28 Iconic Degrassi Moments That Shaped Your Adolescence
From the minute we heard the first lines of Degrassi's iconic theme song in the opening credits ("Whatever it takes!") to the moment we saw Marco spin around in that jean jacket, we knew we were in for something good.
Degrassi has never shied away from tackling the tough, awkward, and painful experiences that teenagers face on a day-to-day basis. After the success of the Canadian TV show's run in the '80s, it was brought back as Degrassi: The Next Generation for a whole new collection of teenagers to grow up with and enjoy.
In loving memory of that second wave of Degrassi High students — and in honor of Drake rounding the cast up for one epic music video reunion — take a look back at all of the most shocking, heartbreaking, and tearjerking moments that went down between Jimmy, Emma, Paige, and the rest of the gang.
When Emma Encounters an Internet Predator
The dangers of the internet are put front and center in the pilot episode, which sees naïve Emma (Miriam McDonald) meeting up with her online boyfriend in real life, who turns out to be much older than she thought. Like, much, much older, and also dead set on raping and/or kidnapping her. Luckily Manny (Cassie Steele), Toby (Jake Goldsbie), and J.T. (Ryan Cooley) suspect something's up when the guy lures Emma to a hotel room, and they're able to get her help before it's too late.
When Liberty Becomes "Cool" Liberty
Liberty (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) starts off the show as a quirky, uptight overachiever, so when she tries to revamp her image, it has hilariously cringy results. Step away from the neck scarves, Liberty.
When Peter Sends the Video of Manny Taking Off Her Shirt to the Whole School
After Manny gets into a big fight with her father, she shows up to a party and gets drunk, leading her to take off her top as Peter (Jamie Johnston) videotapes it. The next day she begs him to delete the video, but he gets angry and shows it to the whole school. Poor Manny. On the somewhat bright side, Peter ends up getting hit with child pornography charges. That's what you get for slut shaming, dude.
When Paige Utters This Iconic Line
Paige Michalchuk (Lauren Collins), patron saint of the word "hun," did mean girl better than Regina George ever could. She's sassy and hateable all while still being one of your favorites.
When Jimmy Calls Ashley a Slut
THE SAVAGERY. Speaking of slut shaming, have you met Jimmy Brooks (Aubrey Graham aka Drake)? He greets his girlfriend, Ashley (Melissa McIntyre), with this rude hello after he hears a rumor that she cheated on him (she didn't). The shock on Ashley's face is so real, and so painful.
When Manny's Whale Tail Shocks Degrassi High
Manny decides the best way to come across as "hot, not adorable," is by hiking up her smallest pair of underwear for all to see. Everyone in that hallway, as well as everyone watching, had their jaws on the floor.
When Craig's Dad Dies, and He Breaks Down
Despite the fact that Craig (Jake Epstein) has a horribly abusive father, it's still a shock when his dad dies in a car crash. At first Craig seems fine, but it's clear the loss affects him in devastating ways.
When Manny Catches J.T. Using a Penis Pump
In a desperate attempt to get Manny to fall for him the way she likes Craig in season four, J.T. invites her over for a romantic date. Things are going pretty well until she walks into his bedroom and catches him using a penis pump. Yes, a penis pump.
When Darcy Gets Roofied
Darcy (Shenae Grimes-Beech) goes to a party with her boyfriend, Peter, but they get into a fight and she gets drunk to blow off some steam. In a disturbing turn of events, a fellow party-goer ends up slipping roofies in her drink and rapes her. The way the show depicts Darcy struggling to cope with what happened to her afterwards is heart-wrenching and realistic.
When Sean Breaks Up With Emma and Joins the Army
Sean (Daniel Clark) and Emma have one of Degrassi High's most memorable relationships. They go through awkward phases, pregnancy scares, and plenty of romantic ups and downs before Sean finally decides to join the army. Before he ships off to Afghanistan, he and Emma share an emotional goodbye that feels just as bittersweet as if you were saying goodbye to your own first love. #SeanandEmma4eva
When J.T. Gets Liberty Pregnant
In the later seasons, Liberty and J.T. have a tumultuous relationship thanks to J.T.'s wild side and Liberty's tendency to be controlling. Still, they love each other, and Liberty gets pregnant. When she tells him the news while they're driving to school, he immediately crashes the car.
When Rick Shoots Jimmy
After years of being bullied, Rick (Ephraim Ellis) finally loses it and brings a gun to school in an episode called "Time Stands Still," which is one of the best of the entire series. In an incredibly tense moment, Rick approaches Jimmy at his locker, gun in hand, after a prank gone wrong. Then he shoots Jimmy in the back as he tries to run away, and later on we discover Jimmy is paralyzed from the waist down. Nothing on Degrassi was ever the same.
When Emma Has to Be Hospitalized For Anorexia
Emma's eating disorder finally gets so out of control that she has to be hospitalized after falling unconscious from starving herself. If that doesn't break your heart enough, Manny visits Emma in the hospital, where she begs Emma to get healthy again. Are you crying? WE'RE NOT CRYING. (We are definitely crying.)
When Spinner Finds Out He Has Testicular Cancer
Spinner begins Degrassi as an insufferable bully, but with each episode he becomes more and more sympathetic. This all comes to a head in season seven when he discovers that he has testicular cancer.
When Manny Gets an Abortion
Not only is Manny single-handedly dealing with the fact that Craig has bipolar disorder, but she also makes the tough choice to get an abortion at only 14 years old. The episode was so intense that it was only allowed to be aired in Canada, and not the US.
When Adam Speaks His Truth
As the first transgender character to ever be featured on Degrassi, Adam Torres (Jordan Todosey) certainly leaves a mark on the series. There are plenty of powerful scenes with Adam before his untimely death in a car accident in season 13, but the scene of him coming out is definitely high on the list.
When Emma Hooks Up With Jay in Exchange For Those Rubber Bracelets
Remember those differently colored rubber bracelets that were really popular back in the day? Well, Emma ends up taking her obsession with them a little too far when she agrees to hook up with Jay in his creepy van in exchange for a blue one. At first Emma is proud of what she's done, until she (and the entire school) finds out that Jay gave her gonorrhea. Yikes.
When Jimmy Gets a Boner
After being paralyzed, Jimmy has all but given up hope on anything working south of his waist. And then, the boner happens. We've never looked at gray sweatpants the same way again.
When Ashley Tells Craig Off Before the Battle of the Bands
Before hitting the stage for the school's battle of the bands competition with her girl group, Hell Hath No Fury, Ashley finally gets revenge on Craig for cheating on her with their song "Mr. Nice Guy." If you didn't raise your fist in the air in solidarity, then WHO EVEN ARE YOU?
When Emma Gets Her Period For the First Time
Emma gets her period for the first time at school while wearing a white skirt, resulting in her walking around school with a little bit of blood on her butt. After getting teased for it, Emma, a budding feminist, makes one hell of a speech taking down the stigma that surrounds women on their periods.
When Marco Comes Out to Spinner
Marco (Adamo Ruggiero) tearfully comes out to Spinner, one of his closest friends, only to be met with disgust and bullying from him. Thankfully Jimmy later stands up to Spinner, and the friends reconcile.
When K.C. and Jenna Have to Give Up Their Baby
In season 10, K.C. and Jenna find out that they're pregnant. Although they desperately want to keep their baby, they're just too young to handle it all, and end up having to give little Tyson up for adoption.
When Emma and Spinner Get Married
To quote Kelly Kapoor: Number one, how dare you, Degrassi writers? How are you just going to pair Emma and Spinner together when clearly Sean is her one true love? There's nothing we can do about it now, but we fully embrace the right to be bitter about the fact that Emma and Spinner get wasted and have a quickie marriage while visiting Niagara Falls one night, and then just decide, "Eh, why not be married forever now?" Sigh.
When Paige Is Raped
After Paige is raped, she decides to go after her attacker in court. Not only does actress Lauren Collins do an amazing job with this traumatic storyline, but the fact that she's unable to prove it happened in court adds a painfully realistic touch in this day and age.
When Rick Pushes Terri Onto a Rock, and She Goes Into a Coma
Rick and Terri's abusive relationship comes to a head when he shoves her backwards and she cracks her head on a rock, goes into a coma, and is never heard from again. While we don't understand why Terri had to disappear from the show, we have to give props to Degrassi for showing the dangerous reality of what it's like to date someone physically abusive to their young viewers.
When Paige Finds Out Ellie Is Cutting Herself
As an attempt to deal with her rough family life and alcoholic mother, Ellie turns to self-harm, and Paige eventually finds out. The show does a great job of showing how self-harm and mental illness can't just be swept under the rug with it popping up throughout the course of Ellie's time on the show.
Clare Is Diagnosed With Cancer
To say that Clare (Aislinn Paul) has it rough is an understatement. In addition to weathering cheating boyfriends, her sister's suicide attempt, and a miscarriage (this is some Grey's Anatomy-level bad luck, we're telling you), she is diagnosed with cancer. It's awful.
When J.T. Is Stabbed to Death
Degrassi writers must have sat down one day and thought to themselves, "What eternally scarring thing can we whip up to rival Jimmy getting shot and paralyzed?" and then immediately have come up with this scene. J.T., one of the show's biggest characters, is stabbed to death by a Lakehurst student in the middle of Liberty's birthday party. Nope.com. Nope.org. Nope.gov.