UNLESS you have been living under a rock for the past two weeks, you have probably heard about the Netflix series ’13 Reasons Why’, which is becoming more identifiable as a cultural phenomenon than anything else.
I, like many people, originally heard about it through the medium of Selena Gomez’s instagram (who executive-produced the series after buying the rights to the novel several years ago), but don’t let the association of a popstar diminish the very real value of this show.
Although the story is told through the dual-narrative of Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen, it can quickly be transformed into a general narrative of the life of many teenagers around the globe.
There is not one teenager out there who can’t relate to at least one issue dealt with in this show.
That seems like a pretty bold statement considering the show centres on the suicide of a 17 year old girl. Sadly some people can directly identify with the shows main plotline, but those who have been thankfully sheltered from such horrors, can identify with the entire mentality of the show.
More than anything, just being able to come to terms with the fact that yes the things you say/do to people can actually have a profound impact on their life.
You think that we would all know this already – but clearly not as this world (particularly the social media side of it) is riddled with insults, threats and snickers. All of which can prove to be very successful in crippling a person’s confidence, self-esteem and spirit.
I started writing (and I created my blog Teen Times) with the hope of informing everyone on the mundanities of the teenage existence in today’s modern era.
’13 Reasons Why’ does a pretty good job at capturing some of the teenage psyche – the extreme side of the spectrum of course, but it’s an American TV show designed to shock you, what do you expect?
This show also possesses the ability to divide the audiences into those who think that Hannah died by suicide, and left behind the 13 tapes, as an act of petty revenge (which greatly shapes the lives of those on the tapes); or those who believe that she needed to tell her story after enduring a truly horrific teenage existence. The show itself decides to depict it in a certain way, but truly it is up to you to decide.
Although slightly softened by the occasional ‘teen cliché’, this is truly a harrowing, and at times borderline horrific, show. It’s something that everyone of every age group needs to watch but you must do so at your own peril.
You may not like what it chooses to shine a light on. You may not like what dark corners it exposes in your mind. You just may not like it – and that’s completely fine.
But it’s a cultural phenomenon in its own right and is a goddamn more meaningful one than the Mannequin Challenge.
If it does nothing else, this show hammers home the fact that the life of a teenager is hard – not just hard, but impossible. It is completely and utterly impossible and although Hannah outlines her reasons through the retro medium of cassette tapes, there will never ever be a good enough reason to take your own life.
13 Reasons Why is available on Netflix to watch now.