Was I super pumped for the Heathers reboot? Yes
Did said pumpness wane when I saw the trailer? Yes
Was viewing The Heather’s reboot super disappointing? Yes
Will writing a far too long opinion piece on a TV show not many people are watching do anything to help my insomnia, also will I ever stop asking myself questions in text form? No on all counts.
For anyone coming to this blind, Heather’s was a much loved dark comedy from 1988 featuring a young Christian Slater and Winona Ryder. The story revolved around a clique of Heathers who were rich, blonde and your typical 80s movie characters and their friend Veronica Sawyer who was not. In a twisted fantasy played out Veronica and her sociopathic boyfriend end up murdering the popular girl.
Heather’s were your original plastics, they were your original clique and you’ve seen the exact same set up in a bunch of different places from jawbreakers to scream queens, teen murder and killing the high school popular girl is as common as you’d expect.
The new version plays out in pretty much the exact same way except the new version is filled with those gosh darn millennials being offended by everything and using a lot of social media to talk with hipsters (or whatever the current teen lingo is)
The new Heathers has Veronica Sawyer feeling isolated as she’s just ordinary compared to her peers who define themselves by their problems. It just all feels…eh… which is a huge disappointment because I loved the original and I was so down for this reboot.
I’m going to dust off my old English lit hat to try and explain what disappoints me about this…
The original Heathers were the old guard of high school cliches, the preppy, scrunchy haired popular girl that was at the epicenter of most 80s high school movies, she was the girl in Can’t Buy Me Love, Revenge of the Nerds and literally any horror movie. And then we had Veronica who dressed in all black and with an apathy for life literally kills off her old counterparts. Heathers which was released in 1988 coincided with the grunge movement, Veronica moreover Winona Ryder epitomized that next stage of teendom that had previously gone unnoticed and would define the upcoming 90s.
The Veronica in this version is defined by her ‘ordinariness’ and is constantly harkening back to the days when you didn’t need a label and you could just be normal, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of the mouth of a sixteen-year-old. Assuming Veronica is 16/17 in 2018 her old days stretch probably as far back as 2012, which is the same year 21 Jump Street (the reboot) came out making a very similar joke except it was ‘nerds are cool now’.
Moving on, ‘You ugg boot latte’ word salad and catchphrases like ‘just’ and ‘feeling toastie’ all feel like pale comparisons to the original script and I can only imagine how they come across to someone who hasn’t seen the original. The jokes were what held together the Heathers but here the same awkward diversity jokes kind of read like rejected phrases from Glee (which is the closest show I can relate this too)
There are some things I like about it, the sight gag out of the school board outside, the ‘big fun’ potato chips and a lot of the direction and use of colors were fun to watch. Furthermore, I can’t fault the actors, most are really good comic actors which sold the ‘sad face emoji’ joke.
Next to- for some reason again – reference a Ryan Murphy show, Scream Queens ridiculous first season got a lot of the pop culture references and social media stuff right. Here social media seems nonexistent until the main Heather uses it there’s a massively missed opportunity to go full ham with a mean girls cafeteria scene around social media cliques and the way they make their way into schools ‘you’ve got your instagram hoes, your linkedin bros, your meme posters and your follow boasters’
We are due a decent satire of modern-day high school and horror has always been a side order of the teen genre so it goes well together. But Heathers just feels like it trips over itself. 80s pretty popular girl was such a common high school movie trope that she fit perfectly into the caricature Heather of her time which is why so many people responded to it. Here there just aren’t enough mainstream high school TV or movies where our diverse Heathers are portrayed that they’ve become a trope of the genre. (again possibly Glee but I think I’m probably the only person that watched glee through to the end)
Does anything I write matter? In the words of Veronica Sawyer probably, at some point, no but I keep thinking how this could have made a solid one and half movie on Netflix to burn fast and bright but as a TV show Heathers feels like it’s going to grow tired quickly.
- J.D reads Tate in American Horror Story (seriously I don’t even watch that many Ryan Murphy shows but for some reason these are my only comparisons.) And stoic and brooding psycho boy feels out of place next in horror comedy, Christian Slater’s original ott performance would have been perfect here.
- Shannen Doherty’s cameo was divine, shocking, creepy and perfect
- I so desperately wanted to like this but when you’re rebooting the original of a popular genre you’ve either got to stick exactly to the original or capture something entirely new, this did neither.
- Nothing felt shocking or offensive enough for this to be a scandalous hate watch either