Heartstopper(8 Episodes, Netflix)
Starring Joe Locke, Kit Connor, Olivia Coleman
Directed by Euros Lyn
Be warned. This is not your tight-assed drama-filled emotional series on coming out as gay. Outing has never been shown to be so much fun. Kids of 17 or 18, outing ,doubting and pouting can be a great deal of fun,provided we stop gawking and judging the series for lightweight-lifting of a serious social issue.
The one question that could throw the hammer in the fun factor is, are these kids intellectually equipped to know their sexuality? At that age everyone is attracted to everyone, gender and sex no bar. Life is a succulent candybar. Director Euros Lyn bites into the delectable teen dream, creating a series that’s almost magical and nearly the first ever series celebrating post-adolescent sexuality with such gay abandon.
When we are introduced to the college kids the main protagonist Charlie Spring(Joe Locke) is already out, very gay very happy.Okay not very happy. But well-adjusted. He has a caring concerned solemn best friend Tao(William Gao,who is my favourite character and performance) and then when everything seems perfect he meets Nick(Kit Connor) who is unusual about his sexual preference. He likes the company of girls who hit on him for his teen swag. And he likes them back. But hang on. He also has feelings for Charlie.
By the time Nick makes up his mind about his sexuality the series goes through an abundance of joy and sorrow, glum glances, rhapsodic moments between friends who are discovering the pleasures of one another’s company and all the side attraction that comes with the territory.
This is a blithe piece of work, effervescent about its guilty pleasures,admirable for its humble ambition, remarkable for eliciting effective performances from raw virginal newcomers who seem to be discovering their hidden talents in more ways than one.
The great Olivia Coleman hops on gamely just to show her solidarity with the them. When her screen-son Nick tells her he is probably bi-sexual her response is pure fairytale: “Honey, I am so sorry I couldn’t be the mother that you could tell this too earlier” and “You don’t have to say you like girls also, just to please me.”
This kind of parental indulgence is way too over-the-top and utopian. But the emotional imbalances are amply evened out by the non-judgemental tone of storytelling. The series basks in its same-sex glory. There are hardly any homophobic bullies around. Those who do taunt the protagonist for being a ‘pansy’ are so halfhearted about it, they seem like a stammering Greek Chorus in a robust burlesque.
In the world created in Heartstopper, all is well even when the alumni are all messed up in their heads about who they are.