Unless you’ve been hiding under a huge rock lately, chances are you’ve at least HEARD of the popular Netflix teen series 13 Reasons Why. The show about a young girl – Hannah Baker – who posthumously describes the 13 events that lead to her decision to commit suicide.
The show chronicles each catalystic event via a series of cassette tapes which, according to the instructions Hannah leaves, must be passed to each person who wronged her in some way. When each person has listened to all 13 tapes, they are to pass them to the next person in succession, until all 13 share the same painful secrets about him or herself and the 12 others. Hannah, shown only in flashbacks, talks viewers through her death and the events leading to it in gruesome detail.
Although conceptually and visually engulfing, the internet is split on whether the show’s content is suitable for impressionable teenagers during one of the most trying periods of their development – HIGH SCHOOL. Some believe that the show has started some important conversations about bullying, rape, apathy, cattiness, and suicide, while others believe that the show glorifies suicide and shows teens a way to “live on” through social media (or cassette tapes, in this case). The latter believe that the show implies that death will provide the attention that many young adults crave in life.
Although 13RW doesn’t glamorize or gloss over the fallout of those left behind after suicide (Hannah’s parents must painfully navigate their way through a town filled with their peers in the wake of the tragedy), it’s easy to see both sides of this coin’s tragedy. Parents need to have some serious talks with their kids about suicide, and this show might just help start the conversation, if parents and teens watch it together (which can be downright cringeworthy).
Needless to say, the show is very well written and wildly popular, which is why Netflix has given the green light for season 2. Promo videos are already showing up online. It’s interesting to see how the new season will take shape, as season 1 ends with the un-glamorous everyone-should-have-seen-but-no-one-saw-coming way that Hannah Baker chose to end her life.