The cult-classic film Heathers is getting a TV remake, and fans of the original are not impressed. As the trailer reveals, the 2018 remake didn’t get the memo that the original was in fact a satire. The casting is earnestly inclusive, but also completely tone deaf. The original clique of self-entitled, loathsome white girls has been replaced by a plus-sized, fabulous ringleader in the role of Heather Chandler, a cis-male but gender nonbinary Heather Duke, and an ethnically ambiguous Heather McNamara. Winona’s character is still played by a bratty white girl, though.
We’re definitely here for more diverse casting, but in the case of Heathers, the point of the original was to make fun of a specific social caricature: the popular, blonde, white girl. And as much progress as we’ve made since the 1989 release of the original film, we’re still not post-popular, blonde, white women occupying positions of social authority. That being said, this heavy-handed, social-justice warrior remake sort of misses the point. It’s definitely got Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad vibes.
Critics and fans of the original agree. It’s still a little too soon to be villainizing recently accepted identities (queer, ethnically diverse, plus size), even for the sake of comedy. If the trailer is indeed an actual representation of the content in the show the casting feels like a network’s attempt to cash in on the political sentiments of today’s Teen Vogue youth, as opposed to an earnest attempt at inclusivity in media.
Not-Heathers premiers March 7 on the Paramount Network. Hopefully it won't want to make you get fucked gently with a chainsaw as much as the trailer.