5 Guys From Degrassi You Didn't Realize Were So Attractive
When you think of the cuties from Degrassi: The Next Generation, who is it you think of? Craig, the brooding guitarist battling his many demons? Sean, the rebel with the sordid past and the heart of gold? Or maybe Sav, the sensitive and intelligent family man who everyone wanted a piece of?
This show was full of attractive people. But I bet that these five characters didn't end up on your list due to their personalities on the show and storylines. But take a step back from the personality traits their characters had that turned you off, and you'll realize there were five very attractive men portraying them. It just goes to show you how big of a difference a personality makes.
Danny Van Zandt
Played by Dalmar Abuzeid
For any of you who only watched early episodes of The Next Generation, you'll remember Danny Van Zandt as Liberty's dorky and immature younger brother, and JT's close friend. He's famous for providing JT with a penis pump when he was nervous about impressing Manny in bed. Ironically, we then watched Danny's character pummel JT after finding out that he got Liberty pregnant. In those early years, it's no secret that Danny was an outspoken ragamuffin who on the surface was up to no good.
And that personality caused the writers to partner him up with best friend Derek to create the friendship they called "Double D." And as we all know, Derek was extremely bad news. Derek was a mostly one-dimensional Degrassi character, who after being given up for adoption as a baby, felt the need to make everyone around him feel bad. He harassed Jimmy about his disability, was homophobic, bullied and beat up Jane because he didn't want her on the football team and even snuck stolen merchandise into Danny's bag at the mall, getting him in huge trouble with a mall sales associate who was already racially profiling him. And yet even after all this, it took Danny a long time to distance himself from Derek.
Danny eventually matured on the show and became somewhat of a sensitive ladies man. But quickly after that, his character graduated and left the show. Unfortunately, even though he experienced a ton of growth, that long-lasting friendship with Derek - who never really changed substantially - pegged Danny in our minds as a dork and/or jerk. But rewatch season 8 and you'll find he's actually a pretty great guy by the end.
Played by Scott Paterson
I remember first seeing Johnny DiMarco in the gang that ended up killing JT. I thought he was really gross in his army-print pants and billed hat. Plus I felt he needed a good shampooing. So later on, when Darcy made out with him, and Alli showed interest in him romantically, I was grossed out to say the least. Plus his bad boy attitude was beyond cheesy. And let's not forget...he watched our beloved JT die! This man was the scum of the earth in my mind.
But then, as his caring nature towards Alli started to come out and he began pushing the hair out of his face, I started realizing that he was actually quite attractive. And who could forget Alli's time visiting him in University? Seeing Johnny clean cut and worried about his studies really made me realize just how impactful cleanliness and a serious outlook on life can make an impact on how others perceive you.
But one could argue that Johnny had always given us signs he was good deep down. He was shocked and appalled by his friend who murdered JT, he let Toby know that he wanted their beef to be water under the bridge when he got to Degrassi, he felt guilt after having sex with Alli when she realized after the fact she wasn't emotionally prepared, and he saved her from herself when she idiotically ran away from home and the problems she caused. The signs were all there that he was supposed to be cute and loveable. But you could have fooled me in the beginning.
Played by Daniel Kelly
It took me forever to realize that the actor who played Owen was physically attractive, because his character was such a jerk. I am happy that he was never considered to be one of the show's popular hotties, because it meant that the audience was not fooled by muscle enough to forget how much of a creep this character was.
Owen was extremely homophobic before his brother Tristan came out, being the one to write "Riley’s a Fag" on the schoolbus with shaving cream, he tried to coerce Alli into doing him sex favors for money when he knew she was at an emotional low point, and he threatened to tell the whole school about his hook-up with Anya when she wouldn't agree to a date with him. This man was truly a sociopath.
But in true Degrassi fashion, they decided to humanize him and turn him and Anya into a couple. The way that their relationship was written had me on an emotional rollercoaster. On one hand, they had plenty of chemistry, he was developing as a character, and he got her to stand up to her overbearing friends and encouraged her to pursue University and a career when the going got tough. He even tried to get her to stop relying on cocaine as a coping mechanism. But on the other hand, they got together because he hooked up with her when she was depressed, and then blackmailed her into going out with him. And yet people sort of secretly loved them together because of the damn writing making him sensitive. Even Degrassi producer Stephen Stohn considers them his second favorite couple of the whole series. Curse you, Degrassi writers and your persuasive ways. Luckily they broke up permanently, and Owen was never treated like a stud after that.
Played by A.J. Saudin
During season 8, four freshman were introduced to the show to kick off a whole new younger generation of characters: Clare (Darcy's sister,) Alli, (Sav's sister,) KC and Connor (Snake's godson.) Connor, who was intelligent, meticulous and serious about absolutely everything, gets bullied and teased for his ways. His friends - who understood and loved him - tried their best to socially acclimate him. It's later discovered that his behavior and way of thinking are due to Asperger's Syndrome. I personally enjoyed watching this character develop, learn to deal with what makes him different from others and embrace all the things he's capable of that his peers weren't.
However, this show pulled an odd move when they suddenly had Connor expelled for stealing women's underwear from the locker rooms. Connor didn't understand what made people attracted to each other in a sexual manner, so he took it upon himself to do research. And normally I'd slap a guy silly for fiddling with people's undergarments, but the show was pretty insensitive to his disorder and made the character leave for a good chunk of time while he "figured things out." But it got me thinking. Even though A.J Saudin was always attractive in the show, the reason why we as the audience didn't go gaga over Connor was because his character wasn't sexualized. Connor was never interested in anyone romantically in a serious way and the idea of being a love interest was rarely written in his cards. He was even at first considered to be the the show's first asexual character before later events would follow.
After his brief hiatus, he returned to Degrassi a total stud muffin. Suddenly, he was more socially adjusted, mature and confident. They even referred to him as "Connor 2.0" and he ended up in a very serious relationship with Jenna. Unfortunately, this transformation occurred so late in the show that most people my age and older weren't around to watch it happen. But I was glad that the show brought him back. The only thing I wished was that we could have seen him go through counseling and overcome some of the difficulties of his disorder. That would have made a huge difference in the way we as the audience saw people with Asperger's. Next time they have a chance for a similar storyline, I hope they take us first hand on the character's journey.
Played by Ephraim Ellis
I know exactly what you're thinking, but hear me out. It's a good thing we didn't realize how attractive Ephraim Ellis was when we watched this show. Because as sweet as Rick could be on a good day, he was manipulative and abusive on his bad days to the point where a lot of people got hurt. I remember back in my middle school days, I was watching a Degrassi episode with Rick in it, and my mother passed by the T.V and commented "He's cute." I could not believe her at the time. How could she think Rick was cute? His hair was too long, he was socially awkward and he put Terri in a coma! But then I looked at him a lot closer and found that he was actually handsome. And the reason why we as the audience didn't realize it was because we were valuing him based on his actions and personality. Which - again - is a good thing, that many of us wish Terri would have done as well.
Even the female characters on the show didn't find him attractive after the Terri incident, as they were more interested in his values and actions. And in turn we as the audience followed suit. While there were nice moments he had with Toby and Jimmy that humanized him in ways that were necessary to create a dimensional character, I thought it was pretty great that the women weren't falling for a kind word from him so fast. And that the way they saw him rubbed off on the audience, giving us all a bad taste in our mouth when it came to abusive people.
There are many different reasons why a character played by an attractive actor or actress comes across as unattractive or nothing to write home about. And it all has to do with how their personality is written and framed. If they've done something unattractive or evil, or have associated with people who have done something unattractive or evil, it's easy for us to separate the actor's attractive face with an unsettling personality type. If only things were so black and white when it came to our real life relationships, and that it were easy for everyone to drop abusive or manipulative people from their lives just by seeing key personality traits that need to be avoided. But unfortunately, people - much like these Degrassi characters - are complex. There are other traits that will happen to draw us to people who have problems in their past. Sometimes it's good that we see those attractive personality and physical traits, as maybe they've changed and grown, but sometimes it's a bad thing, and we let what we like about them get us into a lot of trouble.
The important thing to notice from this realization I suppose is that whether you're in a fictional universe or the real world, people won’t/shouldnt always be defined by their past, but they rightfully can be if they refuse to make a change.