13 Reasons Why, now available on Netflix, is based on a 2007 bestselling Young Adult novel by Jay Asher. It details the story of Hannah Baker, the ‘new girl’ at Liberty High, and her life — more specifically, how it ended. My first honest thoughts were that this series had to be groundbreaking to pull something a story like this off. Here are thirteen reasons not to see 13 Reasons Why:
- It isn’t the mystery that you’re used to. So if you aren’t into seeing a mystery unfolding as our (living) protagonist Clay Jensen listen to Hannah Baker’s reasons for killing herself, then don’t fucking see it. Leave it to the suckers for an actually good mystery.
- The characters are completely stereotypical. Jocks, mean popular girls, nerds, etc. Also, the characters completely change as the story progresses, so if you aren’t into seeing character development on characters your teen dramas, you will not enjoy this series. You’d be confused.
- Speaking of confusing: the way it handles time is dizzying. 13 Reasons Why takes place in the present, as Clay listens to the tapes, but also in the past at different points on the timeline before Hannah’s suicide. So there are many times that the show confuses the viewer. It may be confusing on purpose, but for what?! To embellish the mystery? To show how clever the whole series was shot? Meh.
- The music completely sucks. I mean, why use Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ in a teen drama? There was a great opportunity to use the latest and greatest in pop music. It was supposed to be a great mix of new and old, but I guess they just missed the mark in making it feel more in the now.
- Because listening to a Hannah’s tapes is unreliable. I mean, shit, SURE LET’S LISTEN TO THE OVERLY DRAMATIC DEAD GIRL’S TAPES AND BELIEVE HER. Because she’s totally right about everything, right? Wrong. It doesn’t just make the story interesting but it also makes the characters more human. But who would want to see a show like that? I’d rather look at my own life.
- It’s not just a teenage drama. It’s a story about suicide. It’s something you don’t go for when you’re looking for simple, unsympathetic characters and a story that ultimately may be an important and profound one for many young people.
- The acting is meh. Langford (Hannah Baker) and Minnette (Clay Jensen) carry the show — you might get a little sick of them. Kate Walsh (Olivia Baker) is the biggest star of the series and if she doesn’t do it for us then meh.
- It’s not like most of the series on Netflix. There are awesome comedies, Marvel shows, and much of them are very good. Much better than this hodge-podge of mystery, teen angst and character drama.
I give up. The original form of this article was supposed to be dripping in (some type of) satirical sarcasm, but alas, I fail to do so. If you don’t get it by now (because of me being unable to get the point across), the reasons above point to why you should see 13 Reasons Why on Netflix. Here below are some of the actual weak points I’ve seen in the series:
- It’s not funny at all. I mean, I get it, it deals with a very serious issue. But even suicide stories have to be a little bit funny, right? Not even Hannah Baker had a life that could benefit from a bit of humor.
- Seriously, the 13 episodes (much like this article) is a total stretch. You’ll be noticing that some episodes (much like the points of this article) are flimsier than the rest. 10 Reasons Why would’ve been enough, but it would definitely be less poetic.
- The story sometimes just drifts away from reality a bit. Teen drama is one thing, it’s very real and the magnitude of drama could be enormous. But there are times that the show is just too much (this is coming from somebody who remembers being a high school teenager pretty well). Hannah’s elaborate tapes and map points was a little bit out-there for someone on the brink of ending her life. Also, the tapes being passed around among these students and not being seen or caught by any adult is far-fetched to me.
- I worry about the subject matter. As a manic-depressive myself, I worry about potentially suicidal teens and copycat suicides. If you think about it, it’s a really satisfying way to exact revenge on people you think caused a decision as final as suicide. 13 Reasons Why is framed as a revenge story, and it’s awful. It is art, and I support the creators for tackling this issue, but it is still awful. I hope it has a positive impact on teens across the world.
- Mental illness isn’t in the focus in this show. Okay, not all suicides are caused by mental illness. But depression and the way it can lead to suicide is much more complicated than just how people impact one person’s life. Disturbingly, these reasons are given the boot in favor of mystery and conspiracy. That’s really good for TV, but a letdown for the harsh realities of teen suicide on the sidelines.
13 Reasons Why is something you should definitely watch. There will be a lot of things you probably won’t understand if you aren’t aware on depression and mental illness, and the consensus on its entire premise should be in a platform like Netflix (or TV) is definitely one to be debated on, but it is a well-written, beautifully acted (and shot) teen drama that will leave you thinking for days.