It was Friday night and like a classic couple, my husband and I were getting ready for a cosy night of Netflix wine and Tapas. When the age-old question arose what are we going to watch? Do we want to start a new show, or just rewatch something we know we like or go for a night of horror and slasher films (our favourite)?
Honestly, the world is already horrific enough at the moment and I wanted to watch something fun, sweet and positive. So, my husband suggests a Netflix show he read something about on Instagram. It is a British queer love story that takes place at an all-boys high school. Based on a graphic novel by Alice Osema.
Got to love the representation Netflix is pumping out there with queer stories so why not watch it.
I will not spoil the story to much, because I think you should watch this show. Let me start by giving you the synopsis, first of all, 30-minute episodes are the best if you want to binge a show, but I digress.
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. When gentle Charlie and rugby-loving Nick meet at secondary school, they quickly discover that their unlikely friendship is blossoming into an unexpected romance. Charlie, Nick and their circle of friends must navigate the ever-relatable journey of self-discovery and acceptance, supporting each other as they learn to find their most authentic selves.
This is such a wholesome teen love story, that doesn’t feel forced or fake. However, I must admit I realized whilst I was watching it, I kept expecting the worst to happen. Somehow growing up in a time where the only queer stories on television always depicted something terrible happening to the characters did a number on me. I am used to seeing the queer kid getting beat up, being forced out of the closet, thrown out of the house by their parents, falling in love with the straight boy, having addiction problems and dying of AIDS. While these stories are also important and valid, it has created some trauma I did not even know about.
So back to Heartstopper, even though I was clutching my imaginary pearls at every scene that might become dramatic, this show was positive and upbeat. Of course, there are difficult subjects, it is still about teens figuring out their sexuality and gender and just their general place in the world which is scary for everybody at that age. But it is handled with care and joy. The young actors really sell the emotion and heart of the story.
This is how you do representation right, even with the casting and the choices they made for the show 10s across the board for me.
We ended up finishing the bottle of wine and the entire season in one evening.