WARNING: THIS REVIEW & DISCUSSION NOT ONLY CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE SHOW 13 REASONS WHY, BUT I ALSO TALK ABOUT THE SERIOUS ISSUES SHOWCASED WITHIN THE SHOW SUCH AS SUICIDE, SELF-HARM, PHYSICAL ABUSE, EMOTIONAL/MENTAL ABUSE AND RAPE. PLEASE DO NOT READ IF YOU BELIEVE YOU WILL BE AFFECTED BY THE TOPICS ABOUT TO BE DISCUSSED.
Before you read this, I'd like you to know that I haven't read the book. Usually when it comes to a book adaptation I would wait until I've had the time to sit down and read the book it's based off of. While I did want to do that first, I decided that it would probably be best if I pushed that aside and watched the show. Why? The reason is because this show is something more than just a popular show, it's an important message.
13 Reasons Why is probably one of the most if not one of the most---the most difficult show I have ever had to watch in my life. Most of the shows I watch are strictly for entertainment purposes and I the only reason why I decided to watch this show is because I knew that it dealt with various issues. There were two reasons why I felt this way, the first is that it showed everything in a very graphic and almost disturbing manor. The next reason is because I could relate to Hannah.
Relating to Hannah was not something I had expected to happen---I cried because I was brought back to a very sad part of my life which I've come so far from, but even though that is true it doesn't mean to say that the memories are gone, that the feelings are gone, that my anger and frustration and my sadness is gone. Those feelings will forever be linked to those memories even if I'm in a much better place in my life. It brought me to tears because I understood. There were many things she talked about like the way she was never able to look at certain people the same way, rumours being spread and everyone looking at you differently and also, I know what it's like to be hurt and embarrassed in public and have absolutely no one be there for you. Those moments where she was in pain felt so real and that made me think of myself. That was an area of the show that really showcased how you don't know how much someones words can affect someone---and that you really don't know what's going on in someones head.
Honestly, 13 Reasons Why is one of the most realistic depictions of being a teenager in my opinion. While I don't go out to parties and I'm not a wild child, I know what it's like to be in high school. In this show, there wasn't that much sugar on top, it delved deep. I feel like nowadays, high school is glamourized and I'm not here to say that this show isn't because it is in certain aspects. When you think of high school you think of the stereotypical high school. I saw my school in this show which is something that's never happened before. This show literally just shows how sick some people can be and how they can find humour in someones pain.
For example, there were phrases that certain characters said that I have definitely heard in my school. Phrases like "She just wants attention," "It was a joke," etc. etc. etc.
Lately, I've been hearing a lot of kids in my school raving about this show and it just made me think. Are they recommending it, raving over the show because they think it's good and it's popular? Or did they really get what the show was trying to say. The reason why I'm mentioning this is because they kids are talking about it with joy and happiness---and while happiness isn't a bad thing it confuses me how something that deals with a young girls suicide can be so uplifting like that. Also, the show is being romanticized into prom proposals which is a whole different story on it's own.
I am so glad that this show is getting recognition, that means the message is getting out there but it also means that it's not. There will always be people getting caught up in the attractiveness of the characters and how emotional the show is. What I mean by that is that, there's a difference between getting emotional and getting emotional. There is one side where people can be like "Oh it's SO SAD, like OMG I died. CLAY AND HANNAH ARE MY OTP AND THAT CAN NEVER HAPPEN. I NEED A CLAY IN MY LFE." Then there's another side where it hits them in the pit of their stomach, and they truly, truly realize what the show is trying to say. The show is becoming mainstream, and it's getting to people but it's also turning into almost of a joke. I've seen memes of this show making fun of the tapes which I always see "It's a joke," but that's not the point.
The show is so incredibly gripping, and talks about serious issues that we continue to ignore. Bullying is such a large part of some peoples lives and it's often looked over. Physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse are all talked about in the show. One of the forms of abuse that really got to me was rape. Two characters, Jessica and Hannah are taken advantage of and it's taken so lightly with the ones around them. It's always brushed off it felt like. The way it was depicted was very realistic in my opinion because we live in a cruel and confusing world that doesn't really handle rape well enough.
Now onto the show itself, I thought that it done pretty well. Each episode was close to an hour long and while it was very long I think the length of the episodes were needed in order to properly tell the story. I won't go into how it was compared to the book considering I haven't read the book but what I will say is that I imagine that both are great in their own ways despite their differences.
An issue that I've had with the show that always kind of nagged at me was the romance. I never had a problem with the relationship between Hannah and Clay, I was a fan. However, in a way it romanticized Hannah's struggles. The way I viewed it was that Hannah would've been "cured" if Clay allowed himself to love Hannah which was unsettling for me in a way. Clay would also always be saying that he killed Hannah because he was afraid to love her, and she would've been alive... Love is a beautiful thing but there are cases where love can't bring you out of the darkness and that's the only thing that I really disliked about the show, was the way they told the audience that everything would be okay if you just had someone to be your partner.
This is one of those shows where I do think that it's a great show, but there isn't really anything spectacular about it. If I were to recommend this I wouldn't say it's because it's a fantastic show I would say it's because it sends a very important message that needs to be heard. I think this is why this is more a discussion than anything else because there isn't anything that sticks out to me besides the messages that it holds.
Thirteen Reasons Why is very relatable---I could relate to it and so could many others. This is an aspect of the show that I feel to be very arguable. On one side of the table, it's not glamourized but there is also the other side where it can bring people back to a really dark time in their life---and it did that for me so I can see why lots of people are unhappy with the portrayal of certain scenes. Personally, I'm not one to hate on a show for those reasons---however I am aware of the controversy and will continue to take note of it if I ever decide to re-watch the show.
Overall, I would say that 13 Reasons Why is a great show. It's incredibly realistic which can be both a good and bad thing. However despite the controversy---it sends a message that everyone needs to hear.