Degrassi: Next Class, Netflix’s new iteration of the veteran Canadian series, premiered last week, with ten episodes of exquisite teen earnestness. It’s the best season in years, covering Gamergate-esque social politics, STDs, drug abuse, masturbation, body anxiety, “Hastygram,” privacy concerns about cloud storage, and every permutation of crush-having one can imagine. It’s a dream, and the next batch of ten episodes cannot come soon enough.
And among its other wonderful stories is a cross-promotion for another Netflix transplant: There’s a Gilmore Girls subplot in episode six, “#NotAllMen.” Zoe — the former star of a teen drama, a survivor of sexual assault who very publicly pressed charges against her assailants, and the creator of “Degrassi Nudes,” a program in which power-squad cheerleaders sold nude photos of themselves — is grappling with being attracted to her BFF, Grace. Zoe’s mom, not the most loving person by any stretch, is homophobic and unsupportive, and Zoe’s upset. So upset that she wants to find her father, whom she’s never met, and whose identity she does not know. Eventually she concludes that her dad is perhaps David Sutcliffe, who played Christopher on Gilmore Girls. Zoe thinks they have similar features, and reasons she may have gotten her acting genes for him. Plus, her mom was an extra on GG. And what luck! He’s in town filming a movie. Zoe and Grace decide to stalk him.
That’s quite the Netflix shout-out. But Degrassi writer and co–executive producer Matt Huether tells us that it was a lucky coincidence. “It was not at all a Netflix-suggested tie-in. We just love Gilmore Girls,” Huether wrote in an email. “We’re all huge Gilmore Girls fans in the writers’ room and we were delighted to figure out that the timeline worked for Zoe’s mom to be an extra on the show when she might have gotten pregnant. And we also thought it was great that Zoe’s comfort show was about a mother-daughter relationship.” Aw, poor Zoe. Her comfort show going forward should be something to help teach her the virtues of being a good and responsible friend because oh boy, she could use some help in that department.