Gone are the days where Drake played Jimmy Brooks as a graduate of the class of 2007 at Degrassi Community School.
Not many people know that Degrassi goes as far back as 1987 with Degrassi High. This then led to Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001 to 2015) and after a few movies and changes the Degrassi franchise continues on now via Netflix.
In Degrassi: Next Class, we face new challenges in the Toronto-based community school but we also have the same overall experience as we did in the past years of Degrassi.
In this fifth series, we face the challenges of cyberbullying, homophobia, racism, drug use, online harassment and catfishing just to name a few but in the background of all the problems each character faces at Degrassi there is still the sense of community where the students at Degrassi can still come together to fight for the same cause.
This series is based on Generation Z. The generation who follows behind the Millenials. Withing Generation Z at Degrassi we are introduced quickly to the problems of Grace Cardinal (Nikki Gould) and Zig Novak (Ricardo Hoyos) who are dating.
In the first few episodes of Degrassi: Next Class we remember that Degrassi is full of drama. We have a new battleground for drama in which now everyone has their persona and the persona they want to present themselves as. We have girls who are bookworms who want to represent themselves as bootylicious chicks to attract their crushes, guys who are in love with each other but cannot be honest about it, and brokenhearted girls who want to seem as if they’re okay.
There’s s much drama it’s hard to share individual stories without them delving into others but in the beginning, we are given our main stories. Grace is an aspiring rock star where she forms a band within her school to help her reach stardom. She holds auditions for the lead guitarist in her band and she chooses Jonah Haak (Ehren Kassam) as her guitarist over her boyfriend Zig. This leads to problems where Zig feels insecure about his relationship with Grace.
Grace is an aspiring rock star where she forms a band within her school to help her reach stardom. She holds auditions for the lead guitarist in her band and she chooses Jonah Haak (Ehren Kassam) as her guitarist over her boyfriend Zig. This leads to problems where Zig feels insecure about his relationship with Grace. Later we pan over
Later we pan over to the problems of Tristan Milligan (Lyle Lettau) and Miles Hollingsworth III (Eric Osbourne) where they used to date over the summer and are now exes facing each other in the fight to be class president. After many shady attempts to take each other down, Miles easily seduces Tristan into thinking he’s still in love with him so that Tristan can throw his candidacy and get behind Miles.
This tactic worked for a couple days until Tristan finds Miles giving attention to another girl. Here we understand that Miles could possibly be bisexual. This angers Tristan enough to find dirt against Miles where he must give up his class presidency and give his votes to Tristan.
Another story we come across is the story of the love Zoe Rivas (Ana Golja) has for her friend, Grace Cardinal (Nikki Gould). Grace is awkward toward Zoe and we find out later why Grace’s awkwardness with Zoe exists and it’s because Grace has cystic fibrosis. Here we see Zoe persuade Grace to live her life to the fullest because we come to realize that cystic fibrosis has no cure.
The last story to be deemed central in Degrassi: Next Class is the crush Shay Powers (Reiya Downs) has on Tiny Bell (Richard Walters). Shay and her friends try to get Tiny’s attention toward Shay using social media and padding Shay’s butt to make it look bigger than what it is. The reason they all go through this trouble for Tiny’s attention is because Shay and her friends, Frankie Hollingsworth (Sara Waisglass) and Lola Pacini (Amanda Acuri) believe Tiny like big butts due to him liking pictures on social media that feature girls with large butts.
This assumption of Tiny leads Shay to have to take her pants off in science class due to a student accidentally chemicals on her rear. Her fake butt is exposed and she has to come clean to Tiny about why she went through all this trouble.
Now, if these stories weren’t complicated enough we can’t forget that each student at Degrassi has a set of parents and a life at home they each have to face.
Personally, I watched Degrassi: Next Class because I had watched Degrassi growing up and found the problems these teenagers faced every day at school to be absurd and interesting. Things get crazy at Degrassi.
With that being said, I was a bit overwhelmed with the problems each character faced in the first episode. It seemed like Degrassi gets straight into the drama as soon as you learn about each character without giving you time to learn about the individual character’s personalities and have a relationship with each person.
It might be that I’ve outgrown Degrassi and that the problems in this school do not relate to me as much as they did when I was in high school. I may not be the audience the writers for Degrassi: Next Class wants to reach. A Millenial watching a show with Generation Z problems doesn’t seem to one hundred percent relate to me but as the title states, this Degrassi series continuation is for the next set of viewers ready to take in the culture of Degrassi and that we must let go of the Degrassi of 2001 to 2015 and accept that the Degrassi of 2016 is a Degrassi of new problems and challenges today’s youth face today.