I’m in my 20s and I love Degrassi. There, I said it. For those who grew up watching the Canadian teen drama, a lot still watch nostalgically. I’m not one of those people. I started watching Degrassi at the start of season 8, while I was an undergrad, and I was almost instantly addicted. I haven’t missed an episode since, I count down to its return after breaks and I gossip about the characters as if they are real (though if they were actually real, I wouldn’t gossip; that’s not nice).
While Degrassi‘s got a rep for being a lovable, homegrown show, it’s also recognized for being cheesy and juvenile (see: nickname Degrossi, a cheesy, juvenile nickname in itself). But I love this show and I think it’s so much more than people realize, so I found a deeper reasoning behind my obsession with it.
It’s a great platform for young Canadian talent. We would not even know who Grammy-nominated Drake a.k.a. Drizzy (back then, Aubrey Graham a.k.a. Jimmy Brooks) was today had Degrassi not allowed him to take the stage and rap. Or how about The Vampire Diaries‘ Nina Dobrev? Or 90210‘s Shenae Grimes? Or Terra Nova‘s Landon Liboiron?
It’s a hit in the States. Could we be prouder that our southern neighbours are just as psyched for new Degrassi episodes as we are? (And could we be angrier when they get the mid-season return before us?!)
It tackles important teen issues. This one is huge. In “My Body is a Cage” FTM transgender teen Adam (Jordan Todosey) comes out to his best friends but is forced to be “Gracie” for his family’s comfort leading to a breakdown. The episode led to the show’s first ever Creative Arts Emmy nomination. The show also covers alcoholism, divorce, death, pregnancy and countless other critical topics.
It creates compelling storylines. In other words, Degrassi is a drug. It’s a soap opera, really, and once you’ve grasped what’s going on, you need to know what’s going to happen next.
Degrassi returns tonight for its second half of Season 11. Will you be watching?