The network announced the show’s final 12 half-hour episodes will air this summer, kicking off with a two-week finale event. An hourlong special called “It Goes There: Degrassi’s Most Talked-About Moments” will lead into the series finale on July 31.
"For an incredible 14 seasons, ‘Degrassi’ has been a groundbreaking show tackling so many important topics that real teens face in their everyday lives," Keith Dawkins, SVP and general manager for Nicktoons, TeenNick and Nick Jr., told Variety on Thursday (June 4). “In the final episodes on TeenNick and through the hour-long special and social activations, we hope to say goodbye in a way that is both fitting to the show and ‘Degrassi’s’ passionate fan base.”
For most of us, this is truly the end of an era. A continuation of the original Canadian teen soap that aired in the ‘80s, “Degrassi: The Next Generation” premiered in 2001 and has since been a linchpin in so many young people’s lives.
How in the world are future generations supposed to function without the moral influence of “Degrassi?” Well, thankfully there are reruns. And services like Netflix and Hulu, which will hopefully pick up the series to stream for years to come. Until then, it’s up to us to spread the bible of “Degrassi.” So in case you need a reminder about why the show is so important, here are six convincing reasons:
It fully encompassed the teen experience.Giphy
Literally no teen-related issue was left untouched. Drugs, bullying, school shootings, crushes, depression, cheating, cancer, date rape, inopportune boners, unsanitary piercings, being in a band... you name it, “Degrassi” dealt with it.
It was balanced.Tumblr
For as many intense and heavy topics as there were on “Degrassi,” there were just as many silly ones. A typical episode would usually have one super dramatic storyline going on, with a couple other lighter ones, resulting in one big roller coaster of emotions. But that’s the beauty of “Degrassi” — it shifted among moods so easily, just like a teen does. The show was funny, humiliating, amazing, lame, depressing, dorky, and shocking all rolled into one.
It was a launchpad for some of today’s biggest stars.Giphy
Before she was a blood-sucking cheerleader on “The Vampire Diaries,” Nina Dobrev was cheerleader/teen mom/occasionally reckless model Mia Jones. And before Shenae Grimes rose to fame on “90210,” she was the innocent-turned-promiscuous Darcy Edwards. And of course, for seven blissful seasons, “Degrassi” was home to one Jimmy Brooks, a.k.a. Aubrey Graham, a.k.a. Drake.
It was super progressive.Giphy
Sure, Canadians are known as being pretty mind-mannered people. But “Degrassi” was —and still is — an admirably progressive show, especially when it came to issues about sex and sexuality.
It focused on character evolutions.Giphy
No “bad” character ever stayed bad. And no “good” character was ever always good. For a show that had such a big, often-rotating cast of characters, the writers did an amazing job at giving each person multiple and unexpected layers. Take Spinner, for instance. That dude’s been a bully, a jock, a rebel rocker, a cancer patient, a romantic (Spinner + Emma forever!), and he even made a cameo in season 14 as the manager of The Dot. Just like “The Breakfast Club” taught us it’s a mistake to peg high schoolers according to one-dimensional stereotypes like “brain” and “princess,” it was also impossible to assume any “Degrassi” character would ever stay the same.
Did we mention Drake?
We did? OK, then let us hammer in this point again: he started from “Degrassi,” now here’s here.