I Watched Every Episode Of 13 Reasons Why. Has Everyone Else?
The newest Netflix original show, 13 Reasons Why, has garnered attention that the streaming Netflix doesn’t typically see for its shows.
But has everyone commenting on the show and writing these “think pieces” on it actually seen the show? I mean the whole show. All 13 episodes? I wrote something last week on the show, but I was only halfway through season one.
I have now finished season one, including the public service announcement video at the end. I still think the series was great and recommend watching it, albeit with a bit of caution.
Scroll down for more of my thoughts on 13 Reasons Why.
13 Reasons Why deals with some sensitive subjects. The main focus of the show is the suicide of Hannah Baker and tapes she left explaining why she did it. The show also deals with bullying, drug use and sexual assault, among other issues.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a scripted show. It’s not a reality show. While these issues happen all too often unfortunately, some aspects of the series are included in order to tell the story.
Another thing to keep in mind is that I’m not a medical or mental health expert by any means. The only things I might be an expert on are Diet Pepsi and the McDonald’s menu. I just happen to have this forum to share my thoughts.
Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz recently called for the show to be pulled. He maintains that suicide is contagious among teens and insists that this show will lead to someone taking their own life.
To be clear, every suicide is tragic. Someone taking their own life is tragic. It is also a very complicated issue.
Dr. Koplewicz accuses Netflix of being reckless in offering this show for viewing.
“13 Reasons Why is exceptionally dangerous to the teenage population — the exact audience the program targets — because it capitalizes on these teen traits without any effort to educate viewers or mitigate the risk of suicide contagion.”
Remember that PSA I mentioned earlier? Netflix probably should have put it, or something like it, at the beginning of the show. I admit that. They announced in the last couple days that they will be adding a “warning card” at the beginning of each episode.
Netflix also hosts a resource page for those needing help to reach out.
Speaking of that PSA, watch 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons below.
“In the world of 13 Reasons, suicide is an understandable option; suicide is a ticket to the cool kids’ table; suicide is an effective revenge on the people who harm you during life.”
I get where the revenge criticism comes from. I don’t remember the episode exactly, but Hannah may mention “revenge” specifically. With that being said, I think you have to look at her words in the context of the show.
Just talking about serious issues doesn’t automatically “glamorize” them in a negative way. I feel there’s value in talking about these issues and confronting them.
Hannah Baker chose to take her own life. That decision had awful consequences. It isn’t painted as a “ticket to the cool kid’s table” like the doctor claims.
Avi Astor and Rami Benbenishty recently presented research they did on responses to the California Healthy Kids survey administered to student in middle and high schools across California.
Their research basically found that suicide and suicidal thoughts among teens are a huge problem. However, everyone is different. In those responses they found that one in five students had experienced suicidal thoughts.
Astor agrees that some teens experiencing suicidal thoughts could see a show like 13 Reasons and be pushed over the edge. Others won’t react in that manner.
What if some people see 13 Reasons Why and it opens them up to what is going on around them?
It’s very likely that we all have been affected by suicide to varying degrees. It hits entirely too close to home.
When I was a sophomore in high school a classmate committed suicide. It was someone I knew. I don’t know why he did it.
My locker partner from 7th grade committed suicide. It happened years later in a neighborhood I had coincidentally just moved to. I didn’t even know he lived there. I don’t know why he did it.
Of course there’s a part of me that says “I wish I was there for them.” But that doesn’t feel right. To me, it feels a bit too much. Frankly, it seems a bit egotistical. It feels like hashtag activism in the sense that it’s all talk and no action.
I don’t know what the answer is to keep this from happening. I don’t know that there is an answer.
I definitely don’t think that there is a one-size-fits-all answer.
I don’t think not talking about it is the answer. I don’t think pulling a show that talks about it in a frank manner off the air is the answer.
I do recommend watching the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why on Netflix before forming your opinion. Especially watch the whole season before telling others they shouldn’t watch it.
Watch it and talk about it. Don’t feel like you should watch it alone? Watch it with someone.
And if you need help, reach out.
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