By EMERSON SUTOW
Originally starting as a graphic novel by Alice Oseman, “Heartstoper” has gained traction as a Netflix Original Series that was released on Apr. 22, 2022. The show follows a boy by the name of Charlie Spring and the trials and tribulations of being a gay teen in the Truham Grammar School for Boys.
Consisting of only eight episodes, the story has many forms of LGBTQ+ representation, including same sex couples, closeted LBGT students, and a transgender student. Although they are the main characters, their sexuality does not take over the entirety of their personalities like some other shows trying to show LGBT representation. Each character has a complex relationship with themself and who they are, along with the friendships between them and their classmates.
One notable character is Elle Argent, a transgender student who recently transfered to the all girls school, Harvey Greene Grammar School for Girls, also know as Higgs. The show depicts her not being accepted and continuously called by her deadname and incorrect pronouns at school, which is a sad reality for many trangender people.
The show takes place in England and begins with Charlie being in a toxic relationship with a boy named Ben. He had been using Charlie while he was still in the closet, causing a lot of pressure on Charlie making him feel more like an object to Ben than a boyfriend.
Nick Nelson is then introduced as the tablemate of Charlie in his new form (or homeroom). Nick fits the straight rugby player stereotype and so Charlie is told to abandon his feelings for Nick after confiding in his friends, Elle, Isaac Henderson, and Tao Xu. His relationship with Nick continues and they eventually become close friends as Nick had asked Charlie to join the rugby team for his speed.
This angers many of the characters including Nick’s friends on the rugby team and leads to many homophobic remarks to be made. This bullying is another sad reality for being an out member of the LGBT community and is more accurately representing than having the token gay kid as a side character trope.
In the meantime, Elle is at Higgs and she finds a small group of friends, Tara Jones and Darcy Olsson. It is later learned they are a lesbian couple and furthers the representation past just the boys relationship.
The rugby team, unaware of Tara’s relationship, tries repeatedly to get Nick to go on a date with her, as they kissed when they were younger. But Nick was too preoccupied with questioning his sexuality and developing feelings for Charlie. After taking many “am i gay?” quizzes and researching online, he comes to terms with being bisexual because he developed a crush on Charlie.
This leads to another common situation where Nick isn’t ready to come out and face the harsh reality of his classmates’ views but still wants to be with Charlie. They are unofficially together in secret with only telling their close friends who fully accept and respect them.
Nick begins to bring Charlie around his friends and they then go to see a movie, with the promise that Ben and Harry(the leader of the group that often bullies Charlie) will not be there. Consequently, Henry is there and continues to give Charlie a hard time for being gay which leads to Nick standing up for him and getting in a fight with Harry which ends with Harry being suspended.
After these events, Nick is ready to come out and officially be Charlie’s boyfriend . There is a very heartwarming scene where Nick’s mother accepts her son and his confession and his relationship with Charlie.
Although the show has a bit of a happy ending, this is not the end of the story. The graphic novel already goes beyond the show with Nick and Charlie’s relationship and Netflix has announced the show will have 2 more seasons to follow more on their lives.