13 controversies from ’13 Reasons Why’
By Harmony Milligan
TW: Depictions and discussions of death, suicide and rape.
Critically acclaimed by many, including Forbes Magazine, who named it “Netflix’s best new show in years”, the popularity collected by the television show adaptation of 13 Reasons Why is immensely impressive.
The hype may be due to of the creators of the show using the work from Jay Asher, the author of the book, or Selena Gomez making her mark as an executive producer. Perhaps it may be due to the fact that this is Netflix’s attempt at an a show with parallels seen in Degrassi and Skins. Either way, there is no denying the craze.
Since the finale of the first (and perhaps, only) season of the show, there has been an array of theories and inquires focusing on the characters and what may lie ahead for them and the show entirely.
Consider this as a platform for these discussions and a way to get your brain thinking.
To those who have not watched the show, this is not a spoiler-free article. This is will be the only warning.
1. Season 2: Yay or Nay?
As with any first season of a brand new show, the first question on every watcher’s mind is, will there (or should there) be a second season? Is there more to tell?
“No, it defeats the purpose of the ending the book. It loses attachment to the original piece,” senior Jaimie Rivera said. Rivera is incredibly familiar with the story since she, like many others, read the book and watched the show.
“I’d really like to see a second season,” sophomore Paige Christiensen said. “There’s so much left to be told.”
2. Are Actors Brandon Flynn and Miles Heizer Together?
Within the next week of the show’s release, word spread around that Brandon Flynn (Justin Foley) and Miles Heizer (Alex Standall) were in a relationship after pictures of them kissing each other on the cheek were circulating on all different social media platforms.
“If they are actually together, that’d be so cute and I’d be in full support of them,” Christiensen said. “It’s good representation for those that watch the show.”
“So, two guys can’t kiss each other on the cheek without them being together?” sophomore Lucas Laguer said.
Unfortunately, a rep told Page Six that this is a false report, Flynn and Heizer are only friends. But fans can still revel in the magic that is their friendship, right?
3. Are the Explicit Scenes Justified?
Possibly one of the most discussed topics, the graphic scenes pictured in the show were simply too brutal for many people. Others argue that it gave visuals to the story, which was essential for the show.
“I didn’t see the point in making the scene considering they changed the story for shock value,” senior Megan Crespo said. After having read the book and watched the show, she is disappointed by the show’s disregard for the guidelines set by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“I felt like the those were had purpose because people like to beat around the bush instead of showing what actually happens,” Rivera said.
4. Was it Worth Telling The Truth?
At the subpoenas, each person in the friend group only had two options: Tell the truth and face the consequences, or lie to save themselves and live with the guilt.
“I think it was worth telling what happened to her,” junior Amanda McCreight said. “It exposed everyone to who really hurt her.”
“Telling the truth is important for me,” senior Joshua Olivares said. “The characters shouldn’t have anything to hide.”
5. Was Hannah “Overly Dramatic”?
Many viewers of the show were quick to express how they felt about Hannah Baker. One of the more frequent responses were that she was being “dramatic”, despite the events that had taken place.
“When you are in the headspace Hannah was in,” senior Savannah Sicurella said. “It seems like the only option is suicide.”
“She was not being over dramatic,” freshman Nicole Chojnowski said. “She was actually hurting and no one helped her.”
6. Who Didn’t Deserve to be on The Tapes?
Clay? Sheri? Mr. Porter? All of whom are candidates in this. The reasoning behind each is different for each individual chosen, and those speaking for them.
“I believe everyone deserved to be on the tapes,” junior Jennah Florez said.
According to our poll, 72% of University High School students believed that Clay shouldn’t have been on the tapes.
7. What is the Role That Love Plays in the Story?
Love is one of the most, if not the most, famous theme in any type of art, ranging from paintings to indie films. As a show that has no fear of showing every nook and cranny of teenagehood, 13 Reasons Why has its own form of love. Whether it be in the story, or from the viewers.
“I think we all want to believe in that fairy tale love can save someone, but that just isn’t the case in all circumstances,” Olivares said.
“Love plays a number of roles throughout the show,” Sicurella said. “From the relieved form she feels from her friendships with Alex and Jessica, to the unconditional form shown from Hannah’s parents.”
8. Should Sheri Be Prosecuted?
Sweet Sheri wasn’t really that sweet. In fact, her actions played a significant role in the death of boy-wonder Jeff Atkins, a dear friend to Clay and the kindred spirit everyone deserves to have in their life. Given the scenario, should Sweet Sherri face the consequences?
“I’m very in the middle about this,” junior Ashley Dasilva said. “She should, and she shouldn’t.”
“I think she should because it caused Jeff to die, and he was so sweet to Clay,” sophomore Storm Smith said.
9. Did 13 Reasons Why Do More Harm Than Good for Teen Suicide?
Referring back to Controversy 3, when a person who is easily triggered by events such as what is pictured in 13 Reasons Why is exposed to them, it can be dangerous. Additionally, when a suicide scene is changed for dramatic effect, it’s hard to know if it’s done for the good of the majority, or for the good of anyone.
“Yes it did,” senior Callie Gentry said. “It glorifies suicide as a way to get revenge when in reality, it’s much deeper than that.”
“It spoke a lot of truth about what teenagers go through during high school,” junior Dru Larabel said. “I think it helps kids realize how much their words and actions can affect people.”
10. How Did You Feel About the Show’s Deviation From the Book?
The usual complaint from anyone who read the book before the movie or TV show came out is what they did differently from the original story. 13 Reasons Why is no stranger to this feedback.
“The show was very different from the book,” Dasilva said. “The book was very good and hit me so hard but watching the show visually hit me way harder, emotionally.”
“I felt like the deviations from the book were only for their own profit,” Crespo said.
11. What More Could Justin Have Done?
After being thrown out of Jessica’s bedroom by Bryce, Justin retreats and leaves the situation completely. After Jessica finds out what happened to her, Justin sneaks into her room through her window and tries to explain what he did. But all he can do is explain why he was incapable of doing anything.
“Justin could have done so many things,” sophomore Gabriella Plasson said. “The time it took the truth to finally get to Jessica was ridiculous.”
“He could have told Jessica sooner, and stopped Bryce from sharing the photo of Hannah,” Larabel said.
12. Just How Much Did 13 Reasons Why Contribute to Mental Health Awareness?
Fans of 13 Reasons Why are quick to talk of how important the show is when it comes to awareness of mental health. Contradicting this, fans are also claiming that Hannah Baker had no such illnesses people are being made aware of.
“I think it did more good,” Smith said, “If someone does want to commit suicide we can notice the signs before hand and help them.”
“It contributed nothing to mental illness awareness,” Gentry said. “It didn’t delve into any mental illness that Hannah might have had that would have contributed to her suicide.”
13. Finally, Why did Clay’s Injuries Look So Terrible?
There were quite a bit of instances in my own experience watching the show where Clay’s god awful head injury became a big distraction. Not to mention, Hannah’s short hair wig was quite unrealistic.
“I’m not entirely sure why there were issues with makeup,” McCreight said. “But at times it definitely took away from the seriousness of the show.”