly, “this is junior high.” That will be my answer to everything from now on. “Wait!” she yells as he turns to walk away. “I need you!” BAM! CREDITS!

The moral of this story? Don’t run for junior high president if you can’t handle a gang bang. Oh, and don’t neglect your friends. Or something.

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38 thoughts on “All the Way with Stephanie Kaye

  1. inthemainstream says:

    I effing love Degrassi, even if the first several episodes are the same plot between Steph/Voula. Love it.

    • maybeimamazed02 says:

      OMG, FIFTEEN! When I was in fifth grade, my cousin and I LIVED for that show. With little Ryan Reynolds! “Hey, how’s it going?” “Oh…you know. Not bad.” I had the books too. *hangs head*

  2. girltalkread says:

    I LOVE DEGRASSI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I used to think Snake was soooooo hot- he didn’t age that well in the Next Generation- sadness 😦 I hope to see more of these recaps!!!!

  3. maybeimamazed02 says:

    True story: I saw Monique Coleman in a play when she was still an acting student at DePaul.

    Jealous?

    Never watched Degrassi (I just remember the commercials on PBS and thinking it looked soooo scandalous), but I loved this recap.

  4. ArtemisWinter says:

    Hi there, long team reader, first time commenter. 🙂 Is it just me (it may well be), or does Stephanie Kaye look rather like Robert Pattinson? Is this where all the Twilight madness starts?! Ugh.

  5. SuperPana says:

    YES! We had a class in the 7th grade – soory, I mean grade 7 – called “Life Skills” (THIS IS NOT A JOKE) where we literally only watched Degrassi Junior High. IIRC there wasn’t even any discussion about the show or anything. And there were tests! But the questions were actually things like “Who did Joey Jeremiah take to the dance? a) Caitlin b) Spike c) Stephanie Kay d) Wheels.”

    BEST. CLASS. EVER.

  6. Jen S. says:

    Awesome sauce! The site Agony Booth is doing recaps of Degrassi as well, but they’re from a guy’s perspective (a very devoted Steph fan, natch) and I’m sorry, he just doesn’t get the nuances of slut/good girl clothing, hair clips, and eye shadow, other than that it called attention to Steph’s boobies, which is all a seventh grade boy wanted out of life, I guess.

  7. seahag says:

    Will it be embarrassing to admit I own all the DJH & Degrassi High episodes on DVD – including the summer movie where Caitlin curses (“You fucked Tessa Campanelli!!!!”) Oh well. I’m such a broomhead ( what did that mean exactly anyway?)

    If you want to do more of these recaps… I could probably help. Eh?

  8. Roger Patman says:

    Ahhhh, Degrassi. Brings back the sweet memories of waking up at 6 freaking A.M on Saturdays to watch on PBS. Imagine my delight when I moved to North Dakota, close to the border, and we had TWO channels from Canadia!
    “Everybody wants something…..” How does the rest of that song go?

    • prettyhowtown says:

      everybody wants something, they’ll never give up! everybody wants something, they’ll take your moneeeeeeeeey, and never give up!

      i think there might have been verses, too. 😛

    • Suckie Stackhouse says:

      So late after the fact, but here you go:

      Everybody get ready and get into gear
      The Degrassi sensation, the one and only
      ZIT REMEDY IS HERE!!

      I could go on, but I’ll save you my embarassment. I would like to stick up (somewhat) for Canadians here. I grew up with Degrassi as my generation of…um…role models? I don’t think any of my friends dressed like that, and we didn’t even live in Taranna. Though I do miss those clips. Hawt.

  9. Jan aka Girl Talk Read says:

    ” everybody wants something they’ll never give up! Everybody wants something that will ( I think it’s) take your money- and never give up!!”

    ” Everybody get ready,”

    ZIT REMEDY ROCKS! And Seriously it was a VERY well done teen show- MUCH better than any crap teens have to watch today!

  10. kimkelly says:

    Bravo! IHW, you’ve made me so happy!

    Seahag, I not only own the DJH and High School dvds but The Kids from Degrassi Street ones as well!

  11. Anne says:

    Being Canadian and growing up in the Degrassi era (although by the time I started watching it was Degrassi High, thank God for CBC and re-runs), I watched a lot of Degrassi. I have picture of myself when I was about 9 with Joey Jeremiah *insert Swoon here*. Thanks for the recaps… can’t wait till you get to the preggers episodes. Those are gold.

    Fav lines: “On anyone else, it would like like a baby hooker outfit, but on Steph it looked cool.” That would be exactly how it would be written if DJH were the BSC.

    ” Suzy, who is her elected vice present, who is probably a model for Monique Coleman’s character in High School Musical. The fact that I thought of this makes me want to kill myself.” I know exactly what you mean.

    Also, it’s totally Grade 8 in Canada, not eighth grade. Which leads me to reccommend “Grade 9” a song by the Barenaked Ladies (Which came out when I was in Grade 8 ;).

  12. Bridget Locke says:

    LOL! Oh, man, devoted Degrassi fan here. Sad! I remember watching all of the episodes of the original and…until I got rid of 90% of my cable, the current ones too. I loved how they actually did touch on real stuff like drugs, pregnancy, etc. I always loved Spike. The girl who plays Emma (her daughter) always looks like she’s constipated. *snicker*

    And one of my all-time fave episodes was from the current show when there was a shooting and someone ended up paralyzed from the waist down…and stayed that way. Reality much? 😀

  13. Roger Patman says:

    Okay, Anne from Canada…love.love.love Barenaked Ladies (not a pervert)…still have the tape, that’s right, tape, that I bought from Winnipeg, MB back in ’92
    Degrassi rocks, and thank you, IHW, for bringing back my obsession of Canada.

  14. Smiley says:

    I love this recap. Great job! I watched the Degrassi shows when I was a kid but maybe I missed the first season because I don’t remember this one and it was the first. I thought Joey was so cute and loved the hat he wore. I thought Caitlin was annoying but she had that friend that was pretty with the long black curly hair.

    So now I’m in my 30’s and I watch the latest series as well.

    Why did we wear those chip clips in our hair? I blame Madonna for those. Didn’t she wear one in the Shining Star video? I later game up the chip clips for the banana clip – which was even worse!

  15. Robyn J. says:

    Wow, I’ve been watching my Degrassi High DVD this week too. I can’t ever get enough of this show… Since we are on the subject, I’ve been wondering this ever since the show was on the air- can ANYONE shed any light? How come at the end of Degrassi Jr High, Melanie and Snake FINALLY get together, only to have no mention of their relationship ever again in Degrassi High? Totally left me hanging and annoyed to this day.

  16. dogearedandwellread says:

    Oh my gosh, so awesome! I have to admit that I managed to grow up in the 80s and 90s and some how missed Degrassi. I do love Degrassi TNG though. This recap is awesome! I feel like I watched the episode!

  17. The Black Sheep says:

    I borrowed these from the video store maybe four years ago and i sat there and watched maybe ten episodes in a row. I COULD NOT STAND KATHLEEN. There was something about her that made me want to kick her in the teeth. I had an uber-crush on Wheels and Joey as well… and I could not get over Spike’s friends hair… the shaved do with the fringe… Liz I think her name was…

  18. Caroline says:

    This is awesome. I love Degrassi, but wasn’t around to appreciate it in its original time. And I agree with The Black Sheep, I could not stand Kathleen.

  19. Robyn says:

    Oh the joys of growing up in Toronto! I have spotted most characters form the show out and about in the city. My personal favorite was when I was working at a clothing store and I actually got to help Tessa Campanelli! It may have been a defining moment in my life. And yes, that does make me a little sad and definitevly Canadian.

  20. K says:

    Darn you! I’d never even heard of Degrassi before this post, but reading it sparked a little flame in me. Many hours of Degrassi Wiki scanning later, I’ve spent the past week watching TiVo-ed episodes of Degrassi: The Next Generation… It’s too friggin’ addictive.

  21. Bertha Mason says:

    Loved loved LOVED (and still love) DJH and DH! My 10 year old self so wanted to be Caitlin. I thought that skunk stripe and her odd lisp were the coolest. Out of all her boyfriends, I liked Rick the best. Joey was a tool – esp. cheating on her after proposing (noooo!). And Claude was a creep (“Soothing. Black. And warm.” *shudder* poor Snake!) But looking back, there is an Elizabeth Wakefieldesque quality about Caitlin with her attempts to help. Rick > to Caitlin: “Stop treating me like some sort of proooject.” (or something to that effect)

    What’s with the twins and their black and white fetish? One would wear b/w stripes and the other would wear b/w polka dots. I felt like I was watching a test pattern. Or a 1/2 hour long Chico’s commercial.

    Also… what in the Sisterhood of Traveling Pants hell is up w/ Steph’s outfits? When she gave them to Alexa (who was probably a good 20 lbs heavier), Alexa was able to wear and seduce Simon in those outfits w/o passing out or busting a seam. Behold the power of spandex!

    Thank you IHW for jogging these precious memories of my childhood. I look forward to more recaps!

  22. Andrew says:

    I actually grew up with one of the cast members of Degrassi. I am the same age as the younger cohort on the show and lived in Toronto, and I knew Degrassi Street. My friends and I all thought the show was preachy and ridiculous, and we didn’t take it seriously at all.

    How hilarious it is that some American public schools actually made it the core material of middle school “guidance” courses! That’s so frickin sad!

  23. franz chong says:

    Just looking at the way Stephanie dressed here and acting all mature just because she is in Grade 8 makes us thankful on the Australian or New Zealand Soaps or School Based Dramas for uniforms.I am Australian by the way so the whole Junior High concept is strange to me.Not sure if you Canadians still get Home and Away or Neighbours over there but since they are based in New South Wales and Victoria Year 7 is actually considered a high school year.

  24. Trina says:

    Ahhh, Degrassi. I’m from Canada. We also watched it in guidance (Grade 8). So what was that ’87/’88? So 80s in the 80s. I loved Degrassi.

  25. franz chong says:

    In Response to Trina This would have been 1987.Without Degrassi you wouldn’t have your 90210/OC/Gossip Girl or even Winners and Losers.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I kind of remember this era well.Australia had Neighbours and Home and Away which was just starting out around this time but this Canadian Degrassi gave both a good run for the money but why on earth down under did they screen this 1 to 2 hours earlier than the soaps?

  27. Krystal says:

    Ok, I know you wrote this like 3 years ago, but I was watching old Degrassi episodes on youtube, and trying to describe Stephanie Kaye to my husband, who surely thought I was high. In search of a picture of her rotting teeth and egg-beater hair, I found this, and guffawed loud enough to scare my cat. Well done. Well done, indeed.

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