Suicide, rape, and bullying are certainly not easy topics to talk about. But the horrible truth is that these traumatic things happen, especially to teenagers, and it is still important that we discuss them. Netflix’s new suspenseful original series, “13 Reasons Why”, directly addresses these dark subjects, bringing awareness on how we can better prevent these things from continuing to happen.
The series is based on Jay Asher’s young adult novel of the same name. It follows the story of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a 17-year-old high school student who commits suicide. She leaves behind a set of cassette tapes with messages explaining 13 reasons why she ended her life. The tapes focus on a specific list of people from her high school and the secret events that led up to her suicide. Told from the perspective of Hannah and her friend, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), this series keeps you captivated to the story and the characters from the very beginning.
Executively produced by Selena Gomez, “13 Reasons Why” does not hide the truth about suicide, rape, bullying, mental illness and other serious issues. It confronts these problems without romanticizing it and portrays it in a really authentic and unflinching way (The show contains some very graphic scenes. Warnings are shown at the beginning of the episodes to let the audience know which episodes have those scenes). Many young teens are experiencing or have experienced what Hannah went through, which is why this story needed to be told. Her story belongs to many others.
Additionally, this series sends the important message that we need to be more aware of how we treat others. What we say or do to a friend, classmate, or stranger can heavily impact the way they feel. Even the smallest things can deeply affect someone. It is frustrating to watch some of the characters feel no remorse for what they did to Hannah. Only the ones who really mattered to Hannah, such as her parents and Clay, felt guilty after her death.
The series emphasizes the fact that you never really know what someone else is going through, so it is incredibly important that we treat each other with kindness and respect. And if you notice that someone is depressed and needs help, don’t just ignore it. Speak up and do something about it, which Clay eventually learns to do by the end of episode 13.
Though it is unsettling that “13 Reasons Why” ends with a bunch of cliffhangers, this allows the creators to develop a new story for the next season, if Netflix chooses to renew the series. With the success the show has received, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. It would be great to see more stories that need to be told.