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New netflix show 13 Reasons Why provokes controversy

Payton Field, Assistant Managing Editor of Marketing

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In the weeks since its release, the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why has touched the hearts of many, sparking controversial conversations and teaching important life lessons that have been impactful to many. The show itself sparks thoughts of sadness, guilt, grief, regret, shame, and anxiety, among other things. It depicts the harsh reality of a high school teen taking her own life, while her classmates discover what she has left behind after passing.

All throughout the show, I felt a pit of uneasiness in my stomach. Why must the producers have created each of the main scenes to be so visual and gruesome? Why were they filled with gross and uncensored situations that made me cringe? And it wasn’t until I completely finished the show that I finally understood what it was really trying to bring across to audiences.

The show starts off slowly, implying that the main character, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), is being driven to take her own life, due to the effects of high school bullying. It starts with an inconsiderate jock spreading false rumors about Hannah. It quickly escalates to her losing her friends, public humiliation, a student stalking her and taking inappropriate pictures. By the end of the series, the show takes a dark turn. After she passes, Hannah leaves a set of thirteen tapes behind for her classmates to listen to. Each tape is for a different person and represents one of the causes of her death. Once each person finishes the tape, it is passed on to the next. While the series begins with innocent name-calling and petty spats, it soon turns into a darker tale, which ultimately leads to her death.

After finishing the series, it is clear to see that the intention of both the author and the producer was to help struggling kids and show the disastrous effects of suicidal situations. One of the main messages that the show tries to display is that suicide is never the right option. It doesn’t take away the pain; but instead, hands it off to someone else. Life should not get to the point where taking one’s life is the only way to cope.

Not only that, but the show displays another important message about bullying. As cheesy as it sounds, this show attempts to try and prove the golden rule: treat others the way you would like to be treated. If Hannah was not bullied or harassed, her life would not have ended like it did.

Despite some raving reviews, 13 Reasons Why also has other thoughts that don’t reflect nicely on the show’s high ratings. By turning Hannah’s devastating suicide into an engrossing mystery about revenge, I can see why some teens may take this the wrong way. On other accounts, people have argued that the show depicts suicide as a form of revenge against those who have wronged you. And for other teens who struggle with depression and some of the same things as Hannah, the entire show revolves around why Hannah thought that taking her life was the only way to cope; when in reality, it is not.

On a lighter note, 13 Reasons Why has captured the world by storm. All around school, the show has sparked conversation and many are obsessed. Its captivating plot line and engrossing characters are only a few of the many things that have left students utterly and completely in awe. Despite its severe and harsh main idea, the show is actually very good, and I would highly recommend it. The lesson is important to learn and is arguably one of the best shows that Netflix has offered.

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New netflix show 13 Reasons Why provokes controversy