Heartstopper Represents All

Averi Seely

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Heartstopper is a web series turned graphic novel written by British author Alice Oseman. Netflix announced in 2021 that they had bought the book and would start filming a T.V. show inspired by the book soon. The show came out on Apr 22, 2022, and the fans were ecstatic with the show coming in as the fifth most-watched during the week of May 4th. The story follows 15-year-old Charlie Spring navigating his way through an all-boys secondary school (high school) as the only openly gay kid. 

Heartstopper provides representation, comfort, and a place to relate to members of the LGBTQ community. The show will keep you on the edge of your seat as you go through a roller coaster of emotions. Heartstopper is a safe space. Heartstopper makes you feel bubbly and warm inside. It is a laugh, a cry, and comfort all wrapped up into eight episodes.

The show’s adaptation, although slightly different, still stuck to the main points of the story, retained the same message as the webcomic and book, and focused on the same issues. The show brought attention to issues such as homophobia and the problems of being outed versus coming out willingly, along with the struggles of figuring out your sexuality, as we see with the character Nick Nelson.  The show highlights one of the antagonists, Ben Hope, on his journey to understand his sexuality and his struggles with internalized homophobia, an issue not often focused on in the media. The show provides a way for members of the LGBTQ community to take center stage. Not only are the characters part of the LGBTQ community, but so are some of the actors. The show also provides a way for the fans of the web series to see their favorite characters come off the pages and come to life. 

While the T.V. adaptation was great some things didn’t match the webcomic or book. For example, the way the character Tao Xu was perceived by fans who have only seen the show versus the way his character is perceived by fans of the webcomic is completely different. The show focuses on the controlling and means parts of his personality. They failed to include his fears of abandonment and other issues and problems that contributed to his controlling and overprotective manner.   While the show is pretty close to the webcomic the Netflix team did miss a lot of Tao’s story. They also cut out a couple of characters. Fans of the show may not know that Charlie has a little brother who’s named Oliver, or a fourth-best friend besides Tao, Elle, and Issac who’s named Aled. There are some differences between the show and the web series, but that doesn’t make the show any less awesome. Lovers of the web series can still enjoy the show, and the show can be watched by anyone, not just the web series lovers. Heartstopper is a must-see on Netflix for everyone!