13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why (stylized onscreen as TH1RTEEN R3ASONS WHY) is an American teen drama web television series developed for Netflix by Brian Yorkey, based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. The series revolves around seventeen-year-old high school student, Clay Jensen, and his deceased friend Hannah Baker (before the 3rd season), who kills herself after having to face a culture of gossip and sexual assault at her high school and a lack of support from her friends and her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah in the weeks preceding her suicide detail thirteen reasons why she chose to end her life.
The 13 Reasons Why It Sucks
- It portrays suicide in a very unrealistic way. It makes a drama out of a serious issue and teaches that you make people who hurt you feel bad.
- It also doesn't work as a serious portrayal of suicide. If anything, the show promotes it, paints it in romantic colors, makes it sound like a good option, and one that can be considered if your life isn't going well. It makes ending your life quite a normal thing to do when that could not be further from the truth.
- Suicide rates have actually "spiked" all because of this show. To put it off this way, at release, there was a 53% increase in suicide-related searches such as "how to kill yourself," "commit suicide," and "how to commit suicide." It's what happens when your show paints suicide as a good thing.
- Hannah Baker, the character who commits suicide, is an extremely unlikeable character, to the point where the viewer doesn't even feel for her. She is known to be selfish, entitled, and demeaning. She abuses Clay, the main protagonist, constantly pushes him away and doesn't even say sorry. Even worse, Clay didn't do anything wrong.
- All Hannah wanted to do was to make the people that caused her to commit suicide to feel bad by including their names on the tapes.
- Hannah Baker records 13 tapes and leaves them behind. To be heard after she's gone. She then becomes the voice-over for all the events that happen after she kills herself. In effect, it showcases that you can kill yourself and then be around to observe the aftermath and people's response to your decision.
- Hannah kills herself to teach certain people a lesson. That they were mean to her and weren't around when she needed them. "You weren't nice to me, now I've killed myself and left you these tapes describing in excruciating detail how bad a person you are. Live with that guilt now. I'm out of here!"
- Very graphic, disturbing, and even triggering scenes that wouldn't look out of place in an exploitation movie. So much so that Netflix had to issue trigger warnings before the start of some episodes:
- The depiction of how Hannah kills herself is graphic, raw, and very messy. It's shown in fantastic detail. It's also a great 101 on how to get it right and not screw it up. The blood gushing, which way to cut, how much water in the bathtub – all presented as what's a 'How To' video on suicide to be followed. So, in other words (as mentioned above), the show pretty much encourages suicide.
- The infamous bathroom rape scene in season 2.
- Netflix responded in 2019 by cutting the suicide scene from the first season, but it was too little, too late: the show had already done the damage. What's even worse is that the aforementioned suicide scene is still intact.
- The story is about teenagers and school life – the ups and downs, the fun, the dates, the attractions, the challenges, the jocks, and suicides. Isn't it great that it's also aimed at that very audience? Teenagers! The most impressionable, and those that do experience suicidal thoughts due to pressure and immaturity.
- Netflix had the cast make a PSA that's the same as a "Viewer discretion is advised" warning before certain TV shows, but since this was done "after" the third season released, it's a failed attempt at damage control.
- Hannah is shown to have some major challenges and problems. But she's responsible for most of them due to her seriously bad life choices. Again and again. Pretty much like any teenager. The showrunners present suicide as a good response for when the challenges of life seem to overwhelm you. No lessons on how to overcome challenges, or why taking a bad decision every single time can lead to bad situations. Nope, just suicide.
- Hannah has great parents. Involved and comforting, they're always there for her and take an active part in her life. Ditto for a few friends and a great counselor at school too. But the storyline conveniently ignores them when needed. Thus when she kills herself, she's convinced herself she has no one, clearly forgetting her parents.
- Hannah records on cassette tape, and the main reasons why Hannah loses it are all tech and social media related. The first trigger is a (not very nice) picture taken of her and shared on instant messaging with the whole school, followed by more meanness resonated through social networks. They show technology as the villain without giving any lessons on how to handle social media when it turns against you.
- Clay's visions of Hannah in season 2 are ridiculous and supernatural compared to the rest of the show. Unless Clay may have schizophrenia.
- The show takes itself far too seriously and has a very arrogant vibe to it. It's like: "Look at us! We talk about suicide and mental health issues! We're so cool and woke! Watch us or else!"
- The 3rd season is much worse. It introduces a new character/narrator named Ani, who's completely unnecessary to the plot, and the season infamously kills Bryce. The season is also complete filler and only there just to stretch the series.
- Ani's also an absolute know-it-all as if she can read the characters' minds or is God herself. She makes all of the characters look like they're nothing but supporting characters and that she's the main protagonist of the series. You could easily remove her from the series, and it wouldn't affect the plot, even the slightest.
- It also switches genres from drama to mystery with the death of Bryce Walker and the characters trying to find out who killed him, and it doesn't even talk about suicide. At. All. Not even Hannah is mentioned.
- Because of all of these qualities, the season's completely unfaithful to the book the show's based on.
- This season tries to paint Bryce as, get this, a good guy. Yep, the same Bryce that threatened a little kid in this season, raped Hannah, murdered someone, and is partially responsible for Hannah’s suicide. They’re trying to paint him as a good person.
- Good camerawork.
- Decent acting on some of the characters.
- Selena Gomez's cover of "Only You" by Yazoo that she recorded for this show is a good song.
- The first season is decent and a LOT better than the 2nd and 3rd ones, though that's not saying much since that season is very flawed too.
- Zach, Mr. Porter, and Hannah’s parents are the only likeable characters.