One of the latest shows I’ve watched on Netflix is 13 Reasons Why. I want to say binge-watched, but that would be true ONLY if binge-watching meant force yourself to watch each and every episode even though they got increasingly more annoying up until the 8th one and you don’t want to leave a show unfinished when you know there are only 13 episodes.
I had high hopes for this show, mostly because of the idea of learning about one’s decision in this way. It should have been good, it should have been thrilling. But it fell short. I haven’t read the books/novel it’s based on, so my review is going to be based strictly on the show. I am not going to torment you by giving you 13 reasons, so we’ll stop at 10 reasons why this show fell short. Needless to say, spoilers ahead.
1. Each episode drags on for too long
I get the feeling that the producers of this show, in their quest for creating something special, overdid it in the sense that each episode does drag along for FAR TOO MUCH TIME! Seriously, you could cut at least 10 minutes from each episode and still end up with the same amount of story points told.
2. Clay’s crusade
Yeah, I get that Hannah was his crush, but Clay going on this stupid little crusade of his is him doing EXACTLY what other people did to Hannah. Harrasing and bullying others is exactly what leads to people killing themselves, but hey, revenge is sweet, right?
3. Clay being a plot device on the tapes
You get this build up that Clay is on the tapes for something. At first I was like hey, maybe this is all an act and Clay actually did something far worse than anyone else. But no…he is literally there to advance the plot (if I remember correctly, him leaving was shortly followed by Justin and his girlfriend Jessica entering the room which resulted in Hannah seeing Jessica get raped and subsequently doing NOTHING about it). His purpose on the tapes is nothing more than to see once more that Hannah is incapable of holding on to anyone who shows even the slightest bit of sympathy for her.
4. It should be 3.5 reasons why
Let’s get this out of the way before you think I am insensitive. Bryce is a sh*thead who seriously needs to pay for what he has done to 2 girls (that we know of, might be even more off-screen). But other than him, Courtney, Justin for the picture from the park (which was then distributed by Bryce AGAIN) and Marcus, no one has actually done anything that bad to her. I mean I don’t even remember what Jessica and Alex did, Clay was a plot device, Zach actually tried being nice to her but got sh*t on for doing so and was on the tapes for stealing her compliment tickets or whatever. Funnily enough, she said Zach threw the letter she left for him, but we later find out he didn’t… Ryan published her poem, but is was anonymous so NO ONE KNEW SHE WROTE IT! And the one that pissed me off the hardest, she included Kevin Porter, the school counselor, for not following her out of his office when she left…even though the guy insisted on talking about how Hannah was feeling and even refused to answer his phone for about 4 or 5 times because HE WANTED TO HELP HER!
So yeah, apart from Bryce, Justin (which seriously only counts as half, I find it far worse that he kept lying to Jessica about what happened at that party, which somehow Hannah transformed into something about her), Marcus and Courtney, I don’t really see others as bad. Sure, Tyler caught Hannah and Courtney kissing and then the whole school found out, but both Hannah and Courtney KNEW HE WAS THERE! Ok, I’ve had enough of this…NEXT!
5. The school trial
This one’s even more stupid. Hannah’s parents are actually suing the school for the concious decision their daughter did of taking her own life…now as I’ve said, I’m not American, so I have no idea how society works there. I just find it a bit confusing to blame the school and the children there, who are already traumatised enough by Hannah killing herself, for anything, aside from the 4 people mentioned in the previous reason.
6. Hannah is a far worse person than half the people on the tapes
Zach is friendly to me? Better tell him to f**k off then. Clay is friendly to me? Better tell him to f**k off then, hoping he doesn’t listen to my several times telling him to f**k off and comes back to comfort me. Mr. Porter wants to help me and all I have to do is tell him Bryce is a rapist? Better not tell him, walk out of his office, hope he comes after me (even though he insisted on telling him a name which I didn’t give him when he also refused to answer his phone several times because he was interested in what I have to say unlike other people), realise he doesn’t come because people actually have better things to do than to read my mind, end it all. Tell me why I should care about this girl again, aside from wanting to strangle Bryce?
7. The adults on the show are beyond oblivious
Clay’s parents are annoying, Hannah’s parents argue all of the time without realising it affects their daughter and so on. It seems like most of the adults are oblivious to the fact that every action has a reaction.
8. Everyone sticking up for Bryce
Yeah, what is up with that? If there is one thing that makes each and everyone of the people on who listened to Bryce’s tape guilty except for Clay who actually did something and Jessica who was too drunk to remember is sticking up for this guy. THIS is what makes Justin guilty of all things, not the picture from the park.
9. It kinda glorifies suicide
If you think about it, it kinda does, in a sense. I mean it tells you that when all hope is lost, the only way out of it is not seeking help, but ending your life…which is a pretty bad message to convey.
10. Little to no sympathy for one of the most annoying protagonists ever created
Aside from the events mentioned in #4 above, I have no sympathy for Hannah. She is self-centered, wants everything to be about her, lives in this utopia where if things don’t go your way it’s the end of the world, forces away anyone who even remotely cares about her and she keeps thinking people around her are J’Onn J’Onzz and have the ability to read minds. And even after she kills herself she still wants things to be about herself, hence the tapes.
So yeah, that’s my take on this show. I wouldn’t call it the worse series I’ve ever watched, as there are some good aspects about it, though they are overshadowed by the bad ones. Teenage years are hard, I get that, I was once a teenager too. But it’s how you react to these adversities that makes you who you are. Hannah should have turned in Bryce the first time, even more so the second time. And she should have talked to her parents, Clay or Mr. Porter, who were willing to listen and who would have more than happily helped her overcome these bad times, as much as it would have been possible given the circumstances.