Opinion: My Thoughts on Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’

By Logan Sowash

(Note: This article contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why)

After hearing thought after thought from my friends about Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why, I decided to throw my opinions into the ring because:

A) I really, REALLY enjoyed it (like “God, this is SO GOOD” enjoyed it).

B) It has A LOT of controversy revolving around it, and

C) I prefer talking about things I like rather than doing homework.

So here’s my kinda review of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why: WATCH IT. It’s damn good. Definitely a B+ or a 4 stars out of 5. It’s basically a better quality version of an MTV show with wonderful acting (especially from the two leads), great pacing, incredible character development, and such a raw approach to two controversial topics (sexual assault and suicide) that I applaud the people behind the show for taking such risks. That being said, I need to put an asterisk besides “WATCH IT” because it is a really hard show to watch at times, especially if you know someone who has committed suicide or been sexually assaulted. However, I also don’t feel like its depictions of those two subject matters should be criticized so heavily to the point where people think KIDS ARE GONNA COMMIT SUICIDE OR FOLLOW IN HANNAH’S FOOTSTEPS.

While kids are far from geniuses, they’re also not idiots. The show does a great job of making you understand Hannah’s decision but NOT glamorizing it. No one in the show says that Hannah should’ve killed herself or that suicide is “the only way out.” The show makes it perfectly clear that suicide is the worst possible option to dealing with such dark emotions. I’m really glad the show is able to convey that without demonizing the main character or some of the “offenders” on the tapes.

That being said though, the show does have some problems. For a show that likes to create these three-dimensional characters you empathize with but also dislike, there are about three characters in particular that are pretty unredeemable, almost to the point of being ridiculously evil. The show also leaves storylines and characters open for a second season which, in my opinion, shouldn’t happen because it doesn’t really feel like there’s enough substance there for more than one season. Speaking of story, there are two ideas expressed throughout the show that are barely touched on: the involvement of the parents in Hannah’s life and the blurred line between Hannah’s tapes and reality. There’s a point in the series where physical evidence shows that Hannah’s account of certain events might not have been what really happened. If handled correctly, this could’ve added another element to Hannah, her tapes, and Clay’s conflicting feelings about both. Instead, it’s barely touched on by the characters, making you question why such an interesting aspect is horribly squandered.

Overall, despite those problems, it’s a great show that pulls on your heart strings every step of the way and really sticks with you afterwards. If you’re a parent who is worried about your kids watching this, let me help you out: if they’re younger than 13, tell them they can’t watch it. It is TV-MA after all. However, if your kids are older than that and interested in the series, watch it with them. It’ll be awkward at times but your kids will appreciate the support as they go on this emotional roller coaster. Hell, they might even have some insight for you! I honestly want to watch this with my family because I’d be curious to see their thoughts on the issue (to clarify: my mother is a elementary school teacher, my father is basically a shrink, and all of my siblings are in high school/13 or older).

13 Reasons Why is the type of show that needs to be praised rather than criticized. Despite its sad subject matter, it doesn’t shy away from how bad life can be for some people. It’s disappointing to see so many people bash the series because, in my opinion, the most important thing it promotes is life and how easily it can be taken for granted. Don’t take it for granted, readers. Watch 13 Reasons Why and start a conversation.