||This article may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (February 2012)|
||This article consists almost entirely of a plot summary. It should be expanded to provide more balanced coverage that includes real-world context. (February 2012)|
|First appearance||Kiss Me Steph
(Degrassi Junior High: 1x01)
|Created by||Linda Schuyler and Yan Moore|
|Portrayed by||Stefan Brogren|
|Nickname(s)||Archie, Snake, Mr. Simpson|
|Title||Principal of Degrassi Community School|
(Degrassi TNG; m. 2x12/13)
Archibald Rupert "Snake” Simpson is a fictional character on the Degrassi series portrayed by Stefan Brogren. His first appearance in the series was as an eighth grade student on Degrassi Junior High (DJH). As of season 10 of Degrassi (formerly known as"Degrassi: The Next Generation"), he is the only regularly credited character from either beginning of the continuity in 1987 or the re-launch in 2001.
His older brother Glen Simpson (portrayed by Montgomery Randal) is revealed to be gay in the Degrassi Junior High episode, "He Ain't Heavy" (DJH ep. 306). On Degrassi: The Next Generation (D:TNG), Snake is an adult, teaching media immersion (and possibly other computer classes) at Degrassi Community School, where he also has some network administration responsibilities, until season 10, where he has become Principal. His wife is Christine “Spike” Nelson (played by Amanda Stepto). His son is Jack Simpson and his stepdaughter is Emma Nelson (portrayed in Snake's youth by both Samantha Morrison & Ashlee Henricks; and in his adulthood by Miriam McDonald).
Snake's father is portrayed by Clarke Mackey in "Trust Me" (DJH ep. 211) and then on Degrassi High (DH), by Ingvar Brogen in "Home Sweet Home" (DH ep. 208). Snake's mother is portrayed by Vivian Palin in "Trust Me" (DJH ep. 211) and by Maggie Thomas in both "He Ain't Heavy" (DJH ep. 306) and "Home Sweet Home" (DH ep. 208). Vivian Palin also portrayed an unnamed 'teacher #2' in "Star-Crossed" (DJH ep. 308).
Snake, the youth
Snake's best friends are Joey Jeremiah and Derek "Wheels" Wheeler (portrayed by Pat Mastroianni & Neil Hope), with whom he forms a garage band called The Zit Remedy (later, simply, the Zits, alternatively spelled Zitz); their only song is "Everybody Wants Something". Responsible and observant of rules, Snake is usually the one to oppose the others' shenanigans. Nevertheless, the first time that Snake's parents leave him home alone for a weekend, Joey and Wheels convince him to let them sleep over ("Trust Me", DJH ep. 211). When the boys oversleep the next morning and realise that Wheels will be late for an appointment, Joey drives him there in Snake's parents' car despite lacking a license to drive. The resulting minor accident leads Snake's parents to discover what had happened and lose confidence in him (Id). Snake receives his driver's license a year later ("Little White Lies", DH ep. 110). It is with these two friends that Snake makes his first (failed) trip to a strip joint ("Little White Lies", DH ep. 108), sneaks into the closed school to try to see favourite rock band, The Savages, filming a music video ("Extracurricular Activities", DH ep. 209), and hires older student Clutch (portrayed by Steve Bedernjak) to buy them beer before being caught by the police ("Pa-arty!", DH ep. 315).
The boys' interest and availability to rehearse their music wanes, but Joey keeps bringing them back ("Sealed With a Kiss", DJH ep. 208; "Pass Tense", DJH ep. 213; "He Ain't Heavy", DJH ep. 306, "The Whole Truth", DJH ep. 307; "A New Start Part 1", DH ep. 101; "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", DH ep. 103). The Zits convince their budding filmmaker classmate Lucy Fernandez (portrayed by Anais Granofsky) to shoot a music video for their only song, "Everybody Wants Something" ("Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", DH ep. 103; "Everybody wants Something", DH ep. 105) and they also convince Clutch to let them use his car as a prop (Id). In return, they appear in Lucy's feminist horror film, It Creeps ("It Creeps", DH ep. 114).
Snake doesn't quite know how to talk with Wheels after the death of Wheels' adoptive parents (portrayed by Timm Zemanek & Nancy Sinclair), and their relationship suffers ("Can't Live With 'Em, Part 2", DJH ep. 302). Wheels is hurt by what he perceives as Snake's abandonment of him, but Joey mediates a reconciliation between the two ("A Big Girl Now", DJH ep. 303). Snake exhausts his sympathy for Wheels's loss of his parents to a drunk driver, and so does Joey, when Wheels incessantly lies, steals, and refuses to accept responsibility for anything ("Home Sweet Home", DH ep. 208). While Snake is saving a life, Wheels, in contrast, has a serious motor vehicle accident with another car, as he is drunk driving to get more beer for a party (Degrassi: School's Out (DSO)). Snake refuses to visit or write to Wheels in jail because he is disgusted by Wheels' refusal to accept responsibility for killing a child in the other car. He is also angry with him for temporarily blinding and severely injuring Lucy, who was riding with Wheels. His outrage is heightened by the fact that Wheels had lost his own parents to a drunk driver years earlier. Although Wheels eventually pleads guilty to the charges against him, Snake refuses to forgive him, and does not, for twelve years (Id.) "Mother and Child Reunion", Part 2; Degrassi: The Next Generation (DNG) ep. 102; "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" DNG ep. 307).
Snake is an excellent swimmer but is inept at soccer ("The Great Race" DJH ep. 105). A tall boy, he enjoys basketball but does not have his older brother Glen's (Montgomery Randal) legendary prowess on the court; he is uncomfortable with the revelation of Glen's homosexuality, but does not share their father's hostility toward it ("He Ain't Heavy", DJH ep. 306).
Upon entering a Degrassi High School lavatory one day, he discovers the corpse of classmate Claude Tanner (played by David Armin-Parcells) who had recently shot himself in the head. Snake dashes to the administration office and guides Assistant Principal Raditch (Dan Woods) to the scene ("Showtime Part 1", DH ep. 210). The incident leaves Snake noticeably shaken and he withdraws to his parents' home, away from school for a couple of weeks ("Showtime Part 2", DH ep. 211; "Three's A Crowd", DH ep. 212).
Though liked by nearly everyone as a friend or pleasant acquaintance, Snake is generally unsuccessful with women, owing largely to his lack of self-confidence and desire to be the "good guy". Nevertheless, he periodically gets dates with various girls, though none develops into a relationship. Among his failed adolescent pairings are Melanie Brodie (portrayed by Sara Ballingall), Michelle Accette (portrayed by Maureen McKay), and future wife Christine "Spike" Nelson (portrayed by Amanda Stepto) ("Making Whoopee", DJH ep. 313; "Loyalties", DH ep. 203; "Three's A Crowd", DH ep. 212).
Snake is paired with Spike Nelson for what is to be one of their final class assignments of grade 11; studying in the Nelsons' kitchen. Spike watches Snake playfully carry her young daughter Emma (portrayed by toddler Ashlee Henricks) ("Three's A Crowd", DH ep. 212). Unbeknownst to Snake, this triggers romantic feelings in Spike toward him, and she daydreams of him initiating a passionate kiss. Snake accepts Spike's invitation to attend the prom together, believing that Spike wants to go simply as friends. Upon learning that Snake really likes Michelle Accette and would rather go with her, Spike backs out and keeps her disappointment secret from Snake (Id).
During the summer following his graduation from Degrassi High School, Snake takes a job as a lifeguard in the hope of impressing a bikini-clad woman to take his virginity. Unfortunately, he only succeeds in impressing children (Degrassi: School's Out). Having finally taken enough of Joey's teasing over his virginity throughout the summer, Snake angrily denounces Joey for his infidelity toward Joey's girlfriend Caitlin Ryan. Ironically, in this exchange, the traditionally "good boy" Snake becomes the first character on Canadian prime-time television to utter the word "fucking". Moments later, traditionally "good girl" Caitlin becomes the second character (and first female) to do so when she overhears Snake and confronts Joey with: "Tessa Campanelli? You were fucking Tessa Campanelli?!" (Id).
Immediately after unintentionally breaking up Joey and Caitlin, Snake realises that his former classmate Alison Hunter (played by Sarah Holmes) is drowning, and he rushes into the lake to rescue her. Everyone congratulates him as a hero, but he breaks down in a flood of emotion and anxiety (Id). Two months later, at the wedding reception of classmates Alexa and Simon Dexter (Irene Courakos & Michael Carry), Snake is accompanied by his girlfriend Pam, whom he met at university, and he appears considerably more self-assured. Like Caitlin, Snake is receptive to Joey's apologies for the way he had behaved toward both of them, and they look forward to going out to shoot pool while Snake is in town (Id).
Snake's relationship with Pam does not last. ("Mother and Child Reunion" Part 2, DNG ep. 102).
Snake attends the wedding of Joey to Julia Manning, a divorcé approximately six years their senior. Among the other attendees are Spike, her young daughter Emma, and Julia's young son Craig Manning ("When Doves Cry" Part 1, DNG ep. 201; "White Wedding" Part 1, DNG ep. 212). The wedding likely occurs sometime on the order of three years after School's Out (based upon the age of their daughter, Angela Jeremiah).
Snake remains acquainted with Spike over the years (judging by the interaction and familiarity between the two in "Mother and Child Reunion", DNG eps. 101-102). He does not, however, see Emma for several years; evidenced by the fact that neither recognises each other on sight, just days before she enters the seventh grade. (Id).
Snake receives a teaching appointment at his alma mater which, at some point, is reconfigured to educate students in grades 7-12 and redesignated Degrassi Community School. Among the subjects he teaches is Media Immersion. ("Mother and Child Reunion" Part 1, DNG ep. 101).
Snake becomes the administrator of the Degrassi alumni database. ("Father Figure" Part 1, DNG ep. 301). He coordinates the combined reunion of his graduating class and the class a year behind them; even preparing displays of photographs and personal memorabilia solicited from the alumni. ("Mother and Child Reunion" Part 1, DNG ep. 101).
Degrassi: The Next Generation
Snake meets Emma again, for the first time in several years, when she delivers boxes of memorabilia from Spike to him at school. He is still vocally angry with Wheels and dismayed by his release from prison. Notwithstanding that, he is eager to catch up with his old classmates who have come to their high school reunion. Snake is still friends with his recently widowed pal Joey, and tries to pull him out of his proverbial shell at the pre-reunion gathering. ("Mother and Child Reunion", DNG ep. 101/102).
Spike, whilst dashing about her home and preparing to leave for the high school reunion, explains her nervousness to Emma, "I feel like I'm going to the prom I never got to go to." It is later revealed that she is attending the event with Snake, her abortive prom date from a decade earlier. Upon learning that Emma is in danger and held captive by a pedophile, Snake speeds Spike to the hotel where Emma is being held. Snake holds the predator against a wall until the police arrive, promising to snap the man's neck if he tries to move.
With the show's reintroduction of Joey as a regular character, and additional guest appearances by Caitlin, Lucy, Yick Yu (Siluck Saysanasy), et al., Snake is seen spending time with his peers.
Snake's teaching of Emma renews Spike's interest in him and the two begin dating. Among their outings is an Elvis Costello concert, as the two share a love of his music. ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", DNG ep. 203).
After a few months, Spike proposes marriage and Snake accepts. Spike picks out her ring herself. He and Emma deal with the typical conflict between prospective stepparents and stepchildren, complicated by his role as "Mr. Simpson", her teacher and that of her friends. ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", DNG ep. 203; "Weird Science", DNG ep. 205).
Unaware that Spike is pregnant with their son Jack, Snake makes an off-hand remark, to the effect that becoming Emma's stepfather is hard enough and he does not want to start a family of their own yet; this prompts Spike to consider keeping the pregnancy a secret from him and aborting the pregnancy. Emma, knowing that she herself began as a prime candidate for being aborted, is vehemently pro-life and races to Snake's bachelor party to warn him. Snake argues with Spike about not being consulted and having to learn about the situation from Emma. Angry with each other, two initially stay away from the church the following morning, reluctant to marry. They reconcile in time to dash to the ceremony in casual clothes, and change into their wedding attire before the reception. Neither Snake's parents nor his brother Glen (nor Spike's single mother) are seen at their wedding, but no mention is made of their absence. ("White Wedding" Parts 1-2, DNG eps. 212-213).
In the season premier, "Father Figure, parts 1 and 2", Emma discovers that her father, Shane McKay, is brain damaged and confined to a sanitarium; rather than working as a physician, as she had believed. She lashes out at Spike for hiding the truth and for "allowing" Shane's parents to commit him, but Snake consoles Emma and acknowledges her sense of betrayal, while also providing her exposition as to what had happened:
Shane wanted to be part of Emma's life but was largely prevented by his parents. ("Eggbert", DJH ep. 201; "Dinner And A Show", DJH ep. 204). When going to a concert, Shane tried the hallucinogen LSD and either fell or jumped from a bridge, suffering severe head trauma. Whether the fall was intentional was and remains unknown. ("Taking Off Part 2", DJH ep. 312; "It Creeps", DH 114). Spike took Emma to visit Shane when she was three years old, but Shane became agitated and began a tantrum. This frightened Spike, who worried that Shane might inadvertently hurt Emma. She therefore prevented their further contact. ("Father Figure" Part 2, DNG ep. 302).
For a change, Emma finds herself relating better to her stepfather, Snake, than she does to her mother, Spike. (Id). At the end of the same episode, Snake's and Spike's son, Jack, is born, and Emma addresses Snake as "Dad" for the first time. (Id). Going forward, she alternates between "Snake" and "Dad", depending upon her mood and the situation; continuing to address him as "Mr. Simpson" in class.
Also in Season 3, Snake learns he has leukemia and battles with it throughout the entire season, with the help of Spike, Emma, friends, and family. ("Pride" Part Two, DNG ep. 305; "Gangsta Gangsta", DNG ep. 306; "Should I Stay or Should I Go?", DNG ep. 307).
Spike compels Snake to get out of the house and go bowling with Joey one evening, whereupon Joey reunites Wheels with Snake, who initially wants nothing to do with him. The two talk, however, while Joey fetches refreshments, and Snake confides wanting to die. Wheels assures him that had the same desire after learning that he had killed a child. Snake seeks Wheels' advice in dealing with his feelings. Joey returns and remarks that their heads are all now as bald as the bowling balls surrounding them. Snake lost his already thinning hair as a result of the chemotherapy and the other two presumably lost theirs more gradually in their twenties. The three old (and now bald) friends loudly sing Everybody Wants Something as they drive Snake home. ("Should I Stay or Should I Go?", DNG ep. 306).
Snake advises Dan Raditch, not to take the unimportant things so seriously, noting it was a lesson he learned in dealing with the leukemia. ("Take On Me", DNG ep. 316).
Snake loses his new laptop to theft by Sean Cameron. Sean eventually confesses his misdeeds and offers to make amends. The incident ironically leads to the two having genuine fondness and respect for each other.
After Emma is threatened by a gun wielding Rick Murray and witnesses the boy's death by gunshot, Snake is frustrated by Emma being forced to wait in a classroom to be interviewed by the police, and shouts at Mr. Raditch. He is often shown thereafter supporting Emma, as she deals with the aftermath. Emma is not shown as having any awareness of the Claude Tanner incident, but he is aware that Sean's actions likely saved Emma's life.
In season 5, Emma's best friend, Manuela "Manny" Santos, is thrown out of her family's house by her father. Despite having often viewed her as a bad influence on Emma, Snake takes pity on Manny and invites her to stay in the Nelson-Simpson home until she can reconcile with her father.
Emma discovers Snake in an empty movie theatre, passionately kissing Principal Daphne Hatzilakos; a woman approximately ten years his senior and his superior on the Degrassi faculty. Ms. Hatzilakos is the mother of Peter Stone, who happens to be Emma's secret boyfriend at the time. When Snake comes home the following day, he announces that he has sold his motorcycle for airfare to Mexico for Spike and him. Spike then remarks that she does not “deserve such a perfect husband.” Emma angrily tells them to stop it and forces Snake to confess, for which Spike expels him from the house. Snake later gets Spike to take him back, under the condition that he never cheat again. Being so happy to be back with his wife, he says he's going take the family (including Manny, who is still living in the Simpson home) to New York. The trip was canceled, however, because of Emma's battle with anorexia nervosa.
When J.T. Yorke, is murdered by Lakehurst student Drake Lempke, the school holds a memorial for him. Mr. Simpson officiates and tells everyone that he is among the many affected.
Darcy begins to confide in Mr. Simpson and he becomes worried for her. Later, when he brings Ms. Hatzilakos and Darcy's mother together to talk about Darcy's situation, Darcy charges him with molesting her and Mr. Simpson is suspended from his job. Darcy, dealing with this new drama, eventually tells the truth and apologizes to Snake, who has come to realize that Darcy is merely troubled. When Mr. Simpson is cleared of Darcy's charges, he comes back to Degrassi and finds that a malicious website has been created, degrading him and his situation with Darcy. Spike and Simpson's relationship begins to fall apart. She doesn't trust him and isn't sure if he did do anything with Darcy or not. He assures her that he did absolutely nothing wrong. The next day she decides that they need sometime apart, so she takes Jack and goes to stay with her mother, but Emma this time stands up for Snake and stays there with him.
Later, around the time that Sean comes home on leave from the Army and before he ships out to Afghanistan, Snake comes back home. Snake and Spike invite Sean to stay in their home during his brief leave. Snake is returning to teach at Degrassi the next week, but remarks that he has put on some weight that he would like to lose, having lounged around most of the time he was away. An appreciative Sean offers to coach Snake in the gymnasium and develop a training regimen for him. While coached by Sean, Snake begins to feel like he's being pushed farther than his body will allow. After complaining to Sean about this, Sean yells at Snake, unintentionally expressing his frustration with the Army's aggressive training and his fear of going to Afghanistan, after which Snake comforts him.
Snake and Spike watch as Emma graduates from the same high school as they did.
Snake and Spike take in Snake's god-son, Connor, in order to allow the boy to enroll in Degrassi's programme for gifted students. Serving in loco parentis, Snake takes Connor for psychological examinations, where his Asperger syndrome is diagnosed at precisely at the right moment to save him from expulsion for a violent outburst. Also helpful is Snake's temporary appointment as Acting Principal during Mr. Shepard's sudden mandatory sabbatical for sensitivity retraining.
Snake introduces Jenna Middleton to Alli and Clare. Later, looking at Bruce's phone Snake sees a nude image of Alli and tells her she should go to the principal's office. He expresses shock at having seen a nude picture of one of his young students.
Throughout the season, Snake is seen in almost every episode, teaching Media Immersion and giving advice to his students. He teaches the students to find a profile about each other by putting them in a line and stating random facts to find one's profile.
When Emma returns for a short visit, Snake and Spike discover she has dropped out of Smithdale. He is not sure if Emma is making the right choice, but both he and Spike support her in the end.
That summer, he and Spike return from a camping vacation and learn that Emma has married Spinner, and they want to recommit themselves in front of family and friends. They agree and they walk Emma down the aisle, and watch their daughter at her wedding.
Snake is now the principal of Degrassi Community School.
- Melanie Brodie
- Michelle Accette
- Start Up: Three's a Crowd(DH 5.12)
- Break Up: Prior to School's Out (Degrassi Movie)
- Reason: Unexplained
- Start Up: School's Out (Movie)
- Break Up: Between School's Out and Mother and Child Reunion (1) (D:TNG 1.01)
- Reason: Unexplained
- Christine “Spike” Nelson
- First Relationship
- Start Up: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (2.03)
- Break Up: The Lexicon of Love (2) (5.12)
- Reason: Emma told Spike that she saw Snake kissing Ms. Daphne Hatzilakos.
- Second Relationship
- Start Up: Our Lips Are Sealed (1) (D:TNG 5.15)