By Stefan Brogren
So last year we were cancelled by our American broadcaster. Without much more explanation than, â€œWe think Degrassi has run its course.â€ It was over. Truth is, weâ€™ve always had a problem fitting in. Weâ€™re not a sitcom, weâ€™re not 90210â€”and most of our subject matter deals with the most God-awful aspects of growing up.
Still, I was dumbfounded. Why give up a series thatâ€™s the teen equivalent to the Star Trek franchise (donâ€™t shoot me)? It could go on forever!
OK, yes. There are a bunch of reasons to say Degrassi should call it a day and just go away (Iâ€™m rhyming, yo).
Weâ€™ve been making the show for a jillion years and for some folks thatâ€™s just annoying.
We have a serious lack of students that are vampires, werewolves, mutants or serial killersâ€”not for a lack of trying, mind you.
And the big one. Weâ€™re unabashedly Canadian. Weâ€™re reminded of this every time the States makes a list of what makes Canada … Canada. â€œPoutine! Canucks! Degrassi! Trees!â€ I know, itâ€™s annoying.
You could say we â€œrecycleâ€ the same subject matter every couple of years (drugs, sex, boners, mental health, boners, peer pressure, boners). But if you think being a teenager now is the same as the good olâ€™ days of Joey streaking the caf, well then you havenâ€™t checked your effinâ€™ Snapchat feed lately. Manny freaking out because her boobs were put on the Internet (Season 5, The Next Generation) has zero relevance to a generation that send and receive â€œjunk picsâ€ on their smartphones as part of the dating process. Sorry parents. They all do it. Seriously. All of them. Even the sweet ones. Boners. No oneâ€™s safe.
For lots of people (who probably havenâ€™t watched the show in years), Degrassi is painfully earnest in its depiction of teensâ€”and earnest equals not cool.
Skins is cool. Degrassi is … earnest.
Iâ€™m biased obviously, but Degrassi isnâ€™t earnest in its depictions of teen life. Itâ€™s thoughtful. Our fans grow up watching and adoring shows like The Vampire Diaries, The 100 and Pretty Little Liars. Theyâ€™re awesome and fantastical. Then they turn around and watch Degrassi with all the crappy, gross, embarrassing, manic, euphoric, lovely and ridiculously funny moments that come with being 17. And it feels like a friend.
So we were cancelled. And then, in what seemed like the next day, we were given new life on Netflix. The second season of Degrassi: Next Class premieres in Canada on Family Channel on July 19th and streams on Netflix July 22nd. If you havenâ€™t watched Degrassi in a whole bunch of years, give it a shot. I promise you, we have 70 per cent more boner stories than any other show out there. Period. (And probably the most period stories too.)
Degrassi: Next Class airs Tuesdays at 9:45 p.m. ET on Family Channel.
Stefan is well known to Canadians for his six years on the television series Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High. He was a Gemini Award nominee for Best Actor at age 17. Stefan is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Los Angeles, where he won the prestigious Michael Thomas Award for acting excellence. Stefan has made numerous television appearances, including the series Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye, Wild Card, Jonathan Crossâ€™s Canada, Twitch City, I Was A Sixth Grade Alien and The Associates. Stefan can also be seen in the movie Too Smooth with Neve Campbell and Rebecca Gayheart. Stefan has since become a key part of the Degrassi production team taking on the role of Series Producer. Adding Director to his responsibilities, Stefan has helmed numerous Degrassi episodes, as well as the MOWs Degrassi Goes Hollywood and D: NYC â€“ Degrassi Takes Manhattan. In 2010, Stefan won a Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Childrenâ€™s or Youth Program or Series. He followed this up with another win in 2014 at the Canadian Screen Awards. Stefan has also co-produced, directed and written a large portion of Degrassiâ€™s original digital content. In addition, Stefan was also a Co-Executive Producer and Director on the two seasons of the MuchMusic/CW series The L.A. Complex and the first season of the YTV/TeenNick series Open Heart.
5 thoughts on “What Degrassi means to me? Um, I’m Effin’ Snake. Duh.”
/what-degrassi-means-to-me-um-im-effin-snake-duh/is a terrible slug for a blog post. Write one or two unique words as a slug for each post. If you canâ€™t dicatate an URL over the phone, /your-url-sux/.
Thanks for the input. What does “dicatate” mean?
If Canada’s known for delicious poutine and realistic portrayals of teenage life, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Also, count me out of the modern dating game if dick pics are part of the process.
Where to begin? Well I live in the states in a pretty normal middle class Christian family, so when I started watching degrassi at about 13 it was scandalous. Now I am 17 and have graduated from high school and junior college and I have come out mostly intact and I have to thank degrassi for some portion of that. Like I mentioned I was raised in a religious family so some (more like most) of the topics that degrassi was covering we’re thing that I was running into from periods to as “Snake” put it boners. Haha I was dealing with growing up in a family who wasn’t as open in talking about all of the not so pretty sides of being a teenager. And not even just the not pretty but that stuff that you never want to admit to your parents that you are dealing with. Now I can say I have never been pregnant or diagnosed with a mental illness but I have survived the pressures of high school and am thankful it was just in time. Finding out that degrassi would no longer be airing in the US was a sad thought. It was a show that gave the honest truth and with that truth it gave an honest outcome. When Paige got raped and Jenna got pregnant there were long term reprocussions that effected them for much longer than an episode or two, but it was something that their character had to deal with for the rest of their time in the show. Which was a factor that was true in real life and something that main stream Hollywood has not been able to capture or has not been willing to. I am forever grateful to those who have participated in the prolonging of Degrassi for the teens of today and the future. It was a pleasure growing up with you
I live in the states as well and Degrassi was a great show! I’m from the years when Degreassi: The Next Generation was on (Emma, Manny, Paige, Marco, etc.) and to me that was the BEST seasons Degrassi has ever had! They really helped me learn and grow and gave me hope as I went thru school so thank you Degrassi and honestly I hope you’re still around on Netflix or picked back up on TV whenever I have kids old enough to watch!
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