Justin Rhim YISS 11th Grade
Based off the novel written by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why has become a popular Netflix show that depicts the outcome of a teenage suicide. Before her suicide, Hannah Baker left behind a series of tapes for the people who have led her to make this decision. Containing tendentious scenes (suicide, violence), this show sparked controversy among the viewers.
Some have thanked the cast and crew for bringing light to suicide and bullying, but others have harshly criticized the show, saying that it glorified and romanticized these issues. The Royal College of Psychiatrists have criticized the timing of this show and referred to it as “callous”; the show’s release time is similar to the exam season for UK students. Kristen Douglas, a spokesperson for Australian youth mental-health organization, reported that “13 Reasons Why” is raising a really important issue, but doing it in a harmful way.
The show has been bombarded with hate, so the makers of this series have responded by producing additional resources to support viewers. These additional resources include videos with the actors in them saying things like, “By shedding light on these difficult topics, we hope our show can help viewers start a conversation” and “this series may not be right for you, or you may want to watch it with a trusted adult.”
Through the storm of criticism, however, supporters of the show stand strong in their belief and claim that this show is an “accurate portrayal of high school life that would spark conversations between parents and their children and encourage viewers to seek information on depression, suicide, bullying, and sexual assault.” The controversy doesn’t end here; when the producers of this show announced that there would be a second series, lots of concerned questions and hate filled the air.
A vast majority of the viewers deemed this action “unnecessary” and “pointless”. The second series, unlike the first one, didn‘t contain a graphic suicide scene, but had scenes that critics have considered worse. During the last episode of the second season, a “graphic rape” scene was shown.
Brian Yorkey, producer and creator, has defended the show saying that “it developed from research on real-life cases of sexual violence against men in high school and that the decision to depict its graphic nature was not done gratuitously.” It seems that the creators of “13 Reasons Why”, truly believe their approach was necessary.
This popular, yet controversial show has definitely brought light to multiple issues, but was it executed appropriately?
<Justin Rhim YISS 11th Grade