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Series / The Kids of Degrassi Street

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The Kids of Degrassi Street is a Canadian children's TV show which aired from 1979 to 1986, and is the first in the Degrassi series, about the lives of a group of children living on Degrassi Street in Toronto, Canada. The creators first adapted a children's book called Ida Makes A Movie into a short film, which inspired them to create the series and the rest is history.

It grew out of four short films: Ida Makes a Movie, Cookie Goes to the Hospital, Irene Moves In and Noel Buys a Suit, which originally aired as after-school specials on the CBC in 1979, 1980, 1981 and 1982, respectively. The show was acclaimed for its realistic depiction of every day children's lives and tribulations, and remains memorable to many Canadians because of this.

Kids of Degrassi Street featured many of the same actors who would later appear on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, including Stacie Mistysyn, Neil Hope, Anais Granofsky, Sarah Charlesworth and others. However, their character names and families were different, so this series cannot technically be seen as an immediate precursor to the later shows.

This show provides examples of:

  • British Brevity: Although it's a Canadian show, there were only 26 episodes made between 1979-1986 (with a progression from one a year to four a year to an actual series within that).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: After the Degrassi franchise plunged into adolescence at the deep end, it left these episodes seeming very quaint and innocent. With episode 7 being about a property war and custody of a bunny rabbit, and episode 19 being about running for school office including One of the candidates to hire a gang in the middle of the night to gaslight her by putting all her posters ripped on her lawn.
  • Darker and Edgier: The second half of the series runs into this as it goes intto the backgrounds of the kids, showing that a lot of their parents have criminal records, are dead, absentee, or experience mental health issues.
  • Gang of Bullies: The street gang mentioned in the episode title "Martin Meets the Pirates".
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Both subverted and played straight in the episode "Martin Meets the Pirates". Pete attempts to get neighborhood kids to help out against a street gang called the Pirates, but many are too scared or won't help Pete as he had messed their bicycles up as part of a failed moneymaking scheme. Played straight later on when Martin rallies for help against the Pirates and succeeds, mainly because his little sister was targeted by the gang.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Meta-example, it's named after the main filming location.
    • This is also why the street is called "Degrassi" in the show (and all those subsequent) despite being "De Grassi" in real life. Toronto street signs at the time were in ALLCAPS and the two words were smushed together to better fit on the sign, so "De Grassi" read as "DEGRASSI".
  • Oddball in the Series: Despite being the first series in the franchise, it bears almost no resemblance to the other four Degrassi series. It is, among other things:
    • The only one that ISN'T a Teen Drama. Instead, it focuses on children.
    • The only one that does not share the same continuity as the other four Degrassi series. Despite the eventual presence of actors such as Stacie Mistysyn, Neil Hope, and Anais Granofsky, who would come to be known as Caitlin, Wheels, and Lucy respectively, they are playing completely different characters.
    • The only one in which there is no school named Degrassi.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The book Ida Makes A Movie was based on depicted the main characters as anthromorphized cats. Working in Live-Action TV, Schuyler made it a story about regular humans.
  • Terminally Exclusive Club: Some of the kids are part of a club that includes such requirements to join as living between certain house numbers on the block.