SPOILER WARNING: This article contains events and storylines from episodes of the Netflix original show “13 Reasons Why”.
Netflix’s most recent original series based off a book written by Jay Asher, “13 Reasons Why” came out on March 31st. It was executive produced by Selena Gomez and her mother, Mandy Teefey. The series’ first season follows the aftermath of teen Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) suicide told through tapes that Hannah sent to students in her high school explaining her choice. The show primarily follows Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he listens to each tape and uncovers Hannah’s secrets and the reasons why she committed suicide, but it also shows other students in the school that were also given tapes as they try to keep the contents of the tapes hidden, as it would reveal the cruel actions that they did towards Hannah. Watching the widespread reaction of people from all over the world as they watched the show, made me realize the importance of the show and the message it is trying to convey. Here are the reasons why I believe this show is important.
It could very well happen, and it unfortunately does. While this show does have the unique aspect of the tapes that Hannah left behind, a lot of people share a similar story to Hannah. A lot of kids in high school get brutally bullied and it goes unnoticed. The series shows some of the staff at her school, the students and friends around her, and even Hannah’s parents were distracted by other things and did not notice when Hannah needed help.
The show’s main message is that we as a society need to be better at treating others kindly and looking out for each other. In the last episode, Clay is talking to the school counselor and as he’s leaving he says, “It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.”
It explains mental health. Throughout the show, the audience sees Hannah Baker get bullied and harassed to the point where she became isolated from everyone and became depressed. She kept it hidden a lot of the time and did not try to reach out to anyone for help. When she did try to reach out to her school counselor, she did not give him enough information about what she was going through for him to be able to help her, and the counselor did not try hard enough and ask enough questions for her to be able to be comfortable opening up to him. This scene with the counselor was right before she committed suicide.
The show hits hard topics like suicide and sexual assault. Netflix’s new series is not afraid to shed light on very serious and common problems in today’s society. In the show’s plot, a week before Hannah dies, she is sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate and a football player, Bryce Walker. The only person Hannah tells after the incident, is the school counselor. He feels he is unable to completely help Hannah, as she does not want everyone to know what happened to her. The aftermath of her sexual assault, in my opinion, accurately portrays what victims go through.
The show also briefly but effectively covers problems with social issues, such as LGBTQ issues. One of the characters, Courtney Crimsen, in the show is a lesbian, which is revealed on one of Hannah’s tapes that would reveal how Hannah was bullied, but Courtney does not want the whole school to know, because she know she would be judged.
“13 Reasons Why” is a very important show for people of all ages to watch, especially young adults in high school and even middle school. The show’s message is that the words we say affect people. We have the power to turn someone’s bad day into a good day or a good day into a bad day. It urges people to think before they speak, and to also speak up when they see someone being mistreated.