Whether positively or negatively, a lot of people have been talking about this Netflix original show. It’s been banned in some states, has concerned psychologists and has made its mark as a Netflix hit.
The story involves a girl who recorded tapes of thirteen reasons why she killed herself and leaves them behind for her fellow classmates and friends to know the real reasons. Obviously, the show concerns a lot of triggering topics and has greatly disturbed and moved a number of the people who have watched it.
So, what do you need to know?
- She definitely commits suicide.
- It’s as gritty and real as a teen drama can get.
- The characters are deeply developed.
- It’s not to be binged.
- It’s not to be watched by people who are facing similar issues.
Let’s break it down:
- Hannah Baker definitely commits suicide.
When I saw the trailer for the first time, I was certain that it was going to turn out that Hannah was still alive. According to the author of the book that inspired the series (which I have ordered on Amazon and will also be doing a review of when I’ve read it), he was originally going to have Hannah’s suicide attempt fail and she was going to survive. However, he felt that with the subject topic being so sensitive, he didn’t want to do that as it would upset many who had experienced it or who had lost someone to suicide.
Not that the rest of the show presents suicide nor mental health accurately.
2. It’s dark.
Harrowing is the only way that I can describe this show. Once I finished it, I felt physically sick and found that I couldn’t sleep. It brought back a lot of memories for me because of how open they were talking about teenage mental health. However, one of its many criticisms is that it doesn’t really discuss mental health. All of the things that possess Hannah to eventually and sadly take her own life are events that happen to her. To decide to take this drastic measure does imply that Hannah had a previous or underlying condition but the show never addresses it.
Another one of its darker themes is rape. I’m not going to spoil anything in case you do want to watch it but I think it’s something that needs to be forewarned to anyone watching it. Netflix did put a warning at the beginning of each episode when there was something disturbing (aka every episode) but they didn’t fully warn just how graphically both the suicide scenes and the sexual assault scenes were portrayed.
3. That character development though.
However much I wouldn’t want to watch this show again due to the nature of it, I still found myself falling in love with a lot of the characters. They were so different and three dimensional and (aside from Hannah) far from the YA fiction characters that you see. There was no sign of an Augustus Waters with a cliched cigarette hanging out of his mouth. All of them were believable.
Especially the lead, Clay Jensen. He was beautifully portrayed by Dylan Minnette who I feel will have a blossoming career after his spectacular performance in this. Clay was believable, lovable and you found yourself wanting to fix everything for him at more points than one. But the frustrating part of the entire series (and perhaps, one of its niches) was that you knew inevitably how the story was going to end.
4. It’s not to be binged.
I know a lot of people who did binge watch this series but I wouldn’t personally recommend it. I found myself spreading it over a month or two as I found it very emotionally draining to watch. It has affected a lot of people in their real lives which is why I think anyone who watches it should approach the show with caution.
Which leads me onto my next point.
5. It’s not an ‘everyone must see!’ show.
13RW has been greatly criticised in the media for triggering young people into self-harming etc due to the graphic nature of the scenes. While I would normally say that it’s the media dramatising things, this time – I agree. I think the way they have so boldly discussed and portrayed these issues is both commendable and damnable. Commendable because the subject of teen suicide is something people steer away from because it makes them uncomfortable – but it is a very real issue that needs to not be shied away from. Our teens need help and to make their feelings ‘taboo’ because they aren’t talked about isn’t helping. Damnable because they implied that Hannah wouldn’t get any help from the people around her, thus implying to the audience that if they are facing similar issues – they, too, won’t receive any help.
This totally isn’t the case. There are always people to talk to, always people around that will help and most importantly, always hope.
I’ll have a brighter post next time.