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Old 08-30-2010, 08:51 PM
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Discussion of the teen issues on Degrassi: Craig has problems, a lot of problems.

Degrassi for me has always been a stand out series because of how it tackles issues that teens face. I enjoy seeing romances develop and friendships grow but to me the show should always be about the issues. Anyone want to talk about all the teen issues that have been addressed on the series?

Just a few ideas for discussion off the top of my head:
- What story lines do you think were handled the best?
- Certain issues (like rape and substance abuse) have been covered several times but are handled differently due to how different people deal. What ones do you think were the most successful? How could have others been better?
- What issues haven't been covered?
- What would you like to see tackled again?

I'll pop back in to answer the others or join in on other discussions but right now I'm eager to talk about what issues haven't been covered. If I recall correctly, we've never seen a teen struggle with a parent who is mentally ill. There's been Ellie's alcoholic mom and it was implied that Albert Manning had issues, but nothing like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. I think it would be really interesting to see the home life of someone like that and how their family functions. I can just picture a teen who refuses to bring friends home from school because of the tension of a parent who is off their meds/relapsed/having an episode.

We've also never seen a story line where there was a character actively being sexually abused. It's always been a female character who has repressed memories. I'd like to see someone suffering with long term sexual abuse. It might be interesting to see how a character deals with that, their fears and how they cope, but we don't exactly know why they behave the way they do until it's revealed they are being abused. Seeing how it's handled legally and the after effects would be interesting too.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:59 PM
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I liked the abortion storyline with cranny.
ellie's alcoholic mother
Jenna being pregnant I have yet to see what happens with that.
the fact that craig's bipolar
Emma's anorexia which was one of my favorite storylines
Darcy's rape storyline was interesting, too bad she went crazy.
Emma's pregnancy scare
Everything that I can possibly imagine has been covered on degrassi.
So not too much discussion for me.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:33 PM
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This is going to sound... morbid... but I'd be really curious to see a character suffer from severe brain damage as a result of an accident. They did this with Shane in DJH but then he kind of disappeared. It was also a storyline for the Skins character Tony. I guess it's not exactly a "teen" issue but it'd be fascinating, especially if it happened to a really beloved character. All of his/her relationships would change, his/her personality would be dramatically altered, friends and family would have to cope, etc.

I would also like to see a suicide and not a character that no one really likes in the first place (i.e. Claude in DJH).

I would like to see an eating disorder done right and not as a one or two-part episode that comes out of nowhere (Toby, Emma) and is never or rarely mentioned again. Like maybe a character decides to go vegetarian/vegan and slowly begins to drop a lot of weight over a season until it becomes the elephant in the room.

More issues of class and/or poverty (even homelessness)... and I'd like them to stop having nearly every character try to achieve fame or fortune. Oh, and gang culture. But maybe Degrassi is too suburban/affluent for that, idk.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:38 PM
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I want to see a relationship where the female is abusive (physically, mentally or emotionally). That hasn't been done yet right?
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Old 08-31-2010, 12:55 PM
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Well, we just had the relationship with Connor and his online girlfriend, but they haven't had a teenage girl be the one that's abusive.

Good idea for a thread, Nicole. I'll be back here to discuss more.
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Old 09-01-2010, 09:03 PM
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These are all good ideas of storylines they could take on! I agree that the eating disorder storyline could be revisited and represented better by not condensing it into a two-parter (that makes it seem like Emma had her ED for only several weeks).

Another issue I wouldn't mind seeing again is running away. Craig ran away twice, but first time was only missing for a few hours and then the second time maybe 2 nights. I know there was a press release or article that said running away was an issue in season 10; I'm not sure if they were referring to Fiona (betting on it) or if it was a just a blooper. I'd like to see a teenage runaway that's on the streets/crashing at friend's houses for a week or more. I think that more tension might be established with this. I'd like to see the character really spiral out of control during that time and see how his or her family handles the situation. I'm sure the school would be involved as well when trying to find the runaway.
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Old 09-01-2010, 10:04 PM
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I'd like to see someone use food for comfort for a while (not just one episode) and then have someone comment on their weight gain and then the person spirals into a cycle of binge eating.
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:21 PM
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Ever since I saw the promo of Eli saying he killed his girlfriend, I wanted to see as suicide pact storyline. Unfortunately they didn't take that route with Eli but I can still see that happening with some other character. Who? Well, I would like if all of the people involved were regulars. It would make the whole thing much more interesting. First we could see them struggling with their problems separately, connecting with each other and then going through with it. The outcome? I suppose one person could survive and later deal with the consequences. It's a pretty dark plot, but seeing how many teenagers decide to take that step... well I believe it's necessary to show them how much this solution affects others.
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Old 09-03-2010, 06:17 PM
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-Successful and properly-handled polyamorous relationships. We've had characters date multiple people at once, but we've never seen it done in a healthy and honest way.

-Anal sex for a straight couple.

-Oral sex on girls.

-Suicide of a character who is well-known and liked.

-An ongoing real-life relationship with an abusive girl (since Connor's was mostly online and brief in real-life, it doesn't count).

-A same-sex relationship with an abusive partner.

-A bisexual or pansexual character. Paige doesn't really count, since she only ever liked one girl.

-Male rape, by either a female or another male.

-Teenagers getting married.

-A gay or lesbian teacher.

-Childhood sexual abuse (similar to Liz in DH).

-Porn addiction.

-A regular character killing another.

-Schizophrenia.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:23 PM
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I am so for them depicting a legitimate polyamorous relationship. I think it would be really awesome if they could pull it off well.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:05 PM
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It will never happen, but I would love to see a school shooting that leaves like half the main cast as victims. In my mind, that would be the opposite of the watered down violence of All Falls Down.
I disagree with you, Shance, about a lot of the romantic based things. I just don't want to hear the specifics of what they're doing in the ravine... (you mentioned anal and oral sex)
All this reminds me of a comment from a youtube video: "I just feel like now degrassi just tortures all of its students. I would never send my kids to this school."
(lol) In that spirit, I would like to see some less intense, not relationship based problems. Maybe it was unusual, but in my school the biggest problems were stress, overwork, and lack of sleep.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:08 PM
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At my school, we had a boy die from playing 'the choking game', where you choke yourself to get a high. It would be interesting to see a group get into that game, and either one die or come close to dying. If not that, maybe a group that is into doing really stupid risky stuff like that, and seeing the consequences of their actions.
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MD9999 (View Post)
Maybe it was unusual, but in my school the biggest problems were stress, overwork, and lack of sleep.
That doesn't sound unusual at all! More like completely typical. So of course it's overlooked by Degrassi. I guess we saw the extreme version of that with Paige in season 6 when she almost burned down her dorm. But it's annoying that they showed that for college, not high school. (Gotta love how Degrassi always makes it seem like your entire life will fall apart after you graduate high school, and chances are you'll flunk out of college!)

Did we have a storyline with a character taking pills to stay awake? I could've sworn we did... but... I'm totally blanking on this right now. I know Jimmy took some of Spinner's Adderall in season 1. (Was that it or was there something besides that?) That was a loooong time ago and I feel like this should be a bigger, more serious, two-part storyline. Adderall abuse was a big problem on my college campus and I imagine probably for high schools too.

OH, you know what, I think it's Degrassi Junior High I'm thinking of. Michelle took caffeine pills to stay awake. I wonder if Degrassi has avoided this storyline ever since because of that Saved by the Bell episode.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:21 PM
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I think Jimmy took Spinner's Ridallin. (probably incorrect spelling) This reminds me, I guess they decided to kind of drop the fact that Spinner has add/adhd/whatever he had.

To be honest, I don't particularly like special needs type storylines because the character usually just come across as annoying to me. The only example I can think of is Connor (who has become awesome, albeit really useless), but I don't like it when I see it in other shows, either
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shance (View Post)
-Suicide of a character who is well-known and liked.
That's the only way I can see something like this working. It would be nice to follow them for a season with the signs showing up towards the climax aka the suicide. Then we see all the reactions of those who were close to the student.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shance (View Post)
-Male rape, by either a female or another male.
I've always wanted to see male sexual abuse on the show. It's not as uncommon as one might think; it's just that no one wants to talk about it. I just think it sucks that these guys have to go through life burying the issue and self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shance (View Post)
-Childhood sexual abuse (similar to Liz in DH).
Didn't Liz have repressed memories like Jane? They need to go there and have a teen who is being presently sexually abused. Has this ever been covered on a TV show? I can only remember seeing episodes where a character is out of contact with the abusive relative/person and when they re-enter their life, the memories surface. I wish that a show would address the inner hell a person feels as it is happening. Higher Ground did a pretty decent portrayal of that with Shelby. She never had forgotten she was abused, coped in negative ways, and eventually dealt with her abuser. But she was never presently sexually abused during the course of the show.

I was going to suggest a character who is adopted. Then I realize we had Derek. That was a waste of a potential storyline. I'd be interested in seeing how they adjusted, accept their adoptive parents, maybe even try to locate a birth parent. KC's life in the group home was something I feel could have been explored more. I'd like to see a character who is being abused, removed from the home, and go through the whole foster care system until they graduate or are able to return home.
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