A show to die for

‘Heathers’ TV show to premier in March


photo from paramount.com

Story by Addison Cross, Staff Writer

The 1988 cult classic film, “Heathers” was created to showcase the way society elevates the privileged, represented by three beautiful, rich white girls who form a clique excluding those who don’t fit their standards. The 2018 “Heathers” TV series takes that whole concept and annihilates it.

At first glance, the new “Heathers”  looks like a victory for inclusivity, but the point of the original is that perfect people still have flaws. The initial “Heathers” is a timeless tale of insecurity, popularity and murder. The original movie takes those three ingredients and produces a beautiful story featuring Veronica Sawyer, played by Winona Ryder, a typical nobody who gets in with Westerburg High’s queen bees, the Heathers, until new mysterious JD comes in and sweeps her off her feet, and murders her “best friends.”

The new show features an obese, brunette Heather Chandler, a gay, male Heather Duke and a black Heather McNamara. Let me say, there’s nothing wrong with having any of those qualities, but it defeats the purpose of its source material. “Heathers” was supposed to represent the misfortune of the privileged. For example, Heather McNamara was originally a skinny blonde whose social anxiety and reliance on the other Heathers drives her to attempted suicide— A stark contrast to the seemingly confident yellow Heather of the new show.

There’s also the moments in the earliest rendition of “Heathers” where Heather Chandler and the others make a girl attempt suicide with their incessant bullying because of her weight. How could such a crucial plot point of the story be explored when Heather C. is arguably overweight?

There’s no problem with Hollywood and the media branching out from the traditional cookie cutter look when casting roles, unless there’s a reason the role was cast the way it was. It’s obvious that the casting of “Heathers” is supposed to be an edgy political statement, but aren’t minorities supposed to be the marginalized groups? If the Heathers are the girls everyone wants to be like, why are they being represented as the most oppressed people in society? They’re making a spectacle of these types of people and using them to make themselves seem diverse.

If the Heathers are the girls everyone wants to be like, why are they being represented as the most oppressed people in society? They’re making a spectacle of these types of people and using them to make themselves seem diverse.”

— Addison Cross

Another element that makes the original film so classic is the aesthetic of the color coordinating Heathers and the setting of 1988. The Heathers’ outfits and style choices were representations of who they were and where they fell in their clique’s hierarchy. Heather C. wore red, showing her power and attractiveness while Heather D. wore green to show her jealousy towards Heather C. The new rendition loosely follows these guidelines and makes the Heathers’ edgy style seem extremely forced.

It also adds to the beauty of the original film to remember the time it was made in. “Heathers” was a mockery of the traditional teen love movie, like Footloose, that was so popular in the late 80s. Despite having all the same pieces, “Heathers” was something new and completely original. There was of course the hot new guy, JD, played by Christian Slater, that would make the perfect boyfriend for our heroine, until this twisted hottie was discovered to be a psychotic murderer.

Up next, the popular mean girls who also turned out to be extremely flawed characters. The first movie had a reason to be made in 1988— to show that teenagers aren’t as one dimensional as people think. To produce a reboot now almost feels like Hollywood is just adding on another “Riverdale” or “Pretty Little Liars” when the story is so much more than that.

The original “Heathers” also had a crude type of humor that made the teens more realistic. The script of the show now seems unnatural and unrealistic. Heather Chandler was once a societal peak of beauty and class, speaking her crass comments almost charmingly, but now she’s been reduced to a one dimensional social media star whose boorish tone takes away any sophistication she was allotted.

The new “Heathers” is unnecessary and almost seems like a parody of an absolute classic. The show takes the oppressed and eliminates their problems while ruining the nostalgic and aesthetically pleasing charm of the first film. While the show seems well produced, the casting and costuming choices were obviously shots that strayed far away from the original.