"You Only Need One Reason Not to Watch"
What You Need To Know:
The filmmakers behind 13 REASONS WHY are desperately trying to turn the Netflix series into a “discussion starter” about serious, dark issues. The problem is that, ultimately, the program is still meant to be an “entertainment” show about suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, teenage sex, and self-harm, geared toward teenagers. So, the series does more harm than good. Also, the story is less captivating. It’s plagued by contrived writing and bad acting. Finally, Season Two of 13 REASONS WHY contains too much immoral content, including lots of strong foul language.
The second season of 13 REASONS WHY continues the storylines of the 13 individuals who were allegedly responsible for the suicide of teenager Hannah Baker. In the first season, Hannah left behind 13 cassette tapes detailing the 13 people from her high-school that were responsible for pushing her over the edge. The final episode of the season depicted her disturbing suicide.
In season two, a good portion of the story is seen from the perspective of Clay Jenson, a close friend of Hannah’s who was featured on a tape and was wracked with guilt because he felt somewhat responsible for contributing to her emotional pain and death. The parents of Hannah (though primarily her mother Kate) are blaming the school for not being aware of the bullying that took place against Hannah and are suing. Season two covers the trial determining whether it was the conditions of the school that led to Hannah’s suicide, and some of the 13 individuals from the tapes will each have to testify as to what happened. This includes: Tyler Down, who was the school photographer who stalked Hannah at one point; Courtney Crimsen, a classmate who had a crush on Hannah and at one point shared a kiss with her; Bryce Walker, the school jock who raped Hannah; and, many others who had interactions with Hannah, both big and small.
Some of the teenagers before they’re called to the stand to testify receive threats from anonymous people at school, unveiling a deeper darkness that may be prevalent among the students.
The first season of 13 REASONS WHY was incredibly controversial for including a graphic depiction of a teenager’s suicide. So much so, that the showrunners of Season Two have made it clear that the season will feature no suicides. Also, each episode begins with a warning from cast members advising viewers that the topics of depression and sexual assault are featured in the program, and it shouldn’t be viewed by everyone. If only that made the TV series okay…, but it doesn’t.
The filmmakers behind 13 REASONS WHY are desperately trying to turn the Netflix series into a “discussion starter” about serious, dark issues. The problem is that, ultimately, it’s still “entertainment” about suicide, school shootings, sexual assault, drug use, teenage sex, and self-harm, geared toward teenagers. The filmmakers are making a huge gamble that the series will be more helpful than harmful for teenagers. However, based on the number of apparent copycat suicides from Season One, that’s a tremendous and disastrous gamble. Especially since there are worthwhile organizations that are dedicated to helping students work through such issues.
Thankfully, Season Two of 13 REASONS WHY doesn’t have the narrative hook that the first season did, so the story is less captivating. The acting of some characters is noticeably bad, and the mystery is too contrived. Hopefully, these elements will make the series less enticing for many viewers. So, it likely won’t be the same hit the first season was.
In addition to its dark material, 13 REASONS WHY has lots of foul language and other lewd and immoral content that make it excessive and unacceptable.