Iv’e been wanting to write about this show for awhile so here we go.
The show that has swept the nation for the last couple of weeks is Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. If by some chance you have not heard of it yet, 13 Reasons Why follows Clay Jensen and his quest to figure out why his friend and classmate, Hannah Baker, ended her life by committing suicide. The show takes you on a journey of the events that culminated to Hannah ending her life, which were brought on by her classmates. It’s told through a series of tapes that Hannah left behind, highlighting specific instances where classmates wronged her. Check out the trailer below.
*****This article may contain spoilers. If you don’t want to take the risk, simply watch the trailers and read this after you finish the 13 episodes.*****
From a television standpoint, I was glued to my computer. I finished the show in just over two days and I can confidently say if I didn’t have to go to work, it would’ve taken less time. It was that addicting.
I thought the cast was well selected and everyone will have their favorites, but the three performances that standout the most were Kate Walsh (Mrs. Baker), Dylan Minnette (Clay), and Katherine Langford (Hannah). All three gave such emotionally charged performances. For the Grey’s Anatomy or Private Practice fans out there, you probably recognize Walsh as Dr. Addison Montgomery.
As good as Walsh was, there is no show without Clay and Hannah. It’s safe to say that Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford have a bright, bright future ahead of themselves. Their chemistry was so good that it’s like they have been working together for years. Clay was the perfect nervous guy that didn’t know how to talk to his crush. Hannah was the girl that finally realized the best guy she could be with happened to be her best friend. They portrayed these roles to perfection.
- The length. I get the whole “13 Reasons Why” means 1 tape per episode. Logistically, this make sense. But I thought there were a few episode that could’ve doubled up. Yes, I watched the show in two days, but I think 8 episodes would’ve been money. I also think it could’ve worked in movie form as well (which it was originally supposed to be).
- Definitely dramatized a lot of major points in the show, but that’s TV for you.
So here’s where things take a turn to the serious side as we talk about the specific decisions (towards the end) and consequences of the show.
In terms of the decision to show the suicide and whether or not people should watch this show (especially if you might be emotionally disturbed) is where things get tricky. I totally see both sides of this argument.
In one camp, you have the “everyone needs to watch this show because of the message it portrays.” Well, what’s the message? I thought the show was a solid depiction of what high school can truly be like at times even though it was dramatized at points. Guys and girls can be good friends with one another like Clay and Hannah or Clay and Jeff. Guys and girls can also be assholes to one another, with some going above and beyond and taking things to the extreme like Bryce. The rape scenes were brutal and graphic. It’s not like you can make rape “nice” or “ok” for television purposes. It’s such a sensitive subject because it can happen in real life. It’s a real issue.
Then, there’s the suicide, where most of the controversy lies. I am not a cryer. It’s just something I don’t do often. Not because I’m a tough guy, but because it just doesn’t happen to me. That being said, my eyes began to water when Hannah entered the bath tub. I had to turn away once she began to cry and cut her wrists. I felt something I honestly never felt before and this was for a television show. I cannot not even put into words how sick I felt when Mrs. Baker found Hannah dead in the tub. Gut-wrenching moment and the worst part is that it can happen. It does happen.
Here’s the thing. Suicide is real and it happens everyday, which leads me to the other camp. The camp where this should not be watched by teens especially if they are emotionally disturbed / have had suicidal thoughts. I totally see this argument as well. Some mental experts fear that the show could glorify teen suicide for those on the edge. Most suicide victims will not leave tapes as to why they decided to take their own lives. Sometimes, the victim’s family will never get an answer as to why their loved one ended their life. So for those that say the show glorified suicide, I can totally see this to an extent.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention fears the show can lead to “copycat suicides.” I’m sure the creators of the show did not intend for this to happen by any means, but what if it does happen? Would I let someone who is emotionally disturbed and has a history of depression and possibly suicidal thoughts watch this show? I honestly don’t think I would let them watch it. I was tearing up and almost gagged at some of the scenes. I’m sure it would be 10x worse for people who have had these thoughts in the past.
After all is said and done, one question remains:
Should there be a Season 2?
There is 100% going to be a Season 2. If you take away all of the messages and morals of the story and look at it from a business perspective, it’s a no-brainer to make a Season 2. It was Netflix’s most talked about show on social media ever.
For me personally, I’m totally fine with ending it after one season. I don’t need answers to the potential “cliffhangers” after Season 1. The guns in Tyler’s chest. Did Alex shoot himself or was it Tyler? Where will Justin go? Will Bryce pay for what he did? Are Clay and Skye now “a thing?” I don’t need these answered. I don’t want answers if it takes away from the original intent of the show. It got people to talk about teen suicide. I would rather end it after one season than force a second season just because of social media hype and ratings.