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13 Reasons Why You SHOULDN'T Watch This Series

movies and-tv

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13 Reasons Why You SHOULDN'T Watch This Series

Or maybe why you should...

Dana Gaier

4.11.17

On March 31, Netflix released 13 Reasons Why--one of its most truthful and riveting stories yet. Before ending her life, high school student Hannah Baker recorded 13 tapes listing the reasons why she decided life was no longer worth living. Though painful and heartbreaking, her story needed to be told.

For your own safety, I'm listing 13 honest facts about this show and how it will make you feel. Beware that there are minor spoilers ahead.

1. You’ll cry.
Even if you think you’re not one of those people who gets emotional from TV, I'm sorry to say that it is physically impossible not to shed a tear.

2. Shit gets real.
This show does a great job of talking about topics that people like to ignore, such as rape and suicide. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center tells us that rape is the most under-reported crime and more than 1 in 5 women will be raped during their lives. Similarly, the show brings attention to the issue of suicide, which is often recognized only in times where it seems prevalent. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says that each year 44,193 people end their own life. 44,193. You would think a number like that deserves awareness, but we still tend to turn the other cheek. It forces you to think about issues that make you feel unsettled and that often go unnoticed or are unreported.

3. You’ll identify a little too closely with one of the characters.
One incredible aspect of the story is how real each person seems. They all have flaws and imperfections and just like in real life, every single one of them is dealing with their own circumstances and struggles. It is easy to relate to these characters, so, consequently, it's hard to hate them- despite knowing that they all in some way may have contributed to Hannah’s suicide.

4. You’ll feel frustrated.
You’ll feel frustrated about everything— the bullying, the dumb dynamics of high school, and, of course, the relationship between Clay and Hannah that you want so badly to be real (but you know never can be). As Hannah tells her story through her tapes, you grow to love her character. She’s 100% relatable. And the most frustrating fact of all is that throughout the series, you know she is dead. She’s so likeable and authentic, so why did everyone feel the need to treat her like shit?

5. You’ll want to search for answers.
The hardest part of this story is that it’s confusing for a lot of people. How can things get so bad for someone that they choose to end their life? And how are so many people involved? As you watch the show, you’ll be constantly contemplating Hannah’s choices and her thought process. You'll also analyze everyone on the tapes and try to figure out their role in everything, knowing until just before the end that there's still something you're not being told.

6. You’ll feel uncomfortable.
Remember how I mentioned that the show deals with suicide and rape? It’s uncomfortable! Rarely do series ever show the harsh reality onscreen before their audiences’ eyes. It’s amazing how uncomfortable it makes you feel when you’re forced to watch it—yet people refuse to deal with the fact that it actually happens. We should channel this discomfort in a positive direction toward change and help for people who need it.

"The hardest part was watching the scenes of rape and suicide. On shows, those events are usually under-dramatized. It was something I wasn't used to. It was uncomfortable." (Natalia, UCLA sophomore).

7. You’ll spend hours binge-watching it because you can’t help it.
I watched it in 3 days. This show is captivating and commands all of your attention. Blocking out time for it is definitely worth it, but you’ll find that you’ll be unproductive in every other area of your life. The faster you watch it, the better it is.

8. You’ll feel pain and see pain, yet you can’t look away.
Like I said, the discomfort is real, but no matter how hard you try it will be impossible to look away or stop watching. Part of what makes 13 Reasons Why so interesting is that is extremely honest, and no matter how hard it is to face that honesty, you simply cannot tear yourself from that screen.

9. You’ll feel guilty.
This is a big one. I always say that a good show makes me feel unsettled or uneasy from the truth it tells. Though you’ve done nothing wrong, it will be impossible for you to sit through this show without feeling some sense of guilt or shame. Be it through a similar interaction you’ve had with people you know or just a strong sense of empathy, you will wonder why you suddenly feel like you’ve done something wrong. It’s because we haven’t done enough.

"It was hard knowing that after it’s done, there’s nothing you can say to make it better." (Anonymous UCLA student).
10. It’s so important, that it will take over your thoughts.
It’s kind of scary how much this show will consume you. It gives you a lot to contemplate. You may find yourself unable to think of anything else. Just a warning. It is difficult to unsee the graphic material in this series once you have seen it, but I urge you to let those thoughts guide you to put a stop to problems that the show depicts.

11. You’ll actually reflect on yourself as you watch.
13 Reasons Why makes you turn inward and analyze the way you’ve treated people in the past. Though scary, this show effectively makes you think about the way that your words can affect others. Be prepared to judge yourself and your actions.

12. You’ll learn that it’s possible to feel every single feeling in the world at once.
This could not be more accurate. You’ll experience sadness, happiness, guilt, pity, anger and more all in one scene. The dynamics of the show are so complex that at times you’ll even find yourself wondering which feeling you’re experiencing.

13. It leaves you wanting more.
Even though the show gives you some closure with the end of the tapes, it leaves you with a lot of questions. Who doesn’t love a good cliffhanger? BRING ON SEASON 2.

I know what you're wondering...WHY DOES ANY OF THIS MATTER? I'll tell you.

It is so important to recognize the effects of our actions on others. It is too easy to stand by and watch people get bullied or become victims of something even worse. Just because the truth is inconvenient and often unsettling, does not mean that it should stay hidden.

" [It's about] Realizing that just being a kind and decent human being could be the difference between life and death for someone." (Anonymous UCLA student).

It is our job to make sure that nobody feels alone. I encourage you to watch the show and see that although as individuals, while we are only one in seven billion, a little smile goes a long way.