‘Heartstopper’, the most realistic portrayal of queer teenage life – The Ticker
The Netflix adaptation of “Heartstopper,” the popular online graphic novel and comic book series written and drawn by artist Alice Oseman, was released on April 22. So far, the series has been a complete success.
After months of several controversies towards the popular streaming platform over their constant cancellation of shows, this new drama has brought the spotlight back to Netflix.
The 8-episode series tells a beautiful and wholesome queer love story. Charlie Spring, played by Joe Locke, is a gay high school student labeled as a nerd and an outcast. He was bullied after being reported by his classmates and failed to have healthy romantic relationships.
He then meets rugby team captain Nick Nelson, played by Kit Connor, who is the stereotypical representation of heterosexual masculinity.
The two begin a beautiful and genuine friendship that turns into romance.
What’s so important about this story – and one of the reasons for its popularity – is the wholesome, real depiction of gay teenage life. The audience follows Nick on his journey of discovering and accepting his bisexuality.
The backgrounds of other characters are also featured, such as Darcy and Tara, a lesbian couple at an all-girls school, and Elle, a transgender girl recently transferred from an all-boys school.
The broad representation that Oseman’s story serves the LGBTQ+ community is something that many appreciated.
“I found it impossible, then, not to be moved by Netflix’s new school drama, Heartstopper, which should go down as one of the most important LGBTQ+ shows ever made,” Owen Jones said for The Guardian. “It’s important to stress that it was not designed for a geriatric millennial like me. It’s aimed squarely at teenagers, which is one of the reasons it’s so essential.
Another important thing about the show is that it portrays a realistic portrayal of teenage life and struggles, without being overly dramatic and with a cast of school-aged actors.
Unlike shows like “Euphoria” or “Elite,” there’s no room for sex and drugs, which is a critical part of its success. Online users have heavily criticized these shows for depicting unrealistic and overly dramatic teenage lives that no one can relate to.
The story of self-discovery, genuine friendship, and wholesome love in “Heartstopper” is refreshing.
The representation of the LGBTQ+ community is also unparalleled and leaves no room for queerbating, giving a huge voice and platform to queer actors. According to the author herself, “The casting process was strict in that all actors had to match the character’s sexuality and race.”
Fans online have praised the show and its casting directors for the same reason.
“Sorry to be obsessed with the fact that the writer and director of ‘Heartstopper’ insisted that Elle be played by a black trans actress, it always makes me so happy to see creators pay attention to their casting and make what is needed for their characters”, an user tweeted.
The show has been a huge help for young teens on their own journeys of self-discovery. Fans around the world use the story and some of its scenes to come to terms with their sexuality and identity.
Esme, a fan of the series, went viral on Twitter after going out with her family using one of the show’s most dramatic scenes.
Without a doubt, “Heartstopper” settles as one of the most compelling stories of our generation, dealing with heavy topics such as bullying, trauma, gender and sexuality identity and the struggles of early relationships. in a way so wholesome it is joyful to watch.
With its popularity, there is hope for telling realistic stories of the LGBTQ+ community, told from their perspective without falling into stereotypical drama. Oseman’s story helps normalize these perspectives in a world where the media has focused on cisteronormative stories.
“Heartstopper” is the cute, cliched comfort show the LGBTQ+ community has been missing for decades. It is a reflection of the evolution of our society and the way in which the younger generations are more open about their struggles.
While the series is currently airing its first season on Netflix, the graphic novels are a hit. The author regularly updates the beautiful story of Nick and Charlie and their friends in free access on several online platforms. Anyone interested can follow the story while waiting for the announcement of a second season.