Saturday, January 16, 2016


Degrassi, My Old Friend

Say what you will about me, but this is a show and series I have watched for most of my life through the different generations and iterations. From when I first saw it on PBS and Nickelodeon.

The show started in 1979. I discovered it in 1986 or ‘87. i have been loyal to it ever since. Over the many channels and Iteratons. i missed the first season of the new class only because at the time i didn’t have TEEN NICK to watch it, but caught up with it fast and became just as this canadian Teen Soap opera. That lasted longer then the Ryan Reynolds Starring, FIFTEEN of the 90′s on Nickelodeon

I have always been a fan Degrassi Jr. High, Degrassi High, Degrassi, Degrassi The Next Generation.

I was there for Spike's pregnancy, her delivery, the zits first video, Dwayne getting aids, joey buying condoms, Joey cheating on Caitlin, wheels losing his parents, his slow growing alcohol abuse, his car accident that left Lucy losing an eye. Then when Degrassi: the next generation came. How those cast members where sometimes in the background but slowly left. I was there for Manny's makeover and pregnancy and abortion, J.T.'s death, Jimmy Brooks (hip-hop artist drake) getting shot and paralyzed. Marco coming out of the closet. Ellie being a cutter. Emma having random oral sex, Darcy's unknown rape. Spinner and Emma getting married.

Yes I have seen it all. if not all least most. Yes it constantly goes there.

So as this new presentation of the show. That seems to be streamlined after cancellation and a Hail Mary save by Netflix.

I don't like to compare, but in a sense the show reminds me of the emotional truth and grip of a television show like MY SO CALLED LIFE or FREAKS & GEEKS. Which come the closest. Though those shows were limited so they came into your life for a short amount of time and touched you the most and made such a difference that years later. You still kind of hero worship them. As when together you went through so much together. You canMt forget and though you have your moments. You never look at the flaws. You choose to forget them or not make them so important. You are also left to wonder what happened, of course you wish and imagine the best and happiest endings. Even if not necessarily left there. As they had a short amount of time. Yet made the most of it and made you feel like you were at your best. It is in your memory as good. Though it could be more nostalgia and loyalty above all else. This goes for certain films too like THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, THE BREAKFAST CLUB, THE SPECTACULAR NOW, NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, ME EARL AND THE DYING GIRL, PRETTY IN PINK, SAY ANYTHING, SIXTEEN CANDLES. As well as books like some of those titles mentioned above. A CATCHER IN THE RYE, HAIRSTYLES OF THE DAMNED.

As these things have always had a limited life. The television shows and some of the movies received cult status only because when they first came out. They were Initially rejected for whatever reasons and quickly taken away. Proving themselves to be true outsiders. Which of course when you are young and sometimes always. Makes something just a bit more interesting. So that you look at it with wonder and read into it a bit more. Almost looking for a kinship with it. Then Once found, bond with it. Soon you have found a constant companion of sorts. Though as time goes on, you grow used to them.

Now you can always go back and visit to bring back the memories or look at it from a different angle. Just as you can with degrassi. The difference is that degrassi has always been there and keeps going. Even if cast and characters have changed. The show is like the friend who has stayed by your side over the years and you have seen each other at your worst, best, good and bad. You have had gifts and seperations. And you know each other's strengths and weaknesses, but you always come together and find your way back to one another. Out of care, feelings and love. That is what friendship is all about. Being there for one another and having fun. Experiencing things together. A general love that can be intense as romance though usually stays platonic. The only kind of purity that sticks around. The others are short stays who make a mark in your life. Like a rockstar and through you keep mementos around. Say the same things as nothing new can come. As they are visitors they never laid down real estate in your life. Where as degrassi, so far it's always been there around and not uprooting. We have grown together and been through so much together. Now for me I have been lucky as it has been around most of my life. If it was to go tomorrow, I would be sad and upset. Though I can learn to let it go. Be at peace. Though glad it is still around. Only because as we get older it might be harder to identify with it. Yet still care enough to keep with it. Though at this age can learn to let go and deal with death better then when we are young and both in our prime. Wondering what might have been.

It has lead a full Life and has left it's mark on many. That In a sense like the movies and short television shows.  They will always be around in some way shape or form. Even if they can only say the same things. You can interpret it in different ways at different points in your life. See it in many ways.

It sometimes doesn't feel like just a show.

I am glad to see the show back. It seems that the show went wise to compartmentize the show. Letting go of long standing characters who have had their share of story lines who were still around and kept seeming to get into more trouble. If only because their characters needed something to do or a story line. As it seemed rate that they played just supporting character to other stories.

It was like a true soap opera where over many episodes the same story line would play. Which gave it a reality as unlike most television shows that wrap up a story line In one or two episodes. Here we see the full ordeal including the aftermath and repercussions and are reminded that the occurance happened. Where some shows after the episode have amnesia about the event.

Now those points were things to admire about Degrassi. As the characters were still around and slowly phased out it allowed us to get to know beer characters who were usually for ends or relatives of the veteran characters and they took over. Also showing that the show was like it’s origins from the kids on Degrassi street more about community and generations. Though at first the show kept their episodes to a good amount. Soon the show seems to always have new episodes and it was hard to keep up. So much so that I wondered if in Canada where the show of filmed. If it wasn't a daily teen soap opera and on teen nick where it aired here in the states. If it was always just trying to catch up and burn off the episodes. After a while I just honestly quit watching the show for many reasons, as I didn't know when it was coming on. When I did catch it there was so much o missed I was confused. Some story lines seemed repeated. So many characters were still around who should have left. As a result of that i wasn't really connecting with the new cast. I found them insufferable to a degree.

So now that the show was canceled and redirected by Netflix with a 10 episode season. While it seems steep. There are so many old episodes to catch up on between seasons. That you always can have your fill. Watching the show is a breath of fresh air as there are some characters we have seen before and are used to, but also enough totally new characters who are of the same age and mix better as an ensemble. There is a season 2 or second half of the normal season 1 coming to netflix after this initial order of 10

Plus every episode doesn't feel like A very special episode. As they still deal with serious subjects, but also have simple silly ones that the characters deal with that while serious to them. We realize aren't life or death and leaves the show to feel like a breath of fresh air.

The show is fairly liberal which shows it is progressive. Though leaves certain problems and issues to fall of deaf ears as their is no real antagonist. If there is one hey feel one Note and not as the show has shown before to be a full character who has bad beliefs but isn't a totally evil person either.
It has always has had a racially diverse cast. As well as having LGBT characters presented first and foremost.

While the show paved he way for new ground on teen shows. It also read into itself too much taking on more then it could handle and became it's own monster. By slimming it down. beginning in the last two episodes of the season. After the older kids graduated. That seemed to show a rebirth as well as a continuance if they got a new season. It allows us to wonder about the possibilities, enjoy the characters more as we can focus on the few individually more then the herd.

I don't know if this is the Swan song. Or if they have just as many episodes and will roll them Out slowly in packs. I will just say I like where it seems to be going. As I cans follow a lot easier. It feels more true. Even looking at the classrooms and sets it is modernized and quite impressive. As so much education int his school is based around technology and strangely skills that would be extracurricular in other schools.

The show still resorts to Pregnancy and Rape time to time, but these things happen.Just as when the show started sex was dealt with so seriously. it still is but seems more lenient and to happen a lot more. Though at times it seems to resort to Telenovela antics at times

And relax fans of the show. Snake is still sound as principal and the actor Stefan Brogen is still one of the producers and it seems primary director.As well as Co-creator Linda Schuyler and Executive producer Stephen Stohn.

So the show is still in good hands

No comments: