Seeing how we just got the exciting news that the Netflix original, Degrassi: Next Class, was going to feature a reunion with original Degrassi: The Next Generation cast members on July 22nd, I figured what better way to celebrate than to look back at this amazing show! If you've never watched Degrassi, it might be time for you to start.
This Canadian teen show ran from 2001–2010 under the name Degrassi: The Next Generation and it ranked highly among shows such as Freaks and Geeks and My So-Called Life. Degrassi brought us some heavy themes such as peer pressure, teen pregnancy, self-harm, infidelity, homosexuality, and domestic violence. In other words, it was pretty realistic.
With this article, we'll focus on the 23 most powerful and most memorable moments from Degrassi: The Next Generation. Seeing how there are so many, I decided to trim the list down and focus on the characters that we are so excited to see come back. With that said, this article only features events from Seasons 1–7.
Disclaimer: This article does contain spoilers for 'Degrassi: The Next Generation.'
23. Emma And Sean's First Date
Episode: #111, "Friday Night"
Who could forget their adorably awkward date? After all, Emma thinks she loses her wallet, gets ketchup all over her face, gets pooped on by a bird, and is forced to pose for two awkward pictures. But no matter what happened, Sean was still interested.
22. When Ashley Made You Want To Join A Girl Band
Episode: #318, "Rock and Roll High School"
Who didn't want to be part of a band after watching Hell Hath No Fury? In the midst of Craig and Ashley's breakup, she decides to compete against Downtown Sasquatch in the battle of the bands. The obvious burn to Craig was definitely enough to make us applaud Ashley forever.
21. When Hazel Tried To Hide The Fact She Was Muslim
Episode: #211, "Don't Believe the Hype"
After insulting a Muslim student named Fareeza, Hazel is accused of a hate crime when her display is vandalized. Little did everyone know, Hazel was a Muslim, but pretended to be Jamaican because she was ashamed of her religion.
20. When Manny Decided To Take Fashion To the Next Level
Episode: #303, "U Got the Look"
Despite receiving criticism from Emma and Liberty for wanting to be "hot," Manny continues to push her fashion to the next step including wearing crop tops, low-rise pants, and a visible thong. When Mr. Raditch cites her for a dress code violation, Manny decides to stop wearing underwear.
19. Spinner Cheats On Darcy
Episodes: #518–519, "High Fidelity"
Spinner and Paige briefly rekindle after Darcy found out Spinner lied to her about being a virgin and dumped him. She takes him back, but he continues on with Paige. It's one thing to make out with your ex after being dumped. It's another thing to have sex with your ex after your girlfriend takes you back.
18. That Time J.T. Used A Penis Pump
Episode: #404, "Mercy Street"
Manny finally gives J.T. a chance in Season 3 and their relationship continued into 10th grade. However, J.T. allows his self-proclaimed inadequacy to Craig get in the way and he obtains a penis pump to impress Manny. Unfortunately, Manny perceives J.T.'s stunt as immature and breaks up with him.
17. Craig Goes Crazy
Episodes: #411–412, "Voices Carry"
Craig's erratic obsession with making things up to Ashley escalates into stealing Joey's credit card and asking Ashley to marry him. Ashley says yes and Craig goes more haywire as he crashes Mr. Kerwin's wedding and fights with both Ashley and her stepfather. Craig's solution? Go home and fight Joey with Angela and Caitlin watching. Craig was ultimately diagnosed as bipolar.
16. When Emma Contracted Gonorrhea
Episodes: #414–415, "Secret"
After landing a lead role in the school's production of Dracula, Emma is coaxed into the ravine by Jay where she discovers he wants her for his "blowjob game." He gives Emma a bracelet for free, but her second bracelet was definitely earned. Emma's secret is revealed after it comes out that Jay was infecting girls with Gonorrhea.
15. When Jay And Silent Bob Went Canadian, Eh
Episodes: #421–422, "Goin' Down the Road"
Kevin Smith is admittedly a huge Degrassi fan and he showed it by guest starring as himself, along with cameos from Jason Mewes and Alanis Morissette. Smith brought his iconic "mallrat" characters to Degrassi by not only hiring Degrassi students for his movie, but he connects with Caitlin and encourages her to follow her dreams.
14. Spinner Gets A Boner In Class
Episode: #205, "Weird Science"
While participating in Emma's science project, Spinner is convinced that his sudden onslaught of boners is due to the health food he's been eating. However, he starts thinking that it's a good thing as girls start paying more attention to him. Jimmy gets jealous and gets revenge on Spinner by volunteering him for improv. Embarrassingly for Spinner, he pops a boner in front of the entire class.
13. When Craig Was Addicted To Drugs
Episodes: #609–610, "What's It Feel Like to Be a Ghost?"
Craig briefly returns to Toronto and Manny and the rest of his friends quickly find out how he's changed, including heavy drug use. When Manny breaks up with him over his addiction, Ellie steps in to try and help Craig, only to have her emotions exploited in an attempt to shut her up. Craig is ultimately sent to rehab in Calgary.
12. Sean And Ellie Connect On The Roof
Episode: #316, "Take On Me"
Sean's bad boy image is compromised when he and Ellie find out that they are not intimidated by each other. Even after it's unveiled that she got detention on purpose for her internship at CQGH, Sean continues to gravitate towards her and likes that Ellie accepts him for who he is. They were definitely our mid-2000s relationship goals.
11. Marco Comes Out As Gay
Episodes: #304–305, "Pride"
"Pride" showed the consequences of homophobia as Spinner ostracizes Marco and he is ultimately attacked by a homophobic group of men. Spinner eventually accepts Marco's sexuality, but that doesn't excuse his hatred. The plus side is how Marco was able to accept himself and shine in the face of adversity. It's a great lesson for all of us, gay or straight.
10. Craig Cheats On Ashley
Episode: #307, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?"
Basically, Craig wanted into Ashley's pants and he wanted it bad. In the aftermath of a song Craig writes for Ashley, she tells him that she's ready to take that next step. After Craig blabs to Spinner, the couple get into a huge fight, which Manny then takes complete advantage of and Craig winds up cheating on Ashley with Manny in his garage. Their affair continues until "Holiday," when Ashley figures out what Craig has been up to and breaks up with him.
9. Ashley Takes Ecstasy
Episode: #115, "Jagged Little Pill"
Ashley was the epitome of good girl, but that all changed when she decided to take ecstasy at a house party. The pill was originally intended to be split between J.T. and Toby, but Sean tricks them with a placebo and leaves the pill with Ashley. The chance Ashley took with taking the drugs resulted in her cheating on Jimmy, insulting Paige, trashing her house, and losing all of her friends in the process.
8. Jimmy Finds Out The Truth
Episode: #416, "Eye of the Tiger"
Jimmy being shot was a major plot twist that no one saw coming. What made matters worse is it would have never happened if it wasn't for Spinner. When Jimmy returns to school, Spinner's guilt takes over and he confesses that he and Jay told Rick that the prank was Jimmy's idea. Spinner loses all of his friends and is ultimately expelled from Degrassi.
7. When Emma Became Anorexic
Episodes: #515–516, "Our Lips Are Sealed"
In the wake of Snake's infidelity, Emma's life begins to spin out of control again. Grasping onto what she can control, she and Manny become bulimic to lose weight. While Manny quickly bounces back from their extreme diet, Emma stops eating altogether. After Emma has a panic attack during an intervention, she is hospitalized for anorexia.
6. Craig's Secret Home Life
Episodes: #201–202, "When Doves Cry"
Craig comes into Degrassi as mysterious as could be, but the unraveling of his home life is heartbreaking as we learn that his dad is physically abusive. Things come to a halt when Craig runs away and attempts suicide. Emma and Sean go to Craig's stepdad, Joey, for help and Craig decides to live full-time with Joey. Things still didn't end on a high note for Craig as his dad dies in a car accident in the Season 2 finale.
5. When Paige And Darcy Were Raped
Episodes: #207–208, "Shout"
#701–702, "Standing in the Dark"
Rape was a pretty central theme early on in Season 2 when Paige is raped at a party by a Bardell student named Dean. Paige's demons regarding her rape ran into Season 4 when she takes Dean to court. Although Dean is not convicted due to a lack of evidence, Paige's relationship with Spinner — and the continued support of her friends — helps her heal and move past the fact that she was raped.
On the other hand, Darcy tries to convince herself that she and Peter drunkenly had sex in an attempt to deny the truth. Darcy's realization of her date rape unravels her life as she attempts suicide during Spirit Squad, falls into a depression, and abandons her faith. She eventually finds a path to clarity, but she is never the same.
4. Manny Gets An Abortion
Episodes: #314–315, "Accidents Will Happen"
After separating for months after Craig used Manny as his side chick, Manny finds out she's pregnant at the age of 14. Manny decides to tell Craig about their accident and he promises to be there for her. Despite the support from Craig, Emma, and Spike, Manny still feels overwhelmed and decides to have an abortion. It causes a rift between Manny and Emma, and breaks Craig's heart, but it was her choice.
3. J.T. And Liberty FINALLY Kiss
Episode: #412, "Voices Carry — Part 2"
This was seriously a moment four seasons in the making. When Liberty musters up the courage to kiss J.T. after the pair get detention, we all melted. It is one of the sweetest, most genuine moments of the entire series.
2. Rick Brings A Gun To School
Episode: #408–409, "Time Stands Still"
"Time Stands Still" dealt with something that the show had never dealt with before. Rick left Degrassi back in Season 3 after putting Terri into a coma. Upon his arrival in Season 4, Terri's friends take it upon themselves to make Rick's life at Degrassi a living hell.
After making the trivia team, Rick makes amends with Jimmy and feels he made a connection with Emma. Spinner devises a plan to prank Rick and his answer was to bring a gun to school. Rick shoots Jimmy believing he was responsible and attempts to shoot Emma. Sean wrestles the gun away leaving Rick dead.
1. When J.T. Was Murdered
Episode: #611, "Rock This Town"
J.T.'s life took an unexpected turn when Manny and Emma decide to throw a birthday bash for Liberty in the midst of the Degrassi vs. Lakehurst war. After telling Toby that he still had feelings for Liberty, J.T. leaves the party and is confronted by two Lakehurst students. As soon as J.T. turns away, he is rushed and stabbed in the back. Liberty had the unfortunate luck of finding J.T. bleeding to death in front of his car and we were left a complete mess.
- Spinner finds out he has cancer
- Sean goes to jail
- Emma's first period
- Craig and Manny's first date
- J.T.'s suicide attempt
- Alex becomes a stripper
- Emma gets cyber-stalked
- Paige and Alex's transition into "Palex"