13 Reasons Why the Show is a No

Rebecca Pujo, Editor-in_Chief

Netflix’s new hit series, “13 Reasons Why,” was released worldwide March 31 and quickly gained popularity, becoming Netflix’s most popular show on social media. The show, based off the book by Jay Asher, has shocked millions with its portrayal of the aftermath of a high school girl’s suicide.
Upon watching the show, produced by Selena Gomez, many were quick to praise it for the way it depicts suicide, calling awareness to an important issue. However, it does this in a problematic way, sending a warped message to young, impressionable people about suicide.
“The arch of the story implies that suicide is somehow a justifiable/only choice to deal with what are temporary, albeit very painful, problems. Suicide is never a solution; there are always ways to get help,” Katherine Cowan, Director of Communications of the National Association of School Psychologists, said.
The show depicts many issues and relationships between characters in a very unrealistic way. As the plot unveils, each episode shows a tape made by Hannah, directed to a specific person who played a role in her suicide,
However, almost no positive measures are taken to prevent or solve the problems that come up, and this creates the effect that the characters are alone, and essentially sends the message that things do not get better.
The show also hardly addresses mental illnesses, which is often something that should be examined when discussing suicide, and its depiction is not very realistic in its portrayal of causes and reactions to Hannah’s suicide.
“It inaccurately depicts intentions and events behind, during and after suicide,” junior Luke Guthrie said.
Despite the somewhat harmful message the show sends, it did manage to bring awareness to an important issue, and many people have been able to take away the message that how we treat others is always important.
“It shows the consequences of people’s actions on such a large scale that it shocked everyone since it was so blunt,” junior Delma Mbulaiteye said.
However, after the initial shock value, it does not deliver a strong message in the narrative and depicts adults as being out-of-touch to real issues. Additionally, the show is somewhat unrealistic in its portrayal of the way adolescents really act and respond to issues.
Since the show can be so harmful for adolescents, it is beneficial for parents to have conversations with children to help them better understand the themes and events portrayed.
“I think that adults need to be aware if their children are watching it,…they definitely can’t handle a lot of the things that go on [in the show],” social studies teacher Beth Seabreeze said.
When watching the show, it is important to recognize that some themes can be portrayed in a harmful and unrealistic way, and viewer discretion is definitely necessary.