My obsession with YA drama started long before I was a young adult. Canadian teen drama hit a high note when Degrassi premiered in 1987. Still in my single digits, I was hooked. I watched it every week. Anyone who knows me at all knows my obsession with all things Degrassi. The whole series holds a place in my heart, but the original series finale School’s Out is seriously one of my favourite things ever. I could probably quote the entire thing. Caitlin was a terrible waitress.
Originally airing in 1992, it was one of the first shows (or at least of shows that I remember) where the series was over and then a significant period of time later, we got a movie to wrap things up. A two hour tv special technically, but now it’s a bit of a trend. And something that happens to the shows I love… Firefly. Veronica Mars… Hmmm. Not sure what that means, but back to the point.
1992, we got our wrap up. I remember sitting on the floor in the living room, glued to the tv, telling my younger siblings to shut up or leave. My parents wandering in and out of the room. This last part made all the sex in the show a little awkward. But I’d followed these kids, who were actually played by teens, since they were kids. And now they were on the verge of adulthood. There was no way I wasn’t watching this. As a junior high kid, it was like a forecast for my future. There was drinking. Drugs. Sex. Teen marriage. Drinking and driving. Abortion. This was not your stuffy teenage life that were usually shown. It was exciting. For its time, it really pushed the boundaries of realistic portrayals of teens.
And then they broke the rules and swore on tv. And they said the one you could never say on tv. And having it come from Snake, potentially the most well behaved of the Degrassi boys, and then repeated by Caitlin, made it all that more impactful. “dating Caitlin and fucking Tessa” was a recognizable pop culture moment. For a certain group of us, the name Tessa Campanelli still triggers instant memories. I wish I could find the paper I wrote on the show for university. I feel like it was good. But I lost those files somewhere.
And then there’s the music. Late 80s / Early 90s cheese at its best. Harem Scarem and Gowan provoke an almost Pavlovian response in me. And luck for you (and me) the entire thing exists on youtube. Enjoy.