Live: Pat Mastroianni, Degrassi & Press Gang


Pat Mastroianni played the celebrated Joey Jeremiah on the classic late-80s / early-90s Canadian teen drama, Degrassi Junior High (and its subsequent series). He joined us live via Skype to discuss his involvement in the series.

For the rest of the show, John and Josh (heretofore as ‘We’ or ‘Us’) talk through the intricacies and complexities of both Degrassi and the excellent UK teen drama, Press Gang.

This show was recorded live at ACMI in Studio 1 as part of their monthly Live in the Studio sessions. Every month, ACMI uses their own television studio to host a discussion of all things television and that’s an idea we can all get behind. It’s fun and informative.

Meanwhile, enjoy this display of in-depth discussion and frivolity. It goes for a little over 90 minutes, so strap in. Also, there’s a list of videos and links to those videos after the jump.

We used a whole bunch of videos to entertain the crowd and give them a break from our shouty voices. They’re conveniently ordered for you here.

  1. Degrassi Junior High title sequence
  2. Press Gang title sequence
  3. Press Gang example clip
  4. Degrassi High example clip
  5. people shared their own stories about how Press Gang changed their lives
  6. we used this Joey Jeremiah montage to introduce Pat Mastroianni
  7. to give us a little break, we played this cover of the Zit Remedy classic, “Everybody Wants Something”
  8. Press Gang, apparently, was all about telephones
  9. Degrassi dealt with child abuse with a creepy teacher
  10. while Press Gang chose to make a special child abuse edition
  11. and then we discovered that lesbianism is nothing more than subconscious fantasy in the world of Degrassi
  12. This is how Degrassi ended their run
  13. and Press Gang chose to end like this


  1. Haven’t listened to the show yet but if you ask my mum about Press Gang, her response is guaranteed to be, “Was that the show where their blasted phone kept ringing while I was cooking dinner??” Ahhh, good times.

    I wasn’t a Degrassi fan (not sure why, just never watched it) but am looking forward to listening to this, shouty voices and all.

  2. I meant to explain the darkness – Adelaide suffered it’s only big power cut of the summer on the afternoon that I filmed that, so the laptop was running on battery and the light was courtsey of the best late-afternoon-through-a-tinted-window that money can buy…

  3. The Press Gang Programme Guide (by Jim Sangster) has a section in each episode’s entry about telephones.

    I can neither confirm nor deny the presence of moustaches in any Degrassi Programme Guides that may exist.

  4. What cracks me up is that John actually only mentioned a small fraction of the Press Gang episodes which hinged on the use of telephones. Like the one where they had a covert telephone hidden in drawers because they were stealing the line from the adult newspaper, or the one where Spike was under an exploded building, not to mention THE ENTIRE THIRD SEASON, with the reunion episode and the siege and the climax to the Zoe subplot…

    All. About. Telephones.

    I never shared my Degrassi anecdote with you, which is that I was such an intense fan of the Kids from Degrassi St TV show that I found Junior High quite disorienting. Because it was the SAME KIDS but they had different names and personalities. In particular, I had been so attached to Lisa that I never could get the hang of Caitlin, and I never ever forgave Wheels for not being Griff.

  5. I have a theory about the amount of teen pregnancy on Degrassi (and on Canadian television as a whole). It stems partly, of course, from CRTC and CBC regulations about what will be broadcast with regards to teenage sexuality, but that is not the whole of it.
    I think Canadian TV in general, and Degrassi in particular, subconciously views sex as an act of hubris.
    Sex for pleasure touches some odd nerve in our collective subconcious, in no small part due to the fact that all the education in this country was run by nuns, priests, or Puritans, depending on which province you were in, until the 1970s. The thought of engaging in something ‘sinful’ for fun triggers some kind of tall-poppy complex wherein the person engaging in it must immediately be brought down a size, or else suffer the wrath of an angry God. In a teenage drama, there is therefore only one conceivable outcome of sex: teen pregnancy.

    Of course, it’s also truth in television in that Ontario had ridiculously high rates of teen pregnancy in the eighties and nineties, tho’ I’m not sure why.

    Also, I hadn’t seen Press Gang until Boxcutters turned me on to it, and I’m not sure if I want to *be* Linda or *marry* Linda; possibly both. It definitely stood the test of time.
    Unlike the Tomorrow People. I want the 45 minutes I spent watching it back.

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