Long ago, before Drake bemoaned how you used to call him on his cell phone in "Hotline Bling," he was simply known as Jimmy Brooks. And while Jimmy Brooks was many things — school jock, expert wearer of track suits — he was not a star. He was part of something bigger: an ensemble cast of preteen characters on the Canadian drama Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Degrassi premiered in 2001 and remained on the air for 15 seasons before being cancelled. It's returning this year as the rebranded Degrassi: Next Class, with a new generation of characters.
During its tenure, Degrassi became famous for pushing the envelope, or being "100% intense" as it often emphasized in its promos. The show tackled everything from drug use to rape to school shootings. Degrassi also brought fans the first transgender teen character to appear as a series regular on a scripted show.
Yes, it was awful to watch the original cast (from the era better known as "The Drake Years") go off to college, or disappear from the show with no explanation. Yes, Degrassi Goes Hollywood and Degrassi Takes Manhattan were terrible. And yes, Emma and Spinner never should have gotten married (seriously, what were they thinking? Emma & Sean forever, am I right?).
But, at the end of the day, this show was a must-watch for every kid who hit puberty between 2001 and 2015.
In a shocking twist (is there any other kind when Degrassi is involved?), the first season of Degrassi: The Next Generation is available on the show's official YouTube channel. And the entire show is available on YouTube right here. That means you can watch full episodes and relive all the drama.
In honor of Degrassi's return, and the endless binge-watching possibilities, we're taking a look at some of the craziest, most intense, heartbreaking, and all-around "go there" moments from Degrassi's time on air.