Wednesday, August 21, 2019

EUPHORIA & DEGRASSI: Middle School & High School Teens in Thongs

Ilana Kaplan shared in the Vulture piece "What Euphoria Owes to Degrassi, the Godfather of Taboo Teen Dramas" that Maddy's (high school) teen thong scene in Euphoria reminded her of Manny Santos’ (middle-school) teen thong scene in Degrassi: The Next Generation:
In Euphoria’s fourth episode, Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) shows up to a carnival in a racy two-piece outfit that looks more like it belongs at a club in Atlantic City than it does at a high-school event.

That’s when I remembered another major moment in teen TV history: the iconic thong episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation. The 2003 episode, titled “U Got the Look,” centered its plot on Manny Santos’s (14-year-old Cassie Steele) desire to go from “adorable” to “hot.” So, naturally, she does what any teen would do: She shows up to school clad in a crop top, a pair of low-rise jeans, and a blue-studded thong (more than) peeking out of her jeans. 

Kaplan wrote that Manny's desire to go from an "adorable" middle school student to a "hot" nymphet was not only natural but that it was realistic. And that Manny's thong paved the way for future racier teen dramas (e.g., Euphoria):
Years before Euphoria, Degrassi was the boundary-pushing teen drama of its era. The Canadian franchise [...] became famous for its realistic, and often scandalous, plotlines featuring sexuality, drugs, abortion, abuse, and school shootings. 

Euphoria, which features provocative narratives ranging from [...] a character finding confidence by being a cam girl, owes its ability to tackle such taboo teen story arcs to Degrassi. Manny’s thong, alongside countless other Degrassi moments, paved the way for teen dramas to get bolder, racier, and more complex.

In addition, Kaplan wrote that the Degrassi teen thong episode was "iconic". And Kaplan wrote that the teen show had "realistic, and often scandalous, plotlines featuring sexuality" and that the show "[...] created story lines that teens actually encountered in reality."

Furthermore, Kaplan gives one the impression that she condones high school coeds finding their confidence via being cam girls. But it's safe to assume that, ironically, Kaplan does not condone the men whom patronize teen cam girls

Cassie Steele (Manny) shared with Lauren McCarthy in her Nylon piece "Cassie Steele Agrees - DeGrassi's Manny Walked So Euphoria's Maddy Could Run"  (Feb 21, 2022) that her 14-year-old thong scene was "exhilarating" and that it opened doors:
I remember thinking, "Oh, my butt looks terrible in these pants there's this camera on my butt". And I'm 14 at that time. It was exhilarating, but also very nerve-wracking. So I feel like it opened a lot of doors for me [...] it was definitely a blazing path to go down. 
 Cassie Steele Recreates Manny Santos' 
DeGrassi Thong Scene

And to commemorate the episode, 32-year-old Steele recreated the DeGrassi thong scene on TikTok (2021-2-1). 

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