I purposely put off watching the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, for a few reasons. One, I didn’t have time. Two, I was nervous because of what I had seen others say about it. Finally, I knew I was going to be reviewing it, and I didn’t want everyone else’s mixed opinions influencing my own. I’m glad I did wait a while for the hype and controversy to die down.
While I do think there are a few things wrong with the series, – like the lack of mentioning the mental illness side of suicide and the unanswered questions – I hardly agree with the reviews of controversy, sensationalism and glamorization. Does the show have some graphic images and deal with intense situations? Yes. Is it dramatized? Of course. It’s a television series, not a documentary. Did it sensationalize a bit for entertainment purposes? Possibly, but like I said, it is a television show. But before you argue that it glorifies suicide, I want you to think about every movie and television show you’ve watched or video game you’ve played, and ask yourself about the glorification of violence. There’s nothing being glorified in this show. If anyone believes what Hannah Baker went through or how it’s depicted is glorifying, then they’re wrong. In fact, it was so raw and emotional that it was hard to watch at times. I don’t see how anyone can say that’s glorified, but to each their own, I guess.
I think people find 13 Reasons Why so difficult to watch or agree with because it deals with harsh realities that kids and teens deal with every day. We see it in the news all the time – kids or teens (or even adults) committing suicide because of bullying/their experiences at school/the feeling of being lonely and lost. It’s heartbreaking and tragic, but it’s the truth. Does everyone leave a detailed list (or recordings, in Hannah’s case) of reasons like Hannah Baker did? No, not always, and loved ones are left wondering why.Hannah Baker’s character gets flack for being a drama queen. In reality, if someone actually went through such traumatic situations and confided in you, would you call them dramatic? She was in pain, felt lost and all alone. She tried to reach out for help, but got none. Therein lies the issue and the point of the show. It sheds light on the sad realities of bullying experiences and feeling like you can’t talk to anyone about it. When a show is as raw as 13 Reasons Why, that’s when people feel like they can relate to the characters. That’s when they feel like maybe they’re not alone. That’s why this show matters, in my opinion. Even though it is a dramatization, it’s also relatable for many people because it deals with such truthful realities. It may not be suitable for young children, but it can be a learning experience for teens and adults/parents.
On A Lighter Note
The show isn’t all about Hannah’s death, though. There is a brighter side, I guess you could say. Granted, her death is the primary focus, there’s also a bit of a love story. Hannah had more than her fair share of struggles with relationships, both in the friendship and romance department. There was one boy, however, who treated her better than the others – Clay Jensen. He had his flaws, like not doing anything when he witnessed the crap others put Hannah through, but he seemed to be the only one who cared about her… loved her.You see, Clay is the other lead character of the show. Once the tapes showed up in front of his door and he listened to the first few minutes, he couldn’t understand why he would be one of her reasons. He didn’t know what he did to cause her to kill herself because, as far as he knew, all he did was try to be her friend. The mere stress of getting to his tape and learning why sends him into a panic. In the meantime before getting to his own tape, hearing what all the others did to her, makes him want to get justice for her.
Unfortunately, Hannah believed that she didn’t deserve him. He was too good for her, which is why he was on the tapes as one of her reasons. They were cute together, the little that we got to see of them. I know it was part of Hannah’s insecurities and all, but I really wish we had gotten to see more of their connection. Maybe in season two? Although, I’m still trying to figure out how she’ll play into the second season.