Degrassi: The Next Generation came out of Canada and ran for 14 seasons. When the show hit season 10, the network renamed it to the simpler Degrassi. It’s the fourth incarnation of the Degrassi franchise and has the same format as the previous three televisions series. Anyone familiar with the Degrassi name already knows what to expect: a show about teen problems dialed up to 11. This ensemble group of teenagers attend the Degrassi Community School.
With over 380 episodes, Degrassi contained heaps of characters. Some started out as recurring or guest characters before joining the cast full time. Some characters have been on the show for many seasons as the main cast, only to be written off the show and return in a later season in a guest role.
Having so many characters creates an opportunity to formulate a near-infinite number of relationships. If one doesn’t work, a character (through the writer of course) has options for another character to start a relationship with.
That also means couples have a chance to harm or improve the atmosphere of the show, to receive harsh criticism or high praise, to confuse or delight fans. There have been plenty of couples on Degrassi, but the visibility of some has been more apparent than others because they were so important to the season or story arc, they forged positive or negative views on Degrassi.
Here’s 8 Couples That Hurt The Show (And 8 That Saved It).
16 Hurt: Peter & Emma
Emma meets Peter first at a local swimming pool but doesn’t know who he is. Later, she learns he attends Degrassi.
After she introduces herself to Peter, Emma is invited to a party by Peter (along with Manny.) Emma has an immediate and deep crush on Peter, but at the party, Manny was seen disappearing into a secluded room. Emma confronts Manny about this, but Manny is adamant nothing is going on. Then inappropriate video of Manny surfaces, and Emma discovers Peter was the one who took the footage.
In the relationship, Peter was basically a tool.
Peter was first interested in Manny and decided to e-mail the video as revenge when she rejected him. When Peter learns Emma’s crush for him still exists, he attempts to apologize and even tells Emma she’s a “major catch.”
Right away, Peter has low morals and poor decision-making and a subtle misogynistic attitude towards Emma. In later episodes, Peter planned to spike punch at a party, got his car illegally modified, and lied about his knowledge of Sean’s substance use.
How did Emma hurt the show with this relationship? She kept giving Peter a pass with each indiscretion, allowing the typical and contrived behavior to continue in episode after episode. The writers could have done much better with these two.
15 Saved: Paige & Alex
Although they met in the fourth season, Paige and Alex hated each other at first. They couldn’t stand the sight of one another, usually getting into yelling catfights when in the same room.
Paige wrecked her boyfriend’s car, which forced Paige to get a job to pay off the damage. Paige obtained a job at a movie theater working right next to Alex. Over time, the two girls became friends, and after kissing, they started dating.
The first kiss between Paige and Alex initiated a couple that saved the show and probably kept fans around. It made Paige question herself, but the relationship that blossomed showed that you can become friends with an enemy and quite possibly even afall in love.
The show did a great job of slowly deepening the friendship between the two before they engaged in a loving relationship.
This slow build-up gave the couple the tools to have a wonderful foundation. They did break-up in season 5 because Alex didn’t want to be Paige’s “lapdog,” meaning she didn’t want to be told how to plan her life after high school. But they got back together until season 7, when Alex permanently broke up with Paige because their career plans were on different paths.
14 Hurt: Owen & Anya
The first time Owen shows interest in Anya, he makes the situation awkward and uncomfortable for her. Not the best way to show a girl you like them.
In the 10th season, Owen kept touching her arm and flirting with her. Anya informed Owen she would never like him or be with him like that. On Anya’s 18 birthday, she had her heart broken and for one reason or another, she wound up with Owen. There were plenty of hurdles between them, like their major differences in personalities. Anya’s addiction and failing to get into college put additional strain on them as a couple.
Owen was not the greatest person.
He started their relationship by blackmailing her into a date and facilitating her bad judgment when they were together.
He vocally disapproved of her addiction and helped Anya train for the Army, but that’s the most good that came from them as a couple. How their relationship started and how he treated it after Anya left for the Army showed viewers how not to care for a significant other.
While there was no official on-screen breakup, after Anya joined the Army, Owen did tweet he was single, saying, “Yeah, I’m single, but you’re gonna have to be amazing to change that…”
13 Saved: Spinner & Darcy
Spinner and Darcy first meet in the season 4 episode, “Anywhere I Lay My Head”, and start hanging out more when Darcy brings him to a religious group she’s a member of, the Friendship Club.
Although the two dated off and on through season 5, they tried to maintain a successful relationship twice. Eventually, they do break up for good when Spinner can’t take it that Darcy keeps showing inappropriate photos of herself online when he asked her to stop.
One thing we learned with this couple is that, despite the opposite tropes the writers gave them, Spinner and Darcy had compatible values.
Spinner was the typical bad-boy, while Darcy was the goody two-shoes. Darcy had been brainwashed into believing she’d lose Spinner if she didn’t take the next step with him. She almost did but admitted to Spinner what had happened. Spinner stands up for her by fighting Jay - the one who convinced Darcy.
At another point, Darcy didn’t agree with what the leader of the Friendship Club was promoting but supported the right to the Club’s free speech, and Spinner backed Darcy up.
They didn’t have a tumultuous relationship by any means, which is why they have been able to remain good friends.
12 Hurt: Craig & Manny
One of the more toxic relationships in Degrassi, Craig and Manny’s decision to make three attempts to be a couple severely hurt the show. The problem wasn't just that they got together, but the reasons the relationship started and ended in the first place.
They had a date in the second season but didn’t commit to a full romantic relationship until sometime in the third season.
That relationship started in the third season because of an affair. Craig was seeing Ashley Kerwin at the time but lied to Manny. He had said his relationship with Ashely was done. Craig and Manny consummated their feelings, and Manny became pregnant that night because of confusion on using protection. Their relationship was reignited and subsequently ended in the same episode, “Accidents Will Happen”, after Craig didn’t thing Manny should have terminated her pregnancy,
With a third attempt at love, Craig and Manny almost lasted a full season, but in season 6, Craig found using illegal substances more important than Manny and broke up with her.
Craig and Manny’s relationship almost gives the okay to cheat on a significant other to find love elsewhere.
That's what hurt the show; hopefully fans and viewers didn’t use this relationship as a model for their own.
11 Saved: Eli & Clare
One of the longest-running couples in Degrassi is easily Eli and Clare. Clare had some major love interests besides Eli, and Eli had his tragic past with Julia.
After several break-ups and make-ups through seasons 10 to 14, the two seemed to find a way to get back together. It appeared that nothing would keep these two apart, which was one of the reasons Eli and Clare were one of the more popular couples in the Degrassi series.
Eli and Clare helped save the show because they were always there for each other, no matter what either one went through.
For example, Clare’s cancer, the passing of their best friend Adam Torres, Clare’s pregnancy, and much more. Near the end of the series, Clare and Eli began a long-distance relationship, which started in the episode “Finally”, that would last until they were able to go to university together.
“Eclare” is one of the few couples that achieved “Endgame Status.” That means they were a couple that is assumed to still be together when either a) the show ended or b) one or both characters have left the series.
10 Hurt: Spinner & Emma
Emma was involved in another relationship that hurt the Degrassi show.“Spemma” was a strange couple that makes it seem like the writers wanted them to get together but didn’t know how to do it.
Curious about how Spinner and Emma managed to become a couple? Well, you’d have to wait almost 10 years before anything surfaced between them. Not only did they never flirt, but they barely hung out or talked on Degrassi. So what happened? One night at a casino with Manny and Jay, Spinner and Emma impulsively got married. Both were drunk.
After Spinner and Emma realized they were madly in love with each other, it hurt the show because it was never really explained why they suddenly had deep feelings for one another.
They stayed married despite having no backstory or history. If the writers and producers to wanted them to be the only characters from the first season to get married, then they accomplished that goal. And if you thought their marriage wouldn’t last, you’re in for a surprise: the Degrassi reunion episode shows that they are still together. They're presumably still as madly in love as they were in that casino.
9 Saved: Grace & Zoe
Grace and Zoe started their romantic relationship in the 14th season. The pairing didn’t last long, and it wasn’t a deep love, but what made this couple save the show was that it was a fun relationship to watch as it grow and that it helped Zoe come to terms with herself.
Zoe needed help with a website and offered Grace some of the earnings in exchange for help. Then Zoe picked Grace for lab partner during summer school. Zoe just wanted good grades, but the two girls quickly became friends. They spent all their time together and kissed by the end of the summer. Soon, as the junior year progress, Zoe found she had a huge crush on Grace and pursued her.
Grace didn’t completely reject her friend as she wanted to try to enjoy being with Zoe, but she was interested in someone else: Zig. Zoe took her disappointment too far when she wound up with Zig. This harmed her friendship with Grace, and it’s never been as deep since. They've become friends again and even lived together, but it’s clear Zoe still has romantic feelings for Grace.
Zoe is a strong character who developed greatly over the course of Degrassi and her feelings for Grace were a big part of that.
8 Hurt: JT & Mia
JT and Mia's relationship tarted during the sixth season of Degrassi. At first, the couple appeared as if they would last a long time, but it soon became clear that the two were completely wrong for each other.
Some scenes and conversations between them gave the impression that Mia was a rebound girl after JT broke up with Liberty Van Zandt.
Liberty was his girlfriend for a while before Mia came into the picture. The one saving grace for JT was that he got along with Mia’s daughter, Isabelle. This relationship seemed like a vehicle for the writers to create an obstacle for JT.
Many fans felt JT was only meant to be with Liberty. They were much better as a couple. Mia was inserted into JT’s life to make Liberty jealous - this hurt the show because it falls on the shoulders of the writers.
The unnecessary drama increased between JT, Mia, and Liberty when Liberty became angry that JT was good with Isabella. She informed Mia about the child she had with JT. Mia almost broke it off with JT due to trust, but the couple were together until JT lost his life in “Rock This Town”.
7 Saved: JT & Liberty
One couple on Degrassi that everyone knew had an amazing relationship was JT and Liberty. While they didn’t end up together by the time JT was stabbed, they were right for each other from the beginning.
The relationship blossomed from friendship to obvious crushes to boyfriend/girlfriend. Then they were thrust into the role of parents when Liberty became pregnant.
Despite JT try to take his own life, he promised to always be there for her - and he was always there when it mattered the most. While a tragic scenario, giving up their baby for adoption was pain for them and bonded them even closer in many fans’ opinions. Yes, JT eventually started dating and establishing a relationship with Mia, but the connection between JT and Liberty was always there, which could be considered as saving the show.
Even after JT’s passing, Liberty continued to mourn him, her romantic feelings too strong to just let him go.
Why did they save the show? Because their love was real and strong enough to endure the toughest issues, and even though they stayed apart, it was nice to see that the couple remained in love with one another for quite some time.
6 Saved: Jay & Manny
Some may say that individually, Jay and Manny were not good people, and when they got together that their relationship was doomed from the start. However, their chemistry was simply to strong to deny.
Manny was misguided in her youth, making many mistakes due to impulsive decisions, but by the time she left the show, Manny was one of the few characters to really grow as a person. Fans found Manny to be one of the best characters in Degrassi.
On the other hand, Jay was a terrible person. When with Alex, he cheated on her with so many people that it was revolting. Jay also gave Emma an STD. However, when he formed a relationship with Manny, he became a better man.
Possibly the worst part was Manny considered Jay clingy; she broke up with him after Jay took an engagement ring form a pawn shop, but since then, they’ve been together until the end of the show.
Their couple status has the “Endgame” moniker, meaning they are still together after the show. Their relationship saved the show because fans and viewers saw a change in Jay that impressed them. In a way, Manny really saved Jay more than the show.
5 Hurt: Alli & Leo
If you saw this relationship in Degrassi, you can probably already guess why Alli and Leo as a couple hurt the show. They developed a relationship starting in season 13 and were one of the few couples that didn’t have a nickname.
Allie met Leo in Paris when she went on a school trip in the summer. Her phone was stolen, and Leo gallantly got it back for her. There was instant attraction at first - and nothing else.
When it was time for the trip to end, Leo admitted he didn’t want a long-distance thing and wasn’t content on them as a fling.
On Alli and Leo’s final night in Paris, Alli got a text from Dallas. Leo let his jealousy and anger come to the surface as he saw the text, clearly thinking Alli wanted another guy. He physically assaulted Alli by grabbing her arm and bruising it.
Leo decides to transfer to Toronto University so they could continue the relationship on his terms, and Alli even marries him!
This relationship - more Leo’s behavior, really - hurt the show because abusive actions occurred throughout their time together until it culminated in to a full-fledged beating when Alli didn’t want to move in with Leo. She annulled the marriage right after.
Two weeks in Paris should have been fun and enough, but this pairing shows that shot-term infatuation doesn’t make a long-lasting relationship.
4 Hurt: Tristan & Vijay
The relationship between Tristan and Vijay hurt the show because using another person to get over a past relationship is not healthy.
Tristan and Vijay started dating in the very first season, at the start of the school year. Vijay’s crush on Tristan was obvious. Tristan knew about the crush, so he asked Vijay out to get over his previous boyfriend, Miles.
The two actually had much in common, like their passion for musical theater, but when Vijay finally understood he was a rebound, he broke up with Tristan.
Tristan admittedly had never gotten over Miles and tries to break up with Vijay, but the latter beats him to it by changing their online relationship status.
It only got much worse from there. After their relationship is over, Tristan informs Vijay, through an anonymous e-mail, that Vijay might have an STD. It’s obvious to Vijay the e-mail was sent from Tristan, since Vijay confronts Tristan and tells him that he was the only “guy he’s ever messed around with before.” Unfortunately, Tristan nonchalantly tells Vijay that it’s only chlamydia, furthering angering Vijay.
It’s clear that Tristan never took the relationship seriously, even when something detrimental could emotionally harm Vijay.
3 Saved: Miles & Tristan
The chemistry between Miles and Tristan has always been strong. They grew a friendship through Maya before sharing a kiss. Miles, however, continued to have feelings for Maya, which caused their first break-up.
Tristan did shame Miles and any girls he had slept with because he was jealous, but then denied doing that, which made for a confusing relationship at that point.
Despite that, the two got back together, much to the delight of fans and viewers. They did hit a few snags during their second time around, like Miles’s cheating and the bus crash, but all in all, their feelings for each other overcame everything.
Miles cheated with Lola when Tristan was in a coma, but Tristan decided to forgive him. Then, Tristan finally ended their relationship organically because Miles wanted to chase a writing career and he wanted to get better. Tristan had no problems letting Miles do that, but Tristan never got over Miles, as evident after he started a relationship with Vijay.
Even after their break-up, Miles still insisted on taking Tristan to prom. There's still hope for this couple to get back together after the show.
2 Hurt: Tiny & Lola
Tiny and Lola weren’t together very long. Their relationship started in the first season of Next Class and had their finale as a couple in the 2nd season.
Lola chased after Tiny even though she knew her best friend Shay really liked him. It appeared that Lola and Tiny never really got along as a couple, since every time Shay and Tiny hung out they were much more compatible. Shay and Tiny were extremely smart, while Lola gave the impression of being flaky and ditzy.
Why did Tiny and Lola hurt the show? One main reason is that the two didn’t have anything in common. You could make the argument that Lola just didn’t care about other people, especially Tiny and her friend Shay. And that’s not the kind of character you want teenagers to emulate.
First, she refused to acknowledge Shay’s feelings for Tiny; Lola pursued a relationship with Tiny anyway. And the reason Lola and Tiny ended was a petty reason on Lola’s part. She was using a dating app simply to get other boys to take her out and buy her pizza. Tiny wanted her to delete it, but she didn’t. They got back together, but Lola saw how much Tiny still liked Shay andthey broke up again. She hated Tiny and Shay at first, but eventually she showed that she could be an adult and reconciled with both.
1 Saved: Becky & Adam
The word adorable doesn’t categorize too many couples on Degrassi, but many fans used that word to describe Becky and Adam.
Their relationship saved the show because it was an inspiring and progressive relationship to present on a teen series. It also proved that people can change, making Becky a better character and person.
At first, Becky was disappointed Adam was transgender and tried to help him accept his "female side". Becky came from a very conservative household, but that didn’t matter: the two became friends. They eventually said how they feel for each other. They began their intimate relationship in season 12.
Like most the couples in Degrassi, the couple does break up, but for totally normal reasons. Adam tells Becky he loves her for the first time, but she can’t handle it and must think about them as a couple.
Adam tries to get over Becky but knew his feelings for her were too strong. Becky sends him a text saying she wants to talk. Adam tries to text back that he loved her, but since he was driving, loses control as he’s using his phone. Adam crashes and loses his life.
The saddest part of their relationship is that Becky never had a chance to reunite and resolve the past with Adam before he passed away.
What couples of Degrassi do you feel hurt the show or saved it? Let us know in the comments!