For all the things I liked there was a bunch of stuff I didn’t
If you haven’t seen the new Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why you should probably give it a watch. I know a bit contradictory right but bare with me. Although there was a lot of things that frustrated me, there is no getting round the fact that the show deals with a lot of important social topics and paints a pretty accurate picture of life at high school. There will be spoilers so if you’re in the middle of watching it then I suggest you leave but if you have seen it or don’t care about spoilers then welcome.
Before I start the list I will say that I think this is a show that every student should watch. As I said it deals with a lot of serious issues which the show effectively addresses but also shows how they can be dealt with. It’s kind of like an educational lesson on how we should be treating those around us and how are actions can affect others. This is what the show does well but the means in which it gets there is a bit questionable. I think a lot of the audience is getting brainwashed about how good this series actually is. We are blinded by the fact that it is addressing such a sensitive and necessary topic but missing the fact that it falls short of what is deemed “good” television in many respects.
1. Character 180s – The show does a very bad job at keeping the actions of their characters consistent. Characters seem to forget who they are on numerous occasions and people who we think are decent turn out not to be and vice versa. For example Marcus, the student body president, for the first half of the series, he seemed like a respectable young chap until Valentines day where all of a sudden he becomes an egotistical sexually driven mess. There was no indication of this before hand. Instead of fully formed characters we are left with characters who act as plot devices to add to Hannah’s turmoil and eventual demise.
2. Character Development – Heavily ties in with the first point and even though we are presented with strong characters there isn’t really all that much development. Only Hannah and Clay go on a real journey and the rest of the characters are presented to us as who they are and change very little throughout the series. One of my main problems was that I found it hard to keep up with who was friends with who and what each character’s motives were. One minute characters will not be friends then all of a sudden they’re having slumber parties and lesbian make out sessions.
3. Unlikeable Protagonist – Is it just me or is Hannah kind of a bitch. She is actually a pretty unlikable character and many characters actually shared my thoughts. Many times Hannah proved to be a crappy friend to Clay, pushing him away on numerous occasions and failing to do or say anything about Jessica’s rape. This reached it’s peak in the final episodes where she showed a tendency for wanting people to know what she was thinking then getting upset when her unstated needs were not met. I think the actress did a great job and if her story didn’t end so tragically I would find myself having very little sympathy for her.
4. The Tapes – On the surface the premise of the entire show is very intriguing and we can all see why this is a good set up for a television series. But when we look at it with reality goggles what Hannah did is pretty effed up. To put that burden and guilt on what are essentially kids is a pretty wicked thing to do. Can you imagine being blamed for someone elses’ suicide? What also made me a bit more concerned about this entire concept is the fact that from the outset it is made pretty clear that these characters are why Hannah committed suicide rather than Hannah making the choice to do so. It is stated numerous times that no one knows what is going on in someone elses’ head which is kind of contradictory with the fact that these characters are blamed for the death and they all come to accept this by then end.
5. Clay – This one is short. Why was Clay on the tapes?
6. Tony – Clay said it best. Comparing him to Yoda. I mean I did like Tony, but his random appearances spouting all these half sentences got a bit jarring after a while.
7. Sheri – Sorry but I refuse to accept Sheri’s reasoning for not wanting to call 9-1-1 about the stop sign.
8. Past and Present – This is me being a bit picky. I will say though the way the show transitioned from past and present was good. And the fact that they had 2 different colour palettes was great. What I didn’t like or understand was when present Clay would supposedly see Hannah as he was listening to the tapes. How on earth would he know Hannah’s every move, her exact position just by listening to the tapes? Like I said picky, but yeah.
9. Voice overs? – My first thought when I watched the series was that it was very contrived. The over-dramatic voice overs the way it was playing into the story I just felt it was a little too theatrical and unrealistic. I quickly got over it when I accepted the how for what it was but those concerns did hinder me initially.
10. Pacing – The series is very slow. Only in the sense that we are waiting for Clay’s tape at the very beginning and it doesn’t come until episode 11. Because of this a lot of the episode seems as though they have been shoe horned in and just conceived as something else that would add to the reason why Hannah killed herself. I didn’t buy the Zach episode at all. I was very confused as to why she would spill her heart out to someone she rejected initially.
11. Mr Porter – I thought I liked him. But it turns out he was kind of crap at his job and by the end the audience most likely hated him. He actually didn’t do much throughout the series apart from summoning students to his office but achieving very little. He seems as though he was built up to be the moral compass of the show and very knowledgeable but this all came crashing down in episode 13 and I felt very let down by him to say the least.
12. Narrator Bias – This isn’t really a negative but something I feel they could’ve pushed a bit more. Throughout the series a lot of characters call out the accuracy of Hannah’s tapes and a lot claim she lies about a lot of things when in fact it turns out she told the truth about everything… well most things. This is something they could’ve pushed a bit more. One thing I liked was that Hannah said Zach threw out her letter when in fact he kept it. Little things like that would’ve gave the series a lot more authenticity because in reality the series is told from her perspective and it would’ve been interesting if she got a few facts wrong. I don’t know…
13. JEFF REALLY DID DESERVE BETTER
To not be such a downer there were a lot of things I did like about the series. To name a few:
The suicide scene was pretty fantastic.
Good choice of new unknown actors
as an educational tool
I will end by addressing a theory that has been going round the internet.
Alex suicide? – A lot of people have been questioning whether Alex actually attempted to kill himself. I feel it is totally plausible that it was an attempted suicide, all the signs are there, but a theory states that he was in fact shot by Tyler as we saw him take down his photo at then closing of episode 13. I think it is clear that Tyler is planning some sort of mass shooting, which could be the basis for a second season, but I am surprised people think he could’ve shot Alex. It is clear that from the scene with the photos Tyler remembered that time Alex stood up for him which caused him to take his photo down which strongly suggests that Tyler will spare Alex. I am totally convinced that this is what that scene means. However if Alex didn’t attempt suicide and was actually shot by an assailant, I don’t think it was Tyler or Justin, who we also saw with a gun. But in fact Jessica’s dad. Do you remember in an earlier episode, Jessica’s dad stated that he would kill anyone who hurt his daughter. And it was shown that he was packing some mad heat. In episode 13 we saw Jessica finally tell her father that she was raped, albeit the start of the conversation, so we can assume that he now knows. He knows that Jessica used to be with Alex so what if he assumed that Alex was the one who raped her then wanted some mad revenge? That is just my theory anyway. Let me know what you think.
Anyway that’s me done. Let me just say all in all I did enjoy the series but there was just a few things I wasn’t particularly happy with. All in all a good watch and I do recommend it.