The new #Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" has become a topic of discussion for binge watchers. All 13 episodes of "#13 Reasons Why" premiered on Netflix on the 31st March, 2017 and the audience hasn't stopped talking about it. In fact, the show broke records by becoming the most tweeted about show ever with more than 3.5 millions tweets in the first week after its premiere. The show is based on a 2007 novel of the same name written by Jay Asher..
The show faced some controversy, naturally, because the subject matter is so heavy and sensitive. "13 Reasons Why" takes you through the journey of a 17-year old high school girl, Hannah Baker, who commits #suicide, leaving behind 13 vintage cassette recordings explaining the 13 reasons that led to her death.
The show takes viewers through the moments of Hannah Baker's life up until her last breath and simultaneously shows how the lives of the 13 subjects of her tapes unravel in the present. Clay Jensen, the nerdy teenager and high-school student who is in love with Hannah goes through the tapes one by one while struggling to understand how his name ended up on Hannah's list.
'13 Reasons Why' & the lessons it teaches
Despite being a controversial show, it teaches many important lessons.
The 13 audio tapes that Hannah leaves behind describe in vivid and graphic detail what led to the decision to end her life. Each tape is meant for a person who in one way or another destroyed Hannah's reputation, broke her spirit, heart and soul.
The show teaches the audience how important it is to be kind to the people around you and not bully them in any way. The classmates of Hannah who ruined her reputation and bullied her didn't realize and own up to their mistakes even after Hannah was gone. Teenagers and high-school students around the world can take a message from this show that it is never okay to hurt someone simply because it makes you look good in front of the jocks, cheerleaders and popular kids.
Another important lesson is that we should never judge someone because of rumors. Rumors, especially in high-schools, are just that, rumors. Hannah was mistreated in every possible way, not just by boys but also by the girls and her so-called friends. Girls should learn a lesson from this and always know to take a stand for their female friends and not ruin another girl's reputation to save their own..
Interestingly, "13 Reasons Why" doesn't just leave important messages for teenagers, but also for adults and parents. While Hannah struggles through her time as a sophomore and junior in high school, her parents are aloof to her suffering because they are too busy sorting their own life out. Hannah's parents were in no way responsible for her death but this show teaches parents of teenagers that it is important to be involved in your child's life no matter how busy you are. It teaches them to take interest in their child's life and be a friend to them so they can share their thoughts and feelings.
There is no glory in suicide
Most importantly, though, "13 Reasons Why" leaves a strong message for people who have suicidal thoughts and tendencies. First of all, throughout the show we learn that it is not okay to go through life alone and at some point you just have to share your feelings and troubles with the ones who love you. Hannah avoids talking about her feelings with Clay because she feels she's not good enough for him. When Hannah witnesses her friend Jessica get sexually assaulted, instead of coming forward, she keeps quiet about it.
When Hannah does share her feelings with the school counselor and opens up about her own encounter with an older boy, she is judged and told to move on. People who are in authoritative positions in schools need to take away an important message from this; it is not okay to dismiss someone's cry for help. A teenager who is talking about wanting her life to stop, is clearly not doing okay. Hence, if someone does reach out for help, they should be given full attention, care and protection.
Another message for those who think about hurting themselves is that suicide is not pretty, glorious or romantic as some might think. "13 Reasons Why" has mostly been criticized because of how graphic it is in terms of depicting Hannah's suicide. But it was important to show the viewers that suicide is painful, gruesome and it leaves those you leave behind in a lifetime of pain, misery, guilt and regret. As shown in the show, people like Clay and Hannah's parents who loved her dearly were left feeling miserable because of Hannah's decision to end her life.
Had Hannah opened up to anyone of these people in her lifetime, they could've loved her back to life. "13 Reasons Why" may be criticized but in my opinion it is a great show that has a lesson for every viewer. It is not easy to talk about sensitive subjects like those depicted in the show.