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The Heathers TV reboot trailer is a master class in how to punch down

These are all the wrong lessons from the original film

Conventionally attractive straight people have been marginalized for too long, and it’s finally time for them to fight back and take what’s rightfully theirs.

That seems to be the theme of the upcoming Heathers TV reboot, which seems to take the dark comedy film from 1988 and pumps it through the beating heart of the Trump presidency to provide a power fantasy for those already in power.

Rebooting the movie at all is a bad idea, but this angle adds a whole ‘nother layer of failure. You can watch the first trailer above. It’s very bad.

Let’s dig into why.

The wrong lessons from a cult classic

“The idea is that power corrupts and that everyone is at their core an asshole and concerned for themselves,” cast member Heath Duke said. “In the movie, three beautiful women were wrecking havoc on the school; that was new and hadn’t been done before. Our modern retelling centers around marginalized communities — a plus-size, a Black girl and a queer — trashing everyone around them.”

The problem is that the only place that marginalized communities have too much power is in the minds of 19-year-old malcontents on Reddit. Heathers, based on the teaser, looks like it’s going to be about taking people who have a hard time surviving school in the real world, and then using them to make the argument that, if they were to have any power, they must be ... killed?

That’s not subversive, nor is it dark. It’s borderline irresponsible, when people from the marginalized communities represented in the trailer often live in literal fear for their physical safety at school in real life.

So I guess it is pretty dark.

The Heathers reboot’s premise of overweight or gay teens having power isn’t edgy, nor is it doing much to upend the status quo. The “pretty girl fights back against marginalized individuals” is a reactionary idea that’s meant to reinforce the standard high school hierarchy.

So many people — no matter where you were in the pecking order — had an aggressive, hostile shell during high school. That’s because high school is horrible. Every group has people at the top and people at the bottom, and it can be just as stressful to try to fit in with the band kids as it is to fit in with the popular people. And the lie about the popular kids having their best years during high school is just that: a lie.

But this trailer doesn’t really address that point, which was handled pretty well in Mean Girls, and it seems to think that punching down instead of punching up is the same thing as having a new idea. That’s kinda the oldest idea there is, as any hack comedian can tell you.

The heterosexual white kids who look like actors are doing just fine, thanks. We don’t need a TV show that says they need even more violence to keep them on top. The Heathers reboot itself may be better than the trailer suggests, but this is a horrible way to get people interested in watching.

Heathers premieres on March 7, on the Paramount Network.

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