In Mother and Child Reunion (1) Emma is seen with Manny Santos reading a love email from a boy named Jordan. Meanwhile Manny has tried to get a hold of Emma and realizes that she must have lied and gone to meet Jordan after all. Spike tells Emma that she does and they have to keep talking about their problems.Later her mom Spike Nelson asks if she's ready to go. Her mom comes into her room and tells her to turn off the computer. Manny runs to Degrassi and tells Spike and Snake about what had happened to Emma. Emma adds that she was so scared and she and Spike hug.In addition, Emma receives far more screen time in Degrassi: The Next Generation than her mother Spike or Caitlin ever had in the original series. She and her mother argue about how Emma kept Jordan a secret from her for eight months and about last night.This is due to the longer-run of Degrassi: The Next Generation. Nystrom tells Emma that he'll go down to the lobby so she can leave. She tries to open the room door a second time, but Mr. He threatens to tape her mouth if she makes a noise. Emma tells her mother that she didn't tell her about Jordan because she doesn't understand her problems.With Spike a teen mother, Emma was a semi-regular on the series with various on-and-off appearances as an infant and toddler.In Taking Off (1) Shane goes to a Gourmet Scum concert, which he bought the tickets for using Spike's child support money, Shane took acid, got high and then proceeded to jump off a bridge, it is not known if this was an intentional suicide attempt or an accident.
Emma is the daughter of Christine Nelson and Shane Mc Kay and longtime best friend of Manny Santos. She was portrayed by Miriam Mc Donald in Degrassi: The Next Generation, and was portrayed by Ashlee Henricks and Samantha Morrison in Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High.
Emma is, therefore, literally the title character of The Next Generation and one of the two title characters of the shows pilot episode, Mother and Child Reunion.
In addition to serving as a tie-in to Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High, teenage Emma was initially written as The Next Generation's counterpart to the earlier series' character Caitlin Ryan (played by Stacie Mistysyn).
Both rabidly pursue various environmental and social causes, and Emma's first boyfriend, Sean Cameron began as a near-duplicate of Caitlin's first, Rick Munro (very similar back-story, abusive parents, nearly identical wardrobe, interest in motorcycles, interest in the girl's causes only as it let him be close to her).
Moreover, Caitlin's father was a teacher, as would be Emma's stepfather, beginning in the second season.