Kary hi, so idk if you’ve answered this already but how do you feel about the way Eclare ended?
The short answer is I’m fine with it. Actually, having all three senior ships leave the show felt more natural than the usual protocol of having everyone conveniently break up before leaving the show. But when it comes to Eclare, things are never just about this couple; Eclare is a phenomenon with a profound effect on the Degrassi fandom.
Ultimately, fandom is all about strong reactions (excitement, outrage). For five years Eclare has caused the most-extreme fandom reaction of nearly anything to have ever happened in the franchise’s 35-year history, this coming from every corner of the Degrassi fandom. Five years of this!
Fandom behavior has skewed perception of this ship so incredibly hard and for so long that it’s impossible to have any grasp of reality when it comes to Eclare. There’s often a difference in “fandom reality,” which also includes reaction to marketing and promos fans know damn well are misleading but fall for anyway, and the reality of what’s actually happening within the 22-minute episodes. This is partly because by default, an exorbitant amount of time is spent in fandom (in our own heads, reading and reacting to other fans’ opinions) as opposed to the amount of time watching the episodes. An example of this would be fandom overblowing Eclare’s existence on the show in certain seasons (s12), or acting like Eli is king of Degrassi, when in reality Drew Torres has been the most-dominant male character on the show since season 11.
And the thing, Degrassi knows this. One of the writers’ goals is to evoke strong emotions from its viewers, and Eclare made that incredibly easy. If you’re reading this, you fell into the trap at some point; some more than others. I did back when “Eclare vs. Cake” was all the rage. At the heart of it all, hardcore shippers and anti-shippers are no different from each other because they’re all obsessing over the same ship. You could say Eclare is a guide of how to have and maintain an emotional stranglehold on an entire fandom, and they’re the biggest example of why Degrassi focuses so much on relationships despite the fandom complaining about this tendency for years. Look at what “Tenner Roulette” did to the fandom during 14B…take a stroll over to tumblr during those two weeks and at times you would’ve thought nothing else was happening on the show. If you can get people to be consistently passionate about either side and remain caught up in the neverending loop of defending their position it’s a victory, and it just so happens that ships always have and always will be the easiest way to get fans of this show worked up.
When it comes to Eclare there was no running off to New York, or getting married or having a baby and riding off into the sunset on a unicorn. There was no Clare telling Eli to go screw himself, then her going off to eventually work at a prestigious publication in NYC. There was no Clare running into Wesley’s Betenkamp’s arms and telling him that she couldn’t see it while she was biting him on the neck or he was touching her boobs, but she now realizes he was the one all along. It’s so interesting if you look at the history of the nonstop back and forth between Eclare shippers and anti-shippers that the show chose what is essentially as “neutral” of an ending as possible.
Just so we’re clear, Eclare was endgame. All a couple has to do to be considered “endgame” is leave the show still together, and Eclare was definitely still together at the end of Finally. Their immediate future is more clear to me, but Finally presented the kind of ending that would allow either side of the Eclare debate to create whatever future they want for this controversial couple. If you’re an Eclare fan, you’re hopeful that they’ll find their way back to each other. If you’re an Eclare hater, you can believe that a year from now, based on past history, this couple wasn’t able to make it through.
I feel like it’s our job as producers to present all sides of the argument. Then the audience can make their own decisions. Ultimately that’s what kids need growing up: the tools to make their own decisions without being be told what to do. – Linda Schuyler
What are your thoughts on Winston? He’s not very popular amongst the fandom right now.
This is kind of hard to answer for me because it wasn’t like I totally loved him before 14B or before all of the Andre drama. I didn’t dislike Winston, but it became pretty clear he’s the kind of character who could get blackholed without a second thought. The characters he’s been surrounded by most, Miles and Frankie, are so much bigger than him. The show even acknowledged Winston’s lack of a “role” as a way to thrust him into the awkward cheating plot.
Looking back I don’t view Winston as some master manipulator who preyed on Lola and bullied her into keeping quiet. He might be “cunning” enough to do such things anonymously, but not as himself. With Lola he’s behaving like any kid begging their sibling not to tell on them so they won’t get in trouble. And to me this whole thing comes off as a “character made a mistake and everything happened so fast that suddenly no one remembers who kissed who” story that falls flat. I’m not buying the “innocent mistake” vibe from the mixed messages Winston and Lola are sending (both claiming they don’t remember who kissed who when specifically telling someone else about it) when it seems pretty clear they both know what happened while talking to each other. Because Lola’s memory being “hazy” happened in Walking In My Shoes, the same episode where we learn she’s actually smart in the classroom, this could play into the interesting theory that Lola is someone who actually plays dumb on purpose.
But for Winston, who once claimed girls are his kryptonite, he’s just another dumb boy on Degrassi who also has a history of subtle, yet jerky behavior toward females. You know, I agree with Winston in Don’t Look Back about emotional cheating hurting worse than physical cheating. But it still doesn’t change the fact that him dumping Frankie the way he did comes across as a dick move, especially after all he went through to get her back and, more importantly, all Frankie went through to forgive him for the pain he caused her.
I don’t know what the future holds for Winston. I’ve referred to certain plots involving him with words like “falls flat” and “filler” without having fully admitted that I don’t think Winston’s all that interesting of a character. It’s also enhanced by the fact the characters in his social group have skyrocketed and are now a cornerstone of Degrassi’s future. Without Frankie his primary connection is Miles, and Degrassi viewers should know by now social connections are vital to a character’s existence on this show. Floaters will float off into the Degrassi abyss, and it’ll be as if we never knew them at all. One thing do I know is I’ll be sitting here waiting for a certain storyline to be tackled in this opening season of Next Class.