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TV I Sorry girls, but the newest Degrassi kid has a dark side

JOHN INTINI September 5 2005
BACK TALK

BACK TALK

TV I Sorry girls, but the newest Degrassi kid has a dark side

JOHN INTINI September 5 2005

BACK TALK

TV

TV I Sorry girls, but the newest Degrassi kid has a dark side

JOHN INTINI

Jamie Johnston is pretty angry about the two flat tires on his new bike. “I bought it three days ago and now I can’t even ride it,” says Johnston, who splurged this summer on a high-priced Fuji road bike to celebrate landing the role of Peter, the principal’s mean-spirited son, on Degrassi: The Next Generation. “I only have my G1 licence so I need one of my parents with me if I want to drive their Camaro. The bike is my main mode of transportation.”

A major issue for most 16-year-olds, but not by Degrassi standards (last

season included a school shooting). Johnston makes his debut this month during the 25th anniversary season. It’s the biggest break of his career, which started with modelling at 8 and includes short stints on several Canadian TV shows. Turns out, he’s no stranger to the Degrassi set-his older brother Chris has appeared as an extra since 2001. “We did a scene together the other day,” says the younger Johnston. “He was in the background in one of the shots.” Jamie, meanwhile, is headed to the front of the class. JOHN INTINI

“We wanted a preppy kid who was a bit evil. He has the look but mean is a stretch. Our director has had to tell him that it's okay to be nastier.” -Executive producer Linda Schuyler

TV I Admit it, you’re curious

Stop the pressesThe L Word has a straight audience. It seems the lesbian drama (season two starts Sept. 1 on Showcase) doesn’t only appeal to the Sapphic set. In fact, the same-sex trials, tribulations and lusty encounters of a group of L.A. women is filling the void left by hetero-girl-fave Sex and the C/'fy-leading to viewing parties, coffee talk and identification with certain characters. “People look for stories that resonate with their own experience,” says creator llene Chaiken, “but also ones telling them something about what they don’t know.” So, straight people recognize the love in the relationships and are curious about the sex.

Most lesbians at one point in their lives identified themselves as straight women-and that’s the case for L Word's Jenny Schecter, a confused young writer. Last season, Jenny, played by Canadian Exotica star Mia Kirshner (above), moved to L.A. to be with her boyfriend, but found herself drawn to the lesbians next door. This season, Jenny’s boyfriend moves away and she loves and leaves more women, even sharing a pad with the freewheeling Shane McCutcheon (Katherine Moennig). It’s two heartbreakers under one roof. Wonder what Carrie Bradshaw would say about that?

SHANDA DEZIEL

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I Nothing fake about non-fiction

When journalist Bernard Goldberg visited The Daily Showa couple of months ago with his new book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America, Jon Stewart tore into him (with wit, of course) for including Barbra Streisand on the list. “She hasn’t ruined culture since Yentl," quipped Stewart, much to the delight of his studio audience-who watched the two jab over Goldberg’s picks for nearly 10 minutes. It was just a couple of nerds sitting at a desk together, but it made for great TV.

The late-night king of “misinformation” has proven, yet again, to be unlike any other talk-show host-

filling a segment, sometimes two, on many shows by getting stuffy pols and policy wonks to loosen their ties and share some funny banter about their writings. Think of it as Stewart’s very own book club-and he comes off genuinely enthused by the lively debate that’s generated. You truly get the feeling that he-or at least one of the show’s writers-has read the book.

The authors come away smarting from his sharp attacks but with a guaranteed healthy spike in sales. Interest in On Bullshit by Princeton professor Harry G. Frankfurt exploded after his appearance on The Daily Showt more than 300,000 copies are now in print after an original run of only 5,000). While Oprah owns the housewife set, Stewart is turning the supposed apolitical generation on to serious non-fiction-chatting up the authors of The Vast Left Wing, Inheriting Syria and Countdown to Crisis. He’s making his viewers think. There’s nothing fake about that. JOHN INTINI

1. Rollercoaster (1999): “A group of teens break into a theme park and go crazy on the rides before they decide whether to kill themselves by jumping off a roller coaster. It’s so teen dramatic-l loved it. Friends of mine were in the film, so we actually had the keys to all the rides.” 2. On the Corner (2003): “It’s set in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Director Nathaniel Geary had been a social worker there for years. I’d driven through the area before, but after spending a month there playing a crackhead, I don’t think of the area like I used to.” KARIN MARLEY

i Katharine Isabelle has a thing for thrill rides

Katharine Isabelle has amassed a long list of scary movie credits, including the Ginger Snaps trilogy, Freddy vs. Jason and now Show JWe-about two squeegee kids who carjack a luxury sedan and the woman inside. But the 23-year-old Vancouverite prefers Canadian indie films. She told us about two of her favourites.

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Books I Strangers in a strange land

Three years ago, Margaret MacMillan reaped a chorus of international praise for Paris 1919, her beautifully written and accessible history of the peace treaty that ended the First World War. In Women of the Raj, MacMillan’s focus is narrower, but the result is just as engaging. Her memsahib subjectswives of British officials in India, the Empire’s crown jewel-were, in many cases, far from willing sojourners in an alien world. Many were defeated by the climate and loneliness, but most soldiered on in their family duties, sometimes falling in love with India, especially in the early days of British rule before overt racism kept them rigidly separate from Indian society. And a few in MacMillan’s parade of colourful personalities even went rogue on the Raj, dedicating themselves to serving Indians as medical personnel, missionaries and political agitators.

WOMEN OF THE RAJ Margaret MacMillan; Penguin; $29.00

Ron Sexsmith finishes John Intini’s sentences

In the ’80s, long before landing a recording deal, Ron Sexsmith used to pay the rent by hustling mail between office buildings in Toronto’s downtown core. That’s when he met Don Kerr, a fellow courier who would become his longtime drummer, and wrote one of the tracks (Raindrops In My Coffee) that ended up on Destination Unknowntheir recently released joint project. Sexsmith, 42, finished Maclean’s Associate Editor John Intini’s sentences.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL SOUND IN THE WORLD... is coffee brewing.

THE STRANGEST THING ABOUT MY FAMILY... is that nobody smiles. We’re kind of like the Brady Bunch from hell. My mom had three boys and married a

guy who had four kids. It wasn’t smooth.

WHEN I WAS A KID I THOUGHT THAT ALL ADULTS WERE... suspicious.

MY FAVOURITE NIGHTCAP... is a brandy alexander. I’ve heard that John Lennon used to drink it. It’s basically a very potent milkshake.

I USED TO... have a detective agency when I was about 10.1 had a sign out front of my house and printed up flyers. My partner and I canvassed the neighbourhood and we actually landed a case. A woman had lost a watch and we spent a day looking for it. We didn’t find it but she gave us $5 each anyway.

I’D LOVE TO BE... a bit thinner.

FOR MORE “JOHN INTINI’S SENTENCES’ VISIT WWW.MACLEANS.CA/PEOPLE

ESSENTIAL

SEXSMITH

1. Elvis Costello

endorsed Sexsmith’s widely ignored, selftitled debut in 1995-Sexsmith thinks that helped to save his career.

2. Named Songwriter of the Year at the 2005 Juno Awards.

3. Is currently working on his next solo CD, which he plans to have in stores by April.

HAVING outlawed the opera and ballet-and fought against long hair and gold teeth-Turkmenistan President Saparmurat Niyazov has now banned lip-synching.