#17 - Caitlin Ryan (Stacie Mistysyn) - Degrassi Junior High, Degrassi High, Degrassi: The Next Generation
I grew up watching Caitlin grow up, from primary to high school, and then more recently as an adult in the Degrassi reboot. Caitlin is a strong woman (I'm starting to see a pattern here. All my favourite male TV characters are either really nice or really quirky and odd, and all my favourite female TV characters are strong females. I guess I think it's cool to see females on TV who seem like real people, instead of dolled up sex objects. There aren't quite so many dolled up sex TV characters anymore, but something else has taken over. For some reason I think "strong woman" in American media now means "loud mouthed woman with attitude who pouts a whole lot and is actually just a total bitch", but more on that in another post I think. For now I'll stick to talking about good old Caitlin) who speaks her mind in voice and in print. She sometimes puts her nose in where it's not wanted, but her intentions seem like they are in the right place.
As Caitlin grows up we see her struggle with her identity. She is mostly partnered with likable wise-cracking hat man Joey Jeremiah (sing it with me: "everybody wants something they'll never give up") but she has a couple of other boyfriends throughout her school years. She even thinks she might be a lesbian at one point (didn't everyone??). One of her boyfriends, Claude, is an arty pretentious wanker who leaves Caitlin to get caught by a security guard for spray painting protest material instead of helping her escape. Claude kills himself and Caitlin understandably blames herself. Caitlin catches her dad cheating on her mum, and there is more conflict there. She also suffers from epilepsy. The drama! Caitlin shoulders a lot of responsibility and guilt, while trying to grow up and graduate high school, but she takes it all in her stride like a champ.
No more spoilers, but Joey Jeremiah went from being a champ to a total jerk in the movie length Degrassi High finale, but you still feel bad for the guy because he's only like 16 or whatever.
One last thing: Caitlin is totally beautiful and when I was watching this as a kid in primary and high school I was totally crushing on her. Then I saw her in the new one, and I still am.