“Hey, it’s Hannah, Hannah Baker. That’s right. Don’t adjust your whatever device you’re hearing this on. It’s me, live and in stereo. Get a snack. Settle in, cause I’m about to tell you the story of my life….”
Recently I wrapped up Netflix’s latest teen drama series “13 Reasons Why”. After watching the first few episodes, I kinda had an idea regarding what this show was attempting to state with all those high school bullying stuffs going around. However, after completing the show, I was left dark and empty with some questions.
Therefore I chose to give the show one more shot. After going through with it for the second time, I realized why and how this show fell short to deliver it’s anti bullying-anti suicidial portrayal to us.
For those who still haven’t heard of this show, it is based on a novel by the same name and it portrays high schooler Hannah Baker, who makes 13 tapes for the 13 individual who she feels are responsible for her death by suicide.
So here is 13 reasons why I feel “13 Reasons Why” sucked as a show.
1. The show is extremely TRIGGERING
Before I started watching this I had no clue that this show would be so triggering as well as graphic as it was. When I started watching this show, I thought I was in a really good place in terms of mental health. However, after wrapping up the show, I was left in dark, heavy and empty with the way they portrayed Hanna’s suicide. In the graphic final scene, we see the protagonist Hannah climbing into a tub with a razor. We see her slice it into her skin, we see the blood pour out, we see the blood fill up the entire tub, we hear her crying and struggling to breathe. Then she stays still while she takes her last breath. This is a teen show, why did they even have to show us that? It can easily trigger the people who are struggling out there with life, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation. I can’t even imagine how it can affect someone who has gone through the same challenges. It’s very graphic, it’s very explicit. There are very explicit scenes regarding rape, suicide, physical assault. Though it has some trigger warnings at the beginning of some episode, but I feel like it should come with a significantly stronger trigger warning at the very beginning of the show.
Not everyone should watch this show. Keep in mind that it may put you in a dark place. If you are in a struggling situation in life, please don’t watch it. But if you think you can deal with it, then by all means check it out.
2. Hannah Baker is SHIT!
Hannah Baker is perhaps the most annoying character of this show. She is so freaking annoying that sometimes it’s really hard not to agree with the other characters of the show who say she is one drama queen who creates her own drama. She is constantly complaining regarding how lonely she is and how she has no friends whereas we find her meeting a new people every episode and dating
almost the entire basketball team. She has a really good family, she has Clay at work, she has friends at her school. I just don’t get why she feels that she is a loner. She already had failed relationships with Justin and Marcus from the Basketball team. Still she went for Zach thinking that he might be different from them. Seriously Hannah, when you get cheated by different people of the group, you just leave that group alone. It’s that simple.
She still kept in touch with them, even after Bryce raped Jessica. She makes wrong decision in every step of her life and keeps on blaming everyone for that. She even treats everyone poorly in the show. And she left 13 tapes for the 13 people who she felt were responsible for her death, but she left nothing for her parents. Not even a “It’s not your fault, I’m sorry, I love you”. Her parents deserved something at least. Come on Hannah!
3. Bryce Walker and Hannah Baker
Bryce Walker is a senior at Liberty High School. His family is very affluent. From the moment he appeared on the show, he showed less than desirable character. Firstly we saw him taking Justin’s phone and leaking the not so nice photo of Hannah where she’s going down the slide. He sexually groped Hannah in the store. He even raped Jessica when she was passed out drunk, and Hannah saw the whole thing hiding in the closet.
Still we see Hannah going to Bryce’s party, sitting on Bryce’s hot tub with him. And she ends up getting raped by him. She knew everything about Bryce from the very beginning. She knew how Bryce raped her former best friend Jessica. She knew Bryce sexually groped her in the store. Then why did she go to his party, why did she enter Bryce’s hot tub, with the guy who raped her former best friend? Does she not know Bryce at all?
Why didn’t she leave the moment she saw everyone left and Bryce entered the tub with her. And then she says Bryce “Broke Her Soul”. I mean yeah I understand that, but you should not have entered the hot tub of a rapist, all alone.
4. Bullying is OKAY if a DEAD girl asks to do it
One of the main message of this show was to create social awareness about bullying. But from tape 4, we see Hannah motivating everybody to bully a guy named Tyler from high school because of his “stalker” behavior. Tyler used to stalk Hannah. He used to take pictures of Hannah without her permission standing outside her window. He took and leaked the picture of Hannah and Courtney making out. Therefore to teach him a lesson Hanna tells everyone in the tape to break his windows. Clay goes one step further by taking a nude picture of Tyler and spreading it out. One of the key reason of Hannah committing suicide was bullying, and it makes no sense at all to see Hannah kicking Tyler down the similar path. For a show that has a heavy anti-bullying message, the show seem to have no problem to let everyone bully Tyler even with all his faults.
5. Liberty High School
Okay, everyone distributing drugs, drinking alcohol from water bottle, a girl starts showing signs of killing herself and the school didn’t even do anything. Seriously, what is wrong with this high school? Hannah precisely told a few teachers regarding what sort of mental illness she was going through, still no teachers were able to put the pieces together until after Hannah commits suicide. Hannah wrote an anonymous letter in the communications class (I really don’t know what kind of class this is) saying “What if the only way not to feel bad, is to stop feeling anything at all, forever”. It clearly portrays that the person is in a great deal of pain. Even after this letter, the school didn’t take any responsibility to help out the person who’s behind this letter. I really have no idea what kind of a school is this. I really don’t. And even Clay didn’t get the help and support he required when he was going through a bad time after Hannah’s suicide.
6. Jeff Atkins
If I had to pick one character from the show that was really great, I’d definitely chose Jeff. Jeff is awesome. He was a good friend of Clay. He was a cool guy who helped Clay getting his shit together with Hannah. He knew Clay had a thing for Hannah, and he Literally guided Clay regarding how to approach her. He supported Clay all the time. Clay and Hannah danced together only because Jeff pushed Clay to do it. I personally loved this Jeff character so much. And what did the show do?
They killed Jeff. He was like the only good character of the show, and they just had to get rid of him.
7. Clay Steady Jensen
Suppose you like a girl, and that girl commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes. What would you do? Would you finish all the tapes ASAP so that you can figure out what to do? Or would you just hang around and chill and worry about finishing the tapes later? After Clay got Hannah’s tape, he got confused. He asks Tony quite a few times what this was about and if he was in the tape. When someone commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes for you to listen, you just go through those tapes at once!
And Clay is supposed to care about Hannah as he has a thing for Hannah. However when Hannah was bullied around the campus, even in front of Clay, HE DID NOTHING. When she made the hot list of who has the best body parts, even when she was assaulted sexually, Clay did nothing. He didn’t stand up for Hannah. And when the picture of Hannah making out with Courtney spread, we see Clay enjoying the picture. This is utterly disgraceful from Clay.
8. Tape 1 Side B: Jessica Davis
Hannah listed Jessica as reason number 2 for her suicide. Jessica, Alex and Hannah were best friends. FML forever. Everything was going all good until Alex and Jessica started dating. Hannah ends up being alone. For this she got jealous blamed Jessica. Then when Alex made the hot list of who has the best body parts, Jessica slaps Hannah and accuses her of seducing Alex. This ends their friendship and Hannah starts to feel lonely again and blames Jessica for everything and including her as reason no.2 for her suicide.
But later on the show we see Jessica getting raped by Bryce while she was passed out drunk, and driven to premature alcoholism afterwards. Given the fact that Jessica kind of has more of a reason to be mad at Hannah than Hannah has to be mad at her, I don’t get how Hannah includes Jessica as one of her “reason” why she kills herself.
9. Abuse of Technology
The main reason of Hannah losing it in the first place was a not very nice picture taken of her, shared on instant messaging with the whole school. Then there’s the picture of Hannah and Courtney making out which also spread throughout the school. They are showing technology as a bad thing as it was somewhat responsible for Hannah killing herself, rather than teaching how to deal with the situation when it turns against you. This should have been the other way around.
10. It Teaches Revenge
Hannah kills herself and blames 13 people for her death in her tapes. She wanted to teach them a lesson. She gave 13 reasons why she committed suicide, so that people who were mean to her, bullied her, hurt her, weren’t around her when she needed them would feel guilty the rest of their lives. She took them riding in a guilt trip. Look what you made me do, now I’m gone and left you with the tapes describing how bad of a person you are. LIVE WITH THAT NOW!
11. Tony Padilla
Okay I’m gonna be real honest here, so far I have wrapped up the show for a couple of times now, and not once did I understand this character. Tony Padilla, he’s gay, seems like a cool dude, has a nice car. But I really don’t know what Tony is to Hannah. Hannah entrusted him with her 13 tapes but yet Hannah doesn’t consider Tony as her ‘FRIEND’ when she says “I don’t have any Friends”. I really don’t know how to put it. He helps Clay in various ways, he’s always giving moral advice to Clay to do the right thing but at no point he thinks that “These tapes contain serious accusation about rape, bullying and assault, I must report this to the police”. This is seriously messed up.
12. Reaching out to the Audience
This show is about teenage-school life. The good times, the bad times,the low-blows, peaks and valleys, the rush of adrenaline, everything we face at teenage. The show itself is also aimed at that audience. It wasn’t the best thing to do, as teenagers are often found irresponsible, depressed about life, overwhelmed, having suicidal thoughts. Life is difficult. They should have showed how to deal with the situation when everything goes against you. They should’ve showed how to overcome the challenges we face. Instead ,they showed Hannah making all the wrong life choices, blaming others for that, then leading to her suicide. The show didn’t teach any lessons in how to deal with life, or how to make the right decision. This can seriously affect the teenagers as most of the audiences of the show are teens.
13. Lainie Jensen.
Last but not the least, Clay’s mother. What is wrong with this woman? Her son Clay is facing serious mental issues after Hannah died and she didn’t even get that. She even decided to defend the school in lawsuit and then offered to drop it if that hurts Clay. It was pretty obvious that Clay didn’t want her to take the case. She had no clue what Clay was going through. Come on, she’s supposed to be his mother. She didn’t defend Clay when Marcus and his gang setup Clay for taking drugs at school. How can a mother not know her child? She’s continuously grounding Clay without even trying to understand the real reason of him acting strange. No wonder why Clay gets annoyed with his mother!
Overall “13 Reasons Why” tried to deliver it’s message but ultimately it fell short and somewhat delivered the wrong message to the wrong audience. A lot of buzz is circulating online about this show and the popularity is quite overwhelming. It’s just not a very good show to watch, especially for the people who are struggling with their life, can easily be triggered by this show. If you’re not one of them then feel free to watch this show.
Netflix has already confirmed season 2. However, in my opinion I think season 2 will more or less be the same, this time dealing with Tyler shooting up, Bryce’s fate, Jessica’s life etc. Let’s see if the show can somewhat recover from the controversy and live upto the hype it created. I can’t wait to see what kind
of message they send on season 2! Stay tuned with me to get all updates on your favorite movies and TV shows.