Degrassi vs Glee

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)

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3 comments on “Degrassi vs Glee

  1. beatles12345 says:

    In answering your question about why Degrassi is less successful than Glee, I think that it’s first important to define success. While Glee quickly became a worldwide phenomenon, I think that Degrassi and its franchise have found lasting success that Glee has yet to experience.
    That being said, I think you’re right about Glee being popular because it portrays attractive Millennials that many teens may aspire to be like. At the same time, Degrassi appeals to a lot of teens because it’s less glamorous and more “authentic”. Therefore, it’s a two-sided coin: some Millennials want to see realistic representations of themselves while others want to see a more “glamorized/stylized version of themselves”, as you point out.

  2. roofofworld says:

    Thank you for your comment! You made me want to do some more research on Degrassi. To be honest, I have never heard about the show and also never knew anyone who watches it. But you are right, I was maybe too quick to jump to the conclusion that it is less successful (being able to attract the most viewers ) than Glee. Thanks for also bringing up the point about the Degrassi’s success in maintaining and promoting its franchises.

  3. beatles12345 says:

    Just looking at the Wikipedia page for Degrassi, it looks like the original show goes all the way bay to 1979, with a bunch of other shows and films following it. I think that it’s probably succeeded so well because of how much Millennials can relate to the characters. At the same time, the drama is probably a bit over-exaggerated at times. Nowhere near Glee though…

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