Way back before the reality tv craze, there was real television. Before the Jersey Shore, before the Kardashians, and before the Teen Mom tv for young adults was much different. In the 90s, shows like My So-Called Life existed to show the everyday struggles of teenage life. Boy Meets World was not only funny but pushed life lessons. Even as goofy as it was, even Family Matters dealt with bullying and racism from time to time. Fast-forward 25+ years and Netflix brought us back to that era with 13 Reasons Why.
Thirteen Reasons Why based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers a group of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) -his classmate and crush who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, Thirteen Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect viewers.
From the featured section on Netflix to the wave of popularity on social media, then word of mouth of people who flocked to the book I had to give this show a try. Maybe the show isn’t geared to my age demographic but it certainly stands out none the less. The show doesn’t speak to just teen angst like a typical show for young adults.
13 Reasons Why draws you in, exploring just how violent and destructive we can be towards each other. It explores just how much our words or actions can break down another human being. The hardest pill to swallow is such a young cast. Fortunately, that speaks to the quality of actors attached to the show. Viewers explore the fragile psyche of young adults learning where they want to be in the world. If the show focused on any other age it may not be as powerful.
Netflix might not have brought the excitement of a Marvel original show. However, 13 Reasons Why might be the most important show you watch as you reflect on how you’ve treated people in life. The good, the bad, and everything in between it speaks to our relationships both close and distant. You may struggle to get through it, but hopefully, you’ll be glad you did. Rated 4/5.