With Views From the 6 on the way, OVO rapper Drake has become one of the biggest names in the music industry. In 2004, however, Drake was known by another name: super popular, handsome high school athlete Jimmy Brooks. Brooks, who was portrayed by Aubrey Graham (Drake's real name) during the Degrassi: The Next Generation television series from 2001 to 2009, seemed to have the perfect life.
That is, until Jimmy's life was altered forever. The two-part episode "Time Stands Still" follows Rick Murray, a student of Degrassi High School, who was bullied by his classmates Spinner Mason, Jay Hogart and Alex Nuñez. After being pushed too far, Rick decided to bring a gun to school.
After Spinner and Jay tell Rick that Jimmy was at fault for a prank against Rick, the troubled student finds Jimmy and shoots him in the back, severing his spine and leaving the former basketball star paralyzed from the waist down. One of the most dramatic moments in Degrassi history, the show brought an added perspective to the world of bullying and school shootings.
"It [school shootings] wasn't an issue when the original Degrassi was on, and it's become much more of an issue in the last 10 years," head writer Aaron Martin told Fox News in 2004. "And with any teen shows, there are only so many issues you can cover, and new ones are harder and harder to find."
Drake, who was 18 at the time, found the episode's new angle refreshing. "I'm usually involved in the jock love triangle, which is always fun because the girls on the show are amazing," he told Fox News. "Time Stands Still" garnered the highest ratings in the show's history in Canada, according to Fox.
Barbara Coloroso, an expert on school bullying and author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, was asked to help with this episode. "We did a lot of research for that episode," Degrassi executive producer Stephen Stohn told Uproxx. "We actually flew Barbara Coloroso up here to Degrassi and she met with our writers and helped us frame the story." Coloroso also worked with the families of the 12 victims of the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
"Time Stands Still," to date, is still one of the most controversial episodes on any television show for a teenage audience; The N network had to air public service announcements warning of the episode's content prior.
"I'm still of the opinion that Degrassi — and of course, Drake — should be applauded to this day for never turning the camera away when its charismatic, popular leading man got shot," Shaunna Murphy wrote for MTV. "The real-life victims of these crimes never get a chance to look away, so as an audience, neither should we."