Disclaimer: This article talks about themes found in the show, "13 Reasons Why," which includes violence and suicide. Some of the topics may contain sensitive material. Please read at your own discretion. 

A series unlike any other, “13 Reasons Why” will hook you in from the start and take you on a roller coaster of emotions. I’m a film major so my review may be a little biased, but I didn’t like the show. In fact, I think it’s doing more harm than good. 

This Netflix original left me losing faith in humanity when I really wanted it to inspire me to spread good in the world. Here are my 5 reasons why the show isn't all it's cracked up to be: 

1. Suicide Should Not Be Associated With Blame

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Jocelyn Hsu

Hannah endures a tremendous amount of pain at a difficult age. I give the show major kudos for tackling some tough topics like cyberbullying, rape, and exclusion. With that said, Hannah takes her life and records troubling tapes of voiceover explaining that she committed suicide because 13 people drove her to do it.

Let’s think about some of the world’s heroes who have overcome great tragedies but still manage a smile. If we truly want to drive home the point of making the world a better place and raising awareness for a cause, how about we address suicide in a more reverent manner?

2. Let’s Not Get Too Carried Away With Bullying Stereotypes

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Shelby Cohron

It’s no secret that the show focuses on high school bullying. It’s devastating that students are faced with such travesties, but the producers took it a little too far. Although today’s current events harbor an unsettling amount of school violence, there is still hope and goodness in the world. “13 Reasons Why” doesn’t give its audience much hope. 

After watching two seasons, it’s easy to feel desensitized to the violence; it feels like a norm. The audience begins to adjust to the violence rather than want to do something about it, which isn't okay for an influential and recognized show. 

3.  In Some Ways, Suicide Is Romanticized 

coffee, tea, beer, sipping, Drinking, cozy, bed, warm, Morning, mug
Caroline Ingalls

In the spirit of being empathetic, I don’t want to undermine what Hannah or her classmates had to go through as high school kids. With that said, the idea behind a mystery suicide just doesn’t sit well with me. Throughout the first season, we have this idea that maybe Hannah actually lives. We naturally become attached to her story; we’re rooting for her victory. But unfortunately, her end was a devastating suicide, explicitly shown in the final episode of Season 1.

Her story is tragic, but there’s a sickening appeal to the attention surrounding her cryptic tapes. It raises an awful question: How would people react if I committed suicide? This is not a question anyone should be asking themselves, and we don’t need a Netflix show to instigate it.  

4. The Show Lacks Character Development

rice, cereal, chocolate
Sarah Pravato

I may be a harsh judge here, but come on, Netflix, really?! We have little to no character development throughout the show. Sure, we know some of the jocks are jerks and Hannah’s friends bailed on her, but we also know that Hannah had her fair share of angry, mean moments. Had we caught more than a mere glimpse of the characters’ lives maybe we would’ve been able to piece things together better.

Not to mention our protagonist, Clay, is served a huge injustice with his lack of character development. It may feel like we know him, but we really don’t. A good show, particularly one depicting a serious topic like suicide, should give proper disclosure of the main characters and their motives, interests, and backgrounds. Instead, we’re thrown into a vortex of mystery and chaos while trying to understand the suicide of a young character. 

5. The Final Scene (I Have Mixed Feelings)

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Claire Fitzpatrick

After finishing the final episode when Hannah brings her life to an end in her bathtub, I was disturbed. I can see how the harrowing scene would be enough to make someone think. What was really gut-wrenching was the reaction of Hannah’s parents when they found their daughter dead in the bathtub. I was impressed with the acting, and it certainly makes anyone think twice after seeing her parents’ reactions.

Some argue that the scene could make a positive impact on those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. The argument is that as a society, we dance around the taboo topic of suicide — the creators wanted to show it in its raw form.

But I understand that suicide is complex. Suicide attempt survivors have spoken out about this scene, saying fear campaigns “don’t work,” and that it was a “step-by-step guide” to suicide. 

The Bottom Line: Do More Good

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Lauryn Lahr

It's a tough task to send out a universal message that suicide is harmful. Everyone will have a different take on it, and unfortunately, that doesn’t mean every take will rear a positive impact.

Even though I don't love the show, it made me think about an important issue. So in that sense — mission accomplished! Regardless of how the message is disseminated, we all play a role in suicide awareness. In the words of Hemingway, "We are all broken. That's how the light gets in." And that starts with trying to be better people and do more good in the world. 

Personally, though, I think the show could use a little more happiness. We’re not going to fight violence by showing it on TV. More positive vibes = a better world. If you or anyone you know is experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts, please reach out. The Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255. You are important.