Paramount Pictures Releases a Reboot of 80s Cult Classic
By: Alexis Kateridge
We seem to be living in the age of the reboot. Whether it be TV shows like Netflix’s new “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, or “Mean Girls” on Broadway.
These reboots never fail to generate a large fanbase due to their preexisting fans following the new content. But this reboot is sure to turn some heads.
If you aren’t familiar with the 1989 cult classic “Heathers”, it follows the story of Veronica Sawyer, a high school senior who gets mixed up with the three popular girls in school, all named Heather.
As she starts to realize being friends with the Heathers isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, a mysterious boy named J.D. enters the picture and turns Veronica’s world completely upside down.
Let’s just say, this is not your average high school eighties movie.
This show is not only filled with murder, drugs, and suicide, but other thrilling aspects to keep you on the edge of your seat. Its deep acknowledgement of the social structure of high school and the mental health of teenagers made it a beloved film by many.
The film stars Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer and Christian Slater as J.D.
The 1989 movie version of “Heathers” was later rebooted as an off-Broadway musical, which debuted in 2014. Barrett Wilbert Weed played Ryder’s role and Ryan McCartan played Slater’s.
The play was received very well among younger audiences, proving that the story line could stand the test of time. Sadly, the play only ran from February of 2014 to August of that same year, leaving many fans disappointed if they were not able to see it during its short run.
But much like in the movie, Heather Chandler comes back to haunt us.
Paramount Network was slated to release the Heathers TV series in early spring of 2018, but due to the content, they decided to pull back release in light of the many school shootings happening during the time. This was after Paramount had released the first episode on its website.
It was unclear for a long time as to whether or not Paramount would go forth to release the episodes, but they decided to release the first five episodes on October 25, 2018. Just in time for Halloween.
The “Heathers” TV show creator, Jason A. Micallef, decided to modernize this version of Heathers by adding in what some have deemed “token” characters meant to reach a wide audience.
Heather Chandler has been transformed in to a plus size Instagram model, spreading body positivity and being vicious to anyone who goes against her ideals.
Heather Duke, played by Brandon Scannell, is still desperate for Heather Chandler’s power, but the twist is that this Heather is gender-queer.
This version of Heather McNamara is biracial as well as a lesbian, although her LGBTQ+ status comes in to question early on in the series.
In this variation, the jocks still cower under Heather Chandler’s scare tactics. But no longer is body type and sexuality the issues at the forefront.
The political correctness of Heather Chandler is almost inserted as a joke as she makes a mockery of those choosing to belittle others in any way.
A strange new take on the school bully, who, in the first episode forces a student to remove their “Remington” shirt due to its derogatory slur.
Instead, there is a strong focus on social media and class structure, attempting at a reflection of our modern world. For example, the question of “who are you?” is brought up as Veronica tries to identify who she is as she is filling out her college applications.
The theme of figuring out who you are is a prevalent one, particularly in media aimed at the younger generation. Especially in a time where people are expected to define who they are on social media before even figuring it out for themselves.
This is a concern that Veronica voices during the first episode.
The series tries to keep to the original by including some of the iconic character quips from the 1989 movie, which many fans were frustrated with. Newsweek quoted original writer Daniel Waters, saying that the reboot is “a Madlibs of the original movie”.
Despite this, Waters still encourages fans to watch on, promising that the show will get better. Although whether or not the show will live up to the original film or the musical still remains to be seen (Newsweek.com).
In an interview with Newsweek, Walters said, “everything seems a little cheap in the first episode, but when you realize that they’re really coming after everyone it gets better”.