|Photo Credit: Netflix/Degrassi: Next Class|
Only your Canadian teen drama-ness can take us from an averted Columbine to a prank turned BLM protest(s) to a tragic bus accident that brings said prank storyline to a close. Yep, they went there. In the ten-episode second season of the Netflix incarnation of Degrassi, the writers decided to just lose all forms of restraint and packed drama and craziness into every episode.
And that's what made it one of the most enjoyable seasons, for me, in a while.
Fresh off the Hollingsworth Hellstorm from season one, which saw older brother Miles experiment with drugs and sexy times, his younger brother Hunter almost go ballistic, and his sister Frankie go from wallflower to friend-related Catfishee to getting romantically involved with a straight-edged drummer, we're thrown right back into the fire. This time, Frankie decides to reprank a predominantly Black high school by drawing their volleyball team as animals (because, you know, the other school is called "The Zoo").
|Photo Credit: Netflix|
This, of course, ends badly and sets up one of the main storylines of the seasons. See, even with the random Spinner returns, this season was, once again, about the Hollingsworth family. And it works. Why? Well, they're all compelling kids, even though they (along with the entire cast) looks more model-esque than authentic teenagers, that are written to be rich and richly ignorant of how the real world works.
What doesn't work is the five-second cameos from most DTNG alumni, aside from Peter. Now, I love seeing how Emma and Liberty are doing. But, many of the cameos were poorly written into the story (even with the "oh, let's have a 60th anniversary for Degrassi, the school, during the season which contains the show's 500th episode" vibe many of the cameos exist in). Yeah, we got to see alumni interact with current students and showcase what makes Degrassi, the show, so much fun (seeing people "go there" over hot-button issues in a way only Canada can). But, I don't know.
Maybe it's the lack of Cassie Steele. I mean, she was always, in some ways, Canadian bae. No Cassie Steele makes my heartstrings sad.
|Photo Credit: Cassie Steele's IG feed|
|Photo Credit: Same as above|
All foolishness (and little head thinking) aside, you can't have a Degrassi reunion without Manny. That's like having Roots without Kunta Kinte. It feels weird, especially with Emma and Liberty being so prominent in their cameo episode. But, aside from that, the season was a lot of fun. We got BLM protests, analysis of schools' zero tolerance policies, and, again, some crazy-heavy drama to set up season three of DNC (even though some of the drama wasn't as fleshed out as it could've been; you can only do so much with ten 30-minute episodes).
What I'd do, however, is trim the fat. And I hate saying that like this, but it has to be done.
Use that crash at the end of the season to write off some of the characters. It's a bit cheap, but it's Degrassi we're talking about. Even the cheap moments get to you, such as J.T. randomly getting killed because of the Degrassi/Lakehurst feud (that was a legit "man tears" moment for me. I don't care). Just don't let Grace die that way, mainly because of her CF.
So, there you have it. My rant-quality review of DNC season two. Go watch it. Expect some disappointment, and some sadness, but overall? It's decent (even if it gives into some of the well-known Degrassi tropes at times, like borderline preachiness). Now, the wait for season three begins. One of these days, though, I want Drake to randomly appear on the series again. They both owe each other some measure of success. How epic would it be for Drake to pop up, as Drake (because there's no way he could really be Wheelchair Jimmy anymore within the Degrassi mythos), and mentor a student?
If you want a review a bit less "rant-y," check out TVLine.