Archive | December, 2009

Degrassi: The Next Generation Season 9

29 Dec

All photos from Degrassi on Teen Nick website

As I’ve already made clear, I’m not a fan of the big high school TV dramas.  I tried 90210 and Gossip Girl, but I am a fan of the Degrassi franchise.  From the original Junior High series with Voula, Stephanie Kaye, and Spike getting knocked up with Emma to the Next Generation, where we watched Emma and company completely screw up over and over.

Sadly, living in the UK, I’m a little slow on the Teen Nick line up (not to mention that “the N” became “Teen Nick”) and didn’t realize that the new Degrassi season had even begun, so this post may be a little late in the game.  However, as I caught up with the Season 9 premier last night, I was incredibly disappointed.  The original series (and the revival with The Next Generation) was created in response to shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, where the wealthy teenaged characters were played by 20-somethings.  Degrassi was created to show a more realistic view of high school life, but sadly, the popularity of Gossip Girl and 90210 is altering Degrassi, and not for the better.  After watching the first episode, I’ve identified the major changes, and ways to salvage this show.

Theme Song

As always, the hour long season premier provides drama, new characters, and a new theme song.  I was fine when they removed the lyrics and removed the school location from the opening credits.  Last season’s opener returned to the older style, but a crappy version of “Whatever it takes.”  I didn’t think the opening song could get worse, but this wannabe-punk version did.  If that wasn’t bad enough, they screwed it up again when they let some nasal cat with a guitar the ending credit song.  Honestly, how can one show screw up the theme song twice in one show? Solution: Cut the ending song and go back to any pre-season 8 version.

Gossip Girl-esque Siblings

The Diplomatic Siblings: Declan and Fiona

In regards to new characters, we’ve got Declan (Landon Liboiron) and Fiona (Annie Clark), Diplomatic siblings who are attending the public Degrassi Community School to promote their father’s political agenda (private schools = bad).  Obviously, Declan is bringing the Chuck Bass to Degrassi this year–just look at those eyebrows!  In the first episode he manages to help break up the “Degrassi’s It Couple” and help get one character addicted to meth.  Solution: Go Cruel Intentions (Roger Kumble 1999) with them.  Incest would be the final taboo for Degrassi.

New Girl Jenna

New Girl Jenna

There’s not much to say about Jenna (Jessica Tyler), other than she shouldn’t be allowed to sing.  In her first scene she says she’s so glad “the girls get along at this school” because her old school was “back stab high.”  She must have come from 90210 then.  Later on she says at her old school she was “such a boyfriend stealer.”  Well, then no wonder her old school was back stab high!  At the moment, her character is about as annoying as her voice.  The only bright side is Clare (Aislinn Paul) has a major girl crush on her.  Maybe they will be the next Paige and Alex.  Solution: Cut Jenna or have her and Clare go gay.

Peter and Mia

Peter and Mia

Peter (Jamie Johnston) is on a roll!  Last season started with his girlfriend Darcy (Shanae Grimes) ditching him to volunteer in Africa (or move to Beverly Hills to star in 90210–but whatever), and this season begins with Mia (Nina Dobrev) leaving him for a Parisian modeling gig (aka The Vampire Diaries).  Last season he comforted the loss of Darcy by rebounding with Mia, so what does he do this year?  He rebounds with crystal meth.  That’s right kids.  Peter’s a meth head.  Well, for only one episode, because addiction never lasts more than a week on this show.  On the bright side, his mother, Principal Hatzilakos (Melissa DiMarco) has returned from Regina to rule over Degrassi Community School once more.  Solution: Send Peter to Regina, or hook him up with Riley (Argiris Karras).

No More Liberty!!!!!

Liberty Van Zandt

The saddest thing of this new season is it seems the beloved Liberty Van Zandt (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) is no longer with the show.  While Manny (Cassie Steele) and Emma (Miriam McDonald) are present in the opening credits, poor Liberty is no where to be seen.  I know she may have started as an annoying and nerdy 12 year old, but giving her baby up for adoption and watching the love her life die from a stabbing, really endured her to me.  I’ll admit, I tear up when she finally cries over J.T.’s  death in “The Bitterest Pill.”  Sadly, none of the other characters can replace her, but bravo to Manny for being promoted to the best character on Degrassi now that Liberty has finally grown up.  Solution: Really, there isn’t anything that can be done to replace Liberty; however, permanently adding Kevin Smith would be a good start.  Also, a vampire at Degrassi could be quite fun.

Well, there you have it.  The first episode of season 9 Degrassi: The Next Generation in a nut shell.  I only have on more thing to add…

Dear Television Gods:

please, please, please promote Spinner (Shane Kippel) to a real show!  All his other friends have left!  Craig (Jake Epstein) was on Broadway in Spring Awakening and Jimmy (Aubrey “Drake” Graham) is out of a wheel chair and up for a grammy, but what about poor Spinner?  The least you could do is send him to a grown up show.


Liz Thrilla