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episode discussion: Bitter Sweet Symphony, Part Two

  • Avatar of 83optics

    83optics

    [1]Feb 22, 2013
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    learned:


    * E coffee: it doesn't contain what you think.


    * the suicide site reminded me of Cobain.


    * haunted Eli will be ever more haunted now. this is the goth ethos in full.


    * not even caramel drizzlings can ease this pain...


    * to this day, Claude's suicide haunts me. the way they did that episode back in the day was so realistic and stark. this comes in as a close second, though, it was very well done, it explored difficult feelings and reactions honestly, truthfully.


    * a jolt there at the end seeing Cam talking again, as if from the grave, one of the best Degrassi actors overall.

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  • Avatar of teenj12

    teenj12

    [2]Feb 22, 2013
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    Wow, I can't believe they actually went through with killing off Campbell. I was so sad hearing that he had died. But I figured they would go that angle anyway, since seeing "Rusty Cage". It is so sad that Cam never got any peace. I want to blame Zig for his death and its easy too, but Cam had problems long before Zig's comment as we know and he probably would have committed suicide sometime, if he would have went on without telling anyone his problems.

    I think Dallas/Alli had some nice scenes. I found it so powerful when he was yelling at Alli. Luckily they made up. I also liked the rooftop scene with Dallas/Fiona.

    Glad the Clare/Eli stuff didn't take away from the episode. Pretty powerful scene with Eli finding Cam dead. I'm glad he protected Clare from the sight of it at least.
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  • Avatar of vampman87

    vampman87

    [3]Feb 23, 2013
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    Cam's death honestly caught me off guard. Degrassi had been getting really predictable lately, shelling out stories that the 80's generation or the Next Generation did, but with new characters, but this was completely out of nowhere, much like JT's stabbing. Although I enjoyed the characters reactions, I don't like how Cam's death happened off screen without even a hint that he was going to go through with it. Every character that died on the show, both the original and this series (Claude, Rick, JT) had the character alive for at least the first half of the episode, and then drops the bomb. If we were given a hint that Cam was going to commit suicide, even if it was a scene of him going into the greenhouse at the very beginning, that would've been much better than "oh yeah, Cam died. Sorry."



    The way Cam's death was set up just seems like Zig's words led up to Cam's suicide. He had a really bad day, but Maya DID cheer him up. If the writers took out the part of Maya and Katie letting him stay the night and just let him really suffer (suspension due to the fight, Dallas yelling at him, Maya yelling at him, Zig telling him to stay away from Maya) THEN his suicide would be more believable, since Claude's suicide and Rick's shooting spree were results of major humiliation congas and they believed they had no other alternative but to do the thing they did. Claude had no friends and was BRUTALLY rejected by Caitlin, and Rick was humiliated in front of the entire school at the exact moment he was supposed to be lauded. That's not the case with Cam. Zig called him crazy, that's it. Zig's words were pretty tame compared to, say, Dallas, and yet THAT was what pushed Cam over the edge? Please.

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  • Avatar of SqueakyYugi

    SqueakyYugi

    [4]Feb 23, 2013
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    No hint that he was goingthroughwith it? He drank expired milk, sliced his hand with a skate, and broke his arm on purpose. Alone, Zig's words weren't much, but they probably flooded back all of the things that he'd tried to suppress; things like that don't disappear just because someone cheers you up. Besides, suicide isn'tusuallydone by rational people; it shouldn't make perfect sense.


    Must be weird for Zig to have that black eye; like the last artifact of Cam. RIP Claude Tanner, Rick Murray, JT Yorke, and now Cam Saunders.

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  • Avatar of brag0031

    brag0031

    [5]Feb 23, 2013
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    I thought this episode did a good job of showing all the different reactions people have to suicicde. The only thing I wish they would have done was to have a scene between Simpson and Eli where Simpson could have talked about finding Claude and told Eli things will get better.
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    sonicdude91

    [6]Feb 24, 2013
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    Alas, that will be happening in upcoming episodes. In my opinion, I think it was appropriate that Simpson did not share his "suicide witness" history with Eli when the suicide happened because Mr. Goldsworthy is speechless enough as it is and talking about it with him would have meant that the pain of him seeing Cam dead would have been wrapped up and not continued. It's important to know that people grieve in different ways which is what we're going to see in next week's episode with Eli.
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  • Avatar of siberian142

    siberian142

    [7]Feb 25, 2013
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    Very depressing episode, but more so because I could relate to Cam and he was one of my favorites. It is upsetting that they show him with such ups and downs and make you think he could potentially get better only to have him kill himself.

    vampman87 wrote:

    Cam's death honestly caught me off guard. Degrassi had been getting really predictable lately, shelling out stories that the 80's generation or the Next Generation did, but with new characters, but this was completely out of nowhere, much like JT's stabbing. Although I enjoyed the characters reactions, I don't like how Cam's death happened off screen without even a hint that he was going to go through with it. Every character that died on the show, both the original and this series (Claude, Rick, JT) had the character alive for at least the first half of the episode, and then drops the bomb. If we were given a hint that Cam was going to commit suicide, even if it was a scene of him going into the greenhouse at the very beginning, that would've been much better than "oh yeah, Cam died. Sorry."



    The way Cam's death was set up just seems like Zig's words led up to Cam's suicide. He had a really bad day, but Maya DID cheer him up. If the writers took out the part of Maya and Katie letting him stay the night and just let him really suffer (suspension due to the fight, Dallas yelling at him, Maya yelling at him, Zig telling him to stay away from Maya) THEN his suicide would be more believable, since Claude's suicide and Rick's shooting spree were results of major humiliation congas and they believed they had no other alternative but to do the thing they did. Claude had no friends and was BRUTALLY rejected by Caitlin, and Rick was humiliated in front of the entire school at the exact moment he was supposed to be lauded. That's not the case with Cam. Zig called him crazy, that's it. Zig's words were pretty tame compared to, say, Dallas, and yet THAT was what pushed Cam over the edge? Please.


    Me neither, I think showing Cam in the greenhouse preparing to kill himself, but not actually showing it, would have been much, much better. The last we see of him is him being happy, devastated by Zig and then crying on the steps of Degrassi. For that to be the last we see of Cam alive is silly and I think it'd have been more impactful to see his desperation before going through with his suicide. Killing him off screen is upsetting too, but more so because he died alone without any closure in the most raw moment of his characters life.

    And that is how depression and mental illness works, unfortunately. You work hard to have a normal life and to be happy, but the negatives can be much more impactful than the positives. He messed up his chance to be a new person on the first day back to school and while he had a great time with Maya the night before, Zig calling him a psycho brought back all the negative feelings. He realized he caused a lot of drama for her and felt guilty. And without Maya in his life, he didn't have much to live for. He hated hockey, he was homesick, he had mental problems, drama problems, and he felt alone so it was a sufficient enough push for him to kill himself.

    Personally, I would have preferred it to have been a failed suicide (at least more than him killing himself over night with nothing to show) and for him to move back to his family. With all the information they shared about why suicide is wrong and that there is help and all the build up of his character, I think him failing to kill himself, being shown that there is hope for him and him getting the help he deserves would have been a much better outcome.

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  • Avatar of ktfahel

    ktfahel

    [8]Feb 26, 2013
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    I haven't seen this episode yet. So, why am I in this topic? Because, with all of the write-ups and speculations from part 1, I felt the need for a buffer. In other words, with the rumor of a suicide, I didn't want to be surprised...not with that. Five people close to me have committed suicide, including my beloved baby brother, so it's a tender spot with me. Now I can watch it without having my heart entirely ripped out of my chest.


    Thanks for the warning...and I'm not being sarcastic.

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  • Avatar of siberian142

    siberian142

    [9]Feb 26, 2013
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    ktfahel wrote:

    I haven't seen this episode yet. So, why am I in this topic? Because, with all of the write-ups and speculations from part 1, I felt the need for a buffer. In other words, with the rumor of a suicide, I didn't want to be surprised...not with that. Five people close to me have committed suicide, including my beloved baby brother, so it's a tender spot with me. Now I can watch it without having my heart entirely ripped out of my chest.


    Thanks for the warning...and I'm not being sarcastic.


    I am really sorry to hear that. No one close to me has committed suicide, but it is a tender spot for me as well, I find it one of the saddest things to do. This episode really touched me; I really liked Campbell as a character and I felt that I could relate to him really well because we share a lot of the same traits. I am not suicidal, but I do have depression and this episode has been in my head ever since it aired.
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  • Avatar of brag0031

    brag0031

    [10]Feb 27, 2013
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    sonicdude91 wrote:
    Alas, that will be happening in upcoming episodes. In my opinion, I think it was appropriate that Simpson did not share his "suicide witness" history with Eli when the suicide happened because Mr. Goldsworthy is speechless enough as it is and talking about it with him would have meant that the pain of him seeing Cam dead would have been wrapped up and not continued. It's important to know that people grieve in different ways which is what we're going to see in next week's episode with Eli.
    That makes sense. Didn't realize that was coming next episode.

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  • Avatar of vampman87

    vampman87

    [11]Feb 28, 2013
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    SqueakyYugi wrote:


    No hint that he was goingthroughwith it? He drank expired milk, sliced his hand with a skate, and broke his arm on purpose. Alone, Zig's words weren't much, but they probably flooded back all of the things that he'd tried to suppress; things like that don't disappear just because someone cheers you up. Besides, suicide isn'tusuallydone by rational people; it shouldn't make perfect sense.


    Must be weird for Zig to have that black eye; like the last artifact of Cam. RIP Claude Tanner, Rick Murray, JT Yorke, and now Cam Saunders.


    I knew Cam was depressed and his actions the past season showed it, and that suicide is irrational, but this is a TV show and TV shows set up this type of thing with multiple clues. Let's look at Rick, since his story arc was, in my opinion, PERFECT writing. He started out normal, but had a deep undercurrent of rage and control issues. He starts dating Terry, and his control issues are brought to light. Terry and Rick break up, but then get together, but after an argument Terry is put into a hospital and Rick goes to get some help. He comes back a new man, genuinely sorry about what he did and wanting redemption. The student body, however, doesn't want him and make his life miserable by beating him up, trashing his property, and humiliating him every chance he gets. However, he puts up with it and makes a friend in Toby, who is just as lonely. Toby sees the good in him, and eventually Emma, who was one of the bullies as well, begins to soften her stance. Rick's knowledge of trivia earns him a spot on a trivia team and wins the respect of Jimmy, earning him another friend. However, Jimmy's friends still see the old, rage addled Rick, and rig the championship so when Rick win, he's tarred and feathered. Rick then oversteps his bounds by trying to cling to Emma, who rebuffs him. Toby is nowhere to be found, and Jimmy's friends make Rick believe that Jimmy was the mastermind behind it. This causes Rick to snap, and he walks home, takes out a gun at the end of the first part, and in the second part goes back to Degrassi and starts shooting, eventually getting killed by his own gun.



    THIS is how a storyline is supposed to happen. A character is introduced with flaws, eventually the flaws become a problem, the character eventually manages to overcome, or at least distract himself from the flaws, he gains respect and good things begin to happen to him, then the flaws resurface and bad things start happening, and the character loses EVERYTHING (or at least perceives it), and that causes him to snap, and his last scene before the Event shows him setting up or at least contemplating what's going to happen. Cam didn't have that. Yes, he did have a really bad day the episode before, and he had loneliness problems for his entire time onscreen, but Maya was the light in his life and the scene before Zig's insult was Maya spending the night with him cheering him up. The rules of writing a drama is that the crazy, life altering bad decisions happen when the light in the person's life is taken away, or at least perceived as such. Rick was utterly humiliated and his friends abandoned him. He had nothing to live for. Cam was expelled, yelled at, but he was going to meet his girlfriend who made it clear that she loved him. If Cam caught Zig kissing Maya, attacked him, and maybe accidentally hurt Maya physically, that would've made sense in the story. But Zig just insulted Cam. With no witnesses. After Cam had a great night with Maya. In real life that might be enough to push a person over the edge, but in terms of dramatic TV, it didn't mesh at all. And not even hinting that Cam was going to commit suicide by having him walk into the greenhouse, or even hold the thing that would kill him, is just schlocky storytelling. Everything after the suicide was near flawless, but the events directly leading up to the suicide was unbelievable.

    Edited on 02/28/2013 12:16am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of ktfahel

    ktfahel

    [12]Feb 28, 2013
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    I dunno. I appreciate that they're taking a different look at the topic of suicide, different from the same old stereotypical "build 'em up to tear 'em down" that you described. For instance, just the day before a very dear friend of mine ended his life, he and I had arranged to have lunch together the following day, and his job was going well. The day before my younger brother's life ended was one of the most at-peace and happy days of his short life. I can RELATE better to the unexplained. Falling into stereotypes is not good writing; if anything, it is just a teensy bit lazy.


    BTW, I am not disagreeing with you completely per se: Rick's storyline was wonderfully written, but his was also not a suicide. Claude's storyline is a closer parallel.

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  • Avatar of siberian142

    siberian142

    [13]Mar 1, 2013
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    vampman87 wrote:

    SqueakyYugi wrote:


    No hint that he was goingthroughwith it? He drank expired milk, sliced his hand with a skate, and broke his arm on purpose. Alone, Zig's words weren't much, but they probably flooded back all of the things that he'd tried to suppress; things like that don't disappear just because someone cheers you up. Besides, suicide isn'tusuallydone by rational people; it shouldn't make perfect sense.


    Must be weird for Zig to have that black eye; like the last artifact of Cam. RIP Claude Tanner, Rick Murray, JT Yorke, and now Cam Saunders.



    THIS is how a storyline is supposed to happen. A character is introduced with flaws, eventually the flaws become a problem, the character eventually manages to overcome, or at least distract himself from the flaws, he gains respect and good things begin to happen to him, then the flaws resurface and bad things start happening, and the character loses EVERYTHING (or at least perceives it), and that causes him to snap, and his last scene before the Event shows him setting up or at least contemplating what's going to happen. Cam didn't have that. Yes, he did have a really bad day the episode before, and he had loneliness problems for his entire time onscreen, but Maya was the light in his life and the scene before Zig's insult was Maya spending the night with him cheering him up. The rules of writing a drama is that the crazy, life altering bad decisions happen when the light in the person's life is taken away, or at least perceived as such. Rick was utterly humiliated and his friends abandoned him. He had nothing to live for. Cam was expelled, yelled at, but he was going to meet his girlfriend who made it clear that she loved him. If Cam caught Zig kissing Maya, attacked him, and maybe accidentally hurt Maya physically, that would've made sense in the story. But Zig just insulted Cam. With no witnesses. After Cam had a great night with Maya. In real life that might be enough to push a person over the edge, but in terms of dramatic TV, it didn't mesh at all. And not even hinting that Cam was going to commit suicide by having him walk into the greenhouse, or even hold the thing that would kill him, is just schlocky storytelling. Everything after the suicide was near flawless, but the events directly leading up to the suicide was unbelievable.


    I thought it was believable enough. Cam is a very different character compared to Rick.

    Zig extinguished Maya's light by calling Cam a psycho and made him realize the burden that he was placing on her. He was in a very fragile emotional state and his suicide didn't need a whole lot of set up because it was attempting to be realistic. To Cam, he had nothing to live for; he was homesick, was constantly at odds with Dallas because he didn't put his heart into hockey, and thought that Maya seeing the "real him" and breaking up with him would be inevitable. He suffered from a mental illness and with anxiety and his thoughts were all over the place, it didn't matter that Maya loved him because Zig's words cut deep. He assumed his illness meant that he was going crazy and that he would never be truly happy and would ultimately just be a burden on Maya. He had an emotional breakdown because of this. It wasn't flashy, but he was a very introverted kid who had just given up on life. I agree that showing Cam in a desperate state at the start of Bitter Sweet Symphony II would had improved the episode a ton, but I don't agree that events leading up to it weren't believable.

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  • Avatar of ktfahel

    ktfahel

    [14]Mar 1, 2013
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    Finally got around to seeing them.


    Wow.


    You could see Cam snap after Zig called him "psycho". Loved seeing the different people's reactions. Maya's anger and Dallas' despair were incredible. Zig's left me a little flat, and I'm ambivalent about Tori. I agree that it will be interesting to see Eli's eventually.


    I wish with every fiber of my being that my schoolhad those kind of resources when my friend Steven killed himself. One teacher, my drama teacher (how ironic), took me out into the hall when I broke down in his class after hearing the news (which I got from a mutual friend). That teacher (who had Steven the previous year as a student) didn't even know until I told him. There were no announcements, no counsellors called in, no candlelight vigil...nothing.


    Sorry for the emotional dump. 31 years haven't been long enough. All said, I felt it was a well done episode...although I AM curious about Maya's audition.

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