Netflix recently produced an eight episode series called Heartstopper. I was “hesitant” to watch it due to Netflix’s debatable reputation for rom-coms and queer shows. But over this weekend, although somewhat late, I clicked on the thumb nail and…
I LIKED IT OK, IT WAS GOOD… I watched it twic- thrice, I watched it three times.
If you haven’t watched it I’ll give you a run down of the plot. We meet Charlie who is an openly gay kid that was bullied and outed. In his new class he meets Nick, the star rugby player of the school who’s presumably straight. Charlie immediately starts to fall for Nick, much to the dismay of his supportive best friends, Elle and Tao. Throughout the season, the show explores self discovery, the balance of friendship and romance, trans and homophobia, bullying, and other prevalent teen topics.
I think coming of age shows can be kinda hard to pull off. They can be super unrealistic and cliche, so here are some things that I think Heartstopper did well:
Elle is a Black transgender girl played by a trans actress, which is already great right off the bat. But, one thing that I appreciate they did with her character was not making it a big deal. She transferred over to the girls’ school before the season “started”, no one misgendered her, questioned her identity, etc… it was super refreshing for a character to be “casually” trans.
- They let Nick be bisexual
Often times when a character is realizing/questioning their sexuality, they write them to be completely gay, when thats not really the case. With Nick, they took the time to let him process his feelings and they just LET him identify as bi.
- Tara and Darcy
The lesbians!! They’re interacial! Their ark in the story was them coming out as a couple. They followed the more classic gay storyline of coming out and suffering from homophobia. They’re relationship wasn’t overly sexualized, they were consistently secure with each other. The writers treated them as a normal relationship.
- From comic to screen
Heartstopper started off as a graphic novel/webcomic. One thing that I admire they did was, one, include the author in the final episode and, two, a lot of the scenes were from the comic shot for shot. The frames were extremely similar which I think was super neat of the production team. From what I’ve heard the show was true to the story.
Admittedly, I’m a sucker for cliche, cheesy Netflix’s rom-coms. I obviously know how bad The Kissing Booth is. But have I watched all of them?… Yes. So sure, maybe the bully is SUPER cringy and it’s kinda weird that they only text each other on Instagram, but overall it’s like really good. We’ve come a long way since Love, Simon. It’s bingeable, bittersweet, charming, and overall just worth a watch.