The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

13 Reasons Why, did it go too far?


I downloaded this a few weeks ago and when I saw a tweet from someone advising caution against watching it I thought ‘that’s a bit strong and somewhat dramatic’.  To me this was a wonderfully acted, totally gripping drama, but I was only on episode 5.

What did I know.

Okay that’s not fair, it is wonderfully acted and gripping.  However I will admit after I had seen episodes 9 and 12 and 13 I not only understood why the writer sent this tweet, I did the same.

If you’re not 137 or living under a rock you’ve heard of 13 Reasons Why. I’ll not go into the story of Hannah Baker; you can find it here because the issues around the series are, to me, more worthy of report. I think what might have happened is the grown-ups have forgotten what it’s like to be 16 and the all-encompassing belief that what you’re feeling will never disperse that comes with it.

There are two particularly graphic rape scenes that anyone who isn’t a complete psychopath will have difficulty watching.  But these aren’t the only truly disturbing images we get, there's also the suicide… in full. The whole sorry incident. 

Nic Sheff, who adapted the novel written by Jay Asher, has argued that he wanted to ‘depict the suicide with as much detail and accuracy as possible’.  He also advised ‘it seems to me that the most irresponsible thing we could’ve done would have been not to show the death at all,’

Erm Bollocks!

If he was showing it in ‘all its accuracy’ we wouldn’t have been given that ‘peaceful glide into abyss’ style. You would have seen her throw up, as sometimes happens during an attempt to commit suicide.  But this scene neither messy nor drawn out means I fully believe the accusations of glamorising suicide are not exaggerated. 

The fact that the perfect skinned Hannah is seen wandering the halls - albeit through Clay's eyes - in each episode seems suggest she got the last laugh. That the people who were hurting her get their comeuppance because of her actions… Again Not. Accurate.  Suicide doesn’t fix anything, I think you’ll find as Veronica Sawyer says, all it does is make you a statistic.


All that happens after suicide is pain, confusion and more pain, not in the people that may or may not have caused it but in the friends and family of the person that died.  There is no justice in suicide, no sweet revenge.  There is just a big, fat, crappy mess and mental health issues for everyone involved.

Which brings me to another issue, why were there warnings of the graphic scenes but no mention of helplines or crisis centers for those that had been triggered by what they have just witnessed? How irresponsible is that?

13 Reasons Why is not the cause of teen suicide and it shouldn't be made the scapegoat of a messed up society.  Maybe it will get people talking and be more open about mental health. It’s a risk though and to those teetering on the edge of hurting themselves it may come across as giving permission to actually do it.

Only time will tell.

Have you seen 13 Reasons Why?

What did you think? 

Rape Crisis
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6 comments

Gemma said...

I did struggle to watch the suicide scene and I don't know whether we really needed to see it. I have to admit there were a few times I thought Hannah was overly dramatic even when I thought back to when I was 16 but I guess that comes down to some being more sensitive than others. I wish the ending had tied up a few more loose ends too.

Anonymous said...

I say hats off to everyone involved in 13 reasons, if anything it's raising awareness and getting people talking, which in my mind is fantastic. Unfortunately people are an unpredictable breed, mostly, and I'm sure everyone takes from it what they do in many different angles. Some may think it's glamourising suicide and others may take from it the devastation that was left behind. Or maybe be more aware of the lack of empathy our society has and that the old fashioned, kindness costs you nothing and can really impact someone's day, life, hopefully could be fashionable again. Who knows? And who am I but another opinion. Some things were definitely hard to watch, or watched through fingers, but I think that's the whole idea, to stir up the feelings that should be stirred up, to help us understand some of the reasons why. That's how I saw it in anyway.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

Well apparently season 2 could be in the works!

Alice Toby-Brant said...

We can only hope you're right. Thanks for stopping by.

Charlotte Steggz said...

I completely agree - it did dramatise suicide and as someone who has lost someone to suicide, I think it's quite irresponsible to make it seem that that was the answer to her problems.
I couldn't watch the suicide scene. I don't want to have those images etched in my brain.

On the flip side, I know a lot of adults (I work in education and a lot of teachers have watched it) and I think it's a key piece to let them see how it feels to be a young person today.

Alice Toby-Brant said...

I agree with both your points Charlotte. Its really important for adults to be reminded how intense things are for teenagers today but I would also not recommend anyone watch the suicide scene, esp. if it had touched their lives in a very real way. I really hope that something good does come from it though as there is potential for it to be extremely informative.

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