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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hooked on Degrassi

I have recently gotten hooked on Degrassi: The Next Generation. I weirdly love teen shows that are way over-dramatic, so Degrassi was perfect for me...I don't know why I didn't watch it earlier. So I'm just going to give you a quick overview of why I'm loving this show right now.

Degrassi is more than just an over-dramatic teen show. It tackles important social issues in a way that can get information to the public in an entertaining way. I'm currently in the middle of season 6 and I'm going to make you a long list of all the social issues they have already covered: abortion, teen pregnancy, adoption, safe sex, abstinence, eating disorders and body image issues, sexual identity, gangs, violence (school shootings and school rivalries), abusive boyfriends, rape, peer pressure, drug and alcohol use/abuse, cheating, flawed legal system, STDs, domestic violence, welfare, internet predators, being kicked out of your house, death, and there are probably more that I can't think of right now.

I don't know of many other shows that tackle as many social issues as
Degrassi does. And it doesn't do it in a public service announcement-like way. Degrassi incorporates all of these social issues into a somewhat continuous storyline. And a lot of it seems like it could be realistic; that the characters would actually do these things and that people in real life would do these things as well. It can tackle all of these because it has such a large cast (I got the characters mixed up sometimes when I first started watching) and is always incorporating new classes and cast members. But that's part of what keeps it interesting too.

So, if you have not seen
Degrassi: The Next Generation, I would give it a chance. It may be a teen drama and not always have the best acting or writing, it's an interesting portryal of teen life and has a lot to say about important social issues that many teens face.


Trixie said...

I watched DeGrassi Junior High when I was a youngster growing up in Toronto (and yes, there really is a DeGrassi Street!).

Recently, I rented that 20-year-old series to have another look and it held up remarkably well. It's pretty gritty stuff but so wonderfully matter-of-fact.

There are storylines on teen sexuality that would never make it onto mainstream US television today - although the Canadians don't seem to have any problem with it.

Laura said...

You reminded me that I should have mentioned that the show was Canadian and how that factored into how the social issues were presented. They do air episodes of the Next Generation on Fox, the CW, and the N in the U.S., but the fact that it was made in Canada I'm sure factors into how they tackle the social issues. Because you're right, a lot of these issues would not even really been touched (or touched as in depth) as they are on Degrassi. I just wanted to point out that there is a great show out there that tackles these issues.

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