Pride Month Media Feature: “Heartstopper”

Simon Holland, Style Editor

Boy meets boy, and the entire world falls in love. The Netflix series “Heartstopper” centers around high schoolers Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson as they embark on a heartwarming relationship new to both of them.

“Heartstopper”, without a doubt, is one of my favorite pieces of queer media. I fell in love with the webcomic it’s based on during quarantine and was drawn to the realistic depictions of being a queer teenager. The show is a near-perfect adaptation of the comic, nailing everything that was perfect about it.

The series seamlessly touches on homophobia present in high school, the struggle that comes with figuring out one’s sexuality, and the intricacies of high school relationships. There are also numerous queer characters present, making it the perfect show for Pride Month.

Queer people are all too familiar with being “represented” through the same few offensive stereotypes, but “Heartstopper” has nuanced LGBTQ+ characters who aren’t strictly defined by their sexualities. 

I had many moments throughout my viewing where I was overcome with emotion. This was one of the first shows where I felt represented as a queer individual with fully developed characters and a love story that finally felt realistic. 

The show also puts effort into developing all characters, not just Nick and Charlie. One of my personal favorite characters was Elle, Charlie’s friend who had recently come out as transgender, and her main love interest, Tao. None of the supporting characters felt like they were there just to fill space; every single one of them felt necessary.

All that being said, “Heartstopper” is by no means only for queer people, its heartwarming story is one that anyone will enjoy. It’s a breath of fresh air in television, where teenagers actually play teenagers, nothing feels too melodramatic, and it leaves you feeling happy. So basically, it’s not Riverdale. 

On top of the acting and story, the show is paired with amazing visuals. Amazing uses of lighting give every scene a great feel, and animated designs such as leaves and hearts dance across the screen in otherwise live action scenes. These animations are reminiscent of details found in the original comic, and they tie together the show’s aesthetic. 

Whether you’re looking for a way to celebrate Pride Month or watch a show that depicts teenagers in a positive and realistic way, “Heartstopper” is a great way to spend a few hours. •