Maybe not as much as 13, but the reasons why it is worth watching the series – suicide, sex, drugs and old-fashioned cassette tapes
Clay (Dylan Minnette), a quiet nerd with a penetrating gaze, has to unravel the mystery and then avenge the mysterious death of Hannah.
Thanks to a professional setting, dramas from high school comfortably gain their place in the television canon. It’s been 20 years since Buffy and her conceit have settled in the hearts of a teenager. Since then, high school experiences have not changed so much.
A grim mixture of misdemeanors, which many experience while in high school, in this story happen to one girl.
13 reasons why is based on the novel by Jay Asher with the same title, and the main premise is grim: 17-year-old girl, Hannah Baker, killed herself. It leaves 13 pages of cassette tapes on which she talks about the harm done to her peers and, as a consequence, led to her suicide. Each page concerns the actions of one of her friends; they should listen and then pass the tapes to the next person to find out what they did and never to repeat it again. Hannah is a martyr of teenagers. We see her tragedy taking place on two timelines, with flashbacks of how it all happened, and a contemporary story in which Clay tries to solve the puzzle and then avenge her friend.
Instead of listening to recordings at once, Clay devotes time to them, confronting those whose secrets have been revealed. This works in favor of the 13-episode structure, but it drags it for the viewer, partly because it becomes repetitive. There is a bleak mixture of offenses, from abuse, stalking, rape and a deadly car accident, all against the background of sex, alcohol, drugs and the voice of a suicide in the background.
The goal of the series is undoubtedly ambitious and effectively moves the viewer, forcing reflection. Clay, a sensitive boy who must relive Hanna’s loss, fight with himself, not to listen to the tapes, not to feel pain and emptiness, and later his fierce fight with those who did it. His courage and persistence give food for thought. The Clay story versus the liberty tormentor is one of the more complex stories. The portrait of sadness that Kate Walsh invokes as Hanna’s mother is destructive and sometimes difficult to see. Although it does not necessarily make viewing pleasure, it shows that for many teenagers, high school is a real nightmare.
For 13 reasons, it is particularly bold to present the behavior of young men, both towards girls and against each other. The high school is divided into groups, and their unwritten hierarchy at the top puts sportsmen who shake the whole school. Even the teachers turn a blind eye to the antics of the school stars, because the sportsmen revive her reputation and guarantee prestige and money. It takes just a few critics to let Bryce Walker, the main antagonist, feel unpunished.
It is unfortunate that the series, so concerned about the disastrous effects of misogyny, is not able to avoid their own traps. The decision to graphically present the rape was of course made with the intention of forcing us to witness his brutality. Similarly, the story that suggests that the sweet boy’s love could have arranged it all has added an unpleasant feeling that is more about boys than girls, even though the girl’s ruined life is in the center.
The scene of Hanna’s suicide is also shown with great care. The deed itself echoed because it was accused by Netflix that instead of counteracting it, it could be a fuze for subsequent suicide attempts. One of the adult characters says that there is no way to find out why Hannah did what she did and point out here for her, because many situations could have been avoided, and in places Hanna herself asked for trouble.
Ultimately, the cumulative horror of all the horrible scenarios that happen to one girl seems exaggerated, especially when the series is viewed as a sequence episode. For 13 reasons, it would be more effective to look at one episode one-weekly and look forward to waiting seven days for another episode. This would give time to think about and digest what each episode represents. Unfortunately (or stets) Netflix releases all episodes of the season at once and it is impossible to resist watching one more and the next one to finish the season in the final.
In contrast to Stranger Things, 13 reasons may be limited to the age group of people it presents. I would be surprised if it hit adults in a way that is clearly expected in teenagers.
Seeing characters of a similar age, we automatically personify them, and having similar experiences behind them, the bond is even stronger, which makes the teenagers watching the show get the wrong conclusions about the heroine’s actions.