When a show starts to make waves I usually have to watch it. The only exceptions are when I am extremely turned off by it. Netflix has made this even more true since its production value has surpassed some broadcast TV stations. When I heard about 13 Reasons Why and how it was dominating Twitter and Facebook feeds, I had to watch it to see what everyone was talking about. Upon completion, I even enjoyed some aspects of the show and agreed with most viewers with how bingeable the show can be. While I did put 13 Reasons Why into the Watch It category since it was a decent show that was just unrealistic in its depiction that screamed teen drama, I now have more concerns about the show.
My girlfriend finally decided to watch the show even after hearing about the baggage the show has. She shares my criticisms of the show, but sees why it has attracted quite the audience. While rewatching it with her and hearing her repeatedly yell out what was wrong with the show, I realized I had to add another post. My girlfriend suffers from depression and has had certain thoughts that are touched on in the show. While I share certain high school instances included in the show, I do not have the perspective that she and many others have on depression and suicide. When television or film cover heavy topics it is easy to follow their suite and to analyze it without realizing how heavy those topics truly are. On the face, 13 Reasons Why appears to be an enticing story that really does make an interesting show to watch. However, with the overflowing cliches mixed in with the exploitation of depression/suicide, the show is not as clean-cut as it seemingly appears to be. Having the world-wide-web and my girlfriend’s perspective allows me to make additions to this show’s review.
Perhaps the reason I placed this show into the Watch It category was because its audience could not be dismissed. It truly is a bingeable show, but for the wrong reasons. The show is designed to make you want to binge it. The creators care more about bingeability than quality. Hence, I am now placing the show in the Check It category. While it is still an interesting show to watch, it comes with a few warnings. Despite overflowing cliches that most shows in this high school genre fall into, this show has baggage that some viewers cannot watch. If you are aware of this and still want to venture the storyline, then so be it. It still has a plot that draws viewers in. For those that suffer from depression or have suicidal thoughts that might be enticed, please avoid this show.
One good thing coming from all of this is the spark of conversations that are occurring after the show was released. Whether a fan or a critic of the show, one thing is for sure, people are talking. I shared this point in my last post and I will share it again. I for one can always use a good lesson in understanding depression and how people acquire suicidal thoughts. While my girlfriend has aided me with her concerns, Tumblr has been tackling the issues in regards to this show.
This post comes from unaverage-confessions
These posts sum up the drawbacks of the show. These posts also show why many are forming a strict stance against its depiction of suicide and how it was glorified. Many are even worried that a show like this might spike suicide rates and influence people to commit the act in the fashion that Hannah Baker does. I know I had trouble watching the scene in the show and that was one of my girlfriend’s main concerns. She pointed out like these Tumblr users that Hannah’s depression is never fully invested before she commits the act. Instead she does it and creates these tapes as a vengeful way to get back at everyone. Some are even worried that Hannah’s reaction to the sexual assault and rape promotes rape culture rather than preventing it. The fact that they might have a second season (and I don’t see how they couldn’t because of the way things ended) proves the point that the show’s underlying cause is to be a show, not a lesson. Whatever the case, remember there are sources of help.
Here is the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Please feel free to comment how you feel about the show whether in favor or not. All opinions are warranted.