Conners’ Critiques: “Heartstopper” is perfect for a feel-good kind of mood

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Conner McBride, Business Manager

From a graphic novel to Netflix’s ‘Top 10’ list, “Heartstopper,” released on April 22 of this year, is a fluffy, tear-jerking, stomach flipping whirlwind of a show that is definitely worth watching. 

“Heartstopper” features two boys, Charlie and Nick, in years 10 and 11 respectively. It follows them as they go from friends to something more over the span of 8 episodes, each ranging from 29 to 32 minutes long. 

The show is based off of a webtoon that was written by Alice Oseman and gained popularity among the web-novel crowd and was later published into a successful graphic novel. When “Heartstopper” hit Netflix, it gained even more recognition, to the point where plans for a season 2 and a season 3 of the show are already in the works.

Nick and Charlie’s relationship is pretty tumultuous. When they’re friends everything is okay, aside from intense pining on Charlie’s part, but as their friendship progresses more towards a romantic relationship, it becomes more drama-filled as Nick battles with his sexuality: whether he wants to be with Charlie and out himself to his homophobic friends or remain in the closet.

There isn’t much of a soundtrack, except for a few scenes where something important between Nick and Charlie happens. Usually significant scenes are accompanied by a soft piano or some kind of classical instrument. Later on in the show, instead of the classical instruments, electronic-indie-pop music is played as more and more of the characters interact. As for how well the music fits, the classical music could have been swapped out and the electronic-indie-pop could have been used the whole time, but it still fits well with the show regardless. 

The costumes are what you can expect from teenagers living in the 20th century. When the boys are in school, they’re in a school uniform: plain navy blazer with a light gray vest with a blue and black striped tie and button-up shirt. When they aren’t in school they dress in hoodies, jeans and tennis shoes. The girls are costumed to match the boys’ uniforms with the exception of a lack of vest, and the trousers are swapped out for skirts. Their socks are knee-high instead of ankle and there’s a red and gold tie instead of a blue and black one. Overall the outfits are typical to the time-period and setting but still a bit boring, brighter colors on the outfits could have made them more eye-catching.

The show did well with talking about issues like figuring out your identity, whether that be in terms of gender or sexuality, and maybe not being ready to share that with the rest of the world. It shows some of the backlash people can receive if they do decide to come out, as seen in episode 6 “Girls” when two characters, Tara and Darcy, decide to finally post about their relationship on social media. Comments run rampant with derogatory insults, both through social media and in their own school.

Also, the casting directors did a pretty good job casting people who actually look like the characters that Osman drew. Sometimes, casting directors change things about the characters like their ages or how they look, for example, the “Harry Potter” series, when they made Harry’s parents’ ghosts be played by older actors. It was nice to see that actors like Kit Connor (Nick) and Joe Locke (Charlie) look accurate to their characters in both appearance and age.

Something cool that the animators did for parts of the show is adding a little animation whenever something eventful happens. Either an iconic feature from the Webtoon: green, yellow, and orange leaves on top of a pencil scribble or just small animated graphics are added for a little bit of emphasis to the scene.

All in all, this show is very good. Although it’s not 100% the same as the webtoon, it still showcases everything important that happens within the graphic novel and is very, very addicting. The characters and the plotline suck you in to the point where it is easy to lose track of time.