Hi friends, and happy Saturday!
Yes, you read that title right. Netflix’s Heartstopper released just yesterday, and I have watched it twice in the past twenty-four hours.
I read the first volume of Heartstopper by Alice Oseman back in 2020 and, since then, Nick and Charlie have taken over my heart. And, not to mention, Alice has become one of my all-time favorite authors. I would read anything they write.
To say that my anticipation and excitement for this adaptation was high would be totally undermining it. Ever since the show’s announcement, I have been counting down the days until we finally got to see these incredible characters on screen. During my first time watching it through, my cheeks and face hurt afterwards because I was smiling too much. And immediately after finishing it, I knew I needed to watch it a million times over. This show is simply magic, and I’m beyond thrilled that this story exists in our world. I cannot stop thinking about how not only is this show going to help so many people, but it may inspire those people to pick up any of Alice’s books and find themselves represented there as well.
You can really tell that the entirety of the Heartstopper cast and crew put their whole hearts into this show. I had to constantly remind myself that I was watching actors and not the actual characters—it was honestly unreal.
I have so many thoughts about this show, if I haven’t already made that plainly obvious, so I decided to write down (almost) every thought I had when I watched Heartstopper for the second time. I mean, within the first ten minutes of the first episode, I already had 15-ish thoughts written down, so I had to limit myself. And as you’ll see, even with that limit, there’s still quite a lot.
Before we get into it, please know that Heartstopper deals with sensitive topics such as mental health, eating disorders, and homophobia. And because of the nature of this post, some of those topics are touched on. Also, please be aware that this post is absolutely loaded with spoilers of the show! I highly recommend not reading this post if you haven’t watched the show yet!
Buckle up and get cozy. This is a long one.
Episode 1: Meet
- It’s been three seconds, but I already need to mention how amazing the comic-style transitions are? The split screens and the different angles are amazing, and they really help to capture the tone of the comics (along with many other things).
- Charlie’s smile after seeing a DM from Ben is actually soul-crushing.
- I could write a whole dissertation on the importance and the beauty of the lighting just for Nick alone.
- If you don’t think that the intros for each episode with the different animations are the cutest thing, you are simply lying to yourself.
- The casting directors honestly couldn’t have done a better job. Joe Locke IS Charlie Spring, and Kit Connor IS Nick Nelson.
- I could also write a whole dissertation on how Ben ignores Charlie when he waves, but when Charlie waves to Nick, he lights up like a lighthouse and is just beaming. But, we don’t need to unpack that right now.
- Nick accidentally drawing on Charlie’s hand with his fancy quill pen. Excellent foreshadowing, if I do say so myself.
- Charlie Spring is not allowed to be sad. I forbid it.
- “I broke up with my boyfriend.” “Was he a knob?” “Yes.” Well done then.” Victoria Spring, my QUEEN.
- The books falling out of Charlie’s locker being the colors of all the Heartstopper volumes…if you see me crying, no you don’t.
- Speaking of, I reread all four volumes the night before the show came out and while watching, I found myself thinking, “didn’t they just say that line?” a couple of times. But no, they didn’t. I was just thinking back to what I read the night before. They quite literally took most of the book word-for-word and put it on a screen. And, honestly, what more could you want?
- I can’t emotionally handle this scene with Charlie and Ben for the second time within 24 hours.
- I am Charlie Spring in wanting to say sorry about everything.
Episode 2: Crush
- Okay, the flashback scene of Charlie getting bullied and all of the drawn, animated bullies is stunning and was done incredibly well. Actual chills.
- Nick and Charlie’s rooms are amazing and so accurate to something that was originally an illustration? Somebody give the set designer a raise.
- Nellie has my whole heart.
- Mr. Ajayi is a teacher that so many kids need and deserve.
- The way that Charlie is beyond nervous on his way to Nick’s, but almost immediately calms down when he sees Nick…I need a minute.
- Despite the fact that I’ve already seen the snow scene, I’m still not ready for it.
- I don’t understand any part of rugby, and I don’t think I ever will.
- There are so many incredible things about Alice’s stories
(obviously), but I think one of the most special is their ability to make you fall in love with every single character. I feel like it’s really easy to fixate on only the main characters, and you’ll maybe like the minor characters. But all of Alice’s characters feel pretty major, and you care about all of their stories. It’s almost as if there aren’t any minor characters because they’re too dynamic to be.
- I think that another thing that this show captures so well is Charlie’s mental health and how he tends to spiral when he becomes overwhelmed with anxiety. I feel like truly nailing a character’s thoughts in an on-screen format can become tricky and difficult, unless your character is willing to spill their most internal thoughts with another character. But here, the camera will focus on Charlie’s face and then we’re shifted into his perceptive and his mind. Heartstopper is an amazing commentary on so many things, including mental health, and I’m beyond happy that that translated so well.
- The way that Nick hugs Charlie as he’s going on this self-discovery journey because he finds solace and comfort in Charlie is something that will truly break me if I think too much about it.
- The fact that the camera becomes shaky as Nick sits down and starts his googling spiral?? Poetry.
Episode 3: Kiss
- I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again. Kit Connor is Nick Nelson.
- Can we give a little applause for the lighting during the party scene, please??
- The scene of Tara opening up to Nick has healing properties.
- I really love how Tara and Darcy’s overall relationship timeline was changed to better fit the show because we not only get to see Nick and Charlie come to their own terms, but you get to see Tara and Darcy through more of their development. It also gives Nick more of an opportunity to relate to Tara, resulting in making him feel brave to confront Charlie about his feelings, and I think that’s really beautiful.
- “That’s homophobic, Harry. And I really don’t like you. Happy birthday.” Name something more iconic. I’ll wait.
- The lighting during Tara and Darcy’s kiss? Next level. And then Nick seeing them and feeling inspired to talk to Charlie?? Losing all of my marbles.
- I can’t emotionally handle this scene right now.
- And I’m crying.
- Charlie just fully breaking down in the car with his dad, in the literal driveway of the party, is the reason why my heart hurts.
Episode 4: Secret
- This is perhaps the understatement of the year, but there is so much good to be gained from Nick and Charlie’s story. I mean, you have Charlie, who has suffered from bullying, struggles with his mental health, and has an eating disorder. And then you have Nick who is feeling incredibly conflicted and confused because he’s not what he expected to be, nor what everyone else expected him to be. Heartstopper isn’t just a wholesome love story about Nick and Charlie, and I think that’s one of the reasons why it is so impactful and so important for countless people. There is so much to learn from and relate to. I could talk about these two characters for days and unpack their characteristics until the earth shrivels up. I’m just so happy that this story has become more widely available to people through this amazing, amazing adaptation.
- Now I know he’s going through an actual identity crisis, but Nick Nelson why are you sitting on the bed in your sopping wet clothes?
- I really don’t mean to get on my “Heartstopper is important” soapbox
(yet again), but the fact that queer teens get to see a healthy, supportive relationship filled with respect and happiness is something that will be so refreshing and, I’m sure, life-changing. And if that doesn’t make you want to cry, I’m not sure what will.
- The recreation of the panel where Nick is standing in the rain with an umbrella and staring up at the sky has my whole heart.
- This art room is honestly the coolest classroom I’ve ever seen.
- There are SO MANY amazing shots in this rugby scene! First, you have Nick watching Charlie talk to his friends. Nick is off on the sidelines and really far away from the group—he’s basically just a bystander. Then, Nick’s group of friends walk in front of Charlie’s group, blocking Nick from their view. And later on, when Charlie falls towards the end of the game, there’s an angle where Nick is once again facing the two groups on the sidelines, and he has to make a choice: to go help Charlie and get on Charlie’s friends’ good side, or to keep up the facade he’s putting on for his friends and not assist Charlie in any way. It’s honestly amazing.
- Isaac, the icon.
Episode 5: Friend
- Tao and Elle are so pure, and I will not hear otherwise.
- Olivia Colman is absolutely incredible as Nick’s mom.
- Charlie wearing the birthday button!!!!!
- Isaac reading Radio Silence and then talking about Aled Last actually cured every problem I’ve ever had.
- The looks between Nick and Charlie all through the bowling/arcade scenes are award worthy, thank you very much.
- “I wish I’d met you when I was younger.” Let me start sobbing.
- Nick’s chat with Imogen about your personality being buried and feeling like you no longer fit in is both so endearing and incredibly heart-wrenching.
Episode 6: Girls
- Oh, someone please let me hug Nick Nelson and tell him that he’ll be okay.
- Again, another incredible and open conversation between Nick and Tara. And the fact that he feels comfortable enough with Tara to come out to her…something special, I say.
- The waving!!!
- Every time the camera shifts to Darcy’s face when Tara talks about how difficult being out can be, my soul gets crushed a little bit.
- “I’ve never been on a date.” “Me neither. Want to go on one?” If that isn’t the cutest thing I’ve ever heard…
- Elle’s reaction to learning that Nick and Charlie are together is the purest, most wholesome thing.
- Charlie’s worry for Nick and wanting him to not go through the bullying he went through is something that can really affect a person
- The whole chase sequence scene with the gang searching for Tara and Darcy is honestly impeccable.
Episode 7: Bully
- Nick called Charlie “Char,” and I’ve never felt so attacked.
- Charlie should have just pushed Ben off the roof. Boom, problem solved.
- I’m kidding.
- Good thing Nick punched Harry because if he didn’t, I would have done it for him.
- Will that same someone that let me hug Nick also let me hug Charlie and tell him that it’ll be okay?
- These last two episodes showing Charlie turning inward and isolating himself again is heartbreaking. The second the scene changes from Nick resting his head on Charlie’s shoulder to Charlie going to the art room for lunch and not even eating is such a jarring change from the Charlie that we’ve gotten to know through Nick, and it makes my heart break.
- Again, someone please let me hug Charlie.
- The scene with Charlie attempting to break up with Nick has so many levels and things to unpack—each of them as sad as the last. I mean, Charlie is convinced that he’s the problem, that there’s something wrong with him, and that he’s ruining Nick’s life. And in his mind, the only way to remedy that is to further isolate himself from the happiness he has recently found. Charlie doesn’t believe that he deserves any good that the world has to offer, and that in and of itself makes me want to cry.
- The photo of the shoe-potato getting ruined hurts my heart more than it probably should.
Episode 8: Boyfriend
- The fact that the opening of this episode is Charlie admitting that he thinks everyone would be better off if he didn’t exist and him breaking down in front of Tori is particularly painful. I mean, this is a 15-year-old kid that was bullied into thinking that he’s not worth much to anyone at all. And on the flip side, you see Tori’s reaction to his confession and how much love is behind her eyes, even if she isn’t willing to admit it.
- If I haven’t been clear enough about it already, somebody let me hug Charlie Spring.
- I’m going to need Isaac to have more lines in the second season. He’s a fantastic character.
- “Don’t let anyone make you disappear, Charlie.” Can you hear me crying?
- Isaac is the MVP for dragging Charlie to actually watch the rugby game.
- Nick walking away from the rugby game (aka something this is quintessential to his school identity) and to Charlie and reaching for his hand, in front of the whole school, is especially heartwarming when you think about the fact that Ben was too ashamed to even speak with Charlie in the hallway.
- Nick’s whole speech to Charlie about how his life is better with him in it is such a crucial moment for them because, up until then, I’m not sure that anyone has ever directly told Charlie how important or needed he is. And that is everything to me.
- “It’s all worth it to be with you.” Just stick a needle in my eye.
- Imagine getting on a train to go on a date with the actual love of your life and the person that created your whole life is sitting next to you on said train.
- The whole last ten minutes of this episode is the cutest thing I have ever seen, and if I commented on everything, we would be here for days.
- Nick feeling comfortable and brave enough to carry Charlie into the ocean and to scream that he likes Charlie in a romantic way—even if there really aren’t any people around—is such an incredible development.
- Nick’s coming out scene with his mom and her taking it so positively and supporting him in every way she can is something that is beyond needed for so many people.
Believe it or not, there is still so much I could say about this show, but I should probably save you and cut myself off at this point. It really is probably one of the best, if not the best, book-to-screen adaptations I’ve ever seen. And I genuinely cannot wait to see it change lives.
While we hopefully wait for a season two announcement, I’ll most likely be rewatching Heartstopper and rereading all things Alice Oseman.