If you haven’t watched Heartbreak High, I suggest dropping everything to go and do that right now. I mean it, leave this browser, grab a pack of crisps, and get to it! Not quite convinced yet? Maybe my article on the reasons to watch Heartbreak High could help.
This article is going to contain some spoilers, there is simply no way around it. So before you continue reading, either make sure you’ve already watched Heartbreak High, or accept your fate.
Despite what the name may suggest, Heartbreak High is not a show about love, sex or breakups. At its core, Heartbreak High is a show about friendship. The entire plot is driven by a friendship, and every storyline in between merely reinforces the theme of friendship. Let’s explore exactly how it does that.
Image created by author using Netflix promotional image.
The entire driving force of this show is the dissolution of Harper and Amerie’s friendship. This is what starts the plot and keeps it on track throughout. We discover quickly that something has gone down between those two, and the rest of the season is spent trying to piece together exactly what happened.
This is one of the reasons that I feel the show is so relevant, as people underestimate how painful a friendship breakup can be. Losing a high school boyfriend? Meh. Losing your high school bestie? Siri, play Taylor Swift.
I truly felt for Amerie and even Harper, as they both clearly missed each other throughout. There were attempts at reconciliation from each side, but they were unfortunately thwarted by their own actions.
At the end of season 1, we discover that the instigator of the breakup was neither girls fault actually. While some criticise Harper for this, I think that’s unfair as we can’t minimise the impact of trauma. She needed someone to blame, and so she chose her best friend. Why? Because she trusts Amerie enough to unconsciously know they’ll get back together. We feel comfortable confronting those we know love us the most.
Amerie and Harper are the undying love story of season one, and I can’t wait to watch season 2 of Heartbreak High and see the iconic duo finally together.
The aforementioned friendship breakup led Amerie to find two new friends. Darren spotted Amerie’s tragically cut bangs and took pity on her. What followed is a trio that kept us laughing throughout the season. From astrology chats to dismissing performative lesbianism, we saw it all.
This was a chance for us to see a new friendship forming from the embers of the last one. It was an alliance between two unlikely groups that blossomed into a beautiful friendship. They supported each other throughout everything. I especially loved seeing Amerie adjust to Quinni’s neurodivergence, such as the scene where she puts fake eyelashes on her and then quickly takes them off as soon as Quinni grows uncomfortable. Or in the bathroom at Dusty’s party, when Darren asks Amerie to leave so they can help Quinni and she does this without issue.
It’s an example of a healthy new friendship, especially between a group of three which can be tricky.
But Darren and Quinni’s friendship was also important on its own. I believe their friendship was the perfect example of how to best support someone in their neurodivergence. Darren is the most aware of what Quinni needs and how her autism affects her. They are seen helping her to calm down, supporting her interests, and assuring her that she is never “too much” for them.
Even their relationships exist mainly to display their friendship in the show. Darren jokingly but proudly teases Quinni for her romance with Sacha. When Darren decides to send a nude, Quinni is right there helping them take it. They are each other’s biggest cheerleaders throughout the show.
All of the romances in Heartbreak High are easily overshadowed by the friendships behind them. In fact, the romances only highlight the toxic nature of characters, such as how Sacha is patronising and selfish in regards to Quinni’s autism while Darren is always there to help. Similarly, Dusty’s treatment of both Amerie and Harper is what finally brings them back to each other.
While the raunchy scenes do keep a viewer on the edge of their seat, watch Heartbreak High for the friendships, not the romances. Because even in real life, which do you remember more from high school yourself?
Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.
Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.
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