13 Reasons Why This Show Is Dangerous?


Arianna Howard, Editor-in-Chief

After starting out as an award-winning book by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why has become a groundbreaking Netflix series. Handling the topic of suicide with brutal honesty, the show has both garnered rave reviews and harsh criticism since its release on March 31st.

Ten years ago, when the book was first released, it didn’t receive much attention, not making it to #1 on the New York Times best-seller list until four years after its publication. However, both prior fans of the book and those who had never heard about it before grew very excited when Netflix announced that they were making their own adaptation of the young adult novel. Almost instantly after the series aired, viewers all around the world were talking about it. The 13-episode show received 9.1/10 stars on IMDb, their synopsis reading as the following:

“Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.”

At first, many thought that 13 Reasons Why did a stellar job of portraying the numb and empty feeling of depression that has gotten to the point of suicide. However, many suicide prevention organizations are speaking out against the show and claiming that, while it raises awareness about bullying and the epidemic that is teen suicide, it also oversimplifies the things that cause teenagers to want to kill themselves. The largest problem that most viewers had with the show however, is that Hannah’s suicide is played out loud and clear on the screen. Perhaps the directors intended to show that suicide is not soft or easy to handle, but the effect of watching someone bleed out in a bathtub is far more detrimental than helpful.

One student who was a fan of the book and then watched the series is Kailei Immler (’17). “The book was remarkable. It was extremely well-written and did a wonderful job or portraying depression in a way that didn’t romanticize it. The show, on the other hand, didn’t do that,” she explained. “It feels like the show is saying that love cures depression, which isn’t true. It doesn’t accurately show what the mental illness is like, and that is both disappointing and dangerous. Society already does not have a good idea of what depression is like, and the show isn’t helping that.”

Overall, the show itself has stirred mixed reviews, but anyone who plans on watching 13 Reasons Why should go into it with fair warning about its TV-MA rating due to sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol/drugs/smoking, and frightening/intense scenes. The series is on Netflix now, ready to stream.