Heartbreak High Season 1 Review – A teen drama that understands the assignment
Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Heartbreak High is a teen drama on Netflix following the lives of students in Hartley High who are realizing being a teenager is not all it is amped up to be. The show is a reboot of the 1994 Australian show and Netflix manage to perfectly modernize the show.
This first season follows Amerie, Harper, and their friends as they navigate high school, friendships, tumultuous relationships, and broken family issues. At the beginning, we meet Amerie who takes the fall after “the incest map” is discovered at school.
She and Harper drew the map together detailing rumored and real sexual escapades but once it was discovered it wreaked havoc in Hartley High. The principal decides the students on the map need Sexual Literacy Tutorials (SLTs) to help them to learn to respect their bodies and sex.
Amerie and Harper’s fall-out adds a mystery element to this one and throughout the season, viewers will keep trying to guess and find clues as to why Harper wants to end her friendship with Amerie. Don’t worry, the reveal at the end of the show is worth it. As it turns out, Harper is dealing with a lot and she is not ready to discuss it until the finale.
In the SLTs, we meet the students named on the incest maps and they are, as expected, not pleased to be in this sex education class. Obviously, Amerie and Harper made it on the list, they are joined by the school heartthrob Dusty. Don’t let his luscious curly locks and dreamy eyes fool you, his personality is rotten to the core. He is just another beautiful face with a shallow personality.
Of course, Dusty being the hottest boy in school has his entourage. His trusted lackeys Spencer aka. Spider and Anthony aka. Ant were not left behind. Spider is the kind of guy who refuses to think before sharing his thoughts and it is no wonder most people find him annoying and mean.
Ant is a simple boy who is dealing with a mom who is deeply religious and he struggles to be himself and still make his mom proud. Out of the three, Ant is the least problematic.
Sasha and Misty are mutual friends of Amerie and Harper but after learning that Amerie drew the incest map they cut ties with her. Sasha is openly out and has dated many girls in the school and later on she begins dating Quinn too.
Quinn was diagnosed with autism and ADHD when she was 13. She is outgoing and has a bubbly personality especially when she talks about the things she is passionate about.
I loved how the show handled this storyline and her relationship with Sasha. Throughout, Quinn and Sasha handle their issues with maturity and it’s great that Quinn’s autism was not all we got to see from her. This was both refreshing and educational because we need to realize that a diagnosis does not define a person and most TV shows fail on this.
Another stand-out moment is how the show portrays her relationship with Darren. Darren was always there for Quinn no matter what was going on in their lives.
Darren is a black non-binary student and Quinn’s best friend. They feel misunderstood by their parents and they have trouble finding a loving relationship. Darren is struggling with self-love, and there’s a really touching moment where he opened up to their dad. Their dad said the right things even though he is still learning about his son’s sexuality.
Lastly, we have Ca$h and Malakai who are also part of the class. Ca$h is struggling with his sexuality and has a hard time dealing with his feelings for Darren. I felt his guilt over the kind of life he is leading ( he peddles drugs and is part of a gang) is holding him back from being open to Darren. He is also taking care of his ailing grandmother and he is not used to having someone take care of him. This is why he doesn’t know how to deal with his feelings for Darren and having someone who wants to be there for him.
Malakai is a new student who got into the class by mistake. The secretary confused him with another black student and he found himself forced to take the class. He doesn’t seem to mind being in SLTs as he has a crush on Amerie. In episode 4, he becomes a victim of police racial profiling and this deeply affects him and he ends up making terrible decisions before finding the help he needed to deal with the trauma.
This show discusses heavy and deep topics that are necessary, especially among the show’s target audience. The show deals with sex education, drug abuse, domestic abuse, LGBTQ+, autism, racial profiling, and sexual abuse. It covers so many issues that the youth today are dealing with and this Netflix series handles these topics in a way that the audience can relate with.
Netflix has done a great job with this show, outdoing themselves with this teen drama. This is a much-needed breath of fresh air. It perfectly balances comedy, teen drama, and tough issues making it a great watch. Was it a risky move? Yes, but it pays off because this show is funny, chaotic, and unapologetically real. You should definitely add it to your watch list!