YMMV: Heathers

The Movie

  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is Veronica manipulated into killing Heather Chandler and Kurt Kelly, or did she know exactly what she was doing? When she takes the cup of poison to Heather, she feels for the mug while kissing J.D. The poison mug has a lid, while the safe one does not. The film clearly shows Veronica's hand on the lid, indicating that she knew exactly which cup it was. Likewise, when she lures Kurt and Ram to the woods, J.D. shoots Ram with what J.D. has told her are tranquilizers, but are in fact real bullets. Veronica misses Kurt, who runs off, J.D. giving chase. While they are running, Veronica examines Ram's corpse, and it is clear that she knows it is really a corpse. Then when J.D. chases Kurt back, she shoots him. So, was Veronica manipulated into killing Heather and Kurt, or did she know exactly what she was doing?
      • J.D. even argues that Veronica knew exactly what she doing but acted horrified because she couldn't face that that was exactly what she wanted.
    • Did J.D. bounce around from school to school only because his father needed to do demolition jobs in different cities? Or did his father have a keen nose for when his son started trying to get his own back at the cliques in his schools? J.D. seemed awfully ready to scare the pants off the football jocks, being armed with a gun that shot blanks after a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
    • Is Heather Chandler really as bad as Veronica thinks she is, or did she have some skeletons in her closet not unlike what Veronica implied. While the note was obviously faked, one scene in particular implied that she may have probably become a Heather by pressure. Said scene involved her, with some hesitation, get coaxed into performing fellatio with an older University student. Then later she is seen in the bathroom, with a traumatized look on her face when she goes to wash her mouth out.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy
  • Draco in Leather Pants: J.D. Unfortunately.
  • Fanon:
    • It's generally agreed that Veronica and J.D. had sex in the car after killing Kurt and Ram.
    • A hamster cage (with a hamster still inside) can be seen in J.D.'s room when J.D. is building the bomb. Fans have embraced this, naming it "Slushie" and making it J.D.'s literal Morality Pet in fanfiction.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Veronica/Heather McNamara for those who want fluffy Les Yay, and Veronica/Heather Chandler for those who like the Foe Yay dynamic.
  • Fridge Horror: Sure no one is in anymore danger after JD blows himself up but just think about what a lovely sight he must have left behind after that. And there's no way no one will see it.
  • Genius Bonus: One of the earliest hints that Veronica's dream sequence is a dream is the reference to Eskimos in Antarctica, whereas they're actually found in the Arctic.
    • The word does appear in Moby-Dick, just not with that spelling. (excerpt) 
  • Harsher in Hindsight: It seems as though, every year, something happens that makes the film just that much more uncomfortable to watch.
    • For one thing, there's the entire damn movie. When Heathers was made, the humor came from the absurdity of the idea of white, upper-middle class high school students killing each other. Then, the Columbine school shooting happened and sucked the darkly hilarious fun right out of the movie. The fact that Eric Harris specifically rigged up his school with bombs and filled his diary with the same anti-society ranting that J.D. spouts only makes it worse.
    • Both the Columbine killers wore dark trench coats eerily similar to what J.D. wore in the final scene.
    • The idea of white, upper-middle class high school students committing mass suicide wasn't even necessarily absurd when the movie was made - as noted in the movie's own DVD commentary, the scriptwriter notes that Plano, Texas (a community almost notorious for being almost exclusively made up of white, upper-middle class residents) was once known as the suicide capital of America.
    • Kimberly Walker (Heather Chandler) utters the immortal line, "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?". Tragically, Walker herself died of just that, 12 years later at the age of only 32. What makes it doubly uncomfortable are the scenes with Heather Chandler's death and funeral and, later, the appearance of her ghost in a dream sequence.
    • The character Peter Dawson prays he will never commit suicide. His actor, Jeremy Applegate, committed suicide on March 23, 2000.
    • The plotline about Heather Duke being the new Alpha Bitch can be like this due to the fact that Shannen Doherty was fired from two high-profile series, Beverly Hills 90210 and Charmed, due to her poor relations with her fellow cast members.
    • After the outbreak of gay teen suicides in 2010 that inspired the It Gets Better Project, it can be cringe-inducing to watch the part focusing on the two heterosexual football players who supposedly killed themselves because they were gay and saw no hope of being accepted for who they were, and the townspeople's reactions.
    • The student attempting to kill herself can be hard to watch due to reports of students killing themselves due to the extreme bullying they fall victim to.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Brad Pitt got rejected for the role of J.D. because producers thought he was "too nice". Then came Pitt's roles in Kalifornia, Fight Club, Snatch., and Inglourious Basterds.
  • Hollywood Nerd : Betty, who's a slim, pretty girl with great skin. She wears glasses and unfashionable clothes.
  • Ho Yay: Ram and Kurt, to the point that they start a rumor about having a three-way with Veronica. One where their swordplay is front-and-center.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "I love my dead gay X!"
    • "Oh, fuck me gently with a chainsaw."
    • "What's your damage, Heather?"
  • Misaimed Fandom: As mentioned in the Draco entry, J.D. He's a sociopath who wants to murder his classmates.
  • Not So Crazy Anymore: The film got made in the first place only because the idea of outcast high schoolers killing each other was considered patently absurd. Post-Columbine, the movie turns into Dude, Not Funny!.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • It's hard to imagine a film about teens actually murdering each other and planning to murder an entire school getting greenlit as a comedy these days. See the Harsher in Hindsight entry above.
    • One scene showed that them placing bottled mineral water in the jocks' bags as evidence that they were gay. These days, drinking mineral water isn't considered sissy or snobby; at worst one might be thought of as slightly over-health-concerned. This is discussed in the movie, where it's pointed out that even back then, drinking bottled water was being seen as acceptable, but J.D. points out they're all the way out in the sticks where it still hasn't caught on.
  • Vindicated by Cable: The film, while not a box office success, found a lot of its fandom with repeated airings on WGN and TBS.

The Musical

  • Actor Shipping: Barret Wilbert Weed and Ryan McCartan, the original Veronica and J.D., get this a lot. Weirdly, Ryan's successor, Dave Thomas Brown, seems to get left out of it, even though Ryan's been dating Dove Cameron for a while now.
  • Awesome Music: Now in its full official soundtrack glory on YouTube. Have fun.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • "Blue."
    • Veronica making an Innocently Insensitive joke about J.D.'s mother knowing what he's up to and J.D. promptly explaining that his mother is, in fact, dead? Not funny. Veronica's Oh Crap! face when J.D. explains this? Hilarious.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • There are two types of J.D. fans: those who see him as the tragic, complex, and likable, but ultimately villainous, obsessive, and murderous character he is, and those who see him as a misunderstood Woobie whose behavior towards Veronica is romantic. The former tend to find the latter incredibly embarrassing. (Luckily, they're a Vocal Minority.)
    • Similarly, there are those who ship J.D. and Veronica, but realize and admit it's an unhealthy trainwreck and would never want anyone to be in a relationship like that in real life (as one fan put it, "No one hates J.D./Veronica shippers more than we hate ourselves."), and those who think they're a perfect couple who are tragically beautiful together. Again, the former don't get along with the latter.
  • Ear Worm: Most of the songs in the musical, especially "Dead Girl Walking", "Candy Store," "Meant to Be Yours", "Beautiful", and "Blue."
    • "Who-o-o-o-oah!" "C'mon, Westerburg!"
    • "Full steam ahead, take this dead girl walking! Let's break the bed, rock this dead girl walking!"
    • "Freeze your brain, swim in the ice, get lost in the pain! Shut your eyes tight, 'til you vanish from sight, let nothing remain!"
    • "Box up my clothing for Goodwill, and give the poor my Nordic Track. Donate my car to crippled kids, or to those ghetto moms on crack..."
  • Fanon:
    • J.D.'s mother's name tends to be either Sally or Megan in fanfic. Though what her maiden name was is still debated.
    • Despite the hamster not appearing in the stage musical, most fans of the musical tend to agree that Slushie the hamster is still canon. (See the film section above.) Probably because it'd actually be more in character for Musical!J.D. to own a hamster.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Among fans: "SHUT UP, HEATHER!"
    • The show closing: "I love my dead gay show!"
    • "Fuck me gently with a chain saw!"
    • Barret Wilbert Weed's Signature Laugh.
    • "My teenage angst bullshit has a body count."
    • "Are we gonna have a problem? You got a bone to pick? You've come so far. Why now are you pulling on my dick?"
    • Veronica's entire monologue during "Beautiful," explaining who the Heathers are.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Heather Duke crosses it in "Shine a Light (Reprise)" by mocking Heather McNamara's attempt at suicide and saying she deserves to die for "whining." J.D. appears to agree, seeing as how he starts plotting to kill her after she does that.
    • The fandom's split on whether or not J.D. ever crossed it, and if he managed to redeem himself by sacrificing himself to save Veronica. However, for fans that think J.D. crossed it, him plotting to blow up the school is generally where they say he did.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Barret Wilbert Weed!Veronica's laugh, which is adorably awkward. It helps that it's so infectious.
  • Narm Charm: Many songs run on this. For example, "Seventeen" is about mundane things like watching bad movies and eating chili fries. "Kindergarten Boyfriend" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. They should be hard to take seriously, but due to beautiful music and sincere acting, they're both genuine tear jerkers.
  • Painful Rhyme: "My problems were myriad—" "I was having my period." (An intentional example, if Veronica's awkward laughter and J.D.'s "uhhhh" expression afterwards are anything to go by.)
  • Troubled, but Cute: J.D. definitely.
  • The Woobie:
    • Veronica, for everything first Heather Chandler, and then J.D. put her through.
    • Martha "Dumptruck," for reasons that should be fairly obvious.
    • Heather McNamara, especially after her suicide attempt.
    • And in the end, you sort of have to cry for J.D., too.