We were shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Neil Hope, who made bifocals and feathery mullets sexy as Derek “Wheels” Wheeler on the original Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High series in the late ‘80s. Hope apparently passed away in 2007 from natural causes, but his death was only revealed to the public today (there is still no word on why it took so long for the information to become public). We don’t know much about Hope, but for many of us, Wheels (along with Joey Jeremiah, Snake, BLT, Stephanie Kaye and those twins) was a longtime fixture of our TV diets. He had many awesome, melodramatic moments (like almost getting molested while hitchhiking to Port Hope to visit his birth dad, or driving drunk and blinding Lucy in a car crash), but he was at his best as a member of The Zit Remedy, the most badass high school one-hit wonders to ever grace Canadian television.
Here, Wheels whales on the bass while The Zit Remedy plays their marquee hit “Everybody Wants Something” (the most aspirational song since Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”). Let’s take a moment to watch and remember the amazing TV legacy of Neil Hope (and you can go to neil-hope.com to learn more about the man who left us too soon).