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Whatever it takes, we know that they’ll make it through! Welcome to MsMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for the top 10 dramatic Degrassi moments.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the most dramatic moments from the Degrassi franchise– a show that throughout the years, has always went there. And since this is a list about the show's most emotional and tragic moments, expect plenty of spoilers.
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#10: Spike's Pregnancy
Long before teen pregnancies were a common storyline in the franchise, viewers were shocked when Christine Nelson, aka Spike, got pregnant at 14. Since the baby's conception was Spike's first time having sex, the father wasn't exactly committed to being around, and the other students' parents thought her pregnancy would reflect badly on the school– so she was kicked out. There were a lot of obstacles Spike had to face as a young single parent, but as we would later see in Degrassi: The Next Generation, Spike turned out to be a great mother to Emma. In fact, she even married and started a family with Snake, aka Principal Simpson, whom she knew from their own days at Degrassi.
#9: Emma Meets Her Online Boyfriend
When a series' pilot episode already deals with things like catfishing and Internet predators, you know the show is going to be a bit of a crazy ride. The first episode opens with Spike's daughter, Emma, secretly chatting online with a guy that she considers her boyfriend. But of course, she's never actually met him. When they agree to meet at a hotel, viewers are probably not surprised to find that her "boyfriend" Jordan is really a middle-aged man who wants to take advantage of her. Emma is only 13 at the time and realizes she's way in over her head. Luckily, she has a group of friends who care enough to save her from her own mistakes.
#8: Clare Has Cancer
Poor Clare. Pretty much every character has suffered at Degrassi, but Clare seems to have gotten the brunt of it. Sure, her character was never killed off, but her boyfriend Eli did crash his car over her, she became stepsiblings with an ex, and her boss sexually harassed her. But her most notable struggle was when she was diagnosed with cancer. Watching Clare lose it over losing her hair was heartbreaking, but not more so than her desire to just be a normal teenager. She eventually goes into remission, but only to get pregnant and subsequently miscarry. That girl can never catch a break.
#7: Marco Comes out to Spinner
Marco spent the first two seasons hiding his real orientation by dating his best friend Ellie. But eventually, he decides he needs to be honest with his friends, but when he blurts it out to his friend Spinner, he doesn't take the news very well. In fact, Spinner bullies Marco for it and writes homophobic messages about him around the school. On the bright side, Marco's other friends aren't nearly as close-minded, and with some time and insight, Spinner comes to accept that he may have been quick to judge. Most importantly, Marco–and gay viewers– learned that being different isn't easy, but it does get better.
#6: Adam Dies
Appearing in later seasons when trans issues had become more talked about, Adam was the show's first transgender character. Inevitably, he still faced his fair share of prejudice from other students, but surrounded himself with a solid group of friends, a girlfriend named Becky, and his brother Drew, who all accepted him for who he was. We all feared for his life when he was accidentally shot by a gang member his brother got involved with, but he survived. Unfortunately, Adam's good luck came to an end when he crashed his car while texting Becky. Nearly the entire school went out for his funeral, but no one was as sad as viewers were to see him go.
#5: Paige Gets Raped
Paige Michalchuk—the girl who trademarked the word "hun" —was the queen of Degrassi Community School. She was smart, sassy, and above all, happy—so it pained viewers to see her spirit be so utterly broken after being raped at a party. Viewers were delighted when Paige finally stood up to the boy by singing about it at a songwriting competition with him in the audience. Paige lived in fear of her attacker, Dean Walton, for a very long time, and had to deal with it alone since she refused to tell anyone what happened to her. He got off scot-free at his trial, but fortunately, Paige never had to see Dean again—well, not before crashing into his car first–—and developed into a strong, young woman.
#4: Rick Puts Terri in a Coma
Although she ruled the school alongside Paige and Ashley and seemed to be confident, Terri often dealt with body insecurity. This meant she sometimes felt insignificant when her best friends constantly received the attention of other boys. So, when loner Rick leaves a rose at her locker, she finally feels appreciated and they start dating. Unfortunately for Terri, she should have waited to give her heart to someone who deserved it, because dating Rick would lead to emotional and physical abuse, and eventually time spent in a coma after Rick pushes her and she hits her head. The fallout meant the two split, thankfully, but also saw Terri transfer to another school.
#3: Suicide of Claude Tanner
Sometime during Caitlin and Joey's epic on again off again relationship, she dated an older student named Claude Tanner. He was more mature, and passionate about the same things as Caitlin. But he also let her down by running off and leaving her to take all the blame for a night of vandalism. Caitlin never forgives him, and it drove him to do the unthinkable. One day he brings a gun to school, walks into a bathroom, and shoots himself. This led students to question whether suicide is a selfish act or not, and even if critics see Degrassi as a superficial teen drama, there's no denying that it wasn't afraid to tackle the biggest taboos, even early on in the franchise.
#2: Jimmy Gets Shot
Even if you've gone your whole life without ever seeing an episode, everyone seems to know Jimmy Brooks, played by Drake, gets shot in the back and becomes paralyzed, but how did we get there? Rick foolishly returns to Degrassi and gets constantly bullied, but one prank becomes the last straw and he goes to school with revenge on his mind. Unfortunately, he believes Jimmy to be behind the pranks and feels betrayed since he thought they were becoming friends. Rick is later accidentally killed by his own gun, while Jimmy's life as he knew it is over. But Jimmy is strong, and he gets back on track by pursuing music and taking up wheelchair basketball.
Before we reveal our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
- Ellie Cuts Herself
- Wheels Loses His Parents
- Darcy's Breakdown
- Suicide of Campbell Saunders
- Spinner Has Testicular Cancer
#1: JT Dies
For a show that doesn't go an episode without some sort of drama happening, James Tiberius Yorke was a beacon of light. He was the comedic relief, so when he died unexpectedly in The Next Generation’s sixth season, laughter seemed to die with him. Attending Liberty's birthday party, JT 's life came to an end when kids from a rival school didn't seem to appreciate his humor, in a seemingly trivial exchange that escalated way too quickly. Stabbed in his aorta, JT bled to death outside the party while Liberty held him in her arms. A memorial for JT was erected at Degrassi, and fans still tear up whenever we catch a glimpse of it on screen.
Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the most dramatic Degrassi moment? For more nostalgic top 10s published every day be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.