The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Drugs? Rape? Abuse? Calculus? Must be Degrassi

By Margaret Lyons in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 2, 2004 9:48PM

2004_7_2.then.jpgThe Sun-Times has an article on one of Chicagoist’s favorite shows, Degrassi: The Next Generation. Finally—a little stateside recognition for the best Canadian import in a long, long time. The latest installment of the Degrassi empire is spun-off via Emma, the offspring of Spike’s teenage pregnancy, but she’s hardly the star; it’s an honest-to-god ensemble cast, acting out the drama, the mayhem, the growth-spurts, and the whole lotta smooching of middle and high school. Um, we’re gushing.
DTNG is entertaining and smart, even if the acting is only OK, and the characters are surprisingly believable, even if they’re sometimes horrifically annoying. Degrassi is aired on The N, a kid channel during the day and a tweener channel at night.

“We feel the characters are extremely responsible and face real consequences for their actions. But we also believe it is great for teachers, parents and caregivers," says Sarah Tomassi Lindman, vice president of The N's production and programming. "We offer adults a discussion guide [discussions]. The show can be a catalyst to approach very real issues, and to connect with teenagers. We see it as opening the door to their world."

What Sarah doesn’t mention is that there are two episodes that The N won’t air—Manny gets an abortion! C’mon, that’s good stuff. And it’s Craig’s. Luckily, you can read the recaps (part 1 and 2). If you were wondering where those “miniepisodes” came from, they’re the subplots of the two-episode abortion arc.
But anyway.
"Degrassi" isn't about Armani-clad spoiled rich kids deciding between a Porsche and a Jag a la "90210," nor is it WB fare, in which 25-year-old actors play 15-year-olds. Rather, it has a feel reminiscent of "My So-Called Life," in which actress Claire Danes got her start as an angst-ridden adolescent trying to make sense of her out-of-control world. (Its 19 episodes now air on The N.)

Get all caught up with the Sun-Times’s character breakdown and then tune in for an all-new Degrassi tonight at 7. The N reruns stuff more than MTV does, so you can catch it 50 or 60 times this week. No joke, this show is insanely addictive...don't say we didn't warn you.