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Alcoholism of Degrassi: The Next Generation

The well of misfortune never runs dry for the sufferers of alcoholism. Degrassi: The Next Generation delivers those with a taste for the vice, with the most elegant of tact. Oftentimes, coverage of alcoholism in young adults sustains a considerable amount of glorification in the media. Degrassi however, depicts this manner of abuse in a more blunt and honest approach. Not only does the show illustrate the negativity of this exploit, it also bundles together an empathetic portrait of the ills that befall those who find themselves affected by this habit.

The Gall of Genetics

Simply put, Degrassi contends that alcoholism is not cool or fun, but instead, an act of tremendous consequence. On two occasions, the custody of Degrassi students comes into question. The guardians of these two respective students suffer from alcohol dependence. Degrassi student Sean Cameron, already displaced from his parents prior to his original cameo, returns to his parents or alcohol dependent guardians after a brief stint of living alone as an emancipated minor. He himself experienced a brief brush with alcoholism in the episode “Message in a bottle” after stealthily stealing liquor from the homes of two of his peers. As a result Sean Cameron loses his girlfriend and wanes in popularity as his peers begin to view him as a burnout. Certainly, not a glamorous picture of addiction.

Photo by Jay Mistry on Unsplash

Perhaps the show intended in illustrating the hereditary risk of alcoholism. As another character, Ellie Nash also inherits the habit from her mother Caroline. Ellie’s mother Caroline incidentally burns her condo and Ellie voices her concern to her mother about her issue. Soon thereafter the Sean and Ellie coincidentally shack up as one emancipated minor and guest. Unfortunately, alcohol dependency as the culprit strikes again. This time Caroline arrives at a party hosted by Sean and Ellie. Not exactly being the scene of a middle aged mother. She instead makes a scene by slapping Sean for confronting her about custody of Ellie. Ellie soon after reveals the burden of an alcoholic guardian by showing her instruments of self-harm directly to her mother.  

Degrassi’s Resident Rich Girl Suffers from Alcoholism

Later on in the show, Fiona Coyne, the extravagantly coddled and pampered resident rich girl falls victim to the habit in an atypical series of events. While coping with a domestic abuse trial and beginning a relationship with an out female to male transition transgender boy all while attending high school, she finds herself in rehab. Her habit first begins as a secret. Eventually her transgender boyfriend unravels the secret and identifies himself as the cause. Her boyfriend, mother and best friend venture on checking her into rehab. Almost destroying her abuse court case, the producers only portray her as happy when she does not suffer from the addiction. Another candid image of a not so candied life.

People photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

3.5 Out of 5 Stars For Degrassi and Alcoholism

Although Degrassi mainly discourages negative behaviors, the show is not a lifestyle advocate and for our purposes not perfect. The occasional underage abuse occurs frequently at highschool parties in the show. And though the drinking age across the border is younger than the United States age, in either country these parties would be considered illegal. In direct character relationships the show accomplishes the intent of depicting the dangers of this vice. Overall on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, the portrayal of alcoholism receives 3.5 stars from the perspective of a party familiar with the issue.

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