When M asked me to blog for her, I thought, “WTF am I going to write about that is both wonderful and marvelous?” Then it hit me. I’ll write about a little Canadian TV show called Degrassi. Now, I know this show is aimed at ‘tweens, but it’s SO wonderful and marvelous that I can’t help but be addicted.
It started in 1987 when PBS showed the original Degrassi series. You might remember it. If you don’t, I’m sorry. You’ve missed out.
The original Degrassi followed a group of Canadian kids through junior high and into high school. They faced all sorts of after-school special issues. They had drugs. They had sex. They had alcohol. They had teen pregnancy. Abortion (oh, wait, that was edited out in the US). They even had a rock band. They had cute boys and girls. They conquered all of the issues while still being entertaining, not preachy.
That was the end of Degrassi…until recently. Remember that teen pregnancy? Little Emma is all grown up. She’s in junior high, and on the night of her single mom’s class reunion, she sneaks out to go to a hotel to meet a boy she met on the internet. While Spike’s out watching Joey get into a fight at the reunion with Caitlin’s bigshot fiancé, Emma is discovering internet predators. Thus begins Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Degrassi: TNG features some of the original cast. (Remember that cute kid Joey? Grownup Joey? Yum.) We’ve got the next generation, too, and they’re full of all of the issues the adults faced years ago and then some. We’ve even got more drama that's too controversial for US TV. How many people noticed that Manny was pregnant in one episode, then there were reruns for 3 weeks, and then she wasn’t pregnant anymore? Hmmm…
Where else can we find TV that’s not afraid to tackle rape, bullying, eating disorders, school shootings, abortion, adoption, cutting, testicular cancer, and Kevin Smith? And they do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’re watching a message. Yeah, the chances are kind of slim that the same group of students at the same small school will have all of these problems – but what other show on TV tackles real issues?
So go grab your popcorn and find The N on TV. Tonight in “Hungry Eyes” Emma’s going to prove to Sean that she’s not the same girl he left behind. Next week in “Pass the Dutchie” Spinner takes comfort in weed, and Darcy needs some comforting, too. How can you go wrong with TV like this?