Degrassi vs. Glee
As it is mentioned in “Defining Teen Culture: The N Network”, the character casting in Degrassi is visibly different from Glee. They all look much younger than the characters in Glee. Most importantly, as the creator of the show emphasized, the selection of the kid actors in Degrassi is diverse and they are indeed carefully chosen to represent the larger millennial teen generation. Most of the characters have the look of a boy or a girl next door. They do not fall under the category of cliché casting that usually happens on the screen. They are in other words average looking kids… They wear clothes that we would see people wearing on a daily basis. They are not portrayed either as spoiled rich brats or glamorized upper class fashion icons. It is because of this unglamorized portrayal of the teens that the representation of the millennial in Degrassi is accessible to a wide range of demographics. In other words many of the kids from diverse socioeconomic background can connect with the representation of their generation in the show.
Whereas in Glee, most of the characters pretty much fit the image of a typical on-screen teen idol. They are stylish, fashionable, glamorous and attractive. They all possess a sense of a personal fashion, meaning that they dress and behave in the way that they believe reflect who they are inside.
But the question then arises, “Why is Degrassi less successful (at least from the class discussion, only few people seem to know about the show) as a teen TV show than Glee?”My guess would be that Degrassi’s representation of the teens is maybe perceived as too plain or too raw or too shabby or too real. Maybe the teens want to see a more glamorized/stylized version of themselves on screen. Maybe they want to see themselves growing up to be “the one”. The one who is stylish, attractive, confident and talented. Maybe they do not want to see, “the messiness of life in an adult world.” (Ross, 66)