The Netflix Original Thirteen Reasons Why had a huge success this year with it’s release but also taking up that top spot of being the most tweeted show of 2017. But, with Thirteen Reasons Why it’s not all positives as it tackles many sensitive topics one of them being suicide. So after being won over to watch the series I bring you my opinion on Thirteen Reasons Why!
First Things First: It is Based On A Book:
Yes, before the series aired on Netflix Thirteen Reasons Why it is indeed a New York Times Best Selling book written by Jay Asher. Thirteen Reasons Why. Thirteen Reasons Why [TRW] revolves around shy high school student Clay Jensen who one day returns home from school only to see he has received a mysterious package. The package contains seven double sided cassette tapes made by fellow classmate and friend Hannah Baker who recently committed suicide. Thus we follow Clay on his journey as he listens to the tape to find out the Thirteen Reasons Why Hannah Baker chose to take her life that day.
An Impacting Series Tackling A Widespread Of Topics:
Personally watching Thirteen Reasons Why really had an impact on me. It certainly gets across the message of thinking before your actions because everything has a consequence. Audiences of a teen age range will be able to identify with characters like I did myself with Tony. I certainly felt like his persona of wanting to help Clay through everything and his loyalty towards Hannah definitely reflected some of my traits.
TRW is also raises issues such as drugs, rape and of course bullying which many of the characters are seen to go through. The problem I had with this series though that although it displays these topics I did not see anyway that the series actually displayed how people can seek help. TRW also really displayed some tough and hard hitting scene’s on screen that I quite frankly found quite painful or uncomfortable to watch on screen.
However, personally these uncomfortable scenes really boosted the shows impact on me as I found myself constantly thinking about how much one person could be going through without someone knowing which was why I found Hannah’s suicide scene truly heartbreaking because no one picked up her signs. There was a particular line that really highlighted this which was ‘Some of you cared. None of you cared enough.’ this really displayed the fact that although she had people she was close to so many of them did not care enough to stop her.
As a teen myself who has just finished college and now heading to university of course I am able to relate to the life at high school. Particularly the type of boys you see in a typical high school setting. Here I am specifically talking about Bryce who honestly I could not comprehend nor understand in this entire series why he takes those actions in TRW really baffled me but also even disgusted me especially on the viewpoint he held showing no shame. Let me put it like this some of the boys in TRW were real dumb asses when it came to serious topics especially with Jessica I mean bloody hell who in the right mind would keep that secret from the poor girl?
But that’s not to say that the girls in here could be real mean too *cough cough Courtney* Then we have Clay Jensen who to me was the only one who tried to do what was morally right and genuinely was a just an all round funny guy, his growing friendship was Tony through this tough time was lovely to see in this serious and the support they offer each other.
Finally, the parents who watch this could find the series absolutely heart breaking as well. My mother recently watched Thirteen Reasons Why said she watched it as a parent but she couldn’t seem to understand so many of the actions the characters took. Which is why she was rather than aligning with the teens like I did she aligned with the parents POV and emotions they were going through but she still found particular scenes to watch uncomfortable like I did myself specifically the last episode which really left both myself and my mother in such shock that it was actually filmed!
Does it Glorify Suicide?
Now getting into the whole debate of TRW glorifying suicide and although the show is impacting in different ways I cannot disagree with the fact it does. The tapes that Hannah Baker makes almost seems like a revenge fantasy making it seem like that by committing suicide and sending these tapes around will achieve something. It not only glorifies success but also somehow finds a way to justify self harm as one of the characters Skye says ‘It’s what you do instead of killing yourself’ this line was really one that made me go ‘hang on you can’t say self harm is any better than suicide because it isn’t!’
Also even though TRW is in fact a TV show it really does not accurately depict what a teachers would do if a student came up to them with a very serious issue. Since I study media I can clearly see that TWR could hypodermically suggest to viewers that perhaps most teachers respond like this and they cannot ask for help. So all in all TWR is not an all positive series for me because I do believe that there are better ways that the topic could have been approached especially due to the fact there are so many teen viewers who in some sense may relate to Hannah.
Issue With Netflix:
Netflix have made it way too easy for teens under 18 to be able to access this show. Although they display a warning at the beginning of each episode I really believe that this goes ignored by many people. This brings forth the issue of accessibility issues where I definitely think Netflix needs to rethink this because if 18 rated shows are accessed this easily some parental controls need to be put in place! I honesty think that the younger you are the more likely you are able to be influenced by such themes that TRW highlights.
I did enjoy watching Thirteen Reasons Why due to the emotional impact I felt and the concise message of thinking before you do something along with the identifiable characters. However, I cannot ignore the wider issues that revolve around the series and even the negative impacts that it could have on someone. Entertainment wise I would say it was great critically wise I would definitely say the series needs to think carefully about the way they put across different themes and this could be something they may learn from since there is a second season.
Have you watched Thirteen Reasons Why? What are your thoughts on the topics discussed within the series? Drop a comment below or tweet me @LilacLeaves17