If you’re here, you obviously have just watched “Bittersweet Symphony” Parts 1 and 2. In the episodes, we watched as Cam’s depression worsened and ultimately led to his suicide.
Most of you probably cried. Or, at the very least, you shed a tear. Those who’ve seen the episode may have cried because you either have felt the way Cam did or you know someone who has actually committed suicide. I cried a bit, I’m not ashamed to say, because, I’ve been where Cam was. In fact, the line, “I just wish I could go to sleep and never wake up,” has actually come out of my mouth before.
I’m very happy that Degrassi finally tackled this issue. If you follow Degrassi, you know that “The Next Generation” is not the first “branch” of the show universe. Suicide has been touched on… but only once before. For many of us, this IS the first time we’ve seen Degrassi do this storyline and to my knowledge, only the second time a main character has died. (On the current Branch.)
From a writers perspective, Cam’s entire plot line was done very well. The character obviously was created for the sole purpose of having this kind of storyline. However, you’ll notice, Cam was a well-rounded character. His depression was not the very first thing we saw surrounding him— Some shows would have— but Cam had ideals, dreams, and when first introduced, was almost a bully— then quickly softened— (His friendship with Tristan) and finally— he and Maya became a couple. And then— we saw how the pressure of performing on the hockey team and being homesick affected him.
That was a really well written scene. What I liked was how it was IMPLIED Cam loved the pain. Cam cutting was never seen again, but just from that scene, you gathered he probably engaged in self-harming from then on.
Cam taunted Zig about losing Maya. In this action, we saw another side to Cam… a dark side… which we can gather was part of Cam’s sickness. The fact is, Cam was a ‘good character’, but like a real person, did have a side to him that wasn’t pleasant. This made him REAL.
The other nice part of this entire story line was the reaction by various students. Dallas showed anger. Maya showed denial. Becky showed ignorance. And the rest of the student body showed the ‘usual’ reaction— sadness and disbelief.
I also was so HAPPY the writers came up with Hoot, Maya’s stuffed animal that has now become a symbol of love, hope, and death… I was WAITING for Maya to “sit” with Cam’s death by holding Hoot. And SHE DID.
My only complaint, and it truly is only one— is I wished we had seen Cam once more before his suicide. I understand not showing the act itself. And that’s not what I wanted. However, I feel a scene showing him entering the green house would have been more real… to see the character’s final thoughts before reaching the breaking point. It would have been nice to see him thinking out loud his feelings.
Also, let’s applaud the show for doing this storyline with a MALE. So many teenage dramas focus on females getting depressed. Rarely does a male character express it. Having a male commit suicide was a brilliant choice and goes against the grain.
Lastly. Dylan Everett, the actor who portrayed Cam, deserves an award for his acting. Honestly, Dylan was so believable. You weren’t watching an actor… you were watching CAM suffer and want to fall asleep and never wake up. The casting department did a great job here. Dylan, I wish him the best in his future acting work. He is going to do great things.
I claim no ownership over the pictures used in this post.
EDIT: Some readers have wondered what Cam was sick with. It’s unknown if the writer’s specifically decided to give him a disorder or not. If they did, we don’t know what it is. Now, I’m not a doctor. But, I take care in the characters I write and I do research on this sort of thing. My guess is that Cam suffered from a general anxiety disorder. Or, He could have suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder. A generalized Anxiety disorder just means a sufferer is somewhat always anxious, and when traumatic things happen to them, the anxiety can manifest in depression, if provoked enough. BPD is a disorder where sufferers experience extreme emotions, either negative or positive. If Cam didn’t have BPD directly, it’s possible a person can simply have “traces” of it, and that’s my best guess. The evidence surrounding my belief is this: Cam is waiting for Maya to arrive. He’s happy— he did just have the “best night of his life.” When Zig approaches him and tells him to “get lost forever”— that comment clearly reverted Cam back to an extreme emotion. And yes, there were memories to support this change. But, ultimately, it was just a comment Zig made. In the context of BPD, Cam overreacted to this statement and dismissed the fact that Maya was happy with him. The negative comment overrode Cam’s happiness and ultimately led to his death. This is all theory, you understand.