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Do you believe Degrassi has jumped the shark? If so name a moment or moments?  For me it was the demise of spinner and jane, and the marriage of the last standing single original dtng characters, spemma. – Mike

Let me preface this by saying that just because Degrassi has jumped the shark at times, it doesn’t mean everything beyond that moment is awful or nonsensical.  The show goes through phases where they’ll be on point, then they’ll suddenly hit a brick wall and vice versa.  Some examples of this:

*The first third of season 7 starting off the year with two strong two-parters (Standing in the Dark, Death or Glory), but then the season was hit or miss after that except for anything involving Darcy’s rape storyline.

*Season 8: a presumed rebuilding year with terrible ratings on CTV.  We saw an uptick in quality in season 9, but Degrassi regained its footing when it refreshed the franchise in season 10.

*Season 12: a pretty damn solid season from beginning to end.  But then our expectations of the show continuing its hot streak crashed and burned with the hot mess that was 13A.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt like they got back on track in 13C & D.  14A naturally carried over the momentum from 13D, and 14B will probably have the same carryover feel as this is the longest school year ever.  The next real test for Degrassi is season 15, when the current seniors have graduated and the show has its biggest “reset” since season 10.

Now as far as actual jump the shark moments….

SPEMMA

Spemma

This one is obvious.  There’s no need to go into detail.  We know it’s ridiculous…Degrassi knows it’s ridiculous.  Stefan loves it anyway.

Jay & Silent Bob

The N#00841

I like Kevin Smith.  There are parts of that season 4 storyline that were fun to watch and he and Jason Mewes delivered fine performances.  Kevin Smith is a hardcore Degrassi fan, so he’s one of us.  But at the same time it felt like the show decided to write an arc around a celebrity who loves the show and include the characters in it as opposed to writing for the characters and then incorporate the celebrity.

I’m not opposed to celebrity appearances on Degrassi.  Last year Lena Dunhum gushed about how much she loves Degrassi, and it’d be cool to see her on the show if done right.  I just want their appearances to make sense and for it to not seem like they’re on the show just to say there’s celebrity on the show.  The Degrassi Goes Hollywood cameos made sense.  Chaz Bono made sense (and even Lauren Toyota in that episode because they were part of celeb judge panel).  Keke Palmer’s character could’ve been played by any generic actress in what turned out to be the first of a couple shitty season 11 relationships for Sav because they ran out of things for him to do.

Fiona Going Into An Alley to Buy A Gun In Karma Police Part 2

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This may or may not qualify as jumping the shark, but for me it’s one of the most memorable moments of Degrassi…in the worst way possible. Every day I read stories about people and criminals who do the dumbest things, and I sit there wondering how it’s possible that these people can be so stupid.  But even with that said, there’s no way you’re convincing me that a normal person is just walking into a random alley by themselves AT NIGHT with a bunch of sketchy-looking guys they saw on the street and approached to purchase a gun, especially a female in this day and age.  Fiona literally got out of a cab, looked around, spotted a couple of thugs standing around on the street and apparently thought, “Hey these guys look like they might have guns!” before going into an alley with them without hesitation.  Not even Drew’s dumb ass would do something like this!

As much as I love Degrassi, stupid is the only word to describe this scene.  At least with Spemma there’s an understanding that Stefan and company were like “YOLO” since Spinner and Emma were on the way out.  But this Fiona moment makes my head hurt, and it’s one of those things where something far worse could’ve (and probably should’ve) happened to her in that alley; all Fiona wound up with is a bruised face and ego.  Yes, this show is based on characters making stupid choices.  If you’re looking at her character’s big picture, this story played on Fiona’s huge fear of being alone.  But that specific scene had Fiona jumping from desperation to nonsense, and it ruined what was a fantastic storyline up until that point.

Mia The Model In Season 8

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Mia Jones was one of the most frustrating characters in the history of Degrassi.  I can get on board with the concept that Mia was an irresponsible mother who was more concerned with wanting to be “a normal teenager” than being a parent.  But then in season 8, Degrassi completely lost its mind and decided she should fuck “Tom Brady” in order to advance her budding modeling career, before eventually leaving Degrassi to become a full-time model in Paris.

At times I’m not even sure why characters on Degrassi have kids.  I understand that they want to present the various angles of teen pregnancy and being a teen parent.  But then I also think about Spike back during Degrassi Junior High; Emma was her universe and wasn’t swept aside for the sake of freeing up her character to do frivolous things.  That’s the perception of what’s happened with characters and children in the TNG universe (excluding AWH).  Pregnancy happens to certain secondary characters (Liberty, Jenna), they become important for a while, give their baby up for adoption and then quietly slide back into their supporting roles.

If Mia was destined to be a crappy mom that’s okay, just focus on showing her be a crappy parent.  Intentional or not, a Bella (Mia) and Rocky (Dallas) of the current Degrassi universe feel like they’re brought in when it’s convenient, but are quickly sent back to the Degrassi black hole so their parents can do things like become a model or chase after the girl of their dreams for multiple seasons.  At least with Dallas there’s been small moments of continuity to remind us that Dallas is a father with a rocky relationship with his kid, no pun intended.  But the existence of Bella felt like it was just as big of a burden for the show to deal with as it was for Mia, hence the sudden act of Mia’s mom offering to take care of Bella starting in Uptown Girl.

**********

What aspect of 14A surprised you most? – Rakath

I’ve beat up on Degrassi enough for one day, so here’s some good news.  This might not be the answer anyone was expecting, but what surprised me the most in 14A is how strong the individual 30-minute episodes were on their own.

When Degrassi rebooted in season 10, it meant they also rebooted the way they’re telling the stories.  We know all of the episodes became two-parters, and episodes were filmed in blocks of four.  The two-parter system worked well during the summer telenovelas because you’re only waiting 24 hours to watch the next episode.  However, when the fall and spring blocks came around, the week-long break in between 30-minute episodes felt massive, especially in between Part 1 and Part 2 episodes.  For me a lot of the Part 1 episodes left you hanging at the end.  There was an issue with Part 1 episodes not really providing much suspense or making me excited to see what happens a week later in Part 2.

In season 13, individual 30-minute episodes might’ve all had their own episode titles, but that 2-parter system still existed. In season 14, however, we see yet another format change:  you’ve got the major storylines established for the entire block, and then they’re broken up and weaved in and out episodes and the A/B/C plot rotations (1401 Miles is the C plot, then becomes the A plot in 1402. And while he’s around and we see his behavior affecting others in 1403-1407, he doesn’t have another plot from his POV until 1408).  We also saw some of the storylines from the perspective of multiple characters (We see Clare’s pregnancy from her POV as well as Drew’s.  Miles’ behavior opened up the door for us to see the POV of Maya, Tristan and Winston.  Degrassi Nudes was seen through both Frankie and Zoe’s POV.).

I’m not really sure how to explain it, but the best way I can is by saying the 30-minute episodes in 14A felt more even week to week, and managed to be fulfilling on their own without needing the next part of an episode for a climax or clarification.

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Posted by Kary

9 Comments

  1. Kevin Smith also broke up Joey and Caitlin >_<

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  2. S14 is pretty good except for the same old song and dance with Eclare… They should have let these two go after S13. TBH i was really enjoying Clare & Drew, Luke & Aislinn have so much chemistry on screen its wonderful. Also it seems Munro & Aislinn lost it after s12. But am enjoying the dynamics of how all the stories with Miles, Zoe, Clare and Drew effect their relationships with their friends and family. And it sad that 2 people have not changed that much and thats ashame that would be Imogen & Eli. It wouldn’r surprise me if those two hooked up again before S14 ends. Don’t get me wrong I do love the characters and actors.

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    1. 1st off Eli & Imogen hooking up now? Oh kail no! I do know Jack has a fight. Zoe is like a virus. She infects people. She joined the squad for the wrong reason. If you dont want to be treated like a victim join a support group.

      1. She sexually assaulted 12 girls! (By making them take pics). Fraud (for the Frankie site saying she forced the girls & took the $) & for making an illegal business in school. Not to mention the big ass child porn charge. They have thousands of pics. I bet she gets an adult sentence (more than

      8 years). Anyone who forces girls let alone has that many victims is dangerous. Good thing she feels bad.

      2. She feels bad. Looks like words got to her. I want to see her with no squad and sad. She should get her stuff before the finale. She fucked up her school year. Its amazing how bad she scared the girls. & shook down Hunter.

      Frankie doesn’t know what happened to him.

      3. Arlene is the REAL blackmailer. Yes. She trained Winston to work for her. That’s how the DN shit made the news. Bet ya didn’t know that. I hope she doesn’t get revealed.

      4. Stop acting all nice to Zoe! Yeah she was assaulted big whoop! After what she did in 14A I lost all respect for her. She deserves what’s coming to her. She’s not a slut but she’s worse. She hurt those girls. You can’t respect or love someone who assaults 12 girls.

      5. Frack it I’m going to bed..

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      1. Why are you upset at Peanut and he/she didn’t even mention about Zoe sexually assaulting 12 people. And why are you bring things up that was not even mentioned on what this person said? They’re just stating a simple opinion on how the stories worked together. ??????????

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  3. Part of the issue with teens with kids is acting schedules and how long they can shoot with the kid in any given duration due to rules. This isn’t to say this is insurmountable, it is just inconvenient. They could easily write in Dallas or Drew mentioning Rocky, or mentioning Dallas spending time with Rocky, but they don’t because Dallas has fallen pretty behind in character use.

    The only time they brought up Dallas as a dad covertly in a fairly strong way was him putting Drew in his place when Drew said ‘he was off the hook’ with Clare and the baby. Which if they did more of that (like more Maya referencing Cam without referencing Cam) that’d be fantastic.

    Also most Jump the Shark moments could probably be spared if they were better lead into. Fiona going to buy a gun didn’t make any sense because there wasn’t any build to it. Mia becoming a model was just lazy writing to escape dealing with her kid. While the Spemma scenes before they got married were strong (but few, very few, I think there were two of them), there weren’t enough of them or enough romantic overtones to put it on the map as a ship.

    As for the S14 style of eps vs past seasons, they had a few eps where a single plot would shift hands mid-way through. Almost exclusively between romantic paramours/former romantic paramours (S12 started with one, as 1203 had a Katie plot, and 1204 shifted to a Drew plot). There were a few incidents of Clare and Eli splitting who was the POV character. But they have stepped the writing consistency on those way up in S14, and we see them all the time which is a much better use of the episode time.

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  4. Kary, I thought you said way back in your Degrassi Takes Manhattan review that you thought the setup of Spemma was pretty good?

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  5. Good points. The only info that interests me is

    1. Did Zoe confess? – her face looked pretty convincing when she was with the 5O. But did she chicken out? The girls saw her do it. But if she didn’t she needs to ASAP cus Frankie’s name is in time sensitive danger.

    2. What’s with the Ziles stuff? She needs to stop getting mad @ people. I’m not watching the webisode cus there’s only a few things that I care about. I saw a pic of her through video chat? Where is she. & if the time is correct from the 1st webisode then… What happened to her from the time she

    Went to the police till after they saw her? If I’m correct that’s Tuesday when he won so between Saturday afternoon & whatever day it is now that’s at least 3 & 1/2 days! I dont give a shit if she likes either of them. The last time she saw Miles she was mad at him for the gay thing in the paper. I am

    OK with a Zig kiss. But she dont deserve any happy endings.

    3. Whose in charge of the girls? Is Becky back until she graduates or do they need another member? We know Frankie won’t want to be in it anymore. But as long as Zoe ain’t in it that’s great!

    4. Is Frankie OK? The last time we saw her was her dad thinking she was the “1”. She is in grave danger! It won’t take 8 episodes for the 5O or Sim to get her. & I dont want to see her hurt. Her & the girls are nice people.

    5. Will Zoe be expelled? I hope so. Cus this DN shit was designed to. She feels bad now. & when Frankie said “your hurting the girls” she looked sad. Its the last month for them until the fall. I dont think she will be a student. Once Sim finds out its OVA! She is worried about the press well 2 Damn Bad!

    Who knew the rape victim turned into a criminal. She assaulted 12 girls. That’s some messed up shit.

    She is the best villain ever. But if there’s any hopes/dreams she had soon their gone. I want her expelled by the finale.

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  6. Triles was the worst they just pushed it in like hey he is into guys now, also Miles turned into a bigger jerk(which seemed relatively impossible) and I wish they would have had Miles die or go into a coma when he burned down the school.

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