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Degrassi: Next Class season three discussion (all episodes US-wide Netflix 1/6, in Canada on Family 1/9)

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Episode 3. I haven't seen a period storyline in a while. That was fun. It was the wrong move but I thought it was really sweet that Tiny didn't act disgusted with Shay and even bought her pads. The Bloody Mary/Flo Rida joke made me laugh and Frankie's delivery was great. Shay went way too crazy with the red paint. 

Goldi looked gorgeous this episode. She smiled and I suddenly noticed how nice her teeth are. It was nice to get a more normal story about someone who felt embarrassed about not having a lot of friends at school. I feel like maybe Goldi should have had the conversation on where to draw the lines with her parents or just someone with a better perspective than her brother who doesn't particularly religious at all. If wearing her hijab makes her feel closer to God and makes her happy, she should do it. And work on other ways to let people get close to her. I liked that she felt uncomfortable and went with her instincts and went back to the bathroom to change. You shouldn't have to force yourself to be uncomfortable to make other people like you.

I thought that was a nice scene with Miles and Zoe in Tristan's hospital room.

So I guess we've got a new terrible play coming? Don't they ever just do licensed properties... like Guys and Dolls?

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Episode 4. Maya and photographer boy feels like it's coming from a very different show. Their photoshoots are very weird. It almost feels like something from a serial killer/crime show. I finally liked one of Maya's songs again. Her voice is really only strong enough for piano ballads. I'm thinking she has PTSD and not just depression.

Frankie shouldn't have read Jonah's messages but honestly, I've never liked him and sometimes he's a bit of a jerk to her. And a jerk in general like those provoking questions to Goldi. 

I'm torn on Rasha being cast as Hero. On the one hand, if it's allegorical, it doesn't matter the gender of the character. On the other hand, if it's written as a boy's part then it becomes an erasure of a gay relationship. Miles said he cast her as coma boy so does that mean she's still playing it as a male part? I guess we'll learn soon enough.

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Episode 5. Oh my God, Hunter trying to look cool. And the eyebrows? It was so late 90's, early 2000's. At first I thought the boys' night was just stupid but then Yael came over and it became hilarious.

Esme is a bad influence. I don't know. Something about the way they write, she does come across as well as other less prudish characters in the past. And they're doing not a great job portraying someone with mental illness.

I likes Miles and Frankie brother-sister bonding time. That was nice.

I forget. Does Lola have any acting experience? I hope they didn't give them too much money for this nonsense play.

Where the Miles/Lola relationship has gone feels too mature for high school students. Lola seems like she might be an Imogen who starts having feelings of her own a little sooner.

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Episode 6. So Miles is playing himself and the character who was obviously Lola when he pitched it is played by Lola. Is Tristan going to wake up from his coma to play himself to? Since when does Miles get to use school funds for his own self-indulgence? Shouldn't they have done a play with more parts? Also, if Lola was a virgin where did she get the condom she gave Frankie in the other episode? I mean, carrying protection is good but it's a little odd if you're not sexually active, no?

Zoe and Winston going to war over Rasha is... a thing. Zoe is a Catholic who's a lesbian so I don't know why Goldi's word was supposed to be definitive proof.

Oh, boy. Who let Frankie go to school dressed like that? I think they got rid of the dress code... I can't remember but still. There must be some rules. She was close to Julia Robert's outfit in Pretty Woman. I still think that if Jonah isn't affectionate enough for her, she should find someone who can give her what she wants. It's high school. What is with all this monogamy? Also, I get that it's NA but I still think Jonah's wrong for being withholding and not telling Frankie anything. He could at least be in contact or tell her some of what's going on. He just does what he wants and expects her to be fine with it. Maybe he could prove he cares about her by actually spending time with her and responding to her. He knows her personality by now. He's being deliberately obtuse and making her take all the blame. She needs to be more that his "rock" and just be there whenever he feels like seeking her out. Girl talk actually seemed to go pretty well this time.

How many more times is Grace going to cough dramatically?

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This was probably the worst season Degrassi's ever had. It seemed like there was very little in terms of character development and no real consequences to practically everything that happened.

Miles cheats on the comatose Tristan with Lola. No problems there, Tristan forgives him. Also, I feel like I'm imagining it because nobody else brought it up. Didn't Miles tell Tristan in the hospital that he cheated? I remember Miles asking him if he was mad in an attempt for him to move or speak, but after that everybody acted like Tristan didn't know about Lola.

Lola got pregnant and instantaneously got an abortion, so her life continued as normal within a few hours. I guess it's fine for them to explore the avenue of abortions not being a huge deal for some women, but what sucks is that there's nothing to explore when the character doesn't have an issue afterwards, so it's boring.

Tristan was severely injured in the bus crash and in a coma for a majority of the season. Sounds like a potentially deep storyline, except for the fact that he's already starting to walk, discharged from the hospital and speaking in the span of a few episodes. It's unlike Jimmy getting shot by Rick, where his recovery was a lot slower and completely revamped his character for several seasons. The costs of simulating a real bus crash would probably be high, but nobody's going to get attached to a story that the characters see on the news, then after a six month gap (for the viewers) open up with most of them smiling and barely referencing what happened.

Maya's "depression" was so half-assed, it was like they copied some info from WebMD and called it a day. Losing a few friends, taking medication, and fighting with her mom in between bouts of self pity weren't convincing enough for me. Why was she the one to get so affected by the bus crash? She had a broken arm or something, and Tristan being hospitalized shouldn't have mattered to her much since they hadn't been friends since who knows when. Saad was a useless addition to the cast, his only purpose was to introduce Maya to photography, and that was a very dull plotline anyways. Her surviving the suicide attempt was obvious from the beginning, if you can even call it a suicide attempt. Being on the top of the school was just to drum up suspense, since the lack of blood or real physical injury means she climbed down and then passed out from the pills she took while in the bus.

The cast's reaction to Maya in the hospital was bizarre, as everyone has already pointed out. Cliffhanger endings are typical for Degrassi, but what's a lot lazier and more grating is when something serious is downplayed with asinine humor. Tristan asking for pizza sounded like the social media meme of being obsessed with pizza, where people somehow think it's funny to always talk about eating. I get that he actually hadn't eaten anything besides crap from a feeding tube for months, but it was still stupid. Most of them being totally unaffected by Maya made little sense, it almost seemed like an inside joke from the writers about tragedies happening so often at Degrassi, nobody should care.

I know the show's always been about informing teens about various subjects, but the PSA-style writing gets worse and worse with every season. It's like the cast members are reading from a pamphlet and talking directly to the audience, it's very disengaging to hear these incredibly un-subtle moral messages several times in an episode. They used to show more than tell when it came to these 'sensitive' topics, now it's far too blatant. I'm also sick of the constant pandering and narrative pushing. The "safe spaces", "triggering", refugees, every 2nd student being gay, etc.. What a soap box.

Another thing I've noticed is that there are no bully-type characters anymore. Where are the jerks of the show? Jay, Spinner (half the time), Johnny, Fitz, etc.. were real pricks, but these types of students are no longer around. Esme doesn't count as one of these characters because she's not a bully or unanimously despised. (her behavior qualifies more as something preteens would call "#fierce" and rave about, all she does is spout obnoxious and quirky insults that nobody really seems to have a problem with) It's quite unrealistic for all the characters to be good guys that everybody likes, and whether anyone wants to admit it or not, there are high school aged students who would have a problem with many characters on the show. Maybe it's now considered a cheap shot to have a storyline where someone's bullied for being gay or whatever they may be, and I don't even want that. I just hate how the show acts like a bunch of dumb teenagers are the most accepting group in the world and would embrace everything with open arms. There's no opposition for a lot of these character traits, and as a result, no stakes for when they try to make it a big deal. Even for regular plotlines that have nothing to do with that stuff, the students are surprisingly never very adversarial with each other. 

I'm talking about characters who are full jerks, but this season had a similar example that fits in with everything else I said. Rasha took off her hijab nearly immediately after coming to Degrassi, so she had little problems with adopting North American culture. Goldi obviously has more trouble and was unsure about what she could do as a Muslim, or even wanted to do. Rasha then comes out as gay and dates Zoe, and instantly gets pissed off at Goldi for not accepting this news and being happy about what is a sin according to her religion, within the span of one episode. Naturally, Goldi gives a "the play showed me that love is love" speech within the same episode and it's all good. Even Zoe coming out to her mother was supposed to be shocking, yet her mom rarely appeared on camera beforehand and her getting married was completely pulled out of the writers' asses as a feeble plot device where Zoe being defiant about dating Rasha would have more impact.

Hunter getting a boner was a dumb plot, I don't know what they're doing with him. Yael is so robotic, it's like her only purpose is to be a perfect moral compass while seemingly dealing with no real problems herself. I guess Hunter's no longer angry and psychotic, for whatever reason. His relationship could hardly be passed off as a good bandaid for that, since him and Yael are rarely alone together and have zero chemistry anyways.

Overall, a very bad season. A lot of the characters suck (IMO, of course) and are one-dimensional. Maya is the most vanilla girl in existence, Lola is an airhead, Zig is dumb as a brick, Grace is moody and a background character whose purpose is to make a few snarky comments about others' plots while in seemingly perfect health until the writers remember she's sick and let her do a few token coughs to remind everyone at home. I can agree that the whole season revolved around Miles, and while he's my favorite character, it still felt like he didn't really do anything meaningful with all the screen time he had. I usually don't care about race quotas for TV shows, but Asians really do get shit on at Degrassi. Winston did nothing all season. He's not Miles' lackey anymore, yet hasn't received any character development whatsoever. Zane and Leia got nearly the same treatment. The finale was dreadful and left us with little suspense, no cliffhanger, and seemed to actively disparage the audience from waiting to see what's going to happen with that pizza comment at the end, downplaying any serious overtones from beforehand.

I think this on-demand/streaming format for TV shows has been a death blow for Degrassi. Storylines have zero room to develop when ~25 episode seasons airing once a week and spread out over a year have been replaced with 10 episode (mini)seasons served up all at one time before a six month long break. Plots having to be introduced and resolved often within the same episode or a few episodes at most make it hard to be attached to anything that happens. The telenovela (4x a week) format they started in 2010 was the first time this immediate storytelling started to happen, but it's become a lot worse now that the break between seasons has increased a lot more despite less episodes being made. Nothing's gratifying when the resolution happens too quickly, and exactly like what streaming services have done to music, I think Netflix and other platforms have taken away a ton of perceived value from TV shows. Why ascribe any meaning to a single episode of a show when the whole damn season is right there for instant consumption?

Edited by Neet · Reason: forgot to talk about Esme
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Finished Season 3. That season wasn't as fun as the previous two. I agree with those who didn't like Maya's storyline. When she started watching the horrible news all night, I was like "Girl, I feel you" and I thought it was going to be more about feeling scared or anxious. I've stopped reading the news because I realized it makes me depressed. But then it went down this weird route of the death photos and it was never explained in a satisfactory way. Like, Saad said almost nothing, but you would've thought there was something to explore about him coming from a war-torn region. Instead, Maya is obsessed with death and it's not super clear why, and I too couldn't help but think, "where was this when Cam kill himself?" I agree it didn't seem like a natural place for the Maya we know to go to.

I didn't mind the stuff with Tristan and Miles, except a guy being in a coma isn't the most relatable storyline, which is what I think is Degrassi's strength. (Hello, period storyline! That happened to me once!) I just sort of didn't care that much about it. And everyone was so aghast that Miles might move on but I'm not sure I'd blame him (although he is a bit slutty -- maybe he needs to not fuck around and work on himself?). That play was ridiculous, but I thought the actual production of it looked cool in the end. I just hope when Season 4 rolls around, Tristan is fine again.

I'm always a fan of the gay storylines, since Degrassi is the only show that seems to do a decent job with them, but Zoe was so selfish and ridiculous, that I couldn't root for her at all. I saw what was happening a mile away, and it was dumb for her to act out at her mom's wedding.

Lola's abortion happened pretty quickly, one episode and done. But I guess that's refreshing -- it wasn't this crisis and she didn't change her mind and keep the baby. Not that abortions are shown on TV all the time (especially in the U.S.) but it was interesting that they acknowledged for some women, the decision is clear from the beginning and they are relieved with it.

The Frankie/Jonah pairing is not that interesting. Which I guess was maybe the point of their struggles. They really need to break up and be done with it. I sense Jonah and Grace getting together in the future.

I dislike Zig so much. He seems so vapid and devoid of original thoughts. Also, try wearing sleeves every once in a while!

Edited by Falafel
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Episode 7. The beginning with Grace in the hospital wasn't even funny bad acting. It was just bad.

Lola is ridiculous. Those were the least subtle pregnancy questions in the world. Also, what actually was that in Hunter's pants? Did someone in the prop department just grab something in the produce department? I don't know if they went overboard in trying to be flattering or it just made a weirdly shaped dent. Still funny though. I think I'd be up for a Miles/Lola/Hunter love triangle. And colorful hair and curvy does seem to be Hunter's type. Though there was that time he was after Becky, right? I can't keep track of everything that happens on this nonsense show. I liked where this ended up too. Like the Zoe/Rasha story it felt like something silly but real. I don't know if we've gotten a friends to lovers story like this in a while because we haven't really had a tomboy character or a female character who hung out with guys as much. I can't think of anyone since Jane.

Oh, lord. Don't tell me Maya's going to stick around because she didn't have enough credits to graduate because she keeps skipping class. I can't take any more Maya.

I expected better from Zoe the actress than those fake little coughs. That was almost as bad as Grace. Maybe worse. It's hard to decide. 

"It's living, what scares you." Jesus Christ, writers. Jonah/Grace bonding time was not as poignant as I think they hoped. The writing and the bad acting... Whew.

"Schemes. I love schemes." Line of the episode. I loved it when Rasha said it and I loved it when Tiny said it. This is what Degrassi should be. Why can't they have fun more often?

LOL. This thing with Maya and photographer boy gets worse and worse. Rose petals? How much more cliche is this going to get?

I'm still not crazy about them retconning Zoe's character for relationship musical chairs but it's not the first time they had trouble deciding what to do with an actor/character. I'm finding her and Rasha very sweet.

Wait... Team Miles/Grace/Jonah is doing everything? Where is their tech crew? This play is ridiculous.

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Episode 8. Oh lord, Frankie and Shay and the whispering. I get that it's in line with their characters but between this and how they talked about Esme... God, these two are judgmental. It was awful that all the people in Lola's life couldn't be there for her. I feel like they really contrived the whole Yael taking her thing but at least she found someone.

The "whatever it takes" line made me laugh. Sometimes I'm easy.

I feel like they're trying with Maya. I didn't hate that scene with Zig. But like a lot of Degrassi plotlines, it's like someone read a pamphlet or a WebMD page and then started writing. But then she imagined stepping into traffic and all I could think of was that scene in Mean Girls. I do continue to love her mom being one of the few involved parents on the show so that (even though it took forever) Maya finally had someone to go to.

All things considered, I liked the way they modeled Lola's abortion experience, particularly at the clinic, her useless friends and Miles aside.

I did like Zoe as the arbiter of what makes a good play/what is objectionable content. I always like it when the writers remember the characters' backstories. I also like Simpson giving his notes. It shouldn't be an all or nothing game. It is high school. And they've already gotten way too much freedom on this play.

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Episode 9. The Rasha/Zoe scene was very cute. The Hunter/Frankie scene was very cute too. Haha. "The way he always does... vaguely aloof and withholding." So true! Of course Frankie and Jonah are a bad match. I want so many more Hunter/Frankie scenes. They're adorable together. And then when she was on the computer? Ugh, so good. It was like something out of a cheesy rom-com or teen movie. It makes me crazy that now Frankie knows their a "toxic couple" and knows the reasons why (she "needs constant validation" and he can't provide it) and they were still going to get back together. And then she was in the wrong for the invasion of privacy when the have issues because they're so wrong for each other and there's blame on both sides.

Oh, lord. Maya's depression is a serious downgrade from Craig's bipolar disorder. 

If Zoe wants to present herself in a more stereotypically feminine way, she can still be a lesbian. Rasha getting mad at Zoe happened a little too quickly but otherwise, I was liking how they wrote that scene with her mom. Zoe stood up for herself and said all the right things. But Consuela didn't magically change her mind and she didn't just spout hateful things at her daughter. It felt somewhat realistic.

I loved Grace going to get Zoe and offering her a place to stay. 

Oh boy, I knew Maya was going to do something self-destructive when she withdrew all the money but I didn't think we were going to jump straight into suicide. I know they're trying but sheesh. Maybe someone at Netflix needs to pull a little tighter on the reins. I think they need some direction. If they're going to be an after school special they should be modeling more positive behaviors/resolutions to the problems they're setting up.

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Episode 10. I liked Maya's song at the beginning. The actress is never going to be a strong singer but it was pleasant. She's a singer/songwriter. The pop star phases and the bands were always wrong for her.

"Have you met Miles? It's going to be a waking nightmare." OK, Esme is awful and awful to everyone but that was funny.

Maya's suicide plan was... interesting. I'm sure taking all of those pills couldn't have been good for her but I don't know if she knew what was actually going to happen. It would be one thing if she overdosed on sleeping pills or took poison. She just grabbed an assortment of pills from the medicine cabinet and then went to sit and wait in a bus.

The play looked OK. That is, the set and lighting and everything. It seemed pretty awful to actually sit through.

Goldi helped Zoe pick out... red roses? Seriously?

Tristan forgiving Miles wasn't that dramatic but it made sense for his character. 

Wow, OK. I did not see the pills kicking in before Maya could jump. 

Shut up, Esme. It is kind of your fault. I mean, not Esme specifically but the group.

This season wasn't great. But I'm glad it was on Netflix so I could digest it quickly. I think if I'd had to wait week to week I would have been more annoyed that it wasn't fantastic.

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Nothing's gratifying when the resolution happens too quickly, and exactly like what streaming services have done to music, I think Netflix and other platforms have taken away a ton of perceived value from TV shows. Why ascribe any meaning to a single episode of a show when the whole damn season is right there for instant consumption?

I have to disagree there. I don't think that's a weakness of Netflix or Amazon or other streaming platforms. It's not a weakness of the format or the audience. It's a weakness of writing. You can still make a good show for a streaming service and if you do, people will care.  

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23 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

I have to disagree there. I don't think that's a weakness of Netflix or Amazon or other streaming platforms. It's not a weakness of the format or the audience. It's a weakness of writing. You can still make a good show for a streaming service and if you do, people will care.  

You're right, I was trying to say that the writing is much different for streamed shows rather than the week-to-week format, and Degrassi's butchered it. Aside from that, streaming or not is just personal preference. Orange Is The New Black works for the instant format, (at least for the seasons I've seen) probably because they have double the episode length to work with and 13 episodes. Degrassi's 22 minutes is such a tight squeeze to fit in any real development among so many characters, especially with a pitiful 10 episodes in total.

I like scheduled, appointment TV and think it works better for some shows, so I watched this Degrassi season according to Canada's schedule of 1 episode per weekday for two weeks and it still felt cramped. It was just a very poorly written season.

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On 1/21/2017 at 7:16 AM, Neet said:

This was probably the worst season Degrassi's ever had. It seemed like there was very little in terms of character development and no real consequences to practically everything that happened.

Miles cheats on the comatose Tristan with Lola. No problems there, Tristan forgives him. Also, I feel like I'm imagining it because nobody else brought it up. Didn't Miles tell Tristan in the hospital that he cheated? I remember Miles asking him if he was mad in an attempt for him to move or speak, but after that everybody acted like Tristan didn't know about Lola.

Another thing I've noticed is that there are no bully-type characters anymore. Where are the jerks of the show? Jay, Spinner (half the time), Johnny, Fitz, etc.. were real pricks, but these types of students are no longer around.

I agreed with most of your comment. I want to respond the ones above. I think Degrassi has had worse seasons, but this Next Class season 3 is on my top five worse episode list. I am all for different strokes for different folks, but I roll my eyes as the unreserved praise that I read online for this disappointing season. 

When Miles first told Tristan that he cheated, it seems like he was upset and responding, but his mother said that Tris didn't understand what he was saying because he was starting from scratch. I hope that we don't have to go through Tris and Maya's recovery in season 4. I just want them back in school coping with the readjustment and the decision about what to do after graduation.

I miss the bullying characters also. I think part of the reason is that the budget is smaller and there are fewer characters, but the writers seem less daring (despite this abortion story) and less consistent in character development than in earlier seasons. I thought that is where they were going with the gamer club that bullied Maya, but that story was poorly done and has been completely dropped. The characters suffered no real repercussions and none of them stayed bullies, instead they were more or less instantly reformed. I cannot get over Yael becoming Hunter's girlfriend after he put her on his kill list and took his anger out on her. They should have had Zig, Tiny, and Grace tormenting all those gamers for what they did to Maya. 

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I just have to say this because it seems like everyone hates this season. This was one of my favorite seasons of Degrassi ever, and I love being able to binge-watch the entire thing on Netflix. 

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I'm currently rewatching the series with a friend of mine who has never seen it before; we're halfway through season three so far. It is so hard to take any of the buildup to the play seriously when I know what a cringe-fest the play ends up being (somehow not in-universe, but).

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i'm binging (I forgot about this show sometimes, even though i like it v. much)

my annual rant:
really wish they hadn't taken out the "Canadian" of this Canadian show. but whatever, Degrassi. :( 

 

i think really it would have been more significant that in an accident that big, they would/should have killed more people or had some people have disabilities. (also introduce new characters). 

did we know Goldie + Baaz were releated? (also Goldie is gorgeous with and without her hijab, but honestly model gorgeous with that hair. i'm jealous). 

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