‘Heartbreak High’ Season 1 Review

Heartbreak High is returning to Netflix for season 2 in April, so I wanted to catch up with everything in season 1 before I watched the new episodes. This sexy, hilarious, and positively amazing Netflix reboot of the 1994 original Aussie series stole the hearts of adoring fans (including me) who previously enjoyed Netflix originals such as Sex EducationElite, Heartstopper, and Grand Army. 

The story of Netflix’s Heartbreak High

The new and improved Heartbreak High is a teen drama series that follows the diverse, uproarious, and heartwarming students of Hartley High. The show kicks off with a bang. A character named Amerie (Ayesha Madon) made an “incest map” of the school with her best friend Harper (Asher Yasbincek). What was meant to be a secret is discovered by the other students at Hartley High. The incest map is a graffitied wall of love confessions and sexual rumors about the kids in Hartley High, and Amerie is going down for the fall. 

Heartbreak High follows Amerie as she tries to figure out who told Principal Woodsy (Rachel House), about the map and as she investigates why Harper is done with her and their friendship. They were once inseparable, but the Monday after they spend the weekend at a music festival, Harper suddenly hates Amerie so much she punches her in the face for talking to her. With a fresh buzz cut and a no fucks attitude, we have our wild card of the season. 

The students that are on the incest map are placed in a mandatory sex education class called the Sexual Literacy Tutorial, or SLT, pronounced “sluts” by the students. SLT is headed by Principal Woodsy, who is performatively “woke,” and English teacher Josephine “JoJo” Obah (Chika Ikogwe). Woodsy is worried about the reputation this lower-ranked school will have now that the incest map has become a thing. JoJo wants to teach the kids about sex and have thoughtful instruction without Woody’s traditional practices getting in the way. 

Ayesha Madon and Asher Yasbincek as Amerie and Harper in Heartbreak High. Image courtesy of Netflix.
Ayesha Madon and Asher Yasbincek as Amerie and Harper in Heartbreak High. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Heartbreak High is about authenticity

There is plenty of drama and mystery to uncover in this show, and you can see that it’s not just the students. One thing I love about Heartbreak High is that it feels like stepping into someone’s life. What happens in the show plays out authentically, and I enjoy seeing how the show isn’t afraid to push the envelope and get raw sometimes… if you get what I’m saying. Everything is hilarious, scandalous, and kind of dreamy at times.

The series also follows Darren (James Majoos), a bisexual nonbinary student, and Quinni (Chloé Hayden), who has been heralded as one of the most authentic autistic characters on TV to date.

Chloé Hayden & James Majoos shine 

Autistic representation is very scarce, and good representation for autistic people is even more scarce. It’s amazing to see Quinni played by autistic actor and disability rights advocate Chloé Hayden. You see Quinni in her fullness as a character. We see her enter a relationship, talk about the importance of a routine, learn about her hyper-fixations, and even see her have a bit of a meltdown. I love to see this because, a lot of the time, autistic characters are simply quirky best friends regulated to a few lines here and there. They don’t have development or growth. They are placed in the show as additional brownie points for disabled rep. and nothing more. For Quinni, we get to know her as a person, experience life alongside her, and love her for it. I appreciate the writers bringing life to this character with whom viewers will quickly fall in love.

Darren is also one of my favorite characters in the show. They are nonbinary and bisexual. They have been having some issues with their dad and recently started a romantic fling with the school drug dealing Ca$h (Will McDonald). Very Euphoria, right? Even though Darren is a perfect reflection of fashion-forward Gen Z, the character is quite remarkable. Darren is intelligent, funny, incredibly kind, and caring, and overall, they are one to watch. James Majoos makes Darren seem so relatable but doesn’t hold back on their bite. Darren is introduced in the show to be more than a Gay Best Friend. They add so much to the technicolor tapestry of the show.   

Ayesha Madon, James Majoos, Chloe Hayden, Will McDonald, Gemma Chua Tran,, Bryn Chapman Parish, Sherry-Lee Watson, Thomas Weatherall. Image courtesy of Netflix.
Ayesha Madon, James Majoos, Chloe Hayden, Will McDonald, Gemma Chua Tran, Bryn Chapman Parish, Sherry-Lee Watson, and Thomas Weatherall. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Final thoughts on Heartbreak High

I remember when I first started watching Heartbreak High, and I loved it! I had been such a huge fan of Sex Education, and I was so sad to see it end and how the last season of that show ended. For me, I needed another show that showcased young people and their lives authentically—talking openly about sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, friendships, crushes, and everything in between. Heartbreak High filled that Sex Education sized void. The show is raunchy and heartwarming at times, like I said before. It’s a beautiful reboot of the already adored original. The franchise gives a real look into the lives of Gen Z, whether in Australia, America, or anywhere in the world.

Heartbreak High Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

The second season of the show will premiere on April 11, 2024.

Have you watched Heartbreak High yet? What did you think? Join the conversation with us on X @MoviesWeTexted.

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