I watched the new Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” last week, and if you are an informed citizen, then I am sure you know the show has become an internet sensation.
I know what you’re thinking. “Is it really a big deal? Is this series just another teen drama starring 20-year-olds?” Yes, the actors are all 20 to 25 years old and playing high schoolers, which isn’t a realistic depiction of high school students (Where is the acne and remnants of baby fat? Excuse me, not accurate!), but it is not the same ol’ typical teen drama. “13 Reasons Why” addresses intense issues that are prevalent topics for current high school students.
The show deals primarily with the topic of suicide as it is established in the first episode that the main character, Hannah, died by suicide. The thirteen episodes, an hour long, outline the life of Hannah and the thirteen reasons she chose to die. By episode 4, I was hoping the main character, Clay, would speed up the process of getting through listening to the thirteen reasons, but alas it still took him 9 more episodes. So if you have thirteen free hours to spare, log into Netflix or borrow a friend’s password and start watching. I was hooked after the first episode. I LIVE FOR THE DRAMA.
The show can sometimes be a stereotypical depiction of high school as the cliques begin to play into typical roles. The cast is made up of many younger actors and actresses who are fairly new to the world of acting. While at times some actors and actresses show their acting range with a gut-wrenching scene, many fall short into what I would categorize as “Cheesy McCheeserson.”
One of my biggest pet peeves of the show was the cut Clay got on his face in the first episode because throughout the series, the makeup artist couldn’t replicate the wound. It was painful to look at the difference in foundation coloring. I felt like I was in middle school, and it was halloween. It is seriously bad.
“13 Reasons Why” shows the effects that bullying, gossip, peer pressure and rape has on young adults. This popular Netflix show talks about these issues and creates the space for our society to realize that these are serious problems that are realities for many. The show doesn’t glaze over the subject of bullying, rape and suicide, but graphically shows the brutality of it all within the episodes.
The show doesn’t accurately depict or mention mental illness in relation to suicide, which is a main contributing factor to many suicides. It has also been critiqued for sensationalizing suicide and the harmful effects that it could have for many teens. This show could be triggering for people who have been exposed to the array of traumas depicted in the show.
The meaning and the purpose of “13 Reasons Why” for me was to show that I am not alone, and I need to be more aware of struggles and pains others might be going through. However, you don’t need this show to tell you to be kinder to others. Honestly, you should live that way already.
While the show might not be the best or the most accurate, there is a weight to the show that gets people talking. With it’s popularity, comes many facebook articles with any person giving their two cents on how you should think of the show. If you want to watch it, just watch it with your own thoughts and opinions. Don’t shy away from talking about these serious topics with friends and family.