Side Note

Just let the cursed ‘Heathers’ reboot die

Heathers, the beloved 1989 documentary about how Christian Slater used to be hot, did not need to be remade. Remakes never need to happen, it’s true, but the original movie is still immensely charming, and anyways high school hasn’t changed so much that the remake would do anything but put a diverse spin on the characters. That’s exactly what happened with the new TV show: In this version, the bullies weren’t WASP-y white girls but traditionally marginalized people (fat, genderqueer, black). “People that wouldn’t have necessarily been considered the most popular kids in school in 1988 could very well be — and probably most likely are — the more popular kids today,” showrunner Jason Micallef said. He could’ve peeked outside his bubble, but whatever, go off king.

The ten-episode reboot was supposed to premiere in March on the Paramount Network. But it was delayed indefinitely after the February shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School, the deadliest school shooting in history, over concerns about the content. (Spoiler: In the original Heathers, and presumably the reboot, a lot of high school kids die.) According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show was then considered for a July premiere before the May shooting at Santa Fe High School. Finally, the show was edited to remove two scenes where the central high school is blown up (as in the original movie) and another character fantasizes about shooting up his classmates, and set to air every episode over a five-day period beginning October 25. Those episodes started airing on Thursday… and have now been delayed again, following Saturday’s synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Two episodes featuring high school students undergoing active shooter training were pulled from Sunday night’s schedule, though the finale is still set to air tonight. No word on when the unaired episodes will run, if ever.

Just a week ago, The Outline got a PR e-mail excitedly teasing the series premiere. The whole process has been wildly cursed. Heathers isn’t the only show on TV to feature sensational depictions of gun violence, but it is alone in marrying it with a satirical point about how the kids really are, in 2018. But parody doesn’t really work when real life disproves the point you’re trying to make — maybe queer kids and black kids can be bullies in 2018, but the shooters are still white and male, as they’ve always been. It might be time to admit that nobody needs this kind of commentary, if they can’t commit to the content without tensing up every time there’s a public massacre (which, at this rate, is about once a month), and let the entire ordeal die.