My problem with 13 Reasons Why…

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When 13 Reasons Why first went live on Netflix I was a high school student and I like most people around me, watched it. For anyone who has not seen it or read the book, 13 Reasons Why is about the aftermath of a suicide by a female student at a school in America. Hannah Baker committed suicide and left 12 tapes naming those who caused or added to her pain. The show follows the other characters hearing their own and the reasons the others caused Hannah Baker’s suicide.

The first season of 13 Reasons Why, for me, is good. The messages and themes which were brought up really resonated with the high school experience. They presented many issues which are prevalent for teens and continued over the next few seasons to present even more. These include;

  • Bullying,
  • Rape,
  • Sexual harassment,
  • Peer pressure,
  • Addiction,
  • Abuse,
  • School shooting,
  • Criminal justice,
  • Depression,
  • Anxiety, and more.

The first season presented an important message particularly on how you can never know what is going on in someone else’s life, any small thing may make a massive impact on them and to be mindful of your actions always.

However, 13 Reasons Why has had four seasons. Season one telling Hannah Baker’s story, season two overseeing Hannah’s trial and the case against her rapist, season three about said rapist’s murder and season four about trying to get away with the murder. 13 Reasons Why began telling a story about a girl’s pain and suicide and the impact this suicide had on those around her and her family. But for me, it appears as the seasons go on this story is watered down. Season two even undermines some of the ‘reasons’ presented in season one like with Zach and the notes he didn’t throw away, but then finding out they dated after and she was happy with him for a period of time, begging the question how does him taking her notes become a reason? This made Hannah less believable and undermined somewhat the message that all these little things can equal something terrible for someone, when they made Hannah look like a liar.

Somewhere along the way this show about bullying and suicide turned into a crime show with a murder mystery third season. This for me is such a deviation from the point. I have the utmost respect for shows who make their story and they tell the tale they intended and don’t drag things out for the sake of money in a show which doesn’t support that length. For me, 13 Reasons Why is not one of these. I could appreciate the creation of Season two showing the trial processes and the importance of coming forward for victims. But to make four seasons feels like a money grab. If I wanted to watch How to Get Away With Murder, I would be. Now, I recognize that it was always a bit back and forth with the timeline. But for me, when it became a back and forth about a murder it was too much like Elite or How to Get Away With Murder that it felt almost like they were ripping off the success of crime shows.

Furthermore, 13 Reasons Why was about the 13 reasons Hannah Baker killed herself, to introduce characters who never even met her into the show makes no sense to me.

Thankfully, 13 Reasons Why did become very popular which is good for the message they were trying to tell, but because of this popularity, I feel like the third and fourth seasons were created to make money and turn it into a drama. 13 Reasons Why was no longer about suicide or the 13 reasons. 

I did not personally feel a need to watch season four when it came out, I won’t say I will never but I have yet to watch it because I feel like they deviate so much from their original purpose. 13 Reasons Why wasn’t a crime show it was about bullying. But the characters keep bullying each other. So I may be wrong in my assessment of season four but I have heard it resembles season 3 in not having anything to do with Hannah anymore. Having her mum come back for a few scenes isn’t enough.

I feel like 13 Reasons Why should either have had a one season run or the two it began with. If they wanted to make a show about all these other issues they could have, they didn’t need to use the characters or story line from 13 Reasons Why, they could have made their own show to continue on and have a murder mystery or made a show to tackle the issues like steroid use, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, and more. And that’s my problem with 13 Reasons Why…

Let me know your thoughts on the show and whether you think they’re dragging it out to make more money or if you watched all four seasons. Thanks for reading!

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