One of the many reasons I recently got a Netflix membership is because I wanted to watch this show that everyone, literally everyone, was talking about: “13 Reasons Why”. I will not be lying when I say that I was utterly devastated after finishing episode 13 and it took me a quite a while to process the whole thing and start talking about it.
Just in case you are not familiar with this worldwide phenomenon, “13 Reasons Why” is an American television series where the protagonist, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), a high school student, takes her own life. Two weeks after her suicide, a classmate named Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette) finds a mysterious box on his porch. In the box are recordings made by Hannah, on whom Clay had a crush, in which she explains 13 reasons why she chose to kill herself. This intricate and heart wrenching tale, which is originally a book by Jay Asher, is told through Clay and Hannah’s dual narrative.
So now that you know the story, (not really, if you haven’t watched the series) here are 13 reasons why I liked “13 Reasons Why”:
1. It talks about the aftermath
Most shows and movies tend to end when a person attempts suicide and do not talk about what happens after. This show talks about exactly that, which, according to me, is the most important part.
2. It is extremely relatable
Being a high school student I could completely relate to most of the incidents which made me further terrified. Bullying and demeaning people is common in classrooms and the thought that this might just happen to any of us scared me a lot.
3. It talks about something that nobody talks about
Suicide. Yes, that is it. As if it is a taboo and not the second most common way in which teenagers die around the world, people just like to look away from it, like they do with a lot of other things. It is time we start talking about it openly and without a sense of regret.
4. The production is fabulous
From all the minute details to the wonderful way in which they show the change of time, the production is wonderful and pleasing in every way possible. The great portrayal of the complex story line is nothing but mesmerizing.
5. The actors are better
From the very small characters to the very big ones, the great actors helped us dive right into the story and feel involved.
6. For the first time, the TV adaptation meets the book’s expectations
For the entire book vs. movie comparisons I always like the book a lot better. In this case, however, I liked the adaptation as much as, if not more than, the book.
7. It shows us how small things can have a huge consequence
Every little thing we do, every small way we behave affects the other person or at times, many. We must take care how we conduct ourselves because everyone is fighting their own battles and one bit of misbehaviour might just set them off, sometimes, forever.
8. It may glorify suicide but it is the truth
The series has faced a lot of negative criticism saying that it glorifies suicide, well, it doesn’t. Read end note.
9. It exposes the oppressive culture of high school
We may think that the things which made Hannah kill herself are minor and avoidable, happens to everyone in high school and we all avoid it, right? Well, it is time we stop avoiding these things and stop them rather than criticizing the person who committed suicide.
10. It does not skip the survivor’s guilt or an uncomfortable suicide scene
The most important part of a suicide is the survivor’s guilt. The ones who endure the death and have to live with it all their lives. Most books and movies often tend not to show that. A suicide affects 10 lives at an average. Don’t believe me, Google it. Moreover, the suicide scene is not a shot of a floating hand or hanging legs, they show it the way it is, uncomfortable and gory.
11. It makes us realise that being a bystander is more or less equal to being the one inflicting the pain
The heading speaks for itself.
12. It is a TV series with the most educational value that Netflix has ever produced
13. It depicts how loved ones play a bigger role in a suicide
In this case Clay and Hannah’s parents, who she came to as a last resort. They could not understand her pain, if they had, she might have been alive.
Though there has been a lot of criticism about how the series “glamourizes” suicide, I don’t think it really does that. Also there is a bonus episode available on Netflix called “Beyond the Reasons” in which cast and crew members talk about what they had in mind while developing and filming the series which will surely let people get a better insight to the motive of the makers. (This 27 minute episode got me through dark thoughts I had after I had finished the series).
P.S. Favourite character: Jessica
Till next time!