(Or “favourite,” if you’re feeling Canadian.)
In honor of the teen drama’s 300th episode – which airs tonight on TeenNick – we asked Degrassi creator Linda Schuyler to name her 10 favorite Degrassi installments ever. Her list is a welcome trip down memory lane for longtime fans – as well as a great primer for those who have no idea that Drake’s real name is Aubrey Graham.
1. “Mother & Child Reunion” (season 1)
The first-ever episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation – now known as simply Degrassi – acted as a bridge between the new show and Degrassi High. It both caught viewers up with old friends – Caitlin! Lucy! Spike! – and introduced several new kid cast members, including Spike’s daughter Emma and her friends, J.T., Toby, and Manny. The drama: As Degrassi’s classes of ‘91 and ‘92 reunite, Emma discovers that a boy she’s been chatting with online is actually a full-grown, would-be rapist. Yep; Degrassi went there from the very beginning.
2. “Shout” (season 2)
In part 1, mean girl Paige is date raped at a party. In part 2, she sings a super intense song about rape during a Battle of the Bands with her girl group, PMS… as her rapist watches from the audience.
3. “Accidents Will Happen” (season 3)
Fourteen-year-old Manny discovers that she’s pregnant after having unprotected sex with two-timing Craig – and, after thinking long and hard, decides to get an abortion. Due to its sensitive content, the episode aired in the U.S. over two years after it was first shown in Canada.
4. “Pride” (season 3)
After Ellie refuses to continue being his beard, Marco finally comes out to the rest of his friends – only to be ostracized by Spinner and beaten up by a group of homophobes while en route to a hockey game.
5. “Whisper to a Scream” (season 3)
Poor Ellie’s got a father in the army and an alcoholic mom. She starts coping by cutting herself. Luckily, Paige is there to nudge Ellie into getting the help she needs.
6. “Time Stands Still” (season 4)
After being doused with paint and feathers at a quizbowl game, bullied Rick finally snaps and brings a gun to school. He shoots Jimmy in the back, paralyzing him – and is killed when Sean tries to disarm the shooter. Degrassi’s most intense episode, or Degrassi’s most intense episode?
7. “Lexicon of Love” (season 5)
A two for one special! Kevin Smith reappears for the premiere of his new (fake) movie, Jay and Silent Bob Go Canadian, Eh?, while Paige discovers that she’s got more than friendly feelings for her gal pal Alex.
8. Degrassi Goes Hollywood (season 8)
Originally shown as one two-hour movie, this four-parter follows Manny as she pursues her dream of being an actress (and, of course, clashes with Paige along the way). There’s also some juicy stuff with star-crossed Craig and Ellie, who just can’t seem to ever get their timing right.
9. “My Body is a Cage” (season 10)
Say hello to the next next generation. Degrassi learns that new kid Adam is actually transgender, transitioning from being female to being male. He struggles to find acceptance from his classmates and his family, even briefly reverting to dressing as a girl. Eventually, Adam finds friends who embrace him for who he is. This is the episode that won Degrassi a Peabody last year.
10. “Never Ever” (season 12)
Quirky Imogen discovers that her father isn’t just eccentric – he’s suffering from early onset dementia. She also reconnects with her estranged mother.
Which episodes would you add to Linda’s list?