Kathleen Mead

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Kathleen Mead
Degrassi Junior High character
First appearance "The Experiment" (Degrassi Junior High)
Last appearance "Mother and Child Reunion" (Degrassi: The Next Generation)
Portrayed by Rebecca Haines

Kathleen Mead (played by Rebecca Haines) is a fictional character from the original Playing With Time television series, Degrassi Junior High. She was introduced as a secondary character who disapproved of school president Stephanie Kaye (played by Nicole Stoffman) and her provocative wardrobe but eventually went on to have a much greater role in the series. She acted as the sour, troubled foil to Caitlin Ryan (played by Stacie Mistysyn) throughout much of the series.

Kathleen got her first real storyline in DJH season two. The episode, "Bottled Up"[1] gives us a glimpse of Kathleen's home-life. We are introduced to Kathleen's alcoholic mother whose behaviour is severely affecting her daughter. Kathleen invites Caitlin, Nancy Kramer (played by Arlene Lott) and Tim O'Connor (played by Keith White) to her house to prepare for a quiz show appearance and is humiliated to find her mother at home and noticeably intoxicated. In a later episode from the third season, "Food For Thought",[2] Kathleen invites Melanie Brodie (played by Sara Ballingall), her best friend throughout much of DJH, to her house to work on a science project. Her mother is, again, drinking heavily and Melanie learns about Kathleen's burgeoning problem with anorexia nervosa when she sneaks a peak in her personal diary. Melanie takes pity on Kathleen believing that her eating disorder is stemming from her problems at home. She confronts Kathleen and tells her to get help. Kathleen is furious that her secret is out, but that day passes out in the middle of the school hallway.

Kathleen eventually does get counseling, but her problems continue into high school. Kathleen begins dating a boy named Scott Smith (played by Byrd Dickens) in high school. He turns out to be an overly possessive boyfriend and physically assaults Kathleen during a quarrel.[3] Kathleen eventually involves the police and frees herself from Scott. Kathleen is one of the better students at Degrassi. She is often seen competing with Caitlin Ryan in school and, in the DJH episode "Stagefright",[4] Susie Rivera (played by Sarah Charlesworth) tells Caitlin "you always beat her", referring to Kathleen.

Kathleen seemed to have conservative political and social views. Throughout the series she seemed to have homophobic views (in the episode "Rumor Has It"[5]), is against sex before marriage (in the episode "Censored"[6]) and is critical of animal rights activism (in the episode "The Whole Truth"[7]). Her sober presence made her unpopular with many of her peers, most notably Caitlin and Rick Munro (played by Craig Driscoll).

Although Kathleen often seemed conservative and uptight, she also showed a rebellious side. In junior high, she and Melanie get Joey Jeremiah to sell them drugs ("The Experiment").[8] Joey actually just gave them vitamin pills, and when the girls found out, they were infuriated. In high school, she found marijuana joints hidden in the tampon dispenser in the girl's washroom ("The All-Nighter").[9] She hides them in her purse and takes them to Diana Economopoulos' birthday sleepover party. She offers them to the other girls, and everyone except Caitlin smokes it. Kathleen makes fun of Caitlin when she refuses to try it.

Kathleen was also vice president of Degrassi Junior High. She lost the election to Nancy who was the only other presidential candidate. Kathleen was a turbulent addition to the Degrassi landscape and her character was used to explore some of the most dangerous teenage issues that the show tackled.

In the Degrassi: The Next Generation Season 1 special features, a video is made for the reunion showing where some of the students of Degrassi High are now. Kathleen is shown being jealous of Caitlin's success after high school. She says she is pitching an idea for a new television show called "Mead in Canada."[10]

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