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.
This post is rockin’ pudding! I agree with everything you said, especially about Drianca. I think the reason they’re a little underrated with the fans is because Drew isn’t “emotional” and “misunderstood” (those type of male characters are the most popular with fangirls).
Season 12 is my definite favorite! It brings back a lot of good memories of last summer when I obsessed over the new episodes and hated when it was Friday because I had to wait three days for new episodes (spoiled lol). /:But yeah, Showdown was sooo good, especially with the addition of the hockey team and the Bakers! Great stuff, strong writing. I’m a little disappointed with the direction the show is going in season 13. It seems like a completely different tone than what the show has been doing lately. The thing that comes to mind when I see the promos is Season Eight, and correct me if I’m wrong, I’m pretty sure that’s the WORST season in TNG. I doubt Degrassi will get that bad again, though, so I’m probably just letting my doubts get the best of me. Season 12! Hell yeah.
Gah! You have the same name as I and we share the exact same opinion!! Who are you clone O_o
Katy, that was by far the most insightful comments you have posted in the history of your blog. You hit several points really well. Its hard to argue or disagree with you on any of them. I agree the writers dumb downed Fiona with that stupid attempted gun buy in the alley. Maybe they were trying to use that scenario as a cautionary tale for viewers. Like don’t leave the street and go into an alley when your friendly neighborhood drug dealer wants to sell you some harmless pot or something. …….I thought Spring Favor was by far the best Degrassi episode ever. I enjoyed the light romantic comedy of singer Keke Palmer with Sav. More importantly it highlighted Bianca and Drew coming of age. This showed off Alicia Josipovics acting chops. I know I’m in the minority but I prefer Fiona with Charlie instead of Imogene. (Although I like both pairings.)
Kary, sorry I botched your name by 1 letter in my post. :(
Personally, I thought that scene with Dallas and Ali was terrible acting, at least compared to real TV shows.
Completely agree with Fiona wanting the gun storyline. That part was ridiculous..
As for every character getting a storyline? Not every character needs to have 5 A-plots a season however, some people may like Jake better than Clare, Jenna, Eli, Imogen, Drew or whoever. So giving him ONE storyline throughout his few seasons of being on the show when he is liked much more than other characters who get TEN plots a season couldn’t hurt.
I’m curious, why do you think Dallas’ acting was terrible in that scene? Speaking for myself, it made me break into the tears. I heard the guilt and desperation in his yelling. Maya’s hyped-up “breakdown” was pretty good, but man…. Demetrius killed it (in my opinion)
Well I feel like everyone feels like this scene is very raw and emotional because it is showing how he is dealing with Cam’s suicide when you caused it in a small way and obviously could have prevented it. I feel since Dallas’ is acting out in rage and anger in this scene that people feel it is automatically amazing acting. I do love scenes that get serious like that however, if you actually pay close attention to the scene you and block out the fact that this is a suicide episode you realize that his acting here is very scripted and stiff. It comes off as wow Dallas’ is very angry but while he is angry he is reciting lines. Kind of like he is reading his lines while yelling in a monotone voice? You know what I mean? Also, the verbiage he uses is kind of weird. I know everyone has their opinions and most people will not agree with me and I shouldn’t say it was terrible though because it wasn’t terrible it just wasn’t very real and more ‘scripted’ than raw acting to me if that makes any sense.
I actually have to agree with Sarah. Not that it was “terrible” acting, but I did also notice the oddness of what he was screaming and how it sounded very unnatural. Don’t get me wrong, he played the anger VERY well, but I’m not sure he executed the dialogue effectively.
thank you @lll. I do take back saying it was terrible because I have seen worse acting on the show but his performance wasn’t anything great during that scene. People, including Kary disregard that actual acting due to what is going on in the scene. “Wow he’s screaming in rage and anger because he is upset, best preference ever!!!”, no not really, pay attention to the actual acting there. I know everyone has their own opinion but like lll said it was very unnatural and the dialogue wasn’t executed perfectly at all.
No I wasn’t disregarding the actual acting because I know exactly what you were talking about (*revised* he kept going back and forth in that scene, but nailed saying “You should’ve done something, you didn’t nothing” perfectly). I said it’s the best performances in “the history of Degrassi: TNG,” which we all know isn’t exactly elite acting anyway. And there’s more to his performance than that scene, I’m primarily talking about him on the rooftop. I just happened to use the clip of him in the hallway because it’s shorter. Best perfomance to me doesn’t solely mean perfect acting, it ultimately means getting me to feel something for once…something this show RARELY ever does.
“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:”
I strongly(but respectfully) disagree with this entire statement. Sure, you can’t divide screentime “equally”, in a literal mathematical sense. But the writers are full of SHIT. It IS possible to have an entire cast of important characters, even if some are more important than others. Seriously, fuck this show.
I’m confused as to what you’re actually disagreeing with. You said,
“It IS possible to have an entire cast of important characters, even if some are more important than others.”
I agree with that statement. If you read my statements on Mo/Jake further, my thoughts reflect that. In regards to Jake and Mo I say 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.”
It IS possible to have an entire cast of important characters, even if some are more important than others, and through the way they’ve used secondary characters like Jake, Mo and Adam they’ve proven that. The amount of plots a character receives doesn’t necessarily dictate the character’s value or importance.
Well, I meant they could have made Jake, Mo, Owen and Marisol MORE important than they are and given them at least ONE A-plot each. So, they could still be less superior than their Drew/Eli/Clare etc. counterparts WHILE having a bigger role on the show. Other shows have done this successfully. The writers suck, point blank period.
I think Nef possible means what I said above? Lets say you have a cast of 18 characters throughout two seasons. There may be 10-15 characters that have the spotlight throughout the course of the season and the other 3-5 characters are going to be more background/side characters. This makes the ’10-15′ characters more important characters than the ‘3-5’. By important meaning they play a role in the bigger storylines such has having cancer, having an addiction, dealing with bullying etc rather than having a girlfriend with an addiction or cancer. However, these side characters who have girlfriend dealing with addictions and are there for support (kinda like Jake I guess in this example) are less important but that shouldn’t mean they can’t have a few of their own storylines in the 2-3 seasons they are on the show. Yes, they are in the opening credits and in a lot of episodes but if the writers didn’t want them to have their own storylines at least once besides smoking weed then they should have made them a recurring character like Zig’s friend Damon. He tends to show up in only the episodes that Zig’s storyline is in as a supporting character but you don’t see him interacting with Eli or anyone else.
Sarah explained it perfectly.
…Except the likes of Jake and Mo are LEAGUES above Damon. They clearly cannot be classified in the same manner as him. Owen maybe. But not Jake and Mo.
In fact, I agree with everything Kary has said on the matter, but the one character who I feel they made a mistake with was Owen. There was no reason for him to be THAT nonexistent.
exactly though @lll thats what im saying. they auditioned and were casted for a role and are really liked by the audience. i personally liked jake and owen better than clare, jenna and several other characters. so why the writers couldn’t give owen and jake one storyline over the course of their 2-3 seasons is beyond me. same with adam. im not a big fan of adam pesonally but they have a transgender character on the show. yes he has had his own storylines but there is no reason to have a character like that and use them as a side character to eli who has had 30 storylines. but back to jake, mo and owen these characters are liked so much that fans would like to see them go through their own struggles. at least jake who was originally a new character, where owen and mo were kinda brought on randomly. but if the writers didn’t want them to have their own storylines then they serve the same purpose as Damon… i don’t believe that jake needs the same amount of storylines that clare and eli have had but to give him a few wouldn’t hurt. its not like the seasons are 20 episodes there are 40 episodes a season (yes part 1 &2) but still..
I like the use of Owen as an example for a support character that didn’t get much screen time. Personally, I enjoy Owen very much, and I think the writers dropped the ball a little with him. He was barley relavent in Season 12. I’m NOT saying he needed a storyline, he is a complete support character. But he barley even did that this season. Damon might have even had more appearances than him.
Hey Kary, I’ve been going through it in my head and I can’t think of all the major couples who’ve gotten married! Can you share the list to ease my thoughts lol
Simon & Alexa (Degrassi High), Spike & Snake, and of course Spinner & Emma lol
Simon and Alexa! I can’t believe I forgot them. I was going through it in my head, too, and I was going crazy trying to remember a fourth couple.
Season 12 was pretty great.. I loved Cam’s story line it played out very well.. Dylan did a incredible job.. As did Demetrius, Olivia and Munro.. 3 different views hit it on the nail..
Cristine in Never Ever still shocks me she also did one hell of a job.
I love Annie but I wasn’t feeling her that much in this season. The same goes for Aislinn.. I didn’t feel her in the most of this season like I did in season 11. Sorry guys The only story she did well on was Waterfalls part 2.. In the ladder in Sabotage & Scream she kind of turned in to old Eli. That was to far fetched for me.
As for Eli & Clare I love them individually but thats me. I can not ship Eclare for personal reason if I did I would sound like a complete hypocrite. The over obsessive fandom is not to blame or even bother me. All I do is block them or ignore their craziness. lol. BTW I stopped shipping them after Jesus ETC..
Jonner shocked me too but I do love them.. Im not even going to talk about that finale it actually irked me more about how naive Clare really is. And how Imogen’s personality scared the crap out of me. yes it was just as cheezy as ITCCN. I still love Mo & Jake.
“BTW I stopped shipping them after Jesus ETC.”
I loved their story in Jesus, ETC even though I had started getting burned out on them several episodes earlier in Love Lockdown and Umbrella. Eclare was fine for the most part in season 12, but they’re just not a couple that I have an emotional attachment to.
I loved Jesus ETC also, but that EP put me back in that place of me and my ex.. Thats why its personal to me. It took me along while to get over him. It scared me emotionally.
One thing I loved most about season 12 is how well they balanced couples and non-romantic issues. It’s high school so of course every season is going to have relationship drama of some kind but they picked couples this season that had chemistry, or even if they didn’t at least they weren’t annoying to watch. One of the reasons I rank season 11 a lot lower on my favorite seasons list is because of all the awful couples they focused a lot of screen time on in that season with the exception of Dave/Alli.
I can’t think of many storylines I wasn’t happy with except for the Vegas episode and I think Fiona’s gun episode could have been handled a bit better but it wasn’t a bad episode.
They tackled an issue (suicide) that’s been on my wishlist for a long time and they did an excellent job with it. *now crossing my fingers for a drunk driving or texting while driving story in the future*. Imogen’s episode was another stand out episode. I also loved the episode twists that occured that weren’t spoiled beforehand.
Season 12 is definitely one of my favorite seasons ever and easily my favorite season that doesn’t involve the first cast.
Kary great review! Which season has been in your opinion the worst one EVER?
I remember Kary saying it was Season 8 (the one with Mia’s modeling story line).
I honestly think that the writers/producers deserve a lot of credit for the direction that they took Degrassi in Season 12. In my own humble opinion, the reason that this season stood out was the fact that the new actors they brought on were largely superb in their skills and how they used their talents in the various situations their characters were placed in. The storylines that were created for them were not only realistic but emotionally intense as well as believable.
Whether it was watching Cam’s overall storyline unfold to its tragic ending, the evolution of Drianca into one of Degrassi’s power couples, or the writers utilizing the on-set chemistry of Mo (Jacob) and Jake (Justin) to hilarious effect, you have to give them credit for two things at the very least. First, the dialogue was markedly improved this season and it made it seem that the various characters’ speech were more natural and off the cuff as opposed to being forced on them by a written script. Secondly, their use of subtle actions in certain characters during specific scenes made the show seem that much more realistic. Two good examples of this would be:
1. When Cam pulled his bandaged hand away from Maya while they were watching film of his hockey game and she commented on how she assumed he had cut it during practice (showing he was hiding his problems from everyone due to shame, fear or something else).
2. When Drew was with Katie in the hospital and he was chiding Marisol lightly about how she liked Mo but wouldn’t take the step of asking him out due to him being overweight (showing her soft side, and how it clashed with her trying to always maintain her polished image of social perfection/elitism).
The new twists, such as Jonnor and Beckdam were also enjoyable. But besides the couples, I liked how the writers developed and followed through on the suicide storyline and how it affected multiple characters once Cam was gone. This was probably the most accurate and responsible way of portraying a teen suicide that I’ve ever seen on television.
And finally, my last point is this:
Almost every year Degrassi attempts to wrap up with an emotional finale that climaxes the events from the whole season into one neatly gift-wrapped conclusion. This time the event that sent shockwaves through the season was in mid-stream, and the ending (I mean Zombie 1/2 here) left various characters struggling to find themselves because of it and also giving the writers a large number of options with them going forward into Season 13. The season finale TTOML may have seemed cheesy or corny to a point, but the Mo/Jake plot was great to watch and I loved how Fimogen ended on a somber, ifheartfelt note. It was a breath of fresh, refreshing air compared to other more predictable season finales.
Thanks Kary for your thoughtful insight into this season. As usual, you’ve made many excellent points for us as fellow viewers in the Degrassi community to reflect on while we look back on possibly Degrassi’s best season in at least a couple years.
Keep up the good work man!
I agree with most of your thoughts about Degrassi Season 12. The only thing that I would disagree on would be Beckadam being one of the more enjoyable couples considering that their first relationship was rushed and the fact that they are more of a plot device, that is if Becky’s parents are brought back into the picture. Also, one must look at the most underrated aspect of Season 12: the comic relief scenes. Examples of these moments were Cam asking Bianca for sex in an awkward tone, Dallas trying to get with Clare while drunk, Drew’s “I had sex” video, Dave pulling a “Hey Liberty girlfriend” to get in character for Romeo & Jules, and practically every scene with Mo and Jake together. It’s moments like these that display the writing quality of Degrassi improving gradually.
Yep, the comic tidbits were always something to get a guy laughing until it hurts. They did a great job of that this year, and kept them on a fairly steady pace to make the show a good mix of drama and pure hilarious entertainment.
Dave getting “into character” for Romeo and Jules was freaking awesome to see. For me that was my personal favorite funny moment. Well, its a tie between that and Adam’s pickle dilemma. Actually, now that I think about it, Dave and Alli were the one couple I wished the writers would have kept together, but oh well. I guess they wanted to free her up for the potential with Dallas later on in Season 12 and possibly Season 13 as well. I totally admit that Beckdam’s situation is a bit predetermined in a way, considering Becky’s parents and background.
You’re right man, the writers have improved the dialogue which has also made the show more enjoyable to watch. Well said Matthew!
I’m in agreement with pretty much everyone that Season 12 is the best season Degrassi has had in a while. The story lines were compelling, and very few were lost to the abyss. The things that happened to each character helped shape them and change them instead of being forgotten about 2 episodes later.
It’s hard for me to pick my favorite parts of the season because I did enjoy it so much, but I’ll give it a shot:
First up is the niners. It’s been a long time since I’ve cared at all about the underclassmen at Degrassi, but this group came in strong and did not let up throughout the season, delivering some of the most interesting plots of the season. I’m upset that Alex Steele is gone because she was such a great part of the cast and I was looking forward to seeing her shine in a major plot of her own. I do hope that her departure has some effect in the show, even if it’s just a passing mention of how she went to blank (maybe the same private school as Stephanie Kay? :-)).
Mike Dallas. He became my favorite character this season very quickly. He was engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed spending so much of the season trying to figure out who he was exactly. I loved that he spent up until BSS as that guy who’s always around but no one (including us!) really knows who he is as a person. I’m so looking forward to what’s next for him as a dad. I also like that after he made the decision to focus on Rocky he ceased being around all the time.
Just like you said, Kary, Degrassi “going there” finally. Through all the rumors of a suicide plot, I was skeptical that Cam (or whoever it was going to be) would actually go through with it. But he did and the aftermath was dealt with beautifully. The twists throughout, even up until Clare’s cancer plot setup in TToML, made the season enjoyable and kept the 40 episodes from becoming stale.
Couples dealing with issues that weren’t relationship drama. We saw couples acting like actual couples this season. Like you said, instead of Eclare being all Eclarey, they dealt with problems happening in their lives outside each other. Even their breakup was about them not being in a good place together because of outside circumstances. Even Tori and Zig’s first big fight dealt with Zig’s financial situation.
There are tons of other great things about this season, but these were the standout aspects for me.
My biggest problems with this season were mostly just things I wish I would have seen more of:
Adam. He seemed to have a growing part in the show until he all but disappeared by the end. Looking at your Season 12 reviews, I’m realizing that it wasn’t really as long that he was absent as it seemed, but it still would have been nice to see him at school ever.
Going along with Adam, I would have loved to see Becky in reparative therapy. All we really got was one line about how she couldn’t feel wrong about liking Adam. I really wanted to see even just one instance where she’s in therapy juggling her feelings. For the record, I don’t ship Beckdam, but I do like their plot thus far. I disagree with those saying that they were rushed together or that her reaction in Builidng a Mystery doesn’t make sense. I think I went in depth on that episode review so I won’t get too into it again, but basically, Becky is just a very sheltered girl who doesn’t know how to deal with any relationship problems, let alone the huge ones her and Adam have to face.
Fiona lost me along the way somewhere. Annie is great but I just couldn’t be in Fiona’s corner this season. I still don’t understand how she was valedictorian. Weren’t her grades average, at best, and she repeated grade 12? It pains me a bit because Fiona was one of my favorite characters for a while, but I’m glad to see her go.
I think that season 13 will be strong if the writers and other creative people on the show continue with these trends. It looks like the summer block will be relationship heavy, but as long as the rest of the season focuses on other issues, we’ll have a great year ahead of us at Degrassi.
Ugh, this is why I rarely comment. I get started and then I can’t stop :-)
I completely agree with your point about the niners and the new characters. They’re all a talented bunch and they really made this season that much better than the past few. I’d argue that Dylan Everett’s performance in Rusty Cage was one of the best we’ve seen on Degrassi. Same goes with Demetrius Joyette’s performance in Bittersweet Symphony. Olivia Scriven’s breakdown in Zombie wasn’t as great but I think she’s still a worthwhile addition with the cast. Lyle is also a great comic relief character.
I think when you pair up the new cast with the older, better actors (i.e. Munro), you get really great results and that’s exactly what we saw with season 12.
It’s a shame we lost such great talent so fast though — Dylan (though his storyline and performance was 1000% worth the loss), Alex Steele, etc.
lol read my above comments on Demetrius’ acting.
Im glad they didnt show jake being a huge fuckup because of weed. Just a minor lazy person cause of weed :).
Not that I hate on the younger fans of the show (because I know that’s the show’s major fan base, as well as the characters on the show), but it’s so hard to be proud of the fact that I am a 26 year old Degrassi fan because of all the omgzzz eclare fans and whatnot. Thank you Kary for hitting the nail on the head. You have gotten every point across that I have been trying to make for the last few seasons. The main one being about Drianca. I have defended them since last season. Yes, Bianca was a bit of a whore when she was first introduced, and yes, Drew did cheat with her twice. But, they’ve been a couple this whole season with zero drama (once the thing with Katie blew over). Before TTOML aired, I constantly said they need to have a good prom this year, and they had such adorable moments and it was very well deserved. Anyway–I’m getting off track lol. I wanna thank you Kary for pretty much representing us “older” Degrassi fans. Not to sound all high and mighty, but I think we have a little bit better understanding of the way Degrassi (the show) works.
I want to 2nd what Amber said Kary. As I said before this is probably your best recap ever. I think watching Bianca over the past few years was watching the best work in progress Degrassi has ever done. (Well maybe tied with Fiona.) Biancas growth from smart ass slut to responsible young adult has seemed genuine and real. ……As an older viewer I do miss the days of showing Principle “Snake” Simpson at home with his family troubles. I also miss the Teacher/Principal Melissa DiMarco played, shes now doing “Out There.” Still these last 2 seasons have been the best and I can’t complain. I’m afraid theres nowhere to go but slightly down now. Thats ok. Even a mediocre Degrassi year is better than 99% of the nonesense on tv today.
Great Recap Kary! I have been watching Degrassi since season 2-7, and i picked up again at season 11, causee season 8 and 9 were awful. I do agree that season 12 has been the best season of this new cast because it wasn’t all about relationship drama.
I love fiona, but it really did feel like it was her time to go. Fiona being valedictorian makes absolutely no sense but i’ll let it go.
I like Eli as a character (he just reminds me of Craig, sorry for those who disagree) but eclare is overrated. Im not pissed or bothered about their relationship, I just dont really care. I see them using Clare as a way to keep Eli around. I’m not really happy about this because I feel like they should let Eli go while he is still likeable that way when he makes appearances its special (like a Craig) instead of him over staying his welcome (like Fiona).
The acting improved this season and I am going to give the credit to Dylan (Cam) and Demitrius(Dallas). Both actors have starred in two other TV series so they are more experienced. No offence, but the newer cast members arent exactly up to par with the old cast. Im not saying that anyone deserves an oscar but I just feel like with the old cast it came more natural. I could watch the old episodes and feel like I was in high school again. The newer cast comes across a bit dramatic and like they are trying to hard. Dylan and Demitrius brought that effortless quality back.
As for the amount of screentime. I do agree that Jake and Mo were fun to watch. Even though theis is a TV show the reality is, not everyone has a dramatic high school experience. Jake and Mo were a couple of guys hanging out. I do agree that most characters arent really used, and if thats the case just make the main cast smaller. Owen had potential, he was a decent actor, easy to look at, its such a shame that he was barely used. He was on the hockey team with Cam, the writers could’ve used him but didnt. Eli’s plot in Ray of Light was soo useless. To me, it was just another excuse to give him more screentime, it made no sense. Marisol could have been that HBIC, but they didnt use her either unless she was a crutch for Katie.
One problem that the show has had since its reboot that they DID NOT fix in season 12 is the friendships. Who are even friends in this show?? Mo and Jake gave me a little bit of guy bonding like we saw in the old episodes (Craig, Jimmy, Marco, and Spinner). But it still was not enough. Instead of establishing true friendships they randomly throw people together. Fiona and Imogen attending Drianca’s wedding (Fiona was Drew’s rommate get it BUT still not buying it). Eli being completely jealous of Jake one minute but hanging out with him the next. Clare and Alli (WHY????!!!??) These two have NOTHING in common. They’ve been on the show since season 8 and I still have yet to see the chemistry. The writers have tried to make them the next Emma and Manny (no one can replace the Emma and Manny friendship). The fact that they never support eaachother. Clare runs for president (Alli is nowhere to be found), Clare and Eli break up (Alli is nowhere to be found), Clare gets sexual harrassed (Alli does nothing but nodds her head), Alli breaks up with Dave (Clare is nowhere to be found), Alli is taking uppers (Clare has no idea), Clare finds out she has to go to the doctors (Alli gives the WORST pep talk ever which makes a serious scene one of the most arkward scenes of the season). Do not even get me started about Jenna…. What else does this girl do besides co-sign. She has a religious storyline yet does not go to Clare (the religious girl) for advice, yet the writers are trying to convince us that their friends?? For season 13 writers please work on friendships!! I wanna see some Emma Manny, Spinner Jimmy, Marco Ellie, Paige Ellie, JT Toby, Ashley Ellie!!
I definitely agree with you about the friendships on this show. The writers are trying to have everyone be friends with everyone, and it seems unrealistic. Even when characters are established as rivals or enemies (Fiona/Imogen vs. Katie/Marisol being among the most significant recent characters with issues with each other), they very quickly end up on good terms with each other without any explanation. When do these characters make up with each other and end up on friendly terms? In the show’s earlier days, sometimes rivalries were ignored after a while, but it’s not as though the characters involved in such rivalries ended up hanging out in mixed company without any sort of explanation as to why they were able to stand each other’s presence. At least I can’t think of any instances when this happened.
I get where you are coming from. Every time I see Clare, Alli, and Jenna on screen together I cringe. It’s seems like the writers just write their lines cheesy on purpose. I hated Alli and Jenna in TTOML. I’m excited for Clare’s cancer storyline, but it felt spoiled. They were throwing out the C-Bomb within like the first 15 minutes of the episode. And I try not to hate on Jenna, but the fact that she mentioned it, just made me roll my eyes. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that feels this way about that plot, but since these 3 will be around another season, I would like to see some improvement in just the actual dialogue.
I think my favorite one-off storyline this season was Imogen’s dad. I always like the stories that involve problems with parents. Ashley’s dad being gay, Ellie’s mom being an alchoholic and lots of stuff with Emma, Spike and Snake for example. It feels like most of the current kids don’t even have parents. Alli’s parents are awesome and should be used more! Promote them to main cast members (lol)! Have a story where Jenna’s dad comes back into her life! I don’t know!
Speaking of the adults, where the heck is Ms. Oh? After her Sav storyline in S11 which I really liked she pretty much fell off the map but I was hoping for something else for her to do. I doubt she’s coming back though.
“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 can’t say I agree with this. Sometimes it’s refreshing to see certain prominent characters take a backseat during an entire season. It’s especially infuriating when already prominent characters get storylines that could have gone to anyone else. For example, Clare’s cancer. That could have happened to anybody, but instead the writers chose to emulate a bad Nicholas Sparks novel and give it to Clare. Hell, they could have kept Wesley, who was surprisingly popular with the fans, and given him that storyline.
It also can come across as bad writing to ignore certain characters when they have tons of potential, especially since it comes across as playing favorites. It’s only natural that the writers have favorites, but using those characters at the expense of others with tons of potential is pretty unprofessional in an ensemble show. The biggest example of this is of course Liberty and to a lesser extent (only because he was no longer a regular) Toby after JT’s death (LOL, I know I rant about this a lot, but I will NEVER forgive the writers for this injustice, especially since they gave Maya and Eli their own two-parters while Liberty and Toby shared a single half-hour episode). There were SO MANY directions the writers could have gone, but because they play favorites, we got a bunch of stupid and useless storylines for their pet characters (tons of pointless Semma, Palex, and Janny episodes, Mia plots that would have worked better in Season 8 in lieu of the modeling thing, etc.) during the end of Season 6 and all of Season 7.
I’m guessing you have been grinding an axe about Jiberty for a while now LOL.
I completely agree, that particular production screw-up was probably one of the biggest injustices in the series’ history. That was the potential for a HUGELY important storyline in DNG’s last seasons (which were getting weaker by the year in my own humble opinion). The way those writers did that particular episode, and the ones immediately after it, truly made it seem as if JT was only a minor character that could be easily forgotten instead of the major one he WAS that a large section of the audience liked greatly.
The only defense of Degrassi I will make is that I’m assuming the writers that were working there back during those particular DNG seasons have left long ago. I only say this because I remember Ramona Brackert saying in her and Stefan Brogren’s hangout that she had started writing for Degrassi at the start of Season 10. I truly think that she is probably the best writer that the show has currently. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all the others are terrible, but she is just leagues ahead of them in the quality of her writings. I only say this because if you look at how different Karma Police 1 and 2 are, the first part started out great with good plots and dialogue that she wrote, only to end on a weak note in the second part primarily because another writer did Part 2.
It’s a shame that the writers that they have now weren’t working for the show back during Jiberty’s time, because I think they really could have knocked that post-death storyline out of the park for Liberty and Toby when you see what they were able to do with Maya, Zig, Dallas, and Eli following Cam’s suicide.
LOL, I have been grinding an axe about Jiberty (and JT/Toby) for a long time now, and the suicide storyline and the fact that Maya (who knew Cam for a semester) and Eli (who had no connection to him) got more screentime after Cam’s death than Liberty and Toby PUT TOGETHER after JT’s death only makes it more irritating.
The thing is, if Liberty and Toby weren’t the two characters most affected by JT’s death, I honestly think that they would have done a lot more. It’s the whole playing favorites/non-favorites thing. It’s been clear since the pregnancy storyline that the writers aren’t big Liberty fans and do I even need to mention what they did to Toby?
These new writers still play favorites. Just look at how they cater to EClare.
I don’t deny that the writers have their favorite actors/characters at all. Then again, I honestly think that most writers in various long running TV shows have their favorites as well.
I agree with you that perhaps if there had been different characters in Liberty and Toby’s places that they would have expanded on a post-death storyline FAR more than just one episode.
I guess with that said, I really didn’t have too much of a problem with the way Degrassi moved along with their suicide storyline when you keep two things in mind:
First, EClare has been basically the show’s main focus as far as couples are concerned for quite a bit now, followed by Drianca in a distant second. Drianca, however, hasn’t quite had the list of various storylines, twists, and plots that Eli and Clare have had. I wish they would have had more screen time to be honest, because I really liked watching Drew and Bianca evolve as characters and their connection blossom into a full fledged relationship. So to me it wasn’t terribly surprising that one of the post-suicide plots had to do with them. Love him or hate him, Eli finding Cam’s body and the fallout from that made Ray of Light and excellent episode and its lingering effects seemed more realistic in later episodes to me as a viewer. Sure they could have chosen another character to find the body, but having one of their main guys go through it was probably their way of trying to show the adverse effects that a traumatic event can have on someone, even if they weren’t close to the deceased person.
Second, Maya is going to be a mainstay in the Degrassi series until she graduates. That at least seems to be my safe assumption since they have invested so much air time on Olivia Scriven as opposed to the other freshmen. They spent a fair amount of time introducing her in Season 11 and threw her into the spotlight in Season 12. Stefan Brogren even said during one of the hangouts that while suicide was an incredibly important teen topic that had wanted to cover for a long time, this was also meant to develop and grow Maya’s character for the future. With that being said, it didn’t matter to them that Maya only knew Cam for roughly a semester. It was her first love, and her reaction was another way of conveying to the audience the direct after effects of a suicide, except she had gotten to know Cam somewhat closely whereas Eli had no previous connection.
Yep, I just can’t stop talking LOL, but I understand your frustration at how one colossal event on the show can be mishandled so badly with no effort on the producers’/writers’ parts while another one has much of their energy focused on it.
I love this discussion! I’ve also done my fair share of griping, especially since JT was my (along with everyone else) favorite character. Keith, I totally agree with you (except for wanting more Drianca screentime, but that’s just a personal preference, not a commentary on their merits as a couple).
“With that being said, it didn’t matter to them that Maya only knew Cam for roughly a semester. It was her first love”
Well, he was her first boyfriend, but I don’t know if I’d call it love.
I can already tell that Maya is a favorite of the writers, since she’s being groomed to be the next Emma/Clare (hopefully Maya won’t end up completely unlikeable like those two, though!). I do think that if say, Jenna was Cam’s girlfriend, she wouldn’t have gotten much screentime either. The writers don’t seem to be big Jenna fans.
I would love to ask the writers if their personal character favorites determine who gets storylines. I have a feeling that they would just dance around the question though, LOL.
Thanks! I’m glad there’s a place where viewers can discuss the actual details and production aspects of the show as well as the characters/actors. I usually end up liking one or two couples per season specifically since characters rotate in and out of the cast so often.
I liked Drianca, although to be completely honest my first choice would have been Dave and Alli. I also liked watching Camaya simply because it was refreshing watching two socially awkward and shy kids try to navigate their way through the social circus of modern-day high school.
Sorry about any confusion, I had meant to type love interest instead of first love. Yes, that was a bit over the top on my part. I just meant how teens nowadays put their first boyfriend/girlfriend in perspective about things in their social lives.
I totally agree with you about Jenna. One of the things that makes me excited for Season 13 is to see where the writers take Jonnor if they keep them together. Connor is another character that has seen little use over the years unfortunately. I always thought his plots were usually very good, and it was nice to see him getting more screen time in Season 12. I honestly don’t know what to predict they will do with Maya since she has so much time left on the show. I’m guessing that she will see plenty of twists and major plots/storylines left.
As for the writers’ favorites, they might actually be more open about that than a person would think. In her hangout along with Stefan Brogren, Ramona Brackert made a point about her favorite couple being Drianca. That to me explained quite a bit for me because I had the same thought that you did on that subject. What sealed it for me was Stefan as a director/producer saying that he shipped EClare. When they both mentioned that, it kind of hit me that no matter what storyline we were going to see out of 12C for the rest of the school year, EClare would remain together and in the end be front and center for the cameras.
Wow, this has been quite an interesting discussion! I’ve really enjoyed this! Honestly, the production and writing parts of each season have always intrigued me. That’s why I paid close attention while watching the hangouts to kind of get a loose grasp on what goes on off camera between seasons and between parts A,B, and C of each individual season.