I adored Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High when they were first on. They were edgy and motivational and dorky in the best possible way. I loved how the characters talked about such painful issues. They were, for the time, shockingly uncensored. In 1987, I met some of the actors when a few students from the tri-state area got to come to NYC to screen episodes and provide feedback on the show. Those characters helped me through some hard times and I am forever grateful.
That’s why I’m so excited about Degrassi: The Next Generation. I’m only on season three, but I can already tell it’s going to go places the original series wanted to but couldn’t. Since it’s twenty years later, the show can be edgier with a lot of the same issues. Like when Marco got attacked by those idiot gay bashers. Or when Craig’s dad busts through his door with a golf club. The scene where Craig gets beat up on Next Generation is just as intense as Rick’s dad shoving him on Junior High. Even though the show is more graphic now, it feels just as risky as it did when I first watched it.
My fave characters were Joey and Caitlin:
So having them back in Next Generation is beyond exciting. And having Spike’s daughter Emma be the central character is totally brill. Whoa, Spike and Snake get married! Here they are with Joey and Caitlin today:
I’m loving the connection between the old and new characters and how the old characters are integrated into the story line. If you haven’t seen the original series, it’s impossible to understand the enormity of Wheels showing up when Snake has cancer in season three. That blew me right out of the chair. But the show does a good job of showing old photos and yearbooks and stuff. Or the reunion in the first ep of season one. I couldn’t understand what Lucy was saying about being in a car accident with Wheels or whatever happened between Joey and Caitlin. Degrassi High ended right when the older kids finished 11th grade, so I was like, Why are there pictures of everyone graduating? Amazing discovery! There’s this film called School’s Out I found on YouTube that takes place after graduation which explains everything. If you’re a hardcore fan like me, get over there and watch all 12 parts (Wheels kills a boy! Joey cheats on Caitlin!).
Exciting news: In October, we’re going to a wedding in Toronto. Where Degrassi is filmed. Where SP’s good friend works on the set. You’ll know if I get to go watch the filming. I’ll probably be renting a blimp about it. Actually, I can’t, because I promised I wouldn’t take a spaz and disturb the actors. So I need to chill.
One thing that always bugged me about the original series was that Joey’s band (The Zit Remedy, before Joey changed it to The Zits) played only one song. Which they sang over and over. It was like, dude. Get a new song. So now it’s hilarious to see that in the new series, they’re still singing that same flippin song, “Everybody Wants Something.” Of course that song never gives up! Here’s the original video that Joey, Snake, and Wheels made back in the day: