A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This show deals responsibly with a wide variety of teen-related topics, ranging from the innocent (finding a prom date) to the controversial (teen pregnancy and abortion). The thoughtful discussions of these topics include thinking about the consequences of your actions, although sometimes this occurs after the fact. The cast is racially and economically diverse. Strong female characters.
Violence & Scariness
Occasional fights among students, including pushing, shoving, and punching. These acts aren't portrayed as positive behavior.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Making out, but no simulated sex. Includes frank discussions of various forms of sexual activity, although these discussions aren't explicit. The issue of teenage pregnancy is covered.
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Products & Purchases
Outdated Pepsi logo noticeable in cafeteria scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens discuss using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Teen consumption of these substances is often the source of conflict and is seen as negative behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this edgy Canadian teen drama presents strong topics and controversial issues that are relevant to real-life teens. Discussions about sexual behavior, substance abuse, and other issues aren't as explicit or titillating as in some more contemporary teen dramas. Instead, they're realistic, sparking honest, open discussions that include thinking about the consequences of your behavior and figuring out how to cope with difficult situations. Some episodes have a far heavier tone than others do, and the amount of controversial material varies widely from episode to episode, so parents might want to preview episodes before letting kids watch. Ultimately, like its successor, the show is one of the best shows on TV for teens because of its realism and responsibility.
Is It Any Good?
Unlike many teen dramas, such as Beverly Hills, 90210, Degrassi provides an edgy, accurate look at kids and school life. The show isn't about being hip or looking perfect, and the characters don't sport flawless bodies and impeccable designer clothes. Instead, Degrassi is committed to discussing teen issues in a strikingly real, straightforward manner.
Topics like standing up for your principles, dealing with gender inequality, and handling boyfriend troubles are mixed in with concerns about unwanted pregnancy, drug use, homosexuality, alcoholism, oral sex, AIDS, and child molestation. The frankness of some of these discussions makes the show too strong for younger audiences, but for the teen and older tween viewers the show is aimed at, it's this very honesty that makes Degrassi worth watching.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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