Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why creates conversation, controversies


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Jay Ashers’ book, Thirteen Reasons Why, is an emotional, heart breaking story that has recently aired as a Netflix original TV show. Since the show’s release, viewers across the globe are raving over the surreal cycle of tragic events that the show depicts.

Thirteen Reasons Why addresses some tough topics, including  signs and warnings of suicide with graphic scenes and episodes that even have a trigger warning. The main character Hannah Baker is played by Katherine Langford, along with Langford is Dylan Minette who plays as Clay Jensen. Minette has also starred in the movie Don’t Breath and Goosebumps.

The Netflix original has the audience showing a mix of feelings about their love for the show. Some viewers believe that the series portrays awareness about suicide, while others believe that it glorifies suicide.

Some audience members don’t necessarily have a like or a dislike for the television show. “I have mixed feelings about it. I watched a couple of episodes and it seems like a pretty good show and it was pretty interesting but the message that was being portrayed wasn’t necessarily being portrayed in the best way,” said  sophomore Kailey Jourdan. “I feel like they were almost glorifying suicide rather than what they were trying to do, which was to provide awareness.”

English teacher Mrs. Kat Lemke added, “I don’t know that I can say that I like something of such an intense topic.”

Other viewers believe the show provides necessary awareness about mental illnesses and signs of suicide. “I like Thirteen Reasons Why because it spreads a lot of awareness about a problem that people know is happening but kind of ignore,” claimed sophomore Samantha Borkoski, while others believe that the mental illness is portrayed negatively.  “I do not like Thirteen Reasons Why because I think it’s an improper portrayal of mental illness and I think that it teaches people to use suicide as a way of getting back at people,” said Jay Sondhi.  She added,

“I don’t think that’s something you should be teaching.”

The topics in the series are ones that some people experience in their everyday lives, and as a result, the graphic scenes can be particularly alarming for some viewers.    “I think that it’s pretty graphic, the scene where she kills herself. I feel like it was an unnecessary scene that didn’t necessarily have to be in it. It’s very graphic. I appreciate the fact that they tried to portray a raw message of, this is what happens when you kill yourself,” stated Jourdan.

Others seem less concerned about the graphic nature of the subject matter.  “I don’t think it’s too surprising because first of all, they put a disclaimer in every episode that contains something that’s too bad so everybody knows it’s going to happen. And also it’s very serious, so when they show that stuff it makes it more powerful and it makes you realize, it hits you in the face that this is actually what happens,” argued Borkoski.

“There’s just so many people who can unfortunately relate to some of the situations that are presented, not just in terms of the obvious suicide, but because of the interaction of parents and the interaction with teenagers, the violence, the drinking and the drugs and all of that. That’s the reality of society and i think that we’re drawn to seeing that things like that because we can relate to them,” stated Lemke.

The popularity of the show has drawn so many people to it because of how the audience can relate to the characters, which is an unfortunate reality since everything that happens to the characters in this series is so tragic and real.

Not only does this Netflix Original leave audiences torn about how they feel, directors have have clearly  impacted  audiences, young or old. Thirteen Reasons Why will continue to raise eyebrows for being one of the most graphic and tragic television shows ever aired on Netflix addressing a topic that certainly is worthy of conversation.


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Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why creates conversation, controversies