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    There Was A "Degrassi" Reunion And My Inner 14-Year-Old Is Jumping For Joy At All The Fun Facts We Learned

    "I don’t think shows like Sex Education or Euphoria would exist without Degrassi."

    This week, my teenage dreams came true when the cast of Degrassi: The Next Generation virtually reunited** for a special 20th anniversary panel at the ATX Television Festival, presented by Tubi!

    early "Next Generation" cast picture
    George Pimentel / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    **Sadly, this did not include Drake.

    Degrassi is quite literally my favorite show of all time and was such a huge part of my teenage years, so of course I had to tune in and get all the behind-the-scenes details.

    meme of Leslie Knope meeting Joe Biden: "This isn't real," "No it's happening" with photoshopped Degrassi school over Joe's head
    NBC

    ^Live look at me seeing Paige, Sean, Spinner, Craig, Hazel, and Terri back on my screen after all these years.

    Here are 27 of the biggest takeaways from the panel:

    Warning: Spoilers ahead!!!

    1. The character Emma was named after the Emmy Award the show received for the Degrassi Jr. High episode "It's Late," which was originally broadcasted in 1987.

    baby Emma
    CBC Television

    The episode, in which 14-year-old Spike finds out she's pregnant, won an International Emmy for Children's Programming.

    2. School's Out was originally supposed to be the end of the Degrassi franchise.

    Joey and Caitlin
    ATV / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Co-creator and executive producer Linda Schuyler said they were actually planning on developing an entirely new teen show, but when they realized that Spike's baby, Emma, would be the right age to start junior high, they decided to revisit Degrassi with her generation.

    3. The line "You were fucking Tessa Campanelli" was originally supposed to be "You were bonking Tessa Campanelli."

    CBC Television

    Snake's line in School's Out was the first time the word "fuck" was said on Canadian television.

    4. Lauren Collins, who played Paige, originally auditioned for the role of Ashley.

    Paige alongside Ashley
    CTV

    5. And Adamo Ruggiero, who played Marco, originally auditioned for the role of Craig.

    Marco alongside Craig
    CTV

    6. The cast said it was shocking to see the massive fanbase the show had in the US.

    George Pimentel / WireImage / Getty Images

    "It’s not that no one cared in Toronto, but no one was starstruck. But once we crossed the border [to the US]..." Shane Kippel, who played Spinner, explained. Andrea Lewis, who played Hazel, revealed that she and Lauren nervously held hands at their first mall tour (meet and greet) because they were so overwhelmed by the crowd of excited fans.

    7. Daniel Clark doesn't believe the fan theory that his character, Sean, died in combat.

    Sean and Emma before he leaves for the army
    CTV

    Sean went off to the army in the show and never came back — a popular fan theory is that his character died while in Afghanistan. Daniel, however, doesn't buy it. "I think [Sean] is home safe," he said.

    8. Shane still has no idea what happened to Spinner's little sister, Kendra.

    CTV

    Kendra's character, who appeared as Spinner's sister in early seasons, suddenly disappeared from the show without explanation. "We’re more like pen pals now," Shane joked. "My mom never told me — she just didn’t come home from school one day! But she’s safe."

    9. Lauren joked that the films Degrassi Takes Manhattan and Degrassi Goes Hollywood aren't canon to her.

    Spinner and Emma wedding
    CTV

    10. Executive producer Stephen Stohn said he would love to see a Spinner-Emma-Sean love triangle play out in a reboot.

    Sean and Emma kissing
    CTV

    Stephen said he "never quite got" the storyline where Emma and Spinner get married and that he could see Sean "coming home on a motorcycle" and potentially stirring things up for Emma and Spinner.

    Note: In Stephen's recent interview with us, he said that he thinks Emma and Spinner are still married and "probably have a child" by now. So what is the truth, Stephen?!

    11. Munro Chambers and Aislinn Paul (Eli and Clare) played siblings in a movie before they were love interests on Degrassi.

    young Aislinn and Munro
    Muse Entertainment Enterprises

    They played twins in the 2005 TV movie Murder in the Hamptons.

    12. Aislinn's parents were on a couple of episodes of Degrassi before she began starring on the show herself.

    young Clare watching TV
    CTV

    She was still in middle school when she landed the part of Clare Edwards.

    Fun fact: Clare is actually watching an episode of "Degrassi High" in this scene!

    13. Munro Chambers said the famous bench scene between Eli and Clare was the first time he felt their chemistry really became apparent.

    Eli and Clare holding each other by bench in Season 10
    TeenNick

    14. Shane said his least-favorite Spinner hairstyle was the "flock-of-seagulls hair flip."

    shaved side with long bangs on the other side
    CTV

    "That's something I don't think I'll ever live down," Shane laughed.

    15. Christina Schmidt, who played Terri, said she still receives messages from fans today telling her how impacted they were by the Terri-Rick abuse storyline.

    CTV

    "It was absolutely wild and very intense," Christina said of her character's story.

    16. Christina also said that if there's ever a Degrassi reboot, she'd love to come back and re-enact the iconic scene of her and the ice cream boy.

    Terri: "I made 500 bucks today as a plus size model. What do you make, ice cream boy"
    CTV / @degrassinocontx / Twitter / Via Twitter: @degrassinocontx

    17. Aislinn praised Jordan Todosey's portrayal of Adam, Degrassi's first transgender character and the first main trans character on TV.

    TeenNick

    Aislinn said Jordan worked extra hard to make sure Adam had his own full personality and was a real, complex character. "It wasn't just a character that was being portrayed — Jordan was living this," Luke Bilyk, who played Adam's brother Drew, added. Munro also credited the character for helping educate him.

    18. Jake met with mental health experts on set to help him portray Craig's bipolar diagnosis.

    CTV

    19. Jake said he thinks the way Craig's character treated women probably "hasn't aged well."

    Craig with Manny and Craig with Ashley
    CTV

    "I think there was a lot of toxicity. Maybe the consequences for Craig might be a bit higher than they were back then," Jake said of the Craig/Ashley/Manny drama.

    20. Jake also said that his scenes with Adamo were some of his favorite to film.

    CTV

    He called back to the iconic "So when in doubt, you kiss Craig?!" scene between Craig and Marco. Degrassi executive producer and writer Aaron Martin said that, while he loves that scene, he didn't read it as being indicative of any romantic attraction to Marco on Craig's part, but rather just Craig being a "really good friend."

    21. When asked what their characters would be up to now, Luke said he thinks Drew is the principal of Degrassi and Shane said that Spinner is "probably the janitor."

    TeenNick

    22. Munro is a big fan of the Netflix series Sex Education and thinks it has a lot of similarities to Degrassi.

    Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    "I think it’s one of the best things on TV," Munro said. "It's so raw and unapologetically real."

    23. Aislinn said she felt 13 Reasons Why didn't do a good job of portraying teen issues responsibly in comparison to Degrassi.

    Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    "With great power comes great responsibility — it’s a huge responsibility on our shoulders making [Degrassi] and making it honest, but not dangerous," Aislinn said. "I was very vocal when 13 Reasons Why came out because I felt like they did not carry that responsibility the way that Degrassi did. And that’s something I’ve always been really proud of — the way the show took its time and was really thoughtful with our stories."

    24. Linda has always been adamant about casting real teens to play teen characters on the show.

    Miles and Lola in "Next Class"
    Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Linda said it was essential that the actors be actual young people because it added a sense of vulnerability and authenticity to the scenes. "In a lot of American shows, you’ll see a 25-year-old playing a 15-year-old, and there’s a lot of good reason for that — they're adults, they can work longer hours, and we don't have to tutor them," she explained. "But what I've found is that if you have a 15-year-old playing a 15-year-old, they bring 15 years of experience to the scene, [while] a 25-year-old playing a 25-year-old brings 25 years of experience." 

    25. Lauren said she hopes the show gets another reboot someday so her son can watch his own generation of Degrassi.

    26. Lauren also said that she thinks Degrassi has paved the way for modern teen dramas.

    season 14 "Degrassi" cast
    Nickelodeon Network / Courtesy Everett Collection

    "I don’t think shows like Sex Education or Euphoria or Generation would exist without Degrassi," Lauren said. "I think Degrassi really laid the groundwork for them."

    27. And finally, when asked if there's a possibility of a Degrassi reboot, Linda smiled and replied, "Who knows!"

    Emma and Liberty with Shay and Lola on "Next Class"
    Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Ugh, don't tease us with the possibility of a reboot unless you really, really mean it, Linda!! Click here to read our interview with Linda and Stephen, and stay tuned for more Degrassi news in the future!

    TeenNick

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