’13 Reasons Why’ is still awful

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"13 Reasons Why" makes its season three premiere after two previous controversial seasons. Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images.

Danielle Kessler

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Content warning: This article contains spoilers from “13 Reasons Why” Seasons one-three and contains sensitive material.

Since its release in 2017, Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” has caused significant controversy because of its development, characters and the subject matter itself. Since season three’s release in late August, the show’s overall progress, or lack thereof, has been questioned.

The first season, based on the novel by Jay Asher, focused on a series of tapes created by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) a high school student at Liberty High School.

Controversy with the first season stemmed from the idea that the show was romanticizing suicide. The crafting of multiple “post-suicide” tapes by the main character sparked these conversations.

The scene contained an explicitly graphic depiction of Hannah taking her own life and had many people concerned with the sensitivity of that portrayal.

The basis of season two covered the trial between Hannah’s parents and Liberty High School. The season takes place in several places and time periods. One of these places starts with Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) having visual hallucinations of his late friend, Hannah Baker.

Season two also has countless graphic depictions of sexual assault and rape. These include multiple scenes of Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) and other characters in the show participating in acts of assault.

With such sensitive subject matter and the intensity of season two, it was almost impossible to think that “13 Reasons Why” could get any worse; but it did.

Season three of “13 Reasons Why” is where the show truly lost its direction. Something that sticks out instantly is the addition of new character, narrator and love interest: Ani Achola. Something that most people questioned about the new season was probably: “Who is this girl?”

Nevertheless, the themes in season three are more concerning than the unnecessary additional characters. Something that season one did with romanticizing mental illness, season three did with humanizing sexual abusers.

Bryce Walker, as aforementioned, was the paradigm of someone with no concept of consent, However, since this season focuses on his untimely death, the show takes a different angle on his character, showing flashbacks of his life and “proving” that he’s trying to better himself.

The newest season of “13 Reasons Why” takes this new angle with other characters that have been portrayed as dangerous, including another abuser, Monte De La Cruz.

With the consistent controversy of Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” throughout the past three years, it is clear that this series is not good for covering social issues. With the show’s graphic and romanticized portrayal of suicide and sexual assault, and the hypocrisy of the newest season’s “forgiving” tone, it has become well-known that the show won’t become a model of social justice anytime soon.

Danielle Kessler can be reached at [email protected] or @reserv0irpups on Twitter.

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