Isn’t it absurd and hilarious how a tv-show can wreak havoc on the teen-age world of the twenty-first century? Ok, no. Wait a second. I know even the Huffington Post talked about it several times and I wanted to publish this post sooner, but when life gets in the way, there is nothing you can do about it. Indeed. Life has nothing to do with tv-shows or movies. Young teens or young adults, who commit suicide, do not decide to end their lives “just because Hannah did so”. The tv-show is based on a book by Jay Asher anyway, how come nobody killed themselves when the book got published? Oh wait, are we saying that teenagers do no read anymore? Hmm. Watching a movie is definitely faster and more up-to-date considering the way our brain and our attention span got shaped with time and technology, but still, do we really want to believe that young people are stupid enough, in 2017, to actually end their lives because of a movie? To put a period and the end of their story just to emulate a character? I honestly doubt it.
Thirteen Reasons Why may or may not have “something to do” with recent suicides of teenagers, because what lies beneath and what has not been taken into consideration enough, is the so-called depression. I do not even like to call it that way, because most of the times, diagnosed as a mental condition, seen a disease that can be cured, it gets underestimated, passed unnoticed, and people die in their depressed state, without showing any sign of being ill.
Let’s see. Have you ever had the feeling of each and every bone of your body aching because of all those days spent laying in bed, doing nothing? Have you ever forgotten the sound of your voice because you haven’t spoken in weeks? You might have even communicated with your acquaintances, sent them text messages, but you have not actually talked out loud to anyone? Have you ever heard someone say “you are so strong and brave, I wish I were like you” while you were broken in pieces inside, holding them back together with a sort of spiritual duct tape that only God knows how you did it? Have you ever wished you were dead because being alive in this world does not sound that appealing to you anymore, for whatever reason? And now, have you ever wondered, for once in your life, how would it be to be dead? If we turned into energy back to the cosmic state, or if we would simple be eaten by worms while lying six feet under ground? Have you ever thought about suicide? Never? Well, I guess many from either my generation, the previous and the following one would say yes to at least one of these questions, and as far as I’m concerned, depression is not “only” a disease, it is a “way of being”, it is part of your personality, it is rooted in yourself. Boom. Dropped the bomb. Yes. I know, someone got healed. Psychiatrists and co. can help… if you ever started therapy. But then explain to me why the majority of today’s human beings are depressed, suicidal at times, and in general not feeling happy. Content. Satisfied. Glad to be alive. And nobody knows this about them. Go ahead.
This said, is it really a tv-show’s fault if teens kill themselves? Do movies suggest you for real how to use a knife, or a gun, or pills? I mean, I’ve seen plenty of movies where people were killing or getting killed, and this did not make me a killer. Or a cheater. Or a princess. Or, a suicide. Yet, we want to read that this or that caused somebody else’s decision of liberating themselves from the burden of the mortal condition. Fine, believe what you want, but here’s my review.
Thirteen Reasons Why
Genre: they want to call it “teen drama”
Based on: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Starring: Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke, Kate Walsh
Watched on: Netflix
Season One, Thirteen Episodes binge watched in: less than 15 hours
Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) is one of the main characters of the story. He finds a box with seven double-sided tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his classmate who committed suicide two weeks prior to this moment. On tape, Hannah talks to specific people in her life, building up a sort of audio journal, or confessional, more like audio letters if we want to say so, explaining the reasons why this person is on tape and why he or she is part of the reasons why she killed herself. Each person who receives the package plays a role in the “game” of these thirteen reasons, thirteen people who are “guilty” in their own way. Twelve recordings are dedicated to her classmates, lovers, abusers, rapers, all of them around her age, but one, the thirteenth is eventually for an adult. Here, is where my attention focused, at the end of a binge watch session that lasted a whole night (it actually started right after lunch time and ended the morning after). This tv-show is not meant to be educational, is not meant to be seen by kids who need to understand what bullying is, what respect is…, to my humble opinion, it should be an eye-opener for adults. The exact same adults you turn to when you’re in danger, when you tell them that something is not right, but you do not know how to express your feelings. And they do not believe you. They minimize the gravity and they release you in a world that is, still, treating you wrong. Exception made for her parents. Olivia, Hannah’s mother, played by the amazing Kate Walsh, is the one who finds her daughter dead. Both parents never realized she was suffering. Most of the times, parents can’t see, and I believe this is what the whole tv-show wants you to ponder on. All the drama, the request for attention, the teen-age useless fights, are secondary. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry tried to teach us, through his Little Prince’s story “what is essential, is invisible to the eye”; nevertheless a lot of us are still terribly blind.