“Heartstopper” is the modern queer love story we all needed


Photo via Netflix

Netflix’s “Heartstopper” was released on April 22. Upon seeing the show’s trailer, I was excited for yet another addition to Netflix’s collection of diverse shows that focus on LGBTQ+ characters. Based on a webtoon created by Alice Oseman in 2016, it was published into a graphic novel prior to its debut as a visual series. 

As a queer woman, I was more than delighted to see all the representation included throughout the show. With eight 30-minute episodes, the show follows Charlie Spring (Joe Locke), an openly gay boy in an all-boys high school, beginning a new term with new classes. Assigned to sit next to straight rugby king Nick Nelson (Kit Connor) in homeroom, Charlie expects the worst. 

Despite Charlie’s expectations, the two exchange a quiet “hi” every morning and gradually begin to grow closer as friends, then romantic interests as the episodes progress. The two visit each other’s homes, compete in Mario Kart and even play in the snow, forming snow angels together. From acquaintances to romantic interests, Nick and Charlie become inseparable, hiding under the safety label of “best friends” due to homophobia within Nelson’s friend group. 

The story also follows Spring’s three closest friends, Tao Xu (William Gao), Elle Argent (Yasmin Finney) and Isaac Henderson (Tobie Donovan) as they navigate high school and the romantic drama it entails. Elle, a newly-transitioned female, has transferred to an all-girls school and realizes how hard it is to make new friends alone. Tao, a rather possessive friend, only wants the best for Charlie, but seeing Charlie ditch him for Nick causes him to lash out repeatedly throughout the series.

“Heartstopper” is a perfect example of the romantic perspective of queer youth as well as the daily struggles they deal with. Troubling dilemmas such as homophobic bullying and struggling with labels for both sexuality and gender are all represented perfectly through dialogue between characters and the entire storyline. It’s a relatable adaptation for all, even for straight folks. 

The “opposites attract” plotline the series uses is endearing and each character is charming in their own unique way. Coming from a romantic drama fiend, “Heartstopper” meets the mark and is definitely worth watching. I, as well as many others, am anticipating a second season in hopes of following Charlie and Nick throughout high school as a couple. Until then, I’ll be rewatching this newfound comfort show of mine.