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(13 Reasons Why) It Matters

By Amy Ahern
On April 27, 2017

13 Reasons Why has become the most popular show on Netflex.
Photo By https://i.ytimg.com/

Debuting on March 31, the binge watching series, 13 Reasons Why hit everyones living room TV as the new hit series came to Netflix. 

    The series is based off the award winning novel, “Th1rteen R3sons Why”, written by Jay Asher back in 2007 to later be adapted by co-showrunners, Brian Yorkey and Diana Son for Netflix. With Selena Gomez as the executive producer, the series received large praises from audiences and critics across the globe.  

     The show revolves around a young high school girl named Hannah Baker—played by Katherine Langford, who ultimately ends her life after culminating failures egged on by her peers. Shortly after her death, the show follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his cope with a close friends death— and to uncover the hidden truth behind her tragic death after finding a mysterious box on his front porch. 

    The 13 heart-wrenching episodes told through Clay, and Hannah’s dual narratives show the impact of ones actions and words, and what influence that can have on an individual. As the show touches upon the harsh reality of assault, self-harm, depression and suicide, it showcases the importance of what it may be like for individuals who are scared or in fear of talking about their problems without being judged or ridiculed. Yet this series not only shows how the issues are depicted, but shown. 

    Although some controversial claims believe the series highlights suicide, I believe this brought light and attention to the importance of those who may suffer from assault, depression, self harm, and suicidal thoughts. The show did not frame away from shying the ugly, and I believe that is why the show is so emotionally touching. It was real; just as real as nearly one in six high school students having seriously consider suicide due to bullying, or that every one in 12 teens have attempted suicide, according to nydaily.com. 

    With the last remaining episodes flashing, “viewer discretion advised,” and trigger warnings mentioned, while the credits rolled before I knew it, my face was covered in tears. Feeling emotionally and physically unstable, my heart hurt. After a few days recapping the episodes in my head, and rereading the words I once absorbed when the book first released—I came up with 13 reasons why it matters, why this show is important, and why I believe others should watch it too. 

    1.) The show does not shy from the truth. The series was purposely directed to not shy from the ugly touching realties people go through—even high school students. Walking with Hannah throughout the show, the audience is subjected to the cruelness people can have, whether intentionally or not. If you are not doing something about it, are you really doing something at all? 

    2.) The characters have real stories. Whether you were listening to Hannah’s narrative, or following Clay Jenson, Jessica Davis, Justin Foley, or Alex Standall, each character had their own compelling story, that were both believable, and most importantly relate-able. 

    3.) Social media can be portrayed as a means of bullying. Often times, people do not take serious the words they type over the internet and how they are stuck there forever. This series shows the chain reaction of technology today through, Instagram, Snapchat, iMessage, etc. and how sometimes our favorite apps can lead to toxic situations. You can thank Gomez for capturing this reality. 

    4.) Words hurt as much as actions. Portraying the events in Hannah’s life—and the other students at Liberty High—the audience gets a glimpse of the repercussions words can have, including rumors. 

    5.) The importance of having solid relationships. Even though Hannah may have not had a strong relationship with her peers, or even her parents, some of the students did have that. If Hannah truly had someone she could connect with and express her thoughts and feeling to, she may have not felt so alone as she describes. The show emphasizes the crucial need to have someone to talk to, and how you should not take advantage of that. 

    6.) Homosexuality. Students are bullied for being who they are. In order to protect themselves from society—the hide behind a different identity. This is a continual struggle for some individuals in today’s society. 

7    .) Abuse can happen in any given household. The expression “you never know what goes on behind closed doors” is one that is approached in the show. Sometimes were truly never know what can be going on right under our nose.

    8.) No-one is perfect. Even the “perfect” Clay Jensen, who gets the good grades, studies every night, is not seen at parties, still goes through turmoil. He struggles; he gets mad at Hannah at some points—and yet he makes it known to the audience that this is okay! No one can be perfect. 

    9.) Peer pressure does happen. During several points in the movie, there is constant back and forth peer pressure. Pressuring one another to drink, to go to parties, to harass someone to “protect” reputations. Regardless of any age—this does happen. 

    10.) Drinking and driving. With teenagers being the most common to get involved in car wrecks, the show emphasizes the importance of the consequences that can happen whether you drink one beer, or eight beers and decide to get behind the wheel. 

    11.) There are effects of addictions. Whether it is alcohol or drugs, the show refuses to shy away from the side effects of addiction. 

    12.) Rape is very, very real. Although not bluntly thrown out there the first few episodes, Hannah is victim of rape, as well as others. Predators hide behind any mask—even popular jocks who can appear to be “nice” to everyone.  

    13.) What actions to take in ways to get help. Although high claims suggest Hannah did nothing to get help—or did very little. Those around her did not take the time to show her how she could get help, and I believe the show decrypts how is someone supposed to ask for help, when we refuse to offer it? 

    After the rolling credits, an interview with the author, casts, and directors were filmed. Here they explained their motives for the show and why they created this most popular Netflix series in the way they did. In a letter Nic Sheff writer for show explains, “As soon as I read the pilot for 13 Reasons Why, I immediately knew it was a project I wanted to be involved in. I was struck by how relevant and even necessary a show like this was: offering hope to young people, letting them know that they are not alone—that somebody out there gets them. In 13 Reasons Why, the story of a high-school girl who takes her own life, I saw the opportunity to explore issues of cyber-bullying, sexual assault, depression, and what it means to live in a country where women are devalued to the extent that a man who brags about sexually assaulting them can still be elected president. And, beyond all that, I recognized the potential for the show to bravely and unflinchingly explore the realities of suicide for teens and young adults—a topic I felt very strongly about.” 

    If you or anyone you know struggle from self harm or suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255 (Available 24 hours everyday) 

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