Heartstopper creator Alice Osman dismisses comparisons to Euphoria, emphasizing that her series explores real and serious themes. Osman acknowledges that Heartstopper is a lighter series, but notes that it’s maturing and still tackles difficult topics. Osman welcomes different types of children’s series and expresses his love for both Euphoria and Heartstopper, noting that there is room for all kinds of representation in the genre.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter to discuss the second season of Heartstopper, Osman was blunt about how the Netflix series differs from other shows like Euphoria. The creator and author of the books on which Heartstopper is based dismissed the notion that “there’s a kind of children’s media scale and that Euphoria is on one side and we’re on the other”. While he acknowledged that Heartstopper could have been a more light-hearted series, Osman says his series is becoming more mature and still touches on difficult topics. Here is their full quote:
“What surprised me the most was the comparisons with other children’s media. When the first season came out, we were bombarded with comparisons to Euphoria and Sex Education, like there was some sort of teen media ladder, and Euphoria was on one side and we were on the other, and I didn’t expect that at all. I guess everyone saw Heartstopper as a completely pure, charming and delightful story, which in some ways it is, but in other ways it explores real and serious themes, and even more so in the second season. It will be interesting to see if we get the same response this time, now that I feel like we’re developing the show a bit and maturing a bit. So yeah, even though we’re not Euphoria, we let the show change and evolve and I want that to happen, plus there’s room for all kinds of kids shows and I love that. I love Euphoria and I love Heartstopper.”
Heartstopper proves that there are several ways to be a mature show.
Euphoria has made headlines for the way it touches on sensitive topics, regularly showing scenes of nudity and drug use. As Ryu (Zendai), she shows how drug use can destroy a person and a family. By comparison, Heartstopper can be considered a lighter series. However, stopping comparisons does a disservice to the stories that the Netflix series seeks to explore.
Nick’s difficulty coming out, for example, is an extremely sensitive subject that affects viewers in different ways. In the first season, Charlie is in a manipulative and toxic relationship. The thread continues in the second season of Heartstopper, but the series isn’t just sailing through murky waters. It also shows, for example, that Isaac accepts his asexuality.
Euphoria has a style that pushes the boundaries and offers teen drama in an A24-like visual package. This is just one of the approaches to changing the genre. Heartstopper may be more traditional in some ways, but in terms of the stories it tries to tell and the characters it develops, the adaptation is completely unique.