There’s No Safe Space in Paramount Network’s Heathers Reboot

Paramount Network’s Heathers is a modern take on the 80s cult classic, with sardonic, NSFW dialogue, and fierce fashion (rather than shoulder pads, this squad rocks faux fur and statement chokers).

And this time, the elite Heathers are not three white girls with long hair and thin legs rocking color coordinated twin sets. Heather M. is black, Heath is gender-fluid and their vicious ringleader Heather C. is a plus-sized, body-positive badass.

Watch the trailer:

Meet the Heathers on Instagram:

Tectonic. #Heathers #ParamountNetwork

A post shared by Heathers (@heathers) on

Monarch. #Heathers #ParamountNetwork

A post shared by Heathers (@heathers) on

Scandalous. #Heathers #ParamountNetwork

A post shared by Heathers (@heathers) on

Heathers was subversive for the 80s, an era brimming with lighthearted romantic comedies and uplifting morals to every story. (Spoiler alert and content warning: the film poked fun at teen suicide). It’s still subversive for 2018—no easy feat.

Heathers 2.0 seems to have it all and pays homage to the original without making a mess but also seems to be equally modern and refreshing,” wrote Lilith Hardie Lupica for Vogue Australia. Lupica cites the casting as a high point of Heathers, praising Paramount Network for taking the opportunity to re-examine stereotypes. And as Refinery 29’s culture critic Kaitlyn Reilly points out, Paramount Network’s Heathers “are still ultra-cool high school royalty, but so not your stereotypical cheerleader-types.”

In an interview with Deadline, Brendan Scannell (who plays ‘Heath’) discussed why the show chose to represent minority students as bullies: “In the movie, we have these three beautiful white women who you wouldn’t expect to be sort of like wreaking havoc on a school, and that was sort of new and hadn’t been seen before,” said Scannell.

“In [the show], we’ve got traditionally marginalized communities. We’ve got a black Heather, a plus-sized Heather, a queer (male) Heather. So there are these communities that still face discrimination, but in our show, we’re turning that on its head.”

It’s a puzzling contradiction for many critics, who struggle with the idea of “good girl” Veronica Sawyer (who looks more like the Heathers of yesteryear) squaring off against minority students.

The concern is that this will “demonize” the so-called marginalized Heathers, but this idea seems myopic and out of touch with today’s world. Yes, these characters are part of marginalized or vulnerable demographics. Yes—they’re still the Queen Bees of this school. It’s 2018, and this is not a bizarre scenario…unlike the rest of what unfolds in Heathers.

In a genius move by Paramount Network’s social media team, the official Heathers twitter account exudes as much snark as the Heathers themselves.

The account uses the hashtag #NotYourHeathers, taking ownership of their reboot and daring anyone to question who rules the school.

Heathers premieres on March 7…get ready to check your damage.

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