Heartstopper (Renewed for 2 more seasons!) | Page 29 | The Popjustice Forum

Heartstopper (Renewed for 2 more seasons!)

Discussion in 'TV + Film' started by Sick Sad World, Apr 23, 2022.

  1. This show has definitely demolished me in the best and worst ways. As with others, it's brought up a lot. Sorry this soul bearing is going to be long. I had a friend in high school that ended up becoming my "Nick". He wasn't sporty at all, rather more handsome preppy nerd. Not flashy, whip smart, into underground and local rock bands and easily passed as straight, never a gay rumor, he wasn't teased or picked on ever... and I was... the opposite. I was the flamboyant, Buffy loving, Britney loving, unmistakably gay voiced, used to dress up as Disney princesses and go out in public as a kid, kind of gay teen. I'd been picked on, beat-up...etc... the works, since I was in grade school. I wasn't "out" but I knew I was gay and wished everyone else didn't.

    We met in my Junior year even though I was a year ahead of him, both writing for the school newspaper. We had similar senses of humor and became fast friends. At first I was just so happy to have a straight male friend because they were few and far between. But then, our inside jokes and banter started to feel more like flirting to me. I convinced myself that I was misreading the situation and that it was just because we had similar dark, dry senses of humor. Then he invited me over to his house on the weekend to work on a piece for the paper. Then it became regular to hang at his place all the time. Like every day. We'd listen to each others music and he'd expose me to all the movies he loved. Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, Pulp Fiction..etc everything still read straight to me.. until one night he showed me Interview with the Vampire.

    While watching, there were moments right out of Heartstopper where our fingers or our feet would touch slightly. I was on fire inside, but convinced myself that it was on accident on his part, or that he hadn't even noticed. We were talking after and I asked him why this was such a favorite of his? He told me aside from liking the story that he found it sexy and alluring or something to that effect. At this point we'd been friends long enough and I trusted him, so I just told him I was gay. He told me that he figured and that he's glad I told him.

    He was the first person I'd come out to, so I was on a high and somewhat selfishly reveling in my own feelings of liberation, so I it didn't even occur to me that he might be queer too. I was just relieved that he still wanted to be my friend, wouldn't out me and that I had someone I could be my full self around. Naturally being the only person I could talk to about "gay things" I brought up queer stuff all the time. At the time, I took his genuine interest and questions as super supportive and thought I'd hit the jackpot. Then it all changed one night.

    I have to preface this by saying he always used to playfully tease me for being a Madonna fan, not in a queer shaming way, but more of a "this indie rock band has so much more substance" kind of way.. and I never thought anything of it because "shock" a straight guy didn't get Madonna. That night I went over to his place and he told me he'd burnt a cd for me (yes I'm old) and he wanted me to listen to it. It was a mixture of Madonna songs he actually liked (!!!) and some of his favorite indie bands covering Madonna songs. Suddenly he paused the music, put his hand on mine (!!!!) and said he had something to tell me! He told me he was bi.

    Sounds stupid now, but I was shocked! Obviously, it was my turn to ask him all the questions he'd been asking me. When? How'd you know?..etc. Turns out he'd known for a few years and that he'd came to the conclusion while watching various porn (tee hee). After the initial excitement and furry of questions, he told me that he's wanted to kiss me for such a long time. He didn't have to tell me twice. Right there and then was our first kiss... let's be honest it was more of a make out sesh than just a kiss. The rest is history.

    We became instant boyfriends. Not out to the world or friends (we both wanted to wait for college to avoid the bullying and drama) but we were a couple. Had our favorite date routines of going to the movies, various coffee shops, record shops, and finding places we could hold hands in public away from the rest of our world. Our families got along great. He would go on family vacations with my family..etc. And we were no longer virgins ;-) It was kind of perfect. He still teased me about Madonna though. hahaha.

    We were together for 2 years. I look back on it with a ton of emotions. We didn't end because we lost any love for each other, but life just got in the way. I was a year ahead of him and started college in the fall. It was a strain we probably wouldn't have been able to endure, but to make matters worse my mom (and best friend) died quite suddenly of skin cancer that first semester. He and I were still together but I didn't really know how to be happy around him or anyone for a long time and he didn't really know how to pull me out of it. I broke up with him because I needed to go through my grief without feeling responsible for anyone but me. I also needed to experience gay culture and life to find out what I wanted, liked..etc From there we grew apart naturally.

    Several years later we got back together as friends to go see a movie and we still had the same exact chemistry. Flirty sparks back and forth the whole time. We appreciated it because we knew it wasn't common or something to take for granted but it was also too late. Our lives were in different places now and we were different. He was insecure because he felt the guys I'd dated since him were "hotter" than him and that he'd let his weight "go"(He was not overweight but you know how insecurities go). I was insecure and needy about him being at college in another state and us having to be long distance. No matter how much I reassured him that he was the most attractive, or how attracted I was to him and how no other guy compared to our love and chemistry.. it wasn't enough. No matter how much he tried to assure my that he could remain faithful in a long distance relationship as a young 20 something...it wasn't enough. We just didn't work.

    Much later we met up one more time. He was volunteering for a queer youth event near me and we grabbed drinks. We still got along great, but our spark wasn't what it was. We grew up and changed even more. I was happily in a new relationship (the same one I've now been in for 11yrs. My husband) and he (now happy to identify as a bear) too was in a happy and healthy open relationship with another bear who was also bi. We've lost touch again since, it's tough because he's super anti-social media, but watching Heartstoppers brought up everything in a very visceral way that was wonderful and tumultuous about us, about growing up queer, losing my mom.. I'm just.. a ball of emotions. Haven't talked to him in 10years. I have no idea what's going on in his life or where he lives..etc Don't even know if the number I have for him is still his... but I might just txt it anyway to see if he's seen Heartstoppers...
    Laurence, ItBeats, Mikl C and 8 others like this.
  2. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    First of all: I totally get that the show affects you a lot having read this!
    Second: I feel like I pretty much experienced something like watching this season for the first time all over again just reading your post.
    phoenix123 and GimmeWork like this.
  3. Just binged and, while obviously ugly crying pretty much every episode, I do kind of wish it was... a bit better?

    Not sure how to phrase this, but I feel like a lot of the enjoyment that I felt watching it was because of projecting my own experiences/fears/regrets onto the story, rather than the quality of the show itself. The writing is really patchy in places and the acting (particularly Tau/Harry) is straight out of one of those PSA shorts about bullying/consent that they show in PSHE ed classes in schools.

    It's really weird because something like Sex Education, for example, or Young Royals, were able to explore similar territory and stand up on their own as quality television regardless of how relatable/aspirational they were, whereas this feels somewhat threadbare, to me at least. Then again, I'm a 30yo so maybe not exactly the target audience...

    Kit Connor and Joe Locke's chemistry is great though, really successful casting.
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
    VicePresidentJocasta likes this.
  4. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    I agree that some of the acting isn't the best and some lines (that are pretty much a copy/paste job from the comics) don't really work greatly either.
    I think Kit is the greatest actor of the bunch but even his delivery of 'I LIKE CHARLIE SPRING!!1!' feels a bit clumsy. As if it's something that worked fine for a cartoon character but some rewriting for real life characters wouldn't have hurt?
    Even though I was fully invested and, despite the flaws, a show has never hit me like this I did find myself criticising a lot of choices in the final episode to the friend I was watching with. Possibly also to keep myself from getting even more emotionally affected but it definitely isn't the most wellwritten (or acted) show.
    But at the same time so many bits felt completely magical that I don't really care.
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
    GimmeWork and adayasatiger like this.
  5. Agree with that - there's clearly a sad, broken teenager in all of us here that is happy to go along with it regardless.
    ItBeats, GimmeWork and Mvnl like this.
  6. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    Yeah and it's not like I don't enjoy cheesy stuff like High School Musical and things like that that are far from realistic as well. I actually went into this show expecting something fluffy and predictable like your average Disney channel show.
    But would I still be talking about this show if it had been the same thing revolving around a bunch of straight teenagers... probably not
    GimmeWork and adayasatiger like this.
  7. Oh, but it wouldn't have worked with straight characters at all. Especially the Charlie/Nick dynamic, I think, is one that's very particularly aspirational for queer people - reminds me a bit of the David/Patrick pairing in Schitt's Creek.

    It's every traumatised gay boy's dream - a stable, endlessly and selflessly unconditionally supportive (traditionally masculine) hot person who, out of nowhere and despite all odds, loves, accepts and uplifts us while having no discernible or 'real' problems of their own and is essentially there to soothe and reassure us in our neurotic drama, while being invitingly vulnerable, but not too much. Works like a charm, every single time (in movies, not in real life).

    I'm going through fan reactions on Twitter and it is striking (and unsurprising) how I haven't seen a single person there who identifies with Nick.
  8. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    Isn't this... everyone's dream?
    (I've actually been wondering if Nick Nelson actually existed if he'd end up being a happy person because his role definitely seems to exist to mostly make the people around him feel better. Not saying that you can't do that and have a great life but I think he'd get to a point where he'd realize maybe it would be healthy to put Nick first once)

    I definitely identify a lot more with Charlie (like... everyone) but in a way Nick felt like he represented both the boy I wish I had + young me because you see him struggling. Especially in the moments with his mother I'm definitely Nick for a second.
    ItBeats, adayasatiger and GimmeWork like this.
  9. Wow! I'm completely flattered and blushing a bit. Thought I should have re-read or edited better. I typed it out so fast because all the memories rush back quickly and are so vivid right now that I didn't realize I'd typed a whole damn book.dddd

    It's certainly not the first (or last) time I've ruminated on him or this part of my life over the years but it feels so heightened after watching Heartstoppers. I'm glad this thread has turned into a safe space to let out related emotions because I definitely needed to get that out. Aside from a few old txts with Andy its first time it's been typed out and not just stewing in my brain.
    Mvnl likes this.
  10. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    I guess teenage memories are pretty damn strong for everyone (+ not something you ever get reminded of in such a strong way, especially not in such a relatable way when you're gay).
    And yeah you wrote quite a bit but you did keep me interested how it was going to end up and parts of it I just.. felt it?

    (Even though my personal Nick was straight. Or I wrongfully assumed. Who knows)
    GimmeWork likes this.
  11. That's a good point, the scenes with Olivia Coleman do add some depth to the character, but I'd argue are still very... Charlie-catering? Like, if I had a penny for every time I've wisely and lovingly guided a confused, formerly-straight boy through the minefield of (self)acceptance, I'd have... several pennies. It still feels like what a Charlie would have dreamt up, rather than a real person.

    (and I'm totally living for it)
    GimmeWork likes this.
  12. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    I said this before but if the tone of the show had been different I wouldn't have been overly shocked if Nick turned out to only exist in Charlie's head at the end of the show. Cause yeah, he's pretty much a fantasy. (He actually kinda acts how in usual shows only ghosts of dead boyfriends act?? Well, kissing aside)
    And now I want one*

    (I wouldn't have any pennies and am not sure I got that part of your post)

    *a Nick, not a dead boyfriend
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
    GimmeWork and adayasatiger like this.
  13. Haha, Heartstopper re-edited as a psychological thriller would be something I'd definitely watch.

    (don't worry about the pennies, I just meant that for me, having a partner who's vulnerable in terms of accepting their sexuality and coming out is *part of* the fantasy, rather than a break with it)
    Mvnl likes this.
  14. This for sure! Hit me like a ton of bricks. I also think people in general remember things about their "first love" because of how much it changes you. Such a pivotal moment in our lives. I couldn't tell you much about the other boyfriends I had in my early 20s but I'll always remember every detail of him.
    Mvnl likes this.
  15. I don't remember the acting/writing ever being that bad, but maybe I'm too forgiving nn.
    ItBeats, -Jay-, He and 5 others like this.
  16. Mvnl

    Mvnl Staff Member

    I wish I could relate but I stayed with mine for 18 years (some breaks aside) so I wouldn't have a clue what that kind of memories feel like (with him it's now just 'ugh, how much longer will everything love related make me think of him?')
    GimmeWork likes this.
  17. I didn't have any problem with the acting. I found it kinda natural. Tao seems overdramatic because that's what the character is like, and likewise Harry's delivery seems forced because he's a cringy dick of a bully desperately trying to make a putdown stick when he hasn't got a personality.
  18. Yeah, that's exactly the vibe I was getting from both. Nothing really ever rang false to me.
    He, Matgo and Sick Sad World like this.
  19. I thought the acting was fine... but I did know going into it that everyone, even Kit really, was very new and had low expectations. So maybe I was just pleasantly surprised.

    As for Harry... I've known boys/guys exactly like him. He may seem like a caricature and a bit too much, but... that's really how some people are.
    Matgo and Mvnl like this.
  20. The only acting I felt was… odd was the bit where Isaac interrupts the boys after rugby with the antiseptic wipes. Ben and Harry were very one dimensional characters but Bash was leagues ahead of the other guy who was very wooden.
    Milotic likes this.
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