A look at hit Netflix show 13 Reasons Why

Collaboration by Shield Staff


The show 13 Reasons Why premiered on March 31 in 2017. The show reached unprecedented levels on social media just in the first week. The show sparked over three million tweets and over one million mentions as well. The first season featured 13 different episodes.  

The show was popular enough that they have decided to make a season two, which has been said to premiere sometime later this year. The show takes viewers on the story of what events took place that led up to main character Hannah Baker committing suicide. The whole story wraps around these 13 events. Hannah tells the stories on a tape recorder, and each tape centers around a person who made her life bad and led her to this decision. She drops the tapes off with the first person on the tapes, and one person she trusts. The person who gets the tapes must pass the tapes on to someone else or else there would be problems.  

The other main character is Clay Jensen, who had what he thought was a good friendship with Hannah. The seasons follows Clay as he goes through the tapes trying to figure out why he would be on them. Clay seems to be more curious about the stories than before; after watching each tape, he goes to confront the people on their side of the story. This ends up getting him into some trouble with those who were involved. The rest of the people on the tapes try different plots to stop Clay from listening to the rest of the tapes throughout the season.  

The show bounces between the past and the present day, as everyone tries to recover from Hannah's death and what is going to happen. The Bakers have placed a lawsuit on the school for not doing enough to help Hannah. Through the series, there are numerous conflict and troubles with people and students. Clay's mom, the attorney for the school, did not know that Hannah and Clay were friends. We see other characters have trouble even going to school after hearing information about the tapes and that there is going to be a lawsuit.  

The show was a big success, but it also sparked a lot of controversy. With it being on Netflix, the show could reach millions of people all over the world. With millions able to view it, that means people of all ages were able to see it as well. Many schools, parents and health professionals were against letting anyone younger than a high schooler watch the show, because of the realistic theme of the show. Many schools in Canada even banned students from talking about the show. With such a heavy topic as teen suicide and having people dealing with issues such as these, many adults were wary of students watching the show. Schools in America sent notes home to parents, saying that it would be a good idea to talk to their kids about the kid's thoughts on the show.  

While teen suicide is the main focus of the show, it also touches on more heavy topics such as drug use, rape, bullying and self-harm. These topics can all make a big impact on younger kids, which is why schools responded by not allowing them to talk about it, and it’s why they encouraged the parents to talk to their kids.

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“13 Reasons Why is a good show and relates to kids our age and shows the effects of the show are real. You need to be careful what you say to people. I’m excited for the second season, to see if there is any more twist," said Rochester College student Josh Ratzow, sophomore.  

Ratzow’s comment shows that you need to be careful about what you do. Many of the characters in the story have a hard time coming to grips with the whole situation after they reflect on their interactions and what Hannah said about them.  

Many people believe that this show is like a fantasy in the way that the characters look back on the past and wish they could change what they said or what they did. Through the tapes, Hannah tells people that they had a part in her suicide. In more realistic terms, this would probably not be the case. Many parents do not want their children seeing this and thinking that suicide is an idea of making those who hurt you pay.

The show has had to now put a slide in the intro about teen suicide and what the emergency contact information is. Along with that, they have an ad that plays before the start of  season one that talks about how to spot and help out someone that may be struggling with the idea of teen suicide. It shows helpful tips on how to get them the treatment or contact the right people so they can find help.

A survey conducted by students on campus at Rochester College about season one had  78 responses. Of those responses, over 80 percent said they watched season one. When asked if the show had some impact on them, 76 students responded. Within those, 70 percent said it did have an impact. One of the more common answers to the reason the show had an impact was because of personal experience. When asked if they will watch season two, 64 percent said they would watch, 15 percent said maybe and 20 percent said no. When asked about their expectations for season 2, we received mixed reactions, but most could be grouped into two different themes: One group thinks it will be a good season and bring more awareness to mental health. The second group thinks they are making a joke out of mental health, and they believe season two will be a joke.

Many people feel that the show is glorifying mental illness and suicide. They mentioned that kids are very impressionable and they feel like they hope the kids who do have problems will be able to speak out and get help. Others feel that it is going to bring more awareness to mental health.  

Although the series has had some controversy behind it, the reunited series will premiere later in 2018. We’ll have to wait and see if season two will have as much of a response as season one on Twitter.