Shivanie Patiram ’20
On March 31st, 2017, Netflix released its highly anticipated original series 13 Reasons Why. Based on a novel by Jay Asher (published in 2007), the show was an immediate hit, being the most-tweeted about Netflix show during the very first week of its debut. Since March, it has received over 11 million tweets, which do not seem to be dying down anytime soon. Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst teens (ranging from ages 10-24), which the show brings to light. However, it has stirred up much controversy on this dark topic of suicide, as people discuss whether it went too overboard, or nailed it right on the head.
Hannah Baker, one of the leading protagonists in 13 Reasons Why, is portrayed as having killed herself for thirteen reasons, each of which she had recorded onto cassettes. Sexual assault and harsh rumors at her high school drove her over the edge, leading to her eventual death. Some people argue that the thirteen tapes left behind depicted Hannah taking things way too far, having an impression of revenge on those who wronged her. Others argue that there were alternative options Hannah could have taken, instead of killing herself right away. Whichever the case, the graphic depiction of Hannah’s death (vastly different from the book’s version), along with other scenes involving sexual assault, has caught the attention of mental health advocates and suicide prevention organizations.
Many teachers, parents, and mental health experts argue that 13 Reasons Why glorifies the idea of suicide, with Hannah’s death scene being like a ‘step-by-step’ guide on how to kill oneself. Some believe the show executes the book’s plot in a poor manner, not really delving deep into how to prevent suicide and the actions one can take. Parents don’t want their children to watch such a dark, and depressing show, for fear of putting ideas into their heads. However, most teens say otherwise, arguing that the show sheds light on the harsh realities they may face, and how this portrayal of suicide allows them to stand up to do something about it. Whichever the case, the producers of the show took a huge jump in pursuing such themes, opening the eyes of many people around the world.
Questions have risen concerning a second season of 13 Reasons Why. With the many dilemmas to still be resolved at the ending of the last episode, fans are hoping for another season to clear things up. One of the executive producers, Selena Gomez, has hinted at the production of more episodes to come, as the popularity of the show skyrocketed. As of now, Netflix has officially announced the release of a second season to be in 2018, which fans eagerly await.