We've got a Charmed reboot in the works. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is getting a spooky Netflix make-over. It makes sense - nostalgia is still really popular and people want to bank on that success. So, it makes sense that the 80s cult classic, Heathers - who just had a majorly successful musical open Off-Broadway a few years ago - would be getting something. Unfortunately, it looks like it's going to be one of the biggest dumpster fires I've ever seen.
For those who are unaware, Heathers was a Winona Ryder-lead black comedy about the rigid and often painful ways that High School hierarchies can ruin people's lives. In it, Veronica Sawyer (Ryder) is a part of the popular-and-evil clique, the Heathers. She meets and falls for bad-boy/unknown-psychopath J.D. (Christian Slater) After Veronica goes against the leader of the Heathers, Heather Chandler, the vile ringleader threatens to ostracize her and make her life hell. So, Veronica and J.D. accidentally killer and make everyone thing she committed suicide. And it gets crazier from there.
Heathers is a dark film, even by today's standards, but it works because it holds a mirror up to society. People watch it, and they see the dangers of a life dominated by social capitol - and how it can destroy people both literally and figuratively. And it manages to be a witty, quotable film to boot.
Flash-forward to now, and we are given a trailer for a Heathers-based TV show. It seems similar, but has some major changes, specifically with the Heathers. Heather Chandler is now a "body positive" mean girl, Heather Duke is now a genderqueer meanperson, and Heather McNamara is now Asian. They are still vicious, and attempting to be as quotable as their film counterparts. JD and Veronica are still very much, very much straight, and very much killing people.
And that's a huge problem.
Look, I'm all for positive representation, but is it really wise to have a show about two cisgendered white people killing minorities? You can say that I'm being reductive, or whatever, but that's what's happening in this trailer. And we've also got some really awful commentary by the adults, which is in-line with the original movie, but it just felt so gross. "The gays and jews are over?" Come on.
I'm not saying that there aren't bitchy fat people, or Asian people, or queer people. They definitely exist, but are they rampant enough to make an entire show killing them? Why is a cisgendered-straight-white couple doing it? Especially a couple that is as "Hollywood-attractive" as Veronica and Dean? It doesn't make any sense to me.
We live in a world where fat people are still being shamed for being fat, and where most queer and Asian people don't have a lot of positive representation. I haven't seen the show, so I can't speak for it, but I know Heathers. And this also seems to be taking a weird murder-y route? The entire thing leaves a very sour taste in my mouth, because the world we live in right now does not allow very much power to any of the people that the Heathers represent.
Fat people are still shamed, and get bullied relentlessly for it. Asian people still have to fight to be noticed as a minority and to be represented in a real, not-stereotyped way. And queer people are still getting killed left and right on tons of different forms of TV shows - or we are treated as extensions of straight characters. And Heathers is shaping up to be a show that's about just that
I could be wrong - this show could be about the burgeoning power structures and how the world is changing. Minorities are given more of a voice, and cisgendered-straight-white people don't like that very much. I want to believe that this is the case, but for that to be possible, both Veronica and J.D. need to be painted in a much more negative light than we see them in this trailer.
I hate to break it to whoever thought this reboot was a good idea, but it's not queer, fat, or POCs that are making it hell for cisgendered-straight-white people. We live in hell every day - and I really hope this show isn't what it's advertising to be. But, I'm not getting my hopes up.
Shann Smith is a freelance writer, screenwriter, playwright, gamer, and film/TV lover. When he's not working on his columns for Popdust, he's doing his best to create and consume as much media as he can!
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