By: Erin Holly McDermott, Editorial Staff (‘23)
One of the newest Netflix shows, Heartstopper, is a lovely, romantic storyline that represents a greater truth. The show is adapted from a series of graphic novels of the same name by Alice Oseman. The show follows two schoolboys, Charlie and Nick, through a winding story of crushes, friendships, and the spectrum of sexuality.
This show is super cute and heartfelt, and it’s a light show that anyone can finish in just a couple of days. I watched the quick eight episode season in one weekend; however, the duration can depend on your determination. The characters are super lovable, especially the two main characters that the show is based upon. Charlie is a 15-year-old student who has experienced major bullying due to his openness with sexuality (in the orignal story, he has been out for a year). However, Nick, a star rugby player, has yet to come out and discover his own sexuality before pursuing Charlie. Arguably, I believe the supporting characters tie this show together, each with their own background, conflicts, and stories. Tao Xu, a loving friend and loyal supporter, has his own story with Elle Argent, a transgender student who transferred to a different school just that school year. Tara Jones and Darcy Olsson are intertwined in their own coming-out story, full of beauty, support, criticism, and discovery. The relationship between the main and supporting characters combines one of the best portrayed teenage experiences on Netflix. This mark is frequently missed: teenagers often are not portrayed properly and are focused on as young adults. However, this show has normal teenage diction and acceptable means of communication (unlike the random messaging system so many other shows have used). If anything, the only mark missed was the excessive use of emojis (how many hearts do you really need?).
The characters, producers, and storyline positively and properly displayed the role of sexuality in our lives. Personally, I enjoyed and respected the inclusivity and diversity of the characters, with more than half of them being a part of the LGBTQ+ community. To be honest, the use of sexuality as a spectrum is often missed in television. Nick is bisexual, seen with both girls and boys throughout the show. Charlie, meanwhile, is strictly homosexual and is seen with two guys in the show. Another aspect of this show that is somewhat unconventional is its lack of graphic, lewd nature or pictures. Sure, the show tackles serious topics like sexuality, bullying, and harassment, but it does not portray the characters in a sexual or demeaning way. There is no nudity, no sexual actions. The show is clean and pristine, which directly opposes the market of consumers watching shows such as Euphoria, among others. Heartstopper showcases the teenage experience differently, without drugs, drinking, or sex. For me, I enjoyed this difference in content. The show seems strangely nostalgic to other times when television was not full of nudity. The characters have field days, go bowling, play arcade games, and drink milkshakes. While Euphoria and Heartstopper share two different extreme perspectives of teenage life, both can be enjoyed and appreciated through their own spaces.
I would highly recommend Heartstopper on Netflix for anyone looking to watch a romantic, light show. Viewers are looking forward to another season to follow Nick and Charlie’s story and that of the supporting characters.