Today, I wanted to talk about some of the issues I find with shows like Degrassi: Next Class. Enjoy!
The third season of Degrassi: Next Class has recently been added to Netflix. I’ve been watching this show for a while now and finished this entire season in a few days. I really enjoyed the first season that I just casually happened to stumble by. This lead me to a binge-watch session. So, when I heard the third season was finally out, I was obviously excited. However, there are some issues I want to point especially with this new season.
The Netflix Original show is based on a group of high school teenagers just trying to cope with school and the personal issues in their life. As usual, each character has their own set of problems they are battling. Some issues covered in this series include sexuality, homosexuality, feminism, racism, religious freedom, gun violence, depression, and abortion among others, of course.
I very much enjoy watching series that center around societal issues. I like the fact that tv shows can talk about issues that are happening in today’s society. They appeal to me as they seem to be more ‘realistic.’ These types of shows do a good job of letting people know that there are some serious issues in our society that we all need to be aware of. They go beyond social norms of ‘comedy shows’ and portray some possible real life events. That being said, I do find some issues with shows like Degrassi.
- They not as realistic as it seems. Yes, I know that television shows aren’t meant to be realistic. They are simply for entertainment. However, if you are going to talk about realistic issues in society, then you better have some realistic aspects. While I do believe that many teenagers face these issues, none of them are to this extent. TV shows like Degrassi make it seem like all teenagers are having lots of sex, drinking, doing drugs, etc. I don’t know about you guys, but I never engaged in these behaviors.
- Everything is always resolved. I’m not going to lie, I love happy endings. This is why I love Disney; no matter what happens, everything gets resolved and everyone is happy. While this is great, in real life, these issues don’t always have a happy ending. I’ve never seen a show or a movie about these types of issues where the suicide attempt actually ends up in death or an abortion actually ends up in injury. I understand that no one wants this to happen and that for the sake of the show, they all have to ‘magically’ get better immediately. This leads me to my biggest critique.
- The problem is never fully explained. I understand that due to a 30-minute time constraint, important issues need to happen and be resolved in a blink of an eye. However, this sets a very unrealistic portrayal of major issues. One does not have severe depression in one episode then is ‘cured’ by the next. It simply does not happen. There is so much more that happens in between and we never see this development. In one episode, one of the characters of the show finds out she’s pregnant. In the same day, she gets a 5-minute abortion, goes back to school, and is all cheery and happy again. This simply does not happen. It reinforces the stereotype that women who get abortions don’t think about this at all and are all ‘cheery’ as soon after it’s all over. Obviously, it’s not like this. This ‘theory’ does a lot more harm than good. It makes many issues seem like they are not serious, which is totally incorrect.
Like I’ve mentioned before, I love the fact that these shows are talking about important issues in our society because they affect so many people, but I do think script writers need to change a few things. If they weren’t so focused on involving too many characters to ‘complicate’ things to make the show more interesting, I believe we would see more development of these important problems. I would love to see a show with a few characters but that really go in-depth with their problems. Yes, the drama is important as well as the happy ending, but I also think these shows have great potential for social awareness and should have a lot more going for them.
On a side note: This third season wasn’t what I was expecting. I was expecting a lot more. I was a bit disappointed.
What do you think of shows like Degrassi? Do you think they do a good job of bringing social awareness to certain issues? Or do they end up doing more harm than good? Let me know what you think down below!