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Series / Heathers

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Heathers is an American black comedy television series based on the film of the same name written by Daniel Waters. The first season, consisting of nine episodes (out of the original ten produced), aired on the Paramount Network in 2018. The show is described as an "hour-long pitch-black comedy anthology set in the present day, as heroine Veronica Sawyer deals with a very different but equally vicious group of Heathers."

Unlike the original movie, which was set in the 1980s and featured the then-standard high school hierarchy of jocks and cheerleaders dominating and bullying everyone else, this 2010s version involves a trio of traditionally unpopular categories of students as the hegemons in the student body's competition for social media clout.

Due to the subject matter involving teen violence and murder, the show's premiere was delayed after the February 2018 Florida school shooting; it was officially cancelled after the Santa Fe shooting. Because the first season was already filmed, Viacom (owner of Paramount Network) reportedly looked for another avenue to air it but given the subject matter, other channels and broadcasters did not chomp at the bit to air it. This ultimately led to Paramount Network deciding to air the series after all, airing two episodes a night for five nights straight from October 25 through October 29, 2018.

It is also available in Australia on the streaming distributor Stan.

Heathers includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: Several examples:
    • Heather Chandler deciding to try and be nicer lasts for an episode before she returns to her normal nature with no word.
    • Heather Chandler's parents being dismissive of her is never brought up again after Episode 3.
    • Heather Duke's relationship with Kurt. In the fourth episode Kurt breaks up with Heather after he decides that he's not okay with how Heather treats people. However, the next time we see Kurt, he's planning a prom proposal for Duke as if the previous breakup never happened.
    • Veronica's psychotic nature is introduced in the fifth episode. She then continues it for a few episodes before reverting back to being close to the original Veronica who is against JD's actions, only to revert back to psychosis by the finale.
    • Veronica training JD to be the perfect boyfriend is exclusive to the sixth episode and she never enforces these lessons on him in the future episodes.
  • Abusive Parents: Heather Chandler's parents are shown to be quite dismissive of her.
  • Action Girl: Betty, Veronica and Heather Chandler all are shown to be capable of protecting themselves.
  • Acquainted with Emergency Services: Heather Duke attempts to call the cops on J.D. (with the flimsy evidence that he knows the word myriad) and the policewoman answering recognises him as a prankcaller. Cue a montage of Duke calling 911 on her classmates for fashion crimes.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The TV series uses the films original ending that was never filmed. In this version, Veronica blows up the school and the dead characters have a prom in heaven. Only here Veronica and JD are not allowed into the party, nobody can see or hear them, and they both canít see or hear each other.
  • Adaptational Badass: Betty Finn manages to beat JD in a fight using various skills she learned in different activities through the years such as martial arts and fencing.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Heather Chandler makes an attempt to be nicer, the extent to which she succeeds is debatable.
    • Kurt and Ram both get this, they've both lost their sexist ways from the original film and musical. With Ram and Kurt actually being very romantic towards Veronica and Heather Duke respectively.
  • Adaptational Sexuality: Kurt is actually gay in this version, as opposed to the original where it was simply a story JD made up to further humiliate him after his death.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Veronica, to an extreme degree. Unlike the previous versions of her, she actually wants to kill people and is revealed to have killed someone years prior to meeting JD. Not to mention how she blows up the school.
    • Heather McNamara also gets this, she's notably meaner than her movie and musical counterpart.
    • Heather Duke is more like her musical counterpart than the one in the original movie. Only here she's not bullied as much by Heather Chandler and so her cruel actions are less justified.
  • Adapted Out: There is no Martha "Dumptruck" Dunnstock in this reboot. The new version of Heather Chandler is overweight, so her bullying another overweight girl wouldn't make much sense.
  • Adults Are Useless: As always.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Taken to a perverse extreme when Veronica is enchanted by J.D murdering Ram.
  • Alpha Bitch: Heather Chandler, Heather Duke and Betty Finn all take their turns on the top of the pyramid. Lucy also seems to have been this to Betty and Veronica in their youth.
  • Ambiguously Bi: it's never made clear if McNamara is straight and lied about being a lesbian for social justice clout, or a bisexual who didn't realise there are more identities than just 'gay' and 'straight'. See No Bisexuals.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Betty never shows any interest in boys, and is seen slow dancing with a girl in heaven. On the other hand, McNamara and Duke also slow dance together, and it's clear this is merely platonic, leaving Betty's sexuality up in the air.
  • Asshole Victim: Very few characters who die were good people.
    • Heather Duke was a huge bully to everyone at the school, even her friends.
    • JD and Veronica committed several murders and unlike the movie and the musical, Veronica was a knowing participant.
    • Mr Waters contributed to Heather McNamara's death and preyed on several other students.
  • Back for the Finale: Betty Finn, although it doesn't really go anywhere.
  • Betty and Veronica: Veronica briefly becomes the Archie for Ram's Betty and JD's Veronica. It ends pretty quickly when JD murders Ram
  • Broken Ace:
    • Betty Finn describes herself as having experienced "the bottled up rage of an over-achiever" for the past seventeen years.
    • Turned up to 11 with Veronica. She's popular, beautiful, rich, a Prom Queen nominee, and killed someone when she was eight.
  • Bungled Suicide: Breonna.
  • Color Motif: As always in Heathers:
    • Heather Chandler wears red to symbolize her aggressiveness.
    • Heather Duke wears green to symbolize her jealousy.
    • Heather McNamara wears yellow to symbolize her shyness.
    • Veronica wears blue as the calmest in the group.
    • JD wears black which is associated with death.
    • Betty Finn wears pink (unlike the movie, where she was associated with orange) to portray her generally sweet nature.
    • Brianna "Trailer" Parker takes over from the movie Martha Dunnstock in wearing white to show her innocence.
    • Lucy, the murder victim of the croquet killer and Betty and Veronica's childhood friend, is only shown wearing the color red and from what we see of her she appears to have been quite the Alpha Bitch.
  • Death by Adaptation: The entire school body, excluding Heather Chandler.
  • Driven to Suicide: Heather McNamara and Brianna Parker, although the latter fails.
  • "Everyone Comes Back" Fantasy Party Ending: The show ends with a prom in heaven like the original ending for the movie.
  • Gainax Ending: Heathers: Revolution never coming to fruition rendered The Stinger as this to the whole series.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending:The show ends with a prom in heaven where all the dead reunite.
  • Ignored Epiphany: the teachers at Westerburg High wonder aloud if all this tragedy could have been avoided if they just listened to the students, then shrug and decide it doesn't matter now.
  • Lovable Jock: Kurt and Ram are both far kinder in this version, the two of them aren't interested in Duke and Veronica purely for sex, they both seem to genuinely want a relationship with them.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: JD does this to Ram.
  • Nice Girl: Brianna "Trailer" Parker is a character marked by unwavering kindness despite adversity. Her resilience and positive outlook are counterbalanced by her forgiving nature, often extending forgiveness to those who may not deserve it.
  • No Bisexuals: When Heather Duke sees Heather McNamara kissing Mr Waters, she immediately assumes that Heather McNamara is straight and has been faking being a lesbian. She never considers that she may be a bisexual instead. Veronica makes a comment about having planned to "experiment with lesbianism" when she got to college, suggesting that she doesn't understand the concept of bisexuality either.
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Inverted hard. The ending has Veronica and J.D trapped forever in an afterlife where no one can see them or hear them including each other. Meanwhile, Chandler is still alive and the other students get to enjoy their prom in heaven.
  • Police Are Useless: Betty does everything right after surviving an attack from J.D; she writes down a precise account of everything that happens, right down to the minute, then heads straight to the police. Not only do they not believe her, they actually apologize to J.D for bringing him in for questioning.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Heather Chandler.
  • "Reason You Suck" Speech: Very common in the show. Most notably is when Veronica, Chandler and Duke are locked in a room together in the eighth episode where they take turns delivering one to each other.
  • Removing the Rival: Heather Chandler does this to Lizzy.
  • Setting Update: With the setting changing from the 1980s to the 2010s, so too do the asinine high school mores-and the clueless adults going along with them-being skewered.
  • Social Media Is Bad: The root cause of the inanity and eventual insanity at Westerburg is ultimately the pursuit of fame and power on social media and the perceived need to play along with its rules.
  • Sole Survivor: Heather Chandler.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Heather Chandler is the first person to die in previous versions, and the only character to survive this one.
  • Straw Feminist:
    • All the Heathers. Subverted when Chandler admits to J.D that she isn't sincere about her beliefs, and just uses feminist rhetoric to get her own way. For example, she doesn't think prom is a patriarchal institution until Veronica is beating her in the polls for Prom Queen.
    • Mrs Fleming. However, much like Heather Chandler, it's implied her beliefs are a bit performative. She's all for allowing students to wear short skirts to the prom until a teacher she dislikes agrees with her. She then suddenly decides allowing short skirts would just be catering to the male gaze.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Although the show was never happy, the prom in heaven seems to be the first time the students are getting along. Then, all of a sudden, Veronica finds herself unable to interact with them and ends up getting locked outside with a JD she can't see or hear. The same goes for JD as well.
  • Sweets of Temptation: In a series of promotional posters for the show, the characters are seen eating dangerous-looking sweets, including a lollipop with a razor blade in the center (pictured above), a popsicle with a knife handle for a stick, a Slurpee with red syrup leaking down the side, and a cupcake with prescription pills instead of sprinkles.
  • Token Minority: In universe, Heather Chandler only let Veronica into the group for the convenience of having a token Jewish girl as part of the clique. Heather MacNamara, who is half Irish and half African American, apparently lied about being lesbian in order to gain status as a Twofer Token Minority within the group.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The sheer amount of footage featured in the trailers and previews inevitably leads to this during the first episode. The scene where Veronica and J.D. poison Heather Chandler happens about halfway through the first episode. However, anyone who watched the trailer or any of the preview clips will be aware that there are still dozens of moments featuring her that haven't happened yet. This makes the "surprise" reveal at the end of the episode that the poison failed to kill her much more predictable.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Veronica and J.D.