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It Looks Like You've Made It: Degrassi Success Stories

4. Stacey Farber (Ellie)

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Career: Actress
Can Be Found On: 18 to Life (Canada, CW)

Stacey would have been higher on this list if she landed the lead role for Juno. Stacey auditioned for the part that ultimately went to Ellen Page and, according to Wikipedia, she was one of the final three actresses in consideration. It's ironic she didn't get the role, because Diablo Cody modelled the character of Juno after Ellie Nash, which makes Ms. Cody possibly the only person older than me who watches Degrassi. I hope she is still watching Degrassi, because it is very likely I will be watching this show well into my 30s, and I don't want to be the only one.

It's interesting to know that Cody is an Ellie girl. I have this theory that there were two types of females who watched the original cast of The Next Generation, there were Manny girls and there were Ellie girls. The girls who liked Manny were more into fashion and identified with her struggles to be popular and well liked. The girls who went for Ellie were more into music and thought of themselves as outsiders in high school. No one identified with Ashley, Emma or Paige. So, you can tell a lot about Diablo Cody from her being an Ellie girl. Nowadays, I hope everyone is a Holly J girl, because every other character on the show is a dip.

Getting back to Stacey, man, getting turned down for a role that was based on the character she played for several years had to sting. Ellen Page is kind of a big deal now, and it wasn't from people seeing her as Kitty Pryde on X-Men. Ellen Page won a bunch of awards from Juno too.

I think it might have helped if, at some point during the audition process, Stacey would have mentioned that she played Ellie on Degrassi. Don't you submit a resume when you're an actor auditioning for something? Maybe she was embarrassed about having been on Degrassi and left it off. Maybe since when so many adults hear "Degrassi" they think of Degrassi High, the casting director must have thought, "Oh, she was on Degrassi High? That old show? Wouldn't that make her almost 40 by now? She can't play a teenager."

Anyway, Stacey didn't let being turned down for a breakout role stop her. No. She may not be in movies with Drew Barrymore or Leonardo DiCaprio, but she is still a working actress, which is more than some former Degrassi cast members can say. She is currently starring on 18 to Life, a Canadian sitcom that isn't Red Green, so I bet it is not funny. Stacey plays a woman who marries her boyfriend on a whim when they are both 18. If that show is going to be in any way realistic, by the third season, they have to get their marriage annulled and spend years hating each other.

18 to Life made it to America. It aired on the CW over the summer. I don't think it's officially a CW show, though. We all know that networks mostly show reruns over the summer. But they also air promos for their upcoming fall shows in those months, and they want at least some eyeballs to see those promos. Reruns of CW shows were getting extremely poor ratings, because there is nothing on the CW you ever need to see more than once, if that. So some hotshot 15-year-old executive at the CW looked around for something to fill airtime and saw that the American rights to 18 to Life could be had for very little money. More Degrassi actors have appeared on the CW than actors from Predator have been elected governor.

And that's how 18 to Life came to the US as a summer filler show. The expectations were low; all the show had to do was get more than zero viewers. And it failed at that. First run episodes of 18 to Life actually got fewer viewers than reruns of CW shows and consistently placed last in its time slot, averaging under one million viewers. After airing just six episodes, the CW cancelled it. The network plans to show the final six episodes of the season in December, under the idea that they paid for them, so they might as well air them sometime in the future during a month when no one watches TV. There is no dishonor in this, Stacey Farber, ABC basically did the same thing to The Drew Carey Show five years ago.

The problem with 18 to Life is that it isn't funny. I tried to review the first episode back in the summer, but didn't want to write about it because I did not enjoy it, even in an it's-so-bad-I-have-to-make-fun-of-it sort of way. It's not a good show. Even compared to Degrassi. I think Stacey is one of the better actors to have been on Degrassi but she can't do anything about how the writing sucks. Even compared to Degrassi. You know that one relative of yours that is never funny, yet tries to tell jokes all the time, then is the only person who laughs? That's right, 18 to Life is written by your aunt from Nebraska.

Stacey could do much better. Lindsay Lohan has gone nuts (and blonde) so there is an opening in Hollywood for a good looking young redhead. Plus, the woman who played Donna on That '70s Show wants people to think she is blonde, so Stacey is the best woman for the job. Or maybe Ellen Page will dye her hair red and Stacey will be screwed.

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