Released in late April of this year on Netflix, I became one of the almost 10 million viewers worldwide to watch this show within its first week after being released. Despite having essays to write, readings to do or whatever else we pretend to do as students, myself and my housemates sat down to watch the show at about 7pm one Monday evening and didn’t stand up till we had finished. And I’m going to tell you why…
Hopefully not too many spoilers to follow but if you haven’t seen the show yet then that’s on you! Based on the graphic novel series created by Alice Oseman, an alumni student of Durham (we win !) The series follows the high school romance of openingly gay Charlie Spring (played by Joe Locke) who develops a crush on his seemingly ‘straight’ classmate Nick Nelson (played by Kit Connor). The series follows their love story, after the two boys get sat together in class you watch their friendship grow. From them never knowing each other before, to the cutest friendship ever. Their friendship quickly becomes something more for openly gay Charlie, but he initially does not believe he has a chance with Nick, but love works in surprising ways and we are so glad it does, with Nick more interested in Charlie than either of them realised. The story is so simply beautiful, it’s about a young adult’s journey as they’re just trying to stay afloat in life, school, their own minds. It’s about friendship and bully’s, understanding not only each other but themselves as well, as we see Nick’s journey to understanding his bisexuality. It’s about love, loyalty and acceptance. In this show literally sparks fly, and I’m not just talking about the cute animations.
The reason I love heartstopper, and it’s not just me, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a deserving 100% score, is because it literally gives you butterflies. The amount of young talent that flows through the whole series is amazing, because we’ve all seen those shows where they hire 30 year olds to play 17 year olds (mentioning no names, Riverdale), however the actors in this series we about to sit their A levels at the time of the shows release. The amount of young representation is valuable in this show, as it can related to any young or old LGBTQIA+ person, from the classic ‘am i gay quiz’, to the ‘gay panic’ that comes with watching Pirates of the Caribbean. The whole series is scattered with these little yet powerful moments. However, I have to say my favourite one has to be a smile. In episode 3 titled appropriately, the Kiss, it’s set at a party and Nick, who is at the time is figuring out his sexuality, sees his friends Darcy ( played by Kizzy Edgell) and Tara (played by Corrine Brown) deeply in love and kissing, and he smiles. Nick see’s how happy they are at being openingly in love, and then he realises that he could have the same thing if he follows his heart. This scene is one of the most joyful, liberating, heart-warming scenes of just queer joy ! It’s utter queer youth joy, that has left such an impact.
I’ve now seen this show more times than I would like to admit, spent far too much money on buying the books and now recommend to everyone I ever meet to watch it. But do you know what, I’m just going to continue. I think it is just a perfect show, in a time when all that is shown regarding LGBTQIA+ media is mainly negativity, this show shines such bright optimism that is so welcomed! I’m not saying it’s a fairytale romance, as in the background is an undercurrent of past and present bullying. However, it’s quite rare nowadays to even watch a LGBTQIA+ show without one of the lead characters dying by the end. Heartstopper I think is exactly what is needed right now and it has helped so many people. I really can’t wait to see what comes next !
Image: Katie Rainbow 🏳️🌈 on Pexels