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TV Series Review: 13 Reasons Why (S1)

Zach Dempsey and Hannah Baker on 13 Reasons Why

TV Series Review: 13 Reasons Why (S1)

To start off, I think every single one of us, at some points in life, ever consider what it would be like if we just leave it all behind and take our own lives, right?

When I first heard that 13ReasonsWhy (let’s call it 13RW) raises the matter of suicide, college bullying, and depression, I started to get interested. I mean, I know that almost all young adults books are talking about bullying, but see, there is nothing changes in the real life, don’t you think? No matter how many books point out the danger of bullying, no matter how many movies raise the depression of teenagers due to peer pressure, no one seems to care enough and put it into a real practice. It just makes for another melodrama, tragic, or even thrilling stories.

I’m afraid that’s how 13RW falls short. They told the story about Hannah Baker, a teenage girl who is assaulted and mocked in daily basis. At the worst time of her life, she decided to commit suicide and left 13 cassettes as to why she took her own life. These tapes then passed on to the people who have assaulted her, in one way or another. I love how the series started off, using Hannah’s monologue to tell her complete stories and how bullying has gotten the best of her. So many mysteries are unfolded one by one, in each episode.

Having been binge-watching it in two days a row, I could almost feel sorry for Hannah Baker. I know that college can be harsh, people (including me) say stupid meaningless jokes to our friends, gossips and rumors are spread without our consent, and the pressure to find love, is overwhelming. I also agree that Bryce is a criminal, not only a jerk. But, I have to say that some of the tapes – some of the reasons – felt so enforced. She got upset for the smallest things and she did not have the courage to confront her problems straight away.

Zach Dempsey and Hannah Baker on 13 Reasons Why

Zach Dempsey and Hannah Baker on 13 Reasons Why

The most obvious example is the tape about Zach Dempsey. Zach really cares about her, he really swallows his pride and shows her genuine affection. And what does she do? Telling Zach to fuck off and leave her alone. What the hell? I guess it’s true what Zach said, “Some of your problems are your own making”. She could have befriended him, she could have dated him, she could have at least explained to Zach if she doesn’t want to be in relationship with him. In this case, to be fair, she’s the jerk.

That’s just one of the examples of how producers “force” some shit as if they happen to her and she cannot help it, while in fact, she does. I also hate the tape about Taylor, the stalker guy. She just needs to simply CLOSE THE FREAKIN’ CURTAIN, don’t you think?? It just doesn’t make any sense. She could change her clothes, fool around with Courtney, whatever, but she just needs to close her bedroom curtain to stop all the lesbian incident. IT’S SO SIMPLE. She could also confront Taylor first and foremost, threaten him that she’ll report him to authority or some sort. There are so many options that she could do, but she didn’t.

13 Reasons Why

Taylor on 13 Reasons Why, Who Could Easily Play the Young Benedict Cumberbatch


And then, the tape about Mr. Porter. Don’t get me started. I was so pissed off because I do not see any “insensitivity” about him. For several times, he acts just the way he should. He asks further details, he shows curiosity, he shows care. When Hannah does not want to give Bryce name, Mr. Porter said, “If you don’t want to pursue this, well the only option is to move on.”

And then Hannah got upset and that day, she chose to end it. She said, “I expected him to chase after me, but he didn’t.” I mean, how fucked up is that? Seriously? You expect someone to read your mind and take care of every bad choices that you make as a teenager? Hannah tells him her problems, he KNOWS there are problems. But then Hannah shut her door because she didn’t want to reveal this boy’s name. Well if she doesn’t want to sue him, doesn’t want to tell us his name, doesn’t want to do anything, then the only left option is to move on, right? And she saw this as an insult. Oh God. I actually feel sorry for Mr. Porter.

I don’t know. It’s just that, when I think about it, Hannah Baker HAD choices. She got a lot of them, actually. But she got so many bad decisions, she took things too personally, and she expected every one to read her minds and help her, without saying it out loud. I also dislike the idea of her spreading these tapes just to get revenge. That’s not what depression is about. That’s not what suicide is about.

Suicide is not about getting back to people and ruining their lives because they will be held accountable. This series could get people the wrong idea of depression and suicide. It’s not that simple. And what about her family? She has parents who love her so much. I think Jason has it worse than her, but he manages.

Anyway, the series is overall enjoyable and light. It talks about the complexity of college, especially the ones experienced by the main casts. I love how the diverse casts come together to find a solution. I love the dynamic of each cast, they bring up a lot of issues teenagers usually face, such as LGBT, abusive parents, spoiled brat, party, rape, etc. I love that Clay Jensen has this awkward personality about him that really helps the story.

But then again, I am not fan of Hannah Baker herself. In social media I see that a lot of audience root for her or whatever, but I just can’t. There are so many flaws in her logic that makes me hard to feel empathy for her. Still, I am still curious enough for the second season!

Falencia Naoenz
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