‘What’s your damage, Heather?’

By Emily Miller
January 22, 2018


Fans of the original “Heathers” are waiting anxiously for the television adaption; though they are excited, many are questioning the route the show will take as a result of the unusual casting choices.

Promotional advertisement for the new “Heathers” show reimagines the popular clique as homosexual, plus-sized and genderqueer. Photo from TV Land.

With countless articles and quizzes being published reliving the ’90s, it is certainly fair to say that people miss the ’90s a lot. An important staple of the ’90s was a film called “Heathers,” which came out in March of 1989. Although released and widely based in the ’80s, this movie became a cult-classic amongst young adults in the ’90s and through the decades, eventually getting its own musical in 2010.

Riding off of the initial cult status of the movie and the acclaim for the musical, roughly eight years since it has been directly relevant, TV Land has announced and released a trailer for the new resurgence of “Heathers,” this time as a TV series airing in early 2018. Much like most pieces that are adapted for the modern world, this rendition is bringing in some very new age changes.

From the trailer that was released and the various articles written about the anticipated show, it is clear that the movie is being cashed in on via the overuse of old nostalgic and iconic lines, but it can also be hypothesized that the show will follow a similar plot to the movie. That being said, the Heathers themselves have been dramatically changed, and this is where problems may arise for the show.

Admittedly, fans are living in a different time than the ’80s; many believe the world is a lot more accepting and diverse. TV Land wanted a cast that reflected these ideals.

In the reboot, Heather Chandler, the Heather clique leader, is played by a plus-sized woman named Melanie Field, and co-starred by Brendan Scannell, who plays a genderqueer Heather Duke, and Jasmine Mathews, who portrays a gay, African American Heather McNamara.

The problem here is not the modern take on the storyline— in fact, that could be a great social statement about the world we live in today, in the form of a classic and well-loved icon.


From left to right, Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, Kim Walker and Wiona Ryder starred in the original “Heathers” film. Screenshot from Youtube: @MyEdit.

The problem is, however, in the original film, a big part of the Heathers’ personalities and the plot of the movie relied heavily on them needing to fit into a mold and maintaining that image. This is what drives the protagonist, Veronica Sawyer— played by Grace Victoria Cox in the upcoming show—  to stray and form an alliance and romance with the antagonist, J.D.— played by James Scully.


Having characters that have already stated their place outside of the status-quo as the ring leaders of a high school sounds fantastic, it just doesn’t sound like “Heathers.”

“The ‘Heathers’ show takes away everything the original movie and even the musical addressed,” said student and “Heathers” fan Mariah Peña. “By not casting the ‘Heathers’ as three overly privileged and rich, white girls, they are taking away the sole purpose of the film for some fleeting sense of diversity.”

Natalie Wharton, also a student and “Heathers” fan, agrees that the casting decisions do not align with what drove the plot of the original film.

“The Heathers themselves are iconic for being hot and cruel. The whole point of ‘Beautiful’ [in the musical] is to show who fits in and who doesn’t,” Wharton said. “They even make fun of a character for being overweight, so it really doesn’t make sense casting wise.”

A lot of projects that are taken from the big screen to the small screen tend to fall flat because they lose what was great about the original, or in layman’s terms, lose sight of the intended message because of the adaptations

However, there is still a lot of anticipation and hope surrounding the debut of this 21st century update and one can only hope they can spin the plot smoothly to keep the magic of the original while also adapting to the times.

Emily Miller

Emily Miller | Copy/ Web Editor, Loquitur 2018

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