The new Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” follows the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s suicide, the tapes she made before her death and how they are passed around by her classmates. These tapes detail the 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself which fall into the hands of Clay Jensen, an old coworker and crush.
Bad acting aside, I have a couple problems with this series, a few of which stem from the book series.
It is very difficult to like Hannah. While she should be the girl the audience identifies with the most, this is difficult when she is abrasive. In the book, I found her difficult to like and this show does not encourage empathy toward the characters at all.
Additionally, the lifestyle these students lead feels more indicative of college students than of those in high school – and fairly rich ones at that.
The series does a fairly poor job of filling space in its wildly long run time. The show runners try to flesh out the story further than the book was able to, but they missed the mark.
The series mishandled its subject matter: Teen suicide. While it’s a good dialogue to open with children and young adults as bullying often runs unchecked over social media platforms, I did not feel like show did a good job handling the subject.
There are other shows, movies, and books that deal with the topic of suicide with much more artfulness and tact.
3 out of 5 stars
Anna Porretta can be reached at artseditor!theorion.com or @theorion_arts on Twitter.