Thursday, February 16, 2012

You know Canada Has No Interest in its Celebrity Culture when...

.. one of our cultural icons DIES and it takes five freakin' years for anyone to even notice.

Or, more accurately, we're too interested in U.S. celebrity culture to notice when one of our own dies.

In the past I have expressed my annoyance with the disproportionate amount of grief that people express in the wake of celebrity deaths, as once again was demonstrated over the last week after news of Whitney Houston's death broke.  So in light of that, I feel more than a little hypocritical to say that I felt PROFOUNDLY FUCKING SAD when I found out that Neil Hope, who had played Derek "Wheels" Wheeler on Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High had not only died, but died FIVE YEARS AGO without anyone really noticing or giving a shit.

You said it, Ed the Sock.
I do have to add that I find it funny that I found all this out from a sentient, chain-smoking sock.  So that says something... about.. something.  I guess.  Score one for patent absurdity.

Anyway, maybe it's the affinity I have for those original Degrassi series' after they got me through weeks of being hospitalized in my late teens (along with Guiding Light, as well as reruns of Law and Order and Northern Exposure) or perhaps it's that it sounds like Hope in spite of his name had a pretty shitty upbringing not unlike his on screen counterpart but this made me sad in a way that usually doesn't happen with me.

Maybe it's because after Degrassi ended, Neil Hope seemed to kind of fade into obscurity, popping up once for a brief cameo on the pilot for Degrassi: The Next Generation.  It's entirely possible  that the family purposely hid his death from the media, and if that is the case more power to them.  That would at least be a less wholly depressing thought than the idea that this guy died in a fire and it took five years for anyone to really notice or give a shit.

According to the story in the Globe and Mail, creator Linda Schuyler and executive producer Stephen Stohn had kept quiet out of respect to Hope's family.  Odd that the Globe cites natural causes, whereas the National Post says he died in a fire.

Apparently, the news was finally made public due to a Facebook group dedicated to bring 'the real' Neil Hope to Facebook.  I guess the family confirmed so as to not waste everyone's time.

In the spirit of blaming all that is wrong with the world on Mark Zuckerberg I say "Good job, Zuck.  Way to make things AWKWARD."

Here's a clip from the movie/series finale School's Out, where Wheels gets drunk and kills a kid and maims Lucy in a car wreck.  Trigger warning.

UPDATE: So most of the other news outlets are reporting that Hope died of natural causes (Wow.. out of context, that phrase is like.. really depressing). Our lesson here is that the National Post kind of sucks.


  1. Wow, super awkward! I'm such a big crybaby, I get sad when anyone dies, famous or not. I can't read the obituaries or watch the local news because it makes me too depressed. Hell, I have a hard time driving past cemeteries. Srsly.

  2. I have this weird thing that I always scan the obits because I feel oddly comforted when everybody listed have had really long lives. That's not normal, is it?

  3. This is pretty sad. A short life, and not an easy one by the sounds of it.

    And I'm with Sarah - prefer to remain in the dark and not watch the news or read the paper. It makes me so sad. If it bleeds, it leads.

  4. sad news....but bright side, I found Ed the sock

  5. I didn't really know that actor, but it's a shame. Sorry to hear about it. To be fair, I think Whitney's lot is a shame too, and I was also sad to hear of her demise. I just wish people weren't camping outside the church where her funeral is to be held. And who brings BALLOONS to a funeral? Seriously.

  6. I found that odd too that they waited so long to anounce the passing of him, And dont worry I always read the obits too so your not alone.

  7. That's kind of crazy. Five years?!


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