Fresh off directing Drake’s “God’s Plan” and “Nice For What” music videos, director Karena Evans hit a home run directing the “I’m Upset” music video. In “God’s Plan” Drake generously gave away nearly a million dollars, with “Nice For What” he put powerful women like Tiffany Haddish and Issa Rae at the forefront, and with “I’m Upset” he humbly returns to his Canadian roots with a Degrassi reunion.
Back in 2016, many Degrassi: The Next Generation characters returned to the school for an alumni gala during Netflix’s Degrassi: The Next Class season 2 in honor of the show’s 500th episode. It gave us a chance to see where some of our favorite Degrassi characters ended up: Peter Stone (Jamie Johnston) was working at a music studio, Liberty Van Zandt (Sarah Barrable-Tishauer) was in law school, and Emma Nelson (Miriam McDonald) and Spinner Mason (Shane Kippel) were still married and looking for a house, just to name a few. But what about Jimmy Brooks? I remember watching that episode thinking, What a shame we’ll never get to see Drake return for a reunion! But boy, was I wrong. Not only did he come back for one — he hosted it!
Watch my discussion video on Drake’s Degrassi reunion:
So where are the OG characters now?
First thing to note is that Jimmy’s no longer in a wheelchair! A big part of Drake’s storyline when he was rising Canadian teen actor Aubrey Graham playing Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi was that his character was really creative, loved music, and was a star athlete. But in season 4 he was shot by Rick Murray (Ephraim Ellis), leaving him paralyzed with a wheelchair for the rest of the series. However, later on in the series, Jimmy gets stem cell surgery and its revealed that he’s progressing and his conditions were improving. This was one of the last times Jimmy was on the show so we never saw where things went next, but based off this Drake-imagined reunion, it looks like Jimmy would’ve bounced back and been able to walk again!
We see Jimmy and Spinner being fitted for suits for the high school reunion together. The two played best friends on Degrassi and it looks like nothing has changed.
Terri McGreggor (Christina Schmidt) and Hazel Aden (Andrea Lewis) enter together: this was really cool because we haven’t seen Terri since she season 3! During the season she was in an abusive relationship with Rick and ended up in a coma and eventually moved way to private school. This reunion is the first time we’ve seen her character since then and she was glowing!
Ashley Kerwin (Melissa McIntyre) and Craig Manning (Jake Epstein) walk in together, their characters had so much history together; we see Ms Kwan (LinLyn Lue) and Mr Simpson (Stefan Brogren), Ellie Nash (Stacey Farber), Paige Michalchuk (Lauren Collins), and Marco Del Rossi (Adamo Ruggiero), Derek Haig (Marc Donato) and Danny Van Zandt (Dalmar Abuzeid), Connor Deslauriers (A.J. Saudin).
One of the most exciting cameos to me was Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes aka Jay and Silent Bob! They are Degrassi royalty in my eyes…with appearances on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Jay and Silent Bob Do Degrassi, and Degrassi Goes Hollywood. Their episodes are iconic and some of my favorite in the entire series. Kevin Smith specifically has always been a HUGE Degrassi fan and after his heart attack he said he sang the theme song to himself in the hospital because of its positive message. It was so wonderful to see them be a part of this. In their cameo, the two get into some drug related activity with long time Degrassi veteran Principal Simpson.
Manny Santos (Cassie Steele) and Emma Nelson walk in together. They’re still best friends and Emma even helps Manny with a wardrobe malfunction. It brought me back to the OG Manny days. Never forget that iconic thong scene from season 3!!!
Another big shocker was the Rick cameo!! Rick wasn’t a popular student at school but he did a lot of things that changed Degrassi’s history forever. He was controlling and abusive to Terri when she was his girlfriend and ultimately put her in a coma. He also came to school with a gun — he shot Jimmy and put him in a wheelchair and ultimately was killed during the school shooting he started. In this cameo, we see Rick running down the hallway being chased by Drake’s IRL OVO friends.
We also see Toby Isaacs (Jake Goldsbie), Liberty Van Zandt, Jane Vaughn (Paula Brancati), and Mia Jones (Nina Dobrev) throughout the video. We see characters dancing down the hallways, riding tricycles, taking photo booth photos, even scanning their butts on copy machines. It’s getting LIT! But of course its not a true Degrassi reunion unless they GO THERE. And, of course, they did. There’s a fight, Spinner is vomiting all over the place (which could maybe be a reference to when he threw up in class after undergoing chemotherapy), a fire breaks out, and the students are running out of the school. The fire could also be a reference to the season 3 finale of Degrassi: The Next Generation when Jimmy rented a limo for the school dance and they show up to find the school on fire.
Obviously Drake included a lot of cast members, but there were two noticeably missing: Sean and J.T. According to Drake, Ryan Cooley who played J.T. Yorke thought the invite was a scam and Daniel Clark who played Sean Cameron shared that he unfortunately never got an invite.
The music video ended with a montage of old cast member footage and footage from the music video reunion over the classic “Whatever It Takes” theme song. What a perfect reunion!
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