Heartbreak High Review 2022 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
The Australian reboot of Heartbreak High touched down on Netflix on September 14, 2022, with its 8 episodes featuring a diverse cast in the first season. Versatile actors like Ayesha Madon, James Majoos, Chloe Hayden, Asher Yasbincek, Thomas Weatherall, and more have taken the lead and handed out a modern subversive tale of heartbreaks in Hartley High.
Back in the ’90s and the 2000s, series concerning the coming-of-age of high school kids weren’t always a major hit considering several stereotypical arcs that shaped them. Shows like One Tree Hill, The O.C., Dawson’s Creek, and others started to shift the scene with the delicacy they dealt with issues surrounding teenagers. All of them eventually went on to turn into mainstream giants in time, but there was still a dearth of good teen series in the non-American TV industry.
In such a scenario, while it does feel like a breakthrough to have a unique Aussie voice be heard, or in this case be reheard, through the reboot of Heartbreak High, it doesn’t quite feel like something unique has stuck the landing. Netflix itself owns the copyrights to several shows belonging to the same party. Nevertheless, you still get sucked in by the many comparisons drawn in on it as sharing similarities with HBO’s Euphoria and Netflix’s Sex Education and Thirteen Reason Why, too, at some points. Moordale High feels a bit closer to what Heartbreak High is all about, and still, it manages to have a heart of its own to some extent.
The first episode itself cuts to the chase instantly and reveals the triggering factor for a lot of mishaps to follow as the ‘Incest Map’ drawn by BFFs Amerie and Harper in the old, dilapidated staircase that no one visits is exposed. It messes up a lot of friendships, ‘breaks people up’, and ‘outs’ some as well. This ultimately calls for a meeting with the “woke” principal of the school, who is already facing a lot of pressure in terms of the school funding being endangered.
A series of “sexual literacy tutorials (SLT)” is called in session but is obviously seen as a “sex jail” by the teenagers who’ve been asked to stay behind for these classes. Reminiscent of Breakfast Club bringing people across cliques together in a room, this becomes Hartley High’s very own Sex-Ed Breakfast Club. All this while, a mystery also mounts up as something is definitely going on with Harper, but she chooses to cut Amerie out of her life, which puts a big question mark on their “perfect” friendship till the end.
Various grave issues of the moment are taken up by the show, like the very outdated and heteronormative standards that the school pushes on the kids, as is also acknowledged by their English and now SLT class teacher. Linguistics surrounding the fluidity of gender is constantly interrogated.
It portrays how people take it so lightly, but the long-reigning regime of heteronormativity has also humanely rendered it hard for families to adjust while being as supportive as possible, as depicted in the case of Darren’s life. The overall pitch of the show mirrors a lot of what has been done and seen before, but these intricate nuances are the soul of the show and make up a whole that needs to be reflected upon.
A lot of bits of basic feminist lingo are embedded in the chronology of episodes, and it’s all done for good reason. Yes, it puts out explicit nudity on display, but similar to Euphoria, Heartbreak High is also more inclined toward the platonic friendship between the two leading girls. Each episode dishes some underlying residual of their feelings for each other, and it makes the audience root for them to get back together, which is why it also proves to have a lot more profundity than any other romantic or sexual escapade they might fling themselves into.
Heartbreak High Review: Worth the Watch?
Even though similarities with others stand, I would like to list down the reasons why the show is a must-watch. I’m sure there will be a ton of new titles coming up soon that will take up these issues at such great length again. Therefore, on the grand scale of things, Heartbreak High isn’t original, but it has some redeeming qualities to it that haven’t been worked out much before its release.
Diversity shown across the panel of actors in the show isn’t a mere shot at tokenism. It takes into account the varying degrees of differences in the characters’ backgrounds in terms of their financial standing, sexualities, and neurological and racial issues but doesn’t limit the characters’ personalities to this alone. The non-binary Darren and Quinni suffering from Autism are not solely defined by these labels. They’re fleshed out as actual people who have these bits as part of their lives, but it doesn’t make up everything in their story.
Looking on the inside, the trailer makes it seem as if the archetypical character representation will breed stereotypes, but it doesn’t. Characters are presented as real people with layered personalities. So, it’s fair to say that you shouldn’t be judging the entirety of the show by the looks of the trailer alone. Yes, its foundation is built within the same universe as Sex Education, but even if it may not seem like it, sex is only one of the issues in their life creating complications.
The one major problem that I have with shows like Heartbreak High is that despite their initiation of a lot of healthy discussion and portrayal, most of them remain locked up within their ‘Adult’ rating due to the repetitive depiction of the sexual act itself. Old habits die hard, and it’s imperative that the bad cycle of the spoken word relating to sexual and gender diction is broken early on.
For that to happen, such shows need to open up their target demographic to the younger audience as well. However, the building formula around these shows begs to differ and makes one question if there will ever be a series touching upon the same issues to the same extent for a non-adult group of viewers as well.
Heartbreak High is now streaming on Netflix. Let us know your thoughts about the show in the comments.