Brenna Smark, Reporter
The Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, produced by singer Selena Gomez, is based on the book published in 2007 by Jay Asher, but the series fails to address its goal of solutions for suicide prevention.
The series is about a teenage girl named Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford) who kills herself and records 13 tapes telling her story and explaining why she took her life. Each tape targets a specific person and Baker explains what that person did to influence her decision to end her life.
With the help of Tony Padilla (played by Christian Navarro) Baker plans for the tapes to land in the hands of the person on the first tape, Justin Foley (played by Brandon Flynn). Baker has trusted Tony to make sure the tapes are given to the person on the tape and to make sure that each person listens to all 13 tapes.
The story starts out with the individual on tape 11, Clay Jensen (played by Dylan Minnette). The tapes end up in a package on his front porch and the show follows Jensen through his journey as he listens to the tapes and begins to find out what went on between Baker and some of his fellow classmates.
The show was intended to show what someone says and does can affect someone else, and that words and actions do hurt and can cause permanent damage to someone’s mental health and overall view of life. This show, however, did it all wrong and ended up crashing in a huge ball of flames.
The tapes were a great idea as a substitute for a suicide note, as it’s a better way to accurately put forth why someone decided to take his or her life, but this show completely butchers that concept.
Baker’s tapes didn’t serve the purpose of giving her friends and family closure and explaining why she killed herself. Instead they served the purpose of targeting specific individuals and blaming them for her death and trying to ruin their lives in the process.
Each person on those tapes already knows what they did to Baker and are suffering the consequences, and the content of the tapes were just overkill of that concept.
The show made it seem like she ended her life for the sole purpose of getting revenge on the people who hurt her, not to mention she gave no explanation or closure to her parents.
While the tapes are going around and putting young teenagers under Baker’s ridicule, her parents are left behind still hurting and wondering why their little girl saw suicide as the only way out.
Suicide is a serious issue that needs to be faced, and this show tries to target that but ends up glamorizing it.
Feeling suicidal is something many people suffer from and this show gives them no reasonable solution for the problem. This show basically tells its audience that the only way to escape their problems and end their pain is to take their life, and actually showing the suicide in the show was especially crossing the line and overstepping their boundaries.
Baker goes through some painful events that many teenagers in high school experience. Instead of taking the opportunity to explore some ways to get help for suicide, such as talking to a counselor, seeking help from parents, suicide prevention hotlines, etc., the show only leads the audience down a dead end road where suicide is seemingly the only solution to their problems.
Overall, this show tried to bite off more than it could chew. This show would’ve been better fit 10 years ago when the book was published and suicide was still an issue that people refused to talk about and bring awareness to. Today, however, suicide is a prominent issue and 13 Reasons Why gave a poor solution to an easily manipulated and young audience.
I give this 2/5
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
Latest posts by Brenna Smark (see all)
- OSL hosts whale watching event - June 12, 2017
- 4 new statues added to Puyallup’s Pioneer Park - June 12, 2017
- Student connects with her ancestry by making drums - May 25, 2017