In a society flooding with social media outlets such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, it has become increasingly more difficult for teenagers to maintain a healthy mental lifestyle. The new Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why, based on the best-selling YA novel from Jay Asher, calls to many of the issues caused by the hectic and emotional time that is commonly referred to as “our adolescence.”
While for entertainment purposes, the themes are magnified; the emotions portrayed through the characters are real and raw emotions many high schoolers deal with.
The show is definitely not for those who cannot handle serious topics, given the show’s main plotline is carried on the fact that a teenage student committed suicide. The show covers heavy themes such as the most obvious, suicide, but others such as rape, drunk driving and drug use.
The show follows a high school student, Clay Jensen, who viewers come to find out has struggled emotionally in the past. The story picks up a couple weeks after a victim of bullying, Hannah Baker, took her own life. Clay comes home one day and finds a package full of cassette tapes from his former friend Hannah, which she recorded before her death. The first tape explains that these tapes are meant to give insight into why she took her life.
The series goes on to show the contrast between her “truth” and beliefs of how things happened versus the way the people on the tapes remembered things to have happened.
13 Reasons Why takes the viewer on an emotional journey, due to how real the issues faced are. Many moments throughout the season were solely driven on the emotions it would draw from the viewers. 13 Reasons Why is far from the typical psychological thriller. Though it is a planned and fictional storyline, the viewer becomes so invested in these characters. As many tend to do while watching a TV series, viewers start to pick their “favorites” and characters that they want to succeed. However in this case, unfortunately the character many want to see succeed has been gone since the pilot episode. Instead of being a show that helps viewers escape from their reality, the show forces those who watch to reevaluate their reality and hone in on how the choices they make can affect others, which is a lesson many can and should learn.