and help, I’m jealous of these unimpeachable British teens
This was great! I’m curious if you’ve read Solitaire, Alice Oseman’s book about Charlie’s sister. It’s darker (though still ultimately hopeful) but takes place in the same universe as Heartstopper- apparently Oseman wrote it when they were 17, the same age as the characters. I’m kind of fascinated by it as a companion piece to Heartstopper because of how tonally different it is.
I love this analysis so much. I'm an irrepressible optimist and I thrive on loving, hopeful stories, but I also had this peculiar sense of grief when I read Heartstopper. It confused me at the time, but in retrospect it makes perfect sense (I had so little visible representation growing up it didn't even cross my mind I could be queer until my twenties). It does such a good job of demonstrating how good things COULD be, while still being realistic, which is inspiring.
The grief I experienced reading Heartstopper was somewhat akin, though maybe not in magnitude, to the grief I experienced getting my neurodivergent diagnosis as an adult recently. The feeling of "THIS is what it could have been like?" While simultaneously holding so much joy for queer kids who are reading/watching it now. I had put off reading and watching Heartstopper bc I'd thought I wasn't ready to confront those feelings - till I realized that I too deserved to feel that queer joy, even if I'm a bit late to it.
Your stuff is brilliant - thank you for this! One of my favorite things about your tik toks is the time and effort you take into digging into concepts that others might take for granted or avoid exploring deeply, so I’m so glad we get to read your writing now too! In this case, the idea of avoiding the hopeful is so interesting.
This is a concept I’ve never really put a name to but I’ve felt as well. When the media I consume is hopeful in a particular way (Schitt’s Creek is the first thing that comes to mind) I feel this ache and sometimes have to stop reading/watching.
reading heartstopper as a closeted 16 year old really was the most simultaneously painful/joyful experience. loved your analysis, feeling very seen.
Oh I so agree! I watched (didn’t read) Heartstopper just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Dreading it. The darkness is definitely in us.