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‘13 Reasons Why’s Success and Controversy

Looking into what made this show so popular

Yara Mohamed, staff writer

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The sound of the TV always lingering in the background. Just another show is on, with the same old plots and stories. It was interesting at first, but all the different shows slowly blended into one. Most of them have no purpose but to capture your attention with no real goal or message. But what happens when you use the TV to try to convey an important message?

Ever since Netflix released their show, 13 Reasons Why, it has taken everyone by storm. In less than a month, it became the most tweeted show of 2017 and millions of people streaming it. The show is an adaption of the Jay Asher’s 2007 novel. There are thirteen hour-long episodes, one for each reason. It follows Clay Jensen as he listens to seven tapes from his classmate, Hannah Baker, left behind after she committed suicide. The tapes have the thirteen reasons why she decided to commit suicide. The tapes are mailed off to each reason, with Clay being the eleventh.

This show has been stirring a lot of talk about suicide and how the producers dealt with the topic. There are both good and negative opinions on it. Some people are glad they’re talking about teen suicide and depression, period. A lot of people don’t know what it’s like to experience what Hannah is experiencing, so creating this show shines light on these topics. It also discusses other issues such as bullying and rape. It has good character development, although there are some high school stereotypes. Each character has a complex background which makes the show more realistic.

Some negative aspects of this show are many people are stating that it glorifies and romanticizes suicide. It shows that suicide is the only way for people to listen to the them, when that isn’t realistic.It might influence suicidal teens that this is the answer. There are even schools going to the extent of banning the show, because of its explicit content and message. This raises questions about a whole other issue of whether to allow freedom of speech even with more serious topics. The tapes and reasons blames and burdens those characters for the rest of their lives. And while they are to blame to some extent, some more than others, it isn’t seen as fair.

Although the show has received many negative responses, there has been even more positive feedback. Even though the book is stand-alone, they have decided to add a second season coming out in 2018. Even for that news, there has been mixed responses. Some people are against a second season, as there was only one book and Netflix executed it perfectly with the thirteen episodes. But others are excited to experience the other character’s journeys.

Do you think this show is more harmful or helpful?

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‘13 Reasons Why’s Success and Controversy