Familiar traumas, smartly addressed

Diane Werts

July 1, 2005

DeGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION. Two-part episode starts a five-week run of new drama half-hours. Tonight 8-9 p.m. on The N.

It’s always up to the girls, isn’t it? The same old message gets delivered tonight when The N launches five weeks of new episodes from “DeGrassi: The Next Generation.”

While the high school classmates deal with fallout from the recent shooting, bipolar diagnosis and other crises, they also tackle the school play and, oh yeah, oral sex. Boys push for it, and girls are positioned to hold the line when it comes to that climactic moment in the back of the van.

Some things never change, which can be true and tiresome at the same time. Luckily, “DeGrassi” treats such perpetual concerns with the weight experienced by teens feeling the heat of “hooking up” for the first time. It ties into post-trauma stress for Emma (Miriam McDonald) and gets messier than she expects for something she considers not “real sex.” The second half-hour speaks graphically plain to make clear the stakes with which these “kids” are playing. It’s as smart as we expect from this perennial fave.

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