Degrassi. It’s been a hub for generations of high school students. As a younger viewer the drama felt closer to home than it does as an adult watching it again. Though the drama seems overly dramatic and too densely packed into one show and one school, the show really does a great job with character development and relationship development. Until we reach season nine of Degrassi The Next Generation.
WARNING! Proceeding with reading will involve major spoilers for the later seasons of Degrassi TGN. If you are a new viewer and just discovering the show, then be aware you will be spoiled of major plot points.
While I apply to jobs and write resumes and wait around for any news, I have been binging Degrassi: The Next Generation. It’s been a wild trip down memory lane as I recall watching the episodes as they aired originally. Though episodes 920 through 923, I don’t remember at all. I must have stopped watching cause my favorite characters were gone (I am loyal, I can’t help it).
The “Degrassi Takes Manhattan” episodes really kinda of undo years worth of character and relationship development in the span of an hour. And I’m angry about it.
Jane and Spinner have broken up after he finds out about her cheating. Emma is single and looking for a place to go in her gap year. After The Dot burns down, Spinner is moping around and sad about Jane and his job. Emma, Manny, and Jay conceive a plan to cheer him up at Niagara Falls with some gambling. Blah, blah, blah, they get drunk and get married.
Somehow Emma and Spinner have fallen fallen love in the span of a couple days, after Emma cause the fire at The Dot. They have had minimal interactions and the few moments they shared in these few episodes, felt forced and unnatural. Spinner was heartbroken and lost his place of work and got drunk and married someone else. Not exactly the best frame of mind to decide to get married or stay married. A few weeks of moping around and one drunken night don’t seem enough to erase a couple years of a relationship.
Jane and Spinner have been through a lot and remained one of the strongest couples on the show and they fit together so well. It was so weird for him to just move on so quickly. Very out of character for him.
Emma has been developed as a character to have be morally strong and headmaster in her beliefs. It felt so wrong for her to be okay with staying married to Spinner when she knew how heartbroken he was. It felt so out of character for her.
The theme continues with Jane when she shows up to try to stop the renewal of the vows. She doesn’t even try to win him back and convince him he is wrong. Especially after driving all the way from NYC, for her to just not say anything to try to stop him makes no sense to me.
Further still, Manny, who has always been Emma’s voice of reason, was just okay with her falling in love do quickly and making such a huge decision for her life? Very not Manny of her. Then, Emma’s parents are supportive with her being married and suddenly being in love with Spinner? They go on a camping trip and suddenly there isn’t just a new relationship but a marriage? It is just dumb. And I’m not happy about it.
To me, it felt like contracts were up and they needed needed wrap up some the characters stories and they threw some storyline together mad lib style. It felt very unfair and unjust to the characters they were writing for.
Jane and Spinner should have been end game. The end. Period. I will die on this hill. They both should have been given a chance at happiness with the person perfectly fit for them.
Emma deserved more than to fail out of Smithdale and be shoved into a relationship she didn’t need. She could have taken her gap year and founded some charity and been self sufficient and happy. She could have done so much.
These characters deserved much more. Maybe the reboot can squeeze in a mention of Spinner and Emma divorcing and Jane and Spinner reuniting and in a happy relationship.
You can watch Degrassi: The Next Generation on HBO Max and keep an eye out for the Degrassi Reboot on the platform next year!