After a tragedy like a school shooting, when is it “too soon” to put out entertainment involving such a sensitive topic? That’s the question the people of the upcoming “Heathers” reboot are struggling to answer.
In the aftermath of the devastating Parkland school shooting on Feb. 14, Paramount Network — aka Spike TV — is pushing back the release of the small screen adaptation of the 1989 film. In a statement, the network said:
Paramount Network’s original series ‘Heathers’ is a satirical comedy that takes creative risks in dealing with many of society’s most challenging subjects ranging from personal identity to race and socio-economic status to gun violence. While we stand firmly behind the show, in light of the recent tragic events in Florida and out of respect for the victims, their families and loved ones, we feel the right thing to do is delay the premiere until later this year.
In the original cult classic, Winona Ryder played a formerly popular teen who schemes with her sociopathic boyfriend (Christian Slater) to murder her former friends known as the Heathers, including Shannen Doherty. The movie definitely earned its “R” rating, with plenty of mentions of gun violence and — spoiler alert — an ending that has Slater’s character attempting to blow up his school.
For many with advance knowledge of the TV revival’s plot, the time to show it may never come.
“Having seen five episodes of the HEATHERS series, this seems like the right move and also a doomed gesture because the time is never going to be right for what it attempts to do,” tweeted Buzzfeed critic Alison Willmore.
Writer Ira Madison III tweeted, in part, “I remember when two episodes of Buffy were delayed, back when school shootings were an anomaly. Paramount might be waiting a long time if they’re waiting to be out of range of a school massacre.”
The official handle for the series wrote, “We believe in this show and we’re bummed we won’t be showing it all to you JUST yet, but there are more important conversations happening right now that we do not want to distract from. Stay tuned.”
On Wednesday, Stoneman Douglas High School students returned to their school for the first time since the shooting that claimed the lives of 17 of their fellow Eagles.
They were welcomed by principal Ty Thompson, who promised to “hug each and everyone of you as many times as you need and I will hold you as long as you need me to” while each student was handed a carnation from the faculty, reported CBS News.
The return inspired mixed feelings among many of the students, but for some coming back to school — Building 12, freshman building where much of the carnage took place, will remain closed indefinitely before being torn down — it’s important for them to “reclaim their nest.”
“I think it is in our best interests for us to come together to grieve,” said Carmen Lo whose friend Carmen Schentrup was one of the victims. “We’re going back as a united school, ready to make change on behalf of the 17 lives and other schools across the country.”