The New Queer Heathers Reboot Is Just So... Very
The New Queer 'Heathers' Reboot Is Just So... Very
The OG mean girls have been reimagined as lesbian and genderqueer.
Well f*ck me gently with a chainsaw: a revival of the 1988 cult classic Heathers is on its way to a small screen near you.
Going by the trailer that dropped yesterday, Westerburg High School has received a 21st-century update. Don't worry, the Heathers still rule the school. But in the 2018 reboot, Heather Chandler isn't your typical beauty queen, Heather McNamara is a black lesbian, and Heather Duke is genderqueer. In this reimagination, the bullied have become the bullies.
The diversity sounds good in theory, kind of like an all-female Lord of the Flies remake , but it's just all so very .
The modern-day Heathers certainly look like bitches, complete with Heather Chandler's on-the-nose "Fuck You" choker, and Heather Duke's sass is giving me Kurt Hummel circa 2009 vibes. But would these Heathers actually rule a small town American high-school?
"The only place different social types can get along is in heaven." - J.D., Heathers (1988)
To maintain their spot of the top of the school food chain, the Heathers relentlessly bully and torment everyone beneath them. In one of the first scenes in the 1988 film, Veronica (Winona Ryder) follows the Heathers instructions to write a fake love letter to Martha Dumptuck and effectively humiliates her in front of the entire student body. Veronica is a sheep, and while she might not have wanted to torture Martha Dumptruck, she does whatever she has to do to maintain her comfortable spot in the school hierarchy.
But wouldn't the 2018 Heather Chandler have some common ground with Martha? And I could definitely imagine Heather Duke yearning for the moody boy next door who dresses in all black. And how does Heather McNamara's ethnicity play into the hierarchy when the original simply glossed over race by making everyone in the film white? And most importantly, if homosexuality can be cool in the new Westerburg High, what of Kurt and Ram's forbidden love?
J.D. (Christian Slater) wants to blow up the high school hierarchy, literally. Tackling the overused, angsty-but-beautiful, 'I'm not like other guys,' Hollywood white-boy trope head on, J.D. takes advantage of Veronica's lemming mentality and forces her to act on her worst instincts. The world of the rich and beautiful fall apart as the school's most popular teens start offing themselves, and he revels in the chaos.
"Now there's a school that self-destructed, not because society didn't care, but because the school was society." - J.D., Heathers (1988)
The outsider taking down the system from within. This is why we cackled when Heather Chandler shatters that glass table. This is why Veronica goes along with J.D.'s evil deeds for so long. It all begins as seemingly justified .
So will this new, diverse Heathers work?
If we're all on the same social playing field in this 2018 adolescent utopia, it is logical to believe that anyone can be the bully. But if the remake exists in the satirical sphere the original did, how does that translate to Heathers' queer characters when black lesbian women are one of the most discriminated against groups in America , and a 15-year-old trans student committed suicide just yesterday?
You can't satirize a social structure without reflecting the actual society. Without the satire, J.D.'s motives become much more shallow and much more sinister. Without the original's biting social commentary, Heathers might as well be the third season of Ryan Murphy's Scream Queens . And haven't we all had enough of that?
The Heathers reboot premieres in March 7th on the Paramount Network. Watch the trailer below: