Friday, April 22, 2022

Heartstopper: Episode 1


1. Meet
Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) comes back to school post-winter break after being outed as gay and bullied for much of the previous year. He regularly meets closeted schoolmate Ben (Sebastian Croft) at random secluded spots on campus to make out, but Ben is adamant that their fling should remain a secret and even denies knowing Charlie whenever he greets him at the corridors. Charlie is assigned a seat in class next to Nick Nelson (Kit Connor), the popular rugby player who invites him to join the team after seeing him sprint fast during PE. Charlie reluctantly agrees and slowly develops a crush on his new acquaintance, something his overprotective friend Tao (William Gao) warns him about because Nick is obviously straight. Together with their introvert friend Isaac (Tobie Donovan), they reminisce their time together with their friend Elle (Yasmin Finney) who was forced to transfer schools after coming out as transgender. Charlie breaks up with Ben after seeing him kiss a girl. As a heated altercation ensues, Nick steps in and saves his seatmate.


This BL subgenre has been making waves on this side of the planet for a few years now, yet I’ve only seen one or two so far, recognizing both as essential for LGBTQ+ representation but too teenybopper for my taste. There seems to be a template used as far as film techniques and juxtaposition of social media interaction onscreen are concerned, making it quite obvious that these films/series cater to a much younger demographic. Then you realize, these narratives HAVE TO be teenybopper. It is during those formative years when such storylines serve a crucial role in validating a teenager’s coming-of-age journey. True enough, most of the raves online about Heartstopper are in unison about the inaccessibility of such LGBTQ+ friendly stories before. When you don’t see your personal journey reflected that much in the world around you, it leads to the thought that you are abnormal, resulting in a plethora of issues and repressed self-expression. Luckily, today’s generation seems to have enough to go by. It’s a good start.


“He looks like a golden retriever.” –Tao Xu

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