‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ TV Show- Half Way Review

24 Apr

Image via Flickering Myth

So, I was initially VERY against the Thirteen Reasons Why show. I still am, I’ve just weakened my position. I read the book and was really disturbed because I felt the author was trying to justify suicide. If your life is as bad as Hannah Baker’s, then killing yourself makes sense. What a terrible message to send to teenagers! The book made me really mad and I told everyone who would listen that I felt that way. I still will. I decided to watch the TV show out of a sick sense of ‘having to’ do it. I read the book, I wanted to see how it was changed to a show. I’m still very against the message and understand it’s almost worse (from a psychologist point of view) in a visual form. I wanted to give my thoughts at the halfway point, having just watched episode 6. I’ll come back with another review after the entire show.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Unlike the book, the characters stay involved after their tape is over. In a few of the tapes, I felt like the character wasn’t really that important in the end because their impact was there and gone. In the show, we’re really shown how this person is changed from Hannah’s death and the tapes. They continue to be important and even grow in importance. I thought this was well done.

How Hannah reacts to being groped or slut-shamed felt very real to me. It can be shocking that someone would do that and I felt her frozen reaction was justified and realistic. It wasn’t a weakness on her behalf, it was real.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

I imagined the town the action took place in to be very tiny! It seems that way at times because the characters all run into each other and they’re only now getting a Wal-Mart equivalent. However, the town’s so much bigger than I imagined! It’s big enough for Clay to ride through suburbs in every shot he’s on his bike and be ‘on the other side of town’ after a long ride. I guess I was thinking small town surrounded by farms, my midwest idea of a small town. Did anyone else struggle with this? Oh well, it works better as a bigger town with the difference in socioeconomic class of the characters.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Hannah’s narration. After Tyler’s tape, we don’t really hear Hannah talking anymore. We get a bit, but her telling us a story has disappeared. I think the way the show is doing it is fine, but I wish it would stick with one method or the other: all voiceover or very minimal. The switch back and forth is weird.

Things That Changed Too Much

The ‘let’s get Clay’ mentality! I’m really hating it. Some of the characters, you got the idea from their tapes that they were sorry or would have tried to make things right, but having them now trying to ‘take Clay out’ or ‘get him’ in any way is infuriating. Alex is the most frustrating for me. He’s obviously going through a depression that’s likely worse than Hannah’s, and no one is noticing.

The parent’s point of view. This is heartbreaking and I really struggle with any scene the Bakers are in. Adding Clay’s mom as the prosecuting attorney is even worse. It’s sending me a mixed signal about the attended audience for this show. It seems more geared toward adults than teens and I think that’s rightfully so.

Please, no spoilers for the end! I’ll get to it soon with my semester ending today (!!!) and my husband taking a trip out-of-town soon. Reader, have you see the Thirteen Reasons Why show? What did you think?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


6 Responses to “‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ TV Show- Half Way Review”

  1. Bookmark Chronicles April 24, 2017 at 10:33 AM #

    I understand why you may not like the story but I don’t think the point was to justify suicide at all but to show how a build up of things that may seem insignificant to others can push someone over the edge. This also isn’t meant to represent how everyone who has dealt with depression feels or response, it’s only one situation out of a million you know?
    I do agree that the whole “let’s take Clay out” thing was incredibly ridiculous though. Otherwise I think that the story told and the way that it’s done are very important when many of the topics that this book covers are often dismissed.


    • Sam April 24, 2017 at 3:12 PM #

      I don’t mean to downplay depression or what happened to Hannah in any way. I guess I didn’t like that the show quantified the reasons Hannah killed herself. It felt like ’13 reasons is enough.’ If there are impressionable teens watching this show, I think it could be very damaging. I worry about people who have trouble separating fiction from reality watching this. Happy reading!


  2. Marie April 24, 2017 at 1:23 PM #

    I just finished watching this. I definitely get the viewpoint that this glorifies suicide. However, I think it brings up some great discussion points for everyone out there, especially for parents to have with children and well as for schools to think about. Suicide is on the rise in high school and this shows in a horrifying way just how easily events can add up to make one suicidal.


    • Sam April 24, 2017 at 3:14 PM #

      I think it’s a good point of discussion as well but I wish it had stayed a book and had this impact. Visual image can be so much more influential than a book and I worry about people in a fragile state being affected by the show.


  3. Charlie @ Girl of 1000 Wonders April 29, 2017 at 8:36 PM #

    First, let me preface with: I didn’t read the book. I have finished the entire season and watched the Beyond the Reasons with the executive producers, the psychologists, and the actors. I feel like tidbits of the additional content should have been embedded in the beginning of the first episode to help explain some of the content (but not spoil), for reasons below.

    My family has experienced not one, not two, but three suicides. It is something I do not take lightly, but I had some definite issues with the show and younger audiences watching – because of how they will interpret what they see.

    I teach sixth grade. Eleven year olds. They are watching this show. And glorifying what Hannah did, and what the other characters did to her and are continuing to do to each other. They are talking about promoting the culture of bullying and keeping dangerous secrets. THAT is what 10-15 year olds see when they watch this. I know this because I also teach 7th and 8th graders, in the same class with some sixth graders. I have an age range of 11-14 in the same class and the conversations aren’t that different from the sixth graders to the eighth graders.

    This show is NOT meant for young audiences. It is rated MA 17 – mature audiences 17 and above because at least by 17 most teens frontal cortex is further developed, aiding in the decision-making process to be a little more logical and rational than my students. In all honesty, I think the show was really created for a very small age group, 16-24.

    As I watched, I couldn’t seem to verbalize the issues I found wrong with this entire story. Like you, I felt that this was glorifying suicide – and getting retribution from the grave. Here’s the message that quantifying and detailing the 13 reasons sends: I can blame others for my actions. We already have an epidemic of that in the United States, and it is only getting worse. This is the message that is being received by young audiences not aware enough to work through beyond that thought. Hannah has blamed her suicide on 13 other people. As an adult, we can reason that each of those things built and compounded to lead her to that – but the show doesn’t ever really show Hannah trying to reach out for help. She is always blaming others, or herself, and expecting others to stop her or continue trying to talk to her and help her after she has made it abundantly clear she doesn’t. This promotion of mixed signals only adds to my stance of blaming others.

    The entire “let’s get Clay, shut him up” thing is a sterling example of this entire cult of bullying. And I do feel like that group of students is kind of like a cult, holding meetings to decide and discuss how and what they are going to do moving forward.

    The other thing I keep coming back to is that Hannah is very smart. If she felt she had no one else to turn to, despite Clay being a good friend to her and before she goes where she does on the day she kills herself, she obviously wanted someone to talk to about everything going on. There is nothing to HELP viewers who are going through bullying, depression, or contemplating hurting themselves or others. Hannah could have called a bevy of hotline numbers, talked to Clay, Tony, her parents, or gone to another trusted adult. Inevitably, there will be scores of people watching this show, feeling like Hannah or Alex do, and not seeing a way out. What they will see is “Don’t tell anyone. They will not help.” And they will feel alone and powerless and that their only option was Hannah’s option.


    • Sam April 29, 2017 at 9:10 PM #

      Thank you for sharing your views. You articulate it much better than I do. Your point about not showing that there are other outlets struck me the most. Twice Hannah pushed someone away and then blamed that person for not chasing her regardless. She’s expecting Clay and Mr. Porter to chase her down. And because they don’t, it’s their fault. If they had, would she blame them for not respecting her wishes? We can’t blame others for our actions when we ultimately make them.
      My husband teaches 7th grade and watched the show with me because his students were watching it and he needed to know how to respond. I’m afraid this show will have an unintentional backlash and I dread that more than anything.
      Thank you again for your insightful comments.


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