hen I say Degrassi High, I mean classic Degrassi High. I love the recent episodes (seriously I’ve been bingeing on them like a mofo) but my heart belongs to classic Degrassi. When the cast looked like actual students and none of the actors grew up to be famous r&b musicians. I recently re-watched the series (I actually listened to it while cooking dinner but it’s the same thing really) and these are my most favourite moments.
1. When Spike got pregnant
She was 13 years old and fell pregnant the first time she had sex to a guy she only mildly liked. It was the best contraception ever for a 90s teen. This storyline was perfect in so many ways. It addressed the issue of a teen pregnancy being the ‘fault’ of the girl with Spike being banned from school but Shane, the baby’s father being allowed to stay. Spike was also central to the abortion argument later in the series, saying that an abortion wasn’t right for her but that it’s every woman’s own choice. Fist bump for you Spike! Also how un-progressive was progressive Liz? The pro-life beliefs just did not suit her character.
2. Wheels’ jeans
They really are the gift that keeps on giving. The actor who played Wheels sadly passed away in 2007 but if he was still alive today I highly doubt he’d have any ability to procreate. His poor balls were twisted up like hairy pretzels in those spray on jeans and he was rarely not sporting a camel toe. I want to open a Degrassi Museum with Wheels’ jeans as the main attraction.
3. When Dwayne got HIV from his girlfriend
This HIV storyline was so necessary and a really important topic but the spreading of HIV between men and from men to women was a MUCH bigger issue. HIV doesn’t live outside the body so a man catching it from a woman is the least likely scenario of them all, I mean it happens but not very often. Kudos to the producers for addressing it and aptly pointing out that HIV affected heterosexual couples too but a more likely scenario would have been a girl catching it from a dude.
4. When Joey fucked Tessa Campanelli
This was in the School’s Out special but Caitlyn saying ‘Tessa Campanelli? You were fucking Tessa Campanelli?’ is probably my favourite thing that ever happened at Degrassi.
5. How lightly Melanie got off in life compared to Kathleen
Kathleen had an absent father, an alcoholic mother, an eating disorder and an abusive boyfriend. Melanie had braces and no boobs. The writers absolutely pummelled poor Kathleen and the worst thing that ever happened to Melanie was when Yick caught her at the movies with Snake. It’s just a little thing but it always made me feel sorry Kathleen. This show makes me emotional okay? Also the actress who played Melanie is now in hiding because a guy from Melbourne stalked her and sent her weird stuff in the mail for like 6 years. Creepy right?
6. How weirdly they dealt with homosexuality
The writers were super forward on most issues – teen pregnancy, abortion, depression – and dealt with them in a very educational and neutral way. However homosexuality was not dealt with well at all in the early seasons. The only gay character in the early series was Snake’s brother and his coming out resulted in being disowned by his family and Snake being super awkward about it. There were rumours about Ms Avery being gay, which she half-heartedly denied but there was no real lesson or conclusion. I would have really loved to have seen a gay main character student at the school. The discussion about homosexuality was there but the stance seemed off. The message seemed to be ‘it sucks to be gay and you can’t do anything about it.’ It’s totally okay though because the writers nailed homophobia and gay relationships in the later series so they’re forgiven.
7. The cast have the best accent in the world
‘What’s this all aboot?’
I don’t usually write a whole post about every podcast I do but this episode of Sweet Teen Club was too hilarious not to. I swear Stacey and I nearly comedy sprayed in the recording of this episode. My only regret is that we didn’t mention The Zit Remedy. I have no idea how it happened but I’m very embarrassed. Make sure you tweet me @smaggle if there’s anything you’d like to discuss. Like how it’s possible to be a lesbian and someone’s friend at the same time and how the most important thing at a party is the potato chips. Or ‘chaps’ as ‘Malanie’ likes to say.
Did you watch Degrassi High? Who was your favourite character?
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Images via Huffpo