The trailer for the rebooted Heathers premiered on Thursday, and can I just say that I’m not sure that I “get” the new Heathers?
The original was a dark revenge fantasy about a very specific sort of cruel, privileged person who seems to thrive in the social snake pit that high school can so often be. The original Heathers were vicious brats who stood around playing croquet while wearing ’80s power blazers and plotting like sociopaths. The reboot, on the other hand, looks like the fever dream of some dreadful internet forum populated by people convinced that the REAL bullies are all those BITCHES from TUMBLR—can you even believe that fat girls and people who aren’t white and genderqueer individuals DARE to have self-esteem now?
Literally—the trailer includes a teacher expressing amazement that fat kids can be popular now. “The preferred term is body positive,” replies another teacher. Who wrote these jokes?
Are we supposed to dislike the lead Heather? Honestly, her outfits are great and she’d probably shed some of that abrasive protective shell once she’s clear of the meat grinder to the soul that is high school. Or maybe not! But am I supposed to enjoy watching a blonde girl try to murder her?
Deadline attended a TCA panel and reported on the new direction:
Talking about the series theme, Brendan Scannell who plays Heath Duke, a gay Heather, said “The idea is that power corrupts and that everyone is at their core an asshole and concerned for themselves. In the movie three beautiful women where wrecking havoc on the school; that was new and hadn’t been done before. Our modern retelling centers around marginalized communities—a plus-size, a Black girl and a queer—trashing everyone around them.”
Sure, anybody who spent time in a high school community of the ostracized can tell you that those groups are subject to their own internal dynamics and the quiz bowl/marching band/school paper/drama club/whatever is not without its own jerks and occasionally poisonous atmosphere. But the broader societal dynamics have not shifted so far that I am really eager to watch these characters—even if they are mean as all hell—get snuffed out for dark comedy.
Again, here’s the trailer for the original:
And here are the new Heathers.
What are you doing? Why are you doing this?