[ATTN: there will be spoilers ahead]
Hi guys! Welcome to another Real Talk Thursday. Today we’re talking about the viral Netflix Original: 13 Reasons Why. This show has been stirring up quite the controversy storm and here’s why.
Based off of the book written by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why follows a high school boy named Clay as he goes through the stages of grief after his ‘supposed’ love interest, Hannah, commits suicide and leaves him with a pile of tapes. These tapes explain why Hannah killed herself with each tape belonging to someone. That in itself causes one to raise a brow. Initially, I wasn’t going to watch it but I was curious and despite the warning triggers, decided to watch it anyway. I’m glad I did because now I can fully explain why I hate this show so much.
What I was hoping to receive out of the series was not what I actually got and that’s why I dislike this show so much.
I was initially excited to watch this show. Suicide and mental illness are so important and really needs to be discussed in a healthy and genuine matter. So it angers me to think that “bullying causes suicide”. Because no! Nothing causes suicide. There’s no simple cause and effect.
To claim that “bullying caused Hannah’s death‘ is so tactless and simply untrue.
Let’s face it. As much as we’d hate to admit it, almost everyone has been bullied and there are still over 7 billion people here on Earth. Sure bullying may be a factor but it is NOT the cause and no one is at fault for someone’s suicide.
Now, don’t raise your pitchforks at me just yet. I understand Hannah and Clay are the main focus. After going through what she went through, she was feeling vindictive and angry – wanting to cause pain to everyone who had hurt her. So let’s leave behind tapes accusing those who had hurt her. Bully the bully right?
I get it. Honestly, I probably would do the same thing. No, I’m upset that this – as the FIRST show about suicide to go viral – was the best opportunity as of yet to address and correct the stigma surrounding suicide and it was squandered. In my opinion, this show has actually further worsened the stigma — people who commit suicide are selfish and attention seekers. They are victims, martyrs – who’ve suffered for so long in silence that the only choice they can see for themselves to off themselves.
EXHIBIT A: HANNAH BAKER
The poor girl saw Bryce rape her ‘former’ best friend and later in the show, he does the same thing to Hannah. On a less major scale, people at school teased and bullied her… and her friends wound up turning their back on her. She wasn’t exactly living a fairy tale. I admit that.
But human beings are built to try and survive. It’s in their nature. Ever heard of ‘survival of the fittest’? It didn’t come out of nowhere.
So this suggests to me that there was something else going on with Hannah – something deeper – to suggest that she would go against human nature and just give up.
I wish the show would’ve delved into this instead. Forget what was happening to Hannah leading up to her suicide but rather focus on the internal tug-of-war that she must have been having with herself before she gave up.
It doesn’t make sense to me to have Clay as the main character if 13 Reasons Why is about suicide and its repercussions. He wasn’t even on the tapes!
And what was Tony suppose to be? Some Jiminy Cricket that didn’t even look like he belonged in high school?
Honestly? I actually wish the show would’ve been from Alex’s or Justin’s point of view because it looked like Hannah’s death hit them both extremely hard – hell, Alex even attempted suicide himself. Whether he survived remains to be seen.
I would’ve loved to have seen their struggles and how their own mental health changed because of Hannah’s death. Shooting the show from Clay’s point of view clouded this opportunity.
We needed to see the buildup of pain in Hannah’s life, not just in what happened to her — but also in the way she coped. To suddenly slit your wrists like she did honestly came out of left field. Why not pills? Why not accidental alcohol poisoning or jumping off of a roof? We needed to see that slow build up – and if not from her than from Justin or Alex. This way we can finally understand that suicide isn’t selfish or attention-seeking. It’s just needing the pain to stop and not knowing any other way to stop it.
I didn’t like Hannah or Clay because I couldn’t relate to either of them.
But I enjoyed watching Justin and Alex grow, change, and ultimately break down. It would’ve been cool to see this in Hannah too because not everyone sees suicide as the only option when they’ve gone through what Hannah went through.
But please, PLEASE if you are considering suicide or want to attempt it, talk to someone.
And if you have no one that you feel you can talk to – call the Suicide Hotline. It’s there for a reason. They want to help you. They want to be there for you.
And just know… you’re not alone.
What did you think of 13 Reasons Why? Loved It? Hated It? Let me know in the comments below.