I hadn’t really planned on doing a review of season 12 because I don’t have time to go back and look at 12A and 12B in depth, but I guess I can just talk about it in general.
In my opinion, season 12 is the best OVERALL season of Degrassi we’ve seen since the franchise rebooted itself in season 10. The Boiling Point was awesome, but excluding a few episodes, season 10 faltered after that. Season 11 definitely had its shining moments, but at the same time it was also quite inconsistent. Season 12 was far more consistent in terms of quality, anchored by strong storylines, strong acting, and a deeper focus on making those moments in between the drama interesting with wittier dialogue and LOL moments.
Just some random thoughts…
Demetrius Joyette in Bitter Sweet Symphony
When we first heard word that there would be a suicide, I assumed we would get some strong performances because of it. However, I wasn’t prepared for the amazing acting Demetrius would deliver in BSS Part 2…it’s hands down one of the best performances in the history of Degrassi: TNG.
Degrassi “Went There” And Sometimes The Promos/Leaks Didn’t Ruin Them
TeenNick’s penchant for highlighting the show’s relationship drama definitely worked in our favor when it came to the episode Never Ever:
The promo for Part 1 never mentioned anything about the A plot, which was Imogen dealing with her dad’s dementia. As disturbing as it was, it was nice to be shocked by that moment where Imogen finds Volta underneath her dad’s car.
One of the bigger go-there moments (not including Cam’s suicide) happened earlier in the season in Rusty Cage. We saw Cam in the promos sitting on the ledge. You’re lying if you seriously thought he was going to jump. Surely TeenNick was just hyping up that scene. There’s no way Degrassi would have the balls to have a kid jump off a ledge.
But he jumped. I was genuinely shocked.
Even more shocking was what happened in The Time of My Life. Some say they knew Clare might have cancer the moment we found out Aislinn had a shorter haircut for season 13. My mind never went there. I avoid speculating as much as possible about plot details. Because of that I was rewarded with a gut-wrenching revelation that came out of nowhere while actually watching an episode. I was legitimately caught off guard, and I can’t think Epitome enough for finally being able to keep something big under wraps.
Degrassi Is The Eclare Show Because Of The Fandom
If there’s one thing I can count on, it’s that I know the Degrassi fandom will always blow Eclare out of proportion, whether it’s a passionate Eclare fangirl or someone who hates Eclare with every fiber of their being.
Eclare barely did anything in season 12. They immediately got back together in 1201, and though they appeared in quite a few episodes together they spent most of Showdown doing their own separate things (something the writers had a couple of the ships on this show doing during that period). Eclare didn’t face any major relationship turmoil until Bitter Sweet Symphony (a friendly reminder that a whole 30 episodes passed before this).
Their breakdown in Ray of Light is a situation where if you put yourself in each of their shoes, it’s easy to understand where they’re both coming from. That doesn’t excuse the fact that neither communicated their feelings well (something that can happen in even the greatest of relationships), and it definitely doesn’t excuse Eli’s naked outburst for which he STILL hasn’t apologized (there’s so much irony in a tweet his “character” posted the day before TTOML aired):
Every time I hear someone say “Degrassi is The Eclare Show” I roll my eyes because it’s a load of crap. Drianca was the most prominent ship on this show in seasons 11 and 12. They got caught up in a gang feud where Bianca killed someone, Drew was nearly killed (and Adam got shot), and the strain of the situation contributed to their breakup. They did get back together, but not before lots of tension between Bianca and Katie…oh and there was that thing where Drew drunkenly slept with the girl he was supposed to break up with so that he could get back with Bianca. Drianca eventually got engaged and even ran off to Vegas, coming *this close* to being only the fourth Degrassi couple (composed of primary characters) to have ever gotten married in the 30+ year history of the Degrassi franchise. Degrassi spends two years putting Drianca through all of that, yet no one says a word. Eclare has sex on prom night and suddenly the show is unrealistic and playing favorites.
I do not ship Eclare. However, just as some of the Eclare fanbase can be biased to the point where it negatively clouds their judgement regarding Eclare, the other side can be just as biased to the point where they unfairly criticize Eclare when said criticism is unnecessary (something I had to witness a lot of in a season where Eclare’s relationship drama was kept at its lowest point since the ship was created in The Boiling Point). What season 12 has taught me is that the fandom is still in the fandom’s own head when it comes to this ship, and I’m not sure why that’s the case since Eclare’s been around for nearly three years…everyone on both sides should’ve grown out of the “let’s lose our freakin minds when it comes to Eclare” phase by now.
Drianca Is Where It’s At
These two have come a long way since their first encounter in the boiler room. Season 12 continued to show us a Bianca who was steadfast in her desire to improve herself and her life. Of course Drew spent a lot of time acting like a dumbass, but as we got closer to and got through the Vegas episode I began to see not only does it look like Drew and Bianca both take their relationship seriously, but also the writers seems to be serious about having a couple in a committed relationship, one that remains so even after one of them has graduated. The scene where Bianca showed confidence in Drew (who has no confidence in himself) sealed the deal on my feels:
This is the part where I confess that I now ship Drianca.
Why In The Hell Did They Do That?
The most ridiculous scene of Degrassi season 12 came in Karma Police, when Fiona decided she wanted to buy a gun from a bunch of thugs hanging out near an alley:
I know that people do stupid things regularly…that’s kind of a running theme on Degrassi. There’s a website called FARK.com where all they do is compile real news stories of people doing stupid shit. But the difference is those people tend to not be the brightest of bulbs to begin with. Fiona isn’t an idiot. Even if she was scared out of her mind, I’m not sure what would motivate her to approach a bunch of random thugs at night, then follow them into an alley with no concern for her immediate safety given what she had just been through (her approaching them I could maybe see, but the moment she agreed to go with them into the alley is when this plot went beyond the point of recovery). I’ve tried in the months since this episode aired to wrap my head around it, but I still can’t grasp the idea that anyone on Degrassi is stupid enough to do what Fiona did.
There’s also a lot of disappointment because Fiona’s storyline in Karma Police was really good in Part 1. Then out of nowhere the story goes sideways in Part 2, with the cherry on top being us getting slapped in the face with a cheesy, happy Fimogen ending as if the absurdity we’d witnessed minutes earlier was no big deal.
Degrassi’s Finest Bromance Busts A Common Fandom Perception
Mo and Jake’s bromance was an awesome part of Degrassi season 12. They provided us with lots of laughs and a chemistry that was fun to watch. Friendships on the show provide the chemistry we want to see in a “ship” without the constant threat of a breakup looming overhead.
There are always complaints about how Degrassi goes about giving storylines. “Why does ____ get another plot?” “Why don’t they ever give a plot to _____?” It’s not a difficult concept to understand that characters have varying roles on the show, but apparently it’s a difficult one to accept. Being in the opening credits doesn’t mean shit. Characters don’t “deserve” storylines. I’ll always be in Degrassi’s corner on this topic because the show simply can’t go around trying to give everyone equal time and equal development. But where this show has largely succeeded over the past several years is making sure to:
1) Find ways to incorporate secondary characters into the show more frequently, and
2) Use primary characters as secondary characters.
Remember back during the TNG days? If a character didn’t have a plot or wasn’t connected directly to the plot’s character they wouldn’t appear in the episode. Degrassi nowadays manages to have characters overlapping each other so they aren’t so separated from each other because of their social groups, and even have random characters interacting with each other even if only once or twice (ex: Cam/Bianca in Say It Ain’t So, and Cam/Alli in I Want It That Way).
Now back to Mo and Jake…how many major storylines did these two characters have, solo or together?
However, they somehow managed to become a well-liked addition to the Degrassi universe despite the biggest thing we knew about these guys were that Mo has diabetes and Jake sometimes has feelings and likes to smoke weed. They’re a prime example of how you don’t need to be a well-developed character and don’t need to receive big plots in order to be an important or relevant part of the show. How many plots a character receives means little…it’s all about how characters utilize the screen time they’re given. Mo and Jake managed to make the absolute best out of what little they had.