The World According to Renee

Views, Reviews, Randoms and More…

Learning Life’s Lessons

Sometimes in life you make a horrendous mistake which is humiliating, embarrassing and you wish the world would swallow you whole.

And sometimes, you avoid those mistakes because someone made it way before you. Even if that someone is a fictional character in another country.

I watched the first episode of Degrassi Junior High when I was ten. I was at a friend’s house and the TV was on for background noise. We were immediately engrossed in the glamorous Stephanie Kaye and her promises to the boys in order to become the school’s president. After that I was hooked and hence begins my life’s lessons.

It was screened at 5.30 on weeknights, usually the time my mother was cooking dinner. She had no worries about me watching a teenage show. She took the opportunity to reinforce the mother-daughter relationship via the dramas of the characters.

One storyline involved the smart, blonde Kathleen and her abusive boyfriend. I remember my mother telling me never to put up with that, that no woman deserves to be beaten. If it ever happened, I was to tell my mother (I assume she meant my teenage relationships…) and she’d deal with it if I felt too threatened.

When Spike became pregnant my mother was very strict: she wouldn’t be happy about me falling pregnant but she would support me. If I had any questions about sex I could ask her (I never did- how embarrassment!) but really, the kids at Degrassi seemed to have educated me more than real life in that particular regard.

Strangely enough, I don’t remember any discussions about drugs. Maybe my mum realised I wasn’t that stupid, or maybe it was a bigger taboo than teenage sex. Whatever the reason, the only thing she said to me about it was “Don’t do drugs!” Ditto for drinking; it wasn’t a straight out “don’t do it” but I can’t recall anything said about drinking. Being a non-drinker herself and my dad having the occasional beer, maybe the reasoning was we wouldn’t grow up to be alcoholics anyway. Who knows?

The kids of Degrassi certainly taught me all the angst of being a teenager. They didn’t shy away from issues and even though the mullet haircuts, big glasses and shoulder pads haven’t made it to the 21st century, they still have. It would have been awesome to have someone dealing with depression but I guess Wheels had that covered when his parents were killed.

So as I leave you with my ode to Degrassi, remember this:

Wake up in the morning, feelin’ shy and lonely
Gee, I gotta go to school…

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March 30, 2010 - Posted by | Thoughts & Reflections

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