A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Monday, April 2, 2018

My thoughts on 13 Reasons Why (Spoilers, obviously.)

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A few months ago, I binge watched 13 Reasons Why. I watched the last seven episodes all in one night. Then I watched it again because Paul wanted to see it. It was very interesting to watch the show a second time because I definitely picked up on things that I didn't take note of the first time through.

I'm going to give you my thoughts. I'm a little nervous to talk about this because suicide and depression are serious issues and I don't want to say the wrong thing or come off as ignorant. If I offend or say something incredibly stupid, let me know (politely please!) and I will do better.

Also note that all of my thoughts are coming from an adult who has never been depressed or suicidal. Sure, I had some bad high school experiences but for the most part I cannot relate to the characters in this show at all.

The last thing I want to say (and I'm sure you will gather this from reading my post) is that I can definitely see every side of every opinion on this show. I go to reddit and read all different viewpoints and I am nodding along and agreeing with most of them- even those that are contradictory. Maybe that means I have not totally thought through all of the issues enough to have landed on a steadfast opinion, or maybe that means it's a complicated issue and we can feel all sorts of things about it. Who knows?

Wow, my introduction was practically an entire blog post all in itself! Time for the good stuff... (I'm just doing this in list format because the thought of organizing all of this coherently is daunting to me.)

Let's start with the characters...

Hannah- Hannah annoyed the crap out of me. She was so dramatic. Everything was about HER. She was mean to so many people when she didn't have to be. I thought it was COMPLETELY effed up that she wanted to blame everyone in her life for her suicide when ultimately, taking her life was her decision. On the other hand, I do realize some absolutely HORRIFYING things happened to her, but most of the people she blamed for her suicide didn't even deserve it.

Tony- THE. MOST. ANNOYING. CHARACTER. And it's hard to be more annoying than Hannah. First of all, he looked like he was 35. All he did was drive around and act mysterious. I don't understand why Hannah gave him the tapes to distribute and why he was so hell bent on making sure everyone on her list got to listen to them. Some back story on their relationship would have been nice, but alas, he wasn't on the tapes. Or was he? Oh my gosh, I can't even remember!

Clay- I liked Clay, which is a good thing because he's the main character. His scar was messed up and his face was a weird yellow color (bad makeup/lighting!?). I don't understand why Clay liked Hannah. I didn't find Hannah to be very likable and she was mean to him. Clay did not deserve to have a tape. AT. ALL. Hannah was mean to him in life AND in death.

Jessica- For the most part, I liked Jessica's character and the actress did a good job acting like a high school aged kid. I felt really bad for everything she was dealing with. She also didn't deserve a tape. Girls have falling outs all the time. If anything, Jessica's story reminded me how common sexual assaults are. I can't imagine having to deal with that, let alone deal with it as a 16 year old.

Justin- This is one of the characters that I really felt bad for because of his home life. Showing the up skirt picture to his friends was not cool. "Letting" his friend rape his girlfriend was even worse. I don't understand why Justin didn't get a bunch of people from the party to pound on the bedroom door and/or bust through. He just went downstairs and sat on the couch... But even though his character was flawed (I guess all of the characters were flawed) I still felt a lot of empathy for him.

Alex- I think Alex was my favorite character in the whole show! I did not see his suicide coming the first time around, but then of course when I re-watched the show, I saw the signs EVERYWHERE. I loved his hair and how he dressed. I hope he makes it and is featured in season two.

Courtney- I loved how Courtney dressed too! Even though she wasn't a nice person, I still enjoyed her character.

Ryan- He was an interesting character. I don't think what he did was THAT bad, especially since no one knew Hannah wrote that poem.

Zach- An example of someone who was just trying to be nice to Hannah and she was really shitty to him! He did NOT deserve a tape. Hannah, you suck so much.

Marcus- What a freaking douche and a predator! I hated Marcus.

Tyler- This boy has some problems. What's he going to do with all of those guns? I'm very interested in his story line for season two.

Sheri- This poor girl made a TERRIBLE decision. I hate what she did. I guess it's an example how teenagers don't think things through... I'm still not sure what she "did" to Hannah. Hannah wasn't driving, she wanted to call the cops, and she DID call the cops. She did everything she could do and it wasn't her fault. Sheri on the other hand... I am glad she admitted to her crime in the end. I hope her life isn't ruined forever for a stupid decision she made as a teenager.

Bryce- I can barely stand to look at the dude. Can I be frank? I wouldn't mind killing him with my bare hands. He is disgusting and a HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE person that needs to go to jail for a long time. He's one of the few people on the tapes that actually deserved a tape.

Mr. Porter- Okay, on Reddit I read about how Mr. Porter didn't do enough to stop Hannah and I also read about how he did all he could do in that short amount of time and that Hannah went in there dead set on him not helping her. (I mean, she recorded it for a reason.) I can see both sides. But I lean toward blaming both of them. No, Mr. Porter didn't say the exact right things but Hannah did not go in there with an open mind. I blame Hannah mostly, but I know I am biased because I find Hannah so horrible to begin with. The Hannah/Mr. Porter scene is the one that intrigues me the most.

A couple observations...

All of the high school "extras" looked way too old to be in high school.

I couldn't watch Hannah slit her wrists. I had to close my eyes and cover my ears. It was hard enough to hear her deep breathing. I didn't like it.

I cried twice in the show.... When Hannah's mom painting one of her fingernails blue and when Hannah's mom found her in the bathtub. Kate Walsh was AMAZING in this series.

So the biggest controversy about this show is that some say it glamorizes suicide and will cause more teenagers to kill themselves. I have read research about how when suicides are reported on, there is a spike in suicides! If this show truly does cause more people to kill themselves, then it is a very bad thing. But if it opens up dialogue about a tough issue, then I would say it is a good thing. I guess I sound wishy washy about the subject. But normally, I do think it is a good think to be open and honest with teenagers about tough issues. But if something causes more suicides, then it is not worth it, right? (I'm not saying this show has caused suicides, I don't know the data.)

What did you think of 13 Reasons Why?


  1. I have never seen this but I have heard people mention it so I know it must be popular. So are all these characters you mention kids who committed suicide? What are the tapes you mention?

    I do like Kate Walsh. She is a good actress.

    1. Only Hannah commits suicide, and she made 13 tapes. Each tape is for a certain person to tell them how they contributed to her taking her life. The "reasons" ranged anywhere from having an argument to straight up rape.

  2. I started to watch the show, and only got through about 5 minutes, but that was only because I had to go do something else.

    But you know I read the book. I don't think Hannah was awful, I think some of her choices were bad and it bothered me a lot that she kept blaming others for her suicide and saying that her death was their punishment.... which is, for me, the way that the book glamorized suicide. I don't have the words to express how much this bothered me.

    I think that all the male characters were awful, each on their own way. The rapist, the peeping guy, the one spreading rumors about her... Clay comes off too clean, but in my mind that is because the author of the book was a male.

    I don't have opinions on the other girls on the book/show. I don't actually remember them, because I was set on disliking the boys.

    This book was really hard for me, because I had just read a non-fiction book about a girl who committed suicide, What Made Maddy Run. And that book covered suicide and the pain that Maddy was in and the pain her family suffered after losing her. So, my emotions were still heavy and I couldn't form a more well rounded opinion on this book.

    1. It sounds like the What Made Maddy Run book was a much less glamorized account of suicide.

      Did Hannah really say her death was their punishment in the book? That is awful.

      I wish I had more empathy for Hannah. I feel like I should. I mean, she felt so terrible that she thought her only option was suicide.

  3. I am not planning to ever watch this series...I'm of the mind that it glamorizes suicide, and suicide is contagious. I've had students kill themselves. So, it's a no for me.

    But I wanted to comment on your last reflection. I think if parents sit down with their kids and watch this together, or even watch separately but then discuss it, it could do some good. I think discussing this kind of stuff is really important. The issue I have is that because it's streaming, kids will watch it alone on their own devices and most parents will never know they even saw it. So yes, being open and honest about abuse, rape, depression, suicide, revenge, peer pressure, etc, is so important, but the way our society is right now means that most young teens will watch this series alone and never discuss it with anyone except other young teens...and I don't think that's necessarily a good thing.

    1. I want to add, this idea of suicide for revenge messes with kids because they don't stop to realize that they don't get to BASK in everyone's misery. They'll be dead. The show (from what I've heard) makes it seem like Hannah gets some closure or gets something out of her plan, posthumously. That's a dangerous message to send to depressed kids who want people to suffer with them.

  4. I definitely agree with your point that possibly discussing it would be helpful. I'm coming at it from an adult who's not depressed standpoint and it doesn't make me want to commit suicide AT ALL but I realize suicides are contagious. I wonder if they are contagious in teens or adults as well? Or more contagious for teens or vice versa? It's just something I can't connect with. I feel empathy for those who are feeling suicidal but I can't relate those feelings to my own.

    I don't think the show displays Hannah getting closure or basking in everyone's pain posthumously, BUT she does sound REALLY FREAKING high horsey on the tapes. Just the tone of her voice is like, "yeah, you suck, this is your fault, and I'm so clever to make this tape to show you why". I can see teens getting of on that. Thanks for your thoughts, Ali! There is a season 2, and I will watch. But if it annoys me too much I will stop.

    1. Hey high horsey attitude is one of the reasons I can't freaking stand her.