brighterday.grace

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

I want to state for the record that for the first time since maybe Degrassi Next Generation I’m going to feel the absence of an outgoing graduate. Miles Hollingsworth was, upon first viewing, another spoiled rich kid, a Declan 2.0 of sorts. But the vast complexities of the character, the emotional and physical abuse from his father, struggling with his sexual identity and drug addiction, put him in another class altogether. 

He came to life as much through the writing as he did through the performance of Eric Osborne. Degrassi actors get little in the way of recognition. Few are heralded above others. But Eric’s performance was a standout from the moment he came on screen. Able to deftly go from the manipulating schemer to tortured soul to everyday teenager, he brought it time and time again.

It was also effortless how Eric played Mile’s sexuality. He gave us a nuanced and believable turn both on the accounts of his inability to label himself bi-sexual to his attraction to both boys and girl. 

The character was an embodiment of the progression, growth and maturity, that often comes with experience and age. By the time we saw him graduate he had made a realistic resolution with his father, no longer able to not breath around him. He came to terms with his sexuality. No longer ashamed and afraid, he came out as bi-sexual. He battled through drug addiction and came out the other side. He also survived Zoe, Maya and Esme, an impressive feat given his circumstances and low self-esteem. It seemed with each relationship that passed, with the exception of Esme, he became wiser and certainly more self-assured. 

His two strongest, and perhaps most vital relationships, were with Tristan and Lola, respectively. Each complex and flawed but both lending to his forming confidence and knowing the importance of healthy relationships. Miles once said to Tristan “the list of people he’s been in love with was much shorter.” The love shared between both Tristan and Lola, was surprisingly adult not in terms of sexual content (though there was that too) but in how he handled and approached the relationships. 

He was also handed situations where making adult decisions was the only recourse whether he was up for the task or not. He essentially had to be a parent to his brother and sister. And when his boyfriend Tristan fell into a coma due to a bus accident he weathered the challenges.

I imagine Mile’s future would be both toiling at times and industrious, but the person he’s now become will aid in the trials and illuminate the joys. He’s found an identity in being a writer. He accepts an opening at the London Academy of Writing, hoping his work will make a difference. And when Tristan breaks up with him so as not to disrupt his education and future he takes it in stride, taking with him the love and memories not the loss and pain.

He was a well worn and well loved character for me, and I will miss him in the seasons to come. A teen character this well written and portrayed comes but only so often and importantly so.