May 27, 2023

As I procrastinated all of my essays and assignments, I started to scroll through my Twitter feed and found it to be flooded with GIFs, photos and thoughts about Netflix’s recent series, “13 Reasons Why.”

I continued to procrastinate and watched all 13 episodes; this series made me quick to think instead of quick to rewatch. Just a heads up: There are spoilers in this piece.

Based on Jay Asher’s novel, “13 Reasons Why,” the episodes are revolved around solving why 17-year-old Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) killed herself. Answering the “why” question to her suicide entailed listening to 13 tapes she recorded and left for the 13 people on whom she blamed her death.

When I first started the series and was only a few episodes in, I was trying to figure out how I felt about it — mainly about how much blame the story puts on others for someone’s death. After finishing all of the episodes, I feel the need to applaud the cast and crew.

Yes, it is a dark show. It is intended to be that way, even though it has received some criticism. How can someone portray suicide and shy away from the horrific and intense moments that lead up to the act itself? This is not a show to “ship” the romantic relationship forming between Baker and Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) or Jessica (Alisha Boe) and Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn).

It is a show meant to make you think — to make you aware of the people around you and to make you consider the way you treat people, whether it be in small or large  ways.

“13 Reasons Why” is not a show to brag about binge-watching, it is a show worthy of discussion. From the graphic scenes of two rapes and Baker’s suicide to learning Alex Standall (Miles Heizer) might have shot himself and seeing Tyler Down (Devin Druid) evidently planning a shooting, the series does a shockingly effective job at making people feel a greater need to be aware of their surroundings.

I do not think this show should be watched to simply cross it off your list of Netflix shows. It needs to be watched to face the reality of our day.

The reality is that we live in a world where school shootings and suicides happen, where people are mistreated and unfairly judged and where rightful justice to those who hurt others is not always a given.

As much as I am a person who would rather focus on good instead of bad, it is time to acknowledge how broken the world is and be aware of the immediate ways we can better treat, better love and better help those around us.

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