Heartstopper is one of, if not the, most touching and true LGBT+ series on Netflix at the moment; there’s no denying that. It’ll make you cry, smile, and give you butterflies. Cue the internal melting of the heart.
One of the stand-out moments from the first season, that gave us real insight into Nick and his family was the moment when Nick came out to his mother, Sarah, in the first season of the show.
Sarah completely embraced Nick, showering him with love and validating his sexuality during the touching moment. It’s everything that anyone coming out to their parents could want, and more. It did, definitely, have a large impact on the shows viewer’s and in some cases, was even a catalyst for others coming out too, reports one user on Twitter (or is it X now?).
Unfortunately, this is not how every parent reacts when their child comes out to them, as many who watch Heartstopper will know. In season 2, Heartstopper also gave light to those who have had more tumultuous experiences with their parents when coming out. This is something that wasn’t touched on too much in the Webcomic; it’s refreshing to see validity given to the experiences in the show.
In season 1 of the show, we meet Tara and her girlfriend, Darcy, who eventually announce their relationship to the rest of the schools after hiding for so long. The two kiss on the dancefloor and Nick watches in admiration and awe, perhaps hoping for the same someday.
The characters of Darcy and Tara are interesting to delve deeper into, and show the two opposite ends of the spectrum for those who are struggling with their sexuality. There’s Tara on one hand, who is shy about her sexuality but is leaning on Darcy, who helps her come to terms with her sexuality. Tara is out at home, and her mother knows that she is a lesbian. On the other hand, there is Darcy, who is loud, proud, and happy to be out at school.
This is where things get tricky for Darcy. Whilst she is out at school, and happy about her sexuality, things at home aren’t as good as she tries to make it seem to Tara. This is something we learn in the Webcomic, but it isn’t explored much. Tara tells Nick that Darcy’s parents are “homophobic” and “horrible” but Oseman doesn’t exactly give much detail other than this, and we never actually see what Tara means.
In the show, however, season 2 seemed to do Darcy justice and explored the storyline more. In the show, we are introduced to Darcy’s mum in the later end of the season, when Darcy is getting ready for the school prom and trying on the suit she and Tara picked out. Darcy is proud and thinks that the suit looks good—hell, it did look good!
Her mother, however, isn’t happy about her choice of clothing and snarls at her to “take that off this instant. They will laugh”. Darcy rebukes her mum, telling her that her friends are supportive and like her, but Darcy is kicked out of the house moments later and must spend the night in the park.
Tara grows increasingly worried about Darcy as prom begins and Darcy is still nowhere to be seen, and heads over to her house to see if Darcy is there. She is met, however, with Darcy’s mum who is rude and tells Tara that Darcy looked “like a lesbian”, before slamming the door in her face. Not only is this a slap in the face, it is also a wakeup call and a very real experience for many of Heartstopper‘s viewers at home; many will have had similar experiene and as a result, this hits close to home.
In an interview with NBC, producer Patrick Walters delved deeper into the storyline: “I think the point of that storyline was to show that when your home life as a young queer person is compromised, that’s a really serious thing and it can totally alter how people act and what they show about themselves to their loved ones.“
By including this storyline, which juxtaposes what Nick experienced with his mum, shows the dualities of experience LGBT+ people face when they come out to their parents, or when they try to express themselves in a way deemed unconventional by society. Oseman really did Darcy justice by exploring the storyline further and, on a deeper level, creted a unique connection with the audience.
One user tweeted: “The way Darcy’s story was portrayed was so important to me as someone who relates to her home life and how she feels, like i’m not alone and our real family can be our found family.“