Variety TV Critics Discuss Graphic Depictions of Rape and Suicide in Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’

13 REASONS WHY
Courtesy Netflix

The Netflix show aimed at teenagers depicts suicide and sexual abuse in graphic detail. Our critics discuss the show

Few shows have prompted as much conversation as “13 Reasons Why” — which seems to be part of the point of the Netflix show. It’s almost infinitely discussable, given the weightiness of the show’s topics and the varied ways in which the show met the challenges of depicting them well. It’s caused its share of controversy, but “13 Reasons Why” has also met with a number of positive responses from critics and viewers — and according to Twitter, it’s the most tweeted show of 2017.

Variety’s TV critics, Sonia Saraiya and Maureen Ryan, found themselves with lots to say about the show — but beware, this conversation touches on a number of plot points from the first season of the show. Spoilers ahead. 

Sonia Saraiya: Mo, I just finished “13 Reasons Why,” and I am messed up. That was a doozy of an ending. It might be one of the hardest things I’ve seen on television, actually — which is saying a lot, considering I’ve watched “Game of Thrones” and “Hannibal” and “Outlander.” I knew, of course, that Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) was going to kill herself. But after getting to know her and love her, seeing her do it in that physical, graphic, brutal way was just awful.

When I first started watching this show, I was really taken with how weirdly honest and heartfelt it was — and how Hannah, speaking from beyond the grave, was not a victim so much as a manipulator, enacting her own revenge on the characters. The basic strength of that conceit carried me through a lot of the show’s hiccups — the weaker episodes, the assumptions of blame, the seemingly endless crises wreaking havoc on this one tiny town. Now that it’s ended — and because the ending was such a punch in the gut — it’s made me re-evaluate whether or not depicting this story was wholly responsible, or maybe more to the point, whether or not this series was good.

This show has sparked a bit of dissent about the complications and responsibilities inherent in portraying a show about sexual violence and suicide. “13 Reasons Why” is graphic — and is preceded with a card advising the viewer that they are about to watch sensitive material. That has not been enough to stem the tide of controversy. In addition to Twitter threads from teen guidance counselors and survivors of sexual abuse, even my own friends and acquaintances online have posted things about how triggering they have found it themselves to watch, especially if they have a history of sexual violence or suicidal ideation. It has raised the question, among some viewers, if “13 Reasons Why” is responsible, transparent, or really about understanding these teens — and instead about exploiting their struggle for a story that benefits people who aren’t dealing with this stuff.

You reviewed it in advance. What have you noticed about the reaction to this show?

Maureen Ryan: I thought overall, the show was good and necessary, but this was one of those times where I felt reactions and reviews would be all over the map, and I was right about that. The topics it takes on meant that the road that this show was going to follow narratively was full of pitfalls. I found myself braced for it to fall into a lot of TV’s usual cliches as the episodes unfolded. I’ve spent the past few decades watching TV do a generally terrible, superficial job of dealing with those subjects, too often using rape, suicide and the lives of teen girls as cheap story fuel, rather than complex topics worthy of serious and in-depth exploration.

So I was waiting for missteps, and honestly, I feel like “13 Reasons” avoided a lot of the problems I was expecting — more than I was expecting it to. For my money, its mistakes were more in the narrative arena than in the responsibility arena, so to speak. Story-wise, by the time that Clay (Dylan Minnette) was getting a tarot reading in a coffee shop, my patience with the show’s artificial and sometimes inartfully constructed obstacles was at an end. (I could also do a whole rant on the number of underage teenagers with massive amounts of ink, but let’s save that one for another day.)

When it came to the toughest scenes, the show did a reasonable job of avoiding cliches and was often moving or thought-provoking. I know that there are those who think it glamorized suicide, and made it seem like the only option. Here’s my question, though: When can we talk about the things that drive teenagers (or anyone, for that matter) toward suicidal thoughts? I think the show makes the space for those discussions, which I think is valuable. I truly respect and understand the reservations some people have about the show, but I think there are a lot of young people in psychological pain, engaging in self-harm and falling into addictions and depression. I would bet this show is driving a lot of conversations about those topics. Maybe it’s causing people to open up to their friends and family about their feelings of isolation and despair. I could be wrong. But I think that was one of the goals, and I’d be surprised if that weren’t the case. Do you think I’m off-base about that?

Saraiya: Not at all. If anything it seemed to me like several of the moments in the show are designed to be teachable moments. And to be honest, I don’t think I’ve seen a show that has quite so powerfully portrayed what exactly happens when a girl is labeled the “slut” in a school environment; it’s a cascading series of events over the course of months, and the way it wreaks havoc on her own sanity and her relationships at school felt realistic in a way that surprised me.

The sexual assault was also surprisingly well-rendered — if you are of the opinion that such a thing can be well-rendered at all. The emphasis was on the victims and their experiences; the portrayal was not sexy or fun or mistaken about what was really happening. And the ease with which the show’s rapist Bryce (Justin Prentice) used social norms to shift into abuse was eye-opening, as was the way he defended himself to Clay weeks later.

At the same time, both rape scenes (which are both shown repeatedly over multiple episodes, in flashbacks as well as in linear story) were simply awful to watch. And while on one hand, that is the point, on the other it does not surprise me to discover that people were disturbed or haunted by these scenes. And I have just described my own reaction to the suicide scene, too.

I have sort of come to the conclusion, with the sexual assault scenes, that as hard as those are to watch, there is an awful indignity in cutting away from the characters’ pain, too. Perhaps the show didn’t have to flash back as much as it did — but that speaks more to the narrative lag in the middle of the season than exploitation, I think. Not including the full extent of the rape, out of some kind of “modesty” or “respect,” makes the act this unimaginable thing that can’t be survived, or a shameful thing that has to be hidden. It is triggering — but life, unfortunately, is triggering. And “13 Reasons Why” shows extraordinary grace in depicting the aftermath of Jessica (Alisha Boe)’s assault — her spiral into alcohol abuse is both irrational and understandable, as well as reflective of current research on trauma’s co-morbidity with addiction.

The suicide is different, possibly. I am the type of person who errs on the side of saying something over saying nothing, and that is more or less the gist of this defense of the show’s portrayal of suicide from writer Nic Sheff. I cannot disagree with him, really: If I ever thought slitting my wrists seemed like a good idea before, it is completely stomach-turning to think on it now. But on the other hand, that scene provided an interested viewer with the exact methodology for doing it, and an idea of what it might look or feel like. That is a scary thing to show to 13-year-olds, right?

Maureen Ryan: My son is 14, about to turn 15, so a lot of things about this show definitely scared me — a lot. A number of parents have said that they watched the show first in order to see if it would be OK for their kid — or for themselves. I think that’s an absolutely valid approach, and if people found it triggering at all, I have zero problem with them tuning out the show. It’s absolutely a case where self-care should take priority, and if it was too hard to fall down into that pit with Hannah and Jessica, I get it.

That said, to get people to really pay attention to these issues, to get people to really be shocked by what people like Bryce are capable of, I think the show had to show the rapes. It had to show the suicide. I wrote a whole column about why the latter was necessary, especially in a TV environment in which women are raped all the time and the consequences are never shown — or we just get that idiotic scene in which a sexual assault victim sits on the floor of the shower and cries (and that’s it! The rape is processed! Let us never refer to it again!). “13 Reasons Why” was very hard to watch at times, and as we talk about this, I can feel the swirling mass of dark and painful emotions I felt when viewing those scenes. But the show successfully produced those responses for reasons I think are defensible — it was trying to get our attention. And it succeeded.

Speaking of Bryce, I think it’s a bit of a dodge to have his parents always be away — the inference we’re supposed to draw, I guess, is that a lack of supervision is part of what allowed him to become this monstrous, entitled rapist. But the fact is, many of the Bryces of the world have parents who simply look the other way, allow their kids to grow up without a sense of compassion or empathy, and defend their kids’ actions, no matter what. (Since my son was in preschool, I’ve come across parents who reflexively defend their kids, no matter what they’ve done. It’s heartbreaking, because sometimes you can see kids and young people being turned into selfish monsters right before your eyes. It’s a process, sadly.) The thing is, the people in our society who rape and assault don’t come from nowhere: They come from social and familial backgrounds and even work environments that either don’t curb their worst actions or encourage them.

“13 Reasons Why” didn’t help its own cause, however: The show messed up by having so many major incidents cascade in so few episodes right at the end of the season. In relatively quick succession, we saw the full rape of Jessica, Jeff died, we saw the rape of Hannah and then she committed suicide. For a show that meandered way too much in the middle, it tried to pack in way too much at the end of the season. I think the entire Jeff subplot should have been cut, and the show could have been streamlined in any number of other ways. There was just too much going on at the end of the season, and when people voice their concerns about the show and how it treats these very serious topics, that’s where, for me, their complaints gain some traction. There just wasn’t enough time to explore the final stages of the story for Hannah, and to make the case more fully regarding why her specific choices made sense for her (and not necessarily for anyone else).

Again, I think those storylines sprang from good intentions and in execution, they were largely laudable, but there was too much extraneous stuff swirling around at the end of season one. “13 Reasons Why” probably could have more with less, as it were. Does that make sense?

Saraiya: It absolutely does. I agree with you — why on earth was the Jeff story in there? Was it just to pad out the number of tapes, so that Sheri (Ajiona Alexus) would be on the list? If so, that’s a pity — because the padding distracted a lot from how powerful some of the other material was. It distracted away from being teachable, actually — the last episode is so packed that it’s hard to unpack. The fact that the story ended with Alex Standall (Miles Heizer)’s suicide made me wonder if there will be a second installment of “13 Reasons Why,” telling Alex’s story. It would be kind of horrifying if there were a Season 2 — but on the other hand, it exposes part of the fundamental puzzle at the heart of the show.

Ryan: Quickly interjecting here to say that I think a second season would be a disaster. There’s no way the power of those tapes or that structure could be recreated, and without that, there’s no way to re-create the emotional undertow of season one. I’m wildly against a second season. Sorry to interrupt — back to you.

Saraiya: On one hand, here’s this very responsible bent towards education and respectful portrayal. On the other is a kind of moody, noirish, soapy mystery. When I first went around talking about “13 Reasons Why,” I called it “Brick” meets “My So-Called Life” with a dash of “Black Mirror’s” episode “Shut Up and Dance.” The high school has a very lived-in and sort of malicious, mysterious quality, like “Brick”; Hannah is a dreamer, like Angela in “My So-Called Life” (and Clay is her Brian Krakow); and the tapes’ wheedling exhortations and threats reminded me of the anonymous terror motivating that “Black Mirror” episode — especially as you grow to realize how culpable your lead characters are. “13 Reasons Why” got caught a little in the gap between responsibility to the story and responsibility to the issues. It’s understandable. It’s also how we got here, wondering what to make of it. For the first two episodes, I was half-convinced that Hannah was going to emerge from hiding and take her revenge on her classmates — I guess I was imagining a “Pretty Little Liars” situation. It’s interesting that while perhaps “13 Reasons Why” romanticizes suicide, it’s also achingly obvious throughout that the whole story would have been much more romantic if Hannah hadn’t killed herself — if she’d revealed how powerful her voice could be while still alive. In a way she gets the justice she felt was lacking from the world through her tapes. But she still loses the most.

And she has to put her parents through finding her, which was, maybe, the most difficult element of that scene for me. Kate Walsh and Brian D’Arcy James were both great in those roles.

An interesting anecdote: A friend of mine visited with a class of middle-schoolers and they told her they’ve all watched “13 Reasons Why” but have to tell their parents they didn’t. Which is intriguing, because in some ways “13 Reasons Why” is the most after-school special a 13-episode show can get. If, by showing things that are graphic, this program gave itself the cachet of taboo — well, I guess that’s fine. Kids watch much dumber things when their parents aren’t looking.

Ryan: I agree. It reminds me of reading Judy Blume’s “Forever” in junior high school — one dog-eared copy went around the entire eighth grade. It was supposed to be inappropriate for kids our age, but we were desperate for any kind of knowledge about sex and relationships. That’s still true of kids now, but even more so, I think a lot of teenagers are desperately seeking information about issues of assault, trauma and mental health.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of teachable moments in the series. Speaking as an adult (and recalling the confused teen I was), I am haunted by the scene of Hannah and the school guidance counselor.

One of the problems with “13 Reasons Why” is that it failed in its attempts to give complex portrayals to some of the supporting characters, and that’s the case with Kevin Porter (Derek Luke), the counselor. (Late in the season, we get a half-hearted scene of him at home, talking out his troubles with his wife, but it is too little, much too late.) He was never really a three-dimensional character, which was the case with a number of the adult characters and a few of the teens.  

That said, the scene between Hannah and Porter is something I think about a lot. It was very much an intentional teachable moment, but the deep sincerity of that intent didn’t take anything away from its power. Hannah was very specifically trying to reach out and tell her story, and there were a dozen different ways in which Porter shut her down, minimized her complaints, or just reinforced the sense that she already (mistakenly) had — that no one would believe her or could help her. One of the big lessons of the show is that Clay could have done a better job of listening (and there are numerous characters who could have tried harder to connect with and support both Jessica and Hannah). But the biggest lesson beyond that arrives in Porter’s office. Doing what needed to be done would have been a hard, scary slog for him — he’d have to confront the powers that be, as well as Bryce’s parents and a host of other indifferent or hostile authorities.

But that’s how rape culture is addressed — not just in grand gestures like the signing of a bill, or one notorious assaulter or harasser being fired or sent to jail. Every day, in every way, we all have to listen to the Jessicas and Hannahs of the world, and do what needs to be done to help them heal and to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Making sure that the Bryces don’t always win is incredibly difficult, but it’s the work that needs to be done, and in that moment, those in authority (through Porter) let Hannah down.

I was once a high-schooler who realized, long after the fact, that I experienced clinical depression for most of that time of my life. Now I think about the power of social media — would I have survived if it had existed when I were attending high school? I shudder to think. The ease with which peers can rip apart one of their fellow students is terrifying, and if that person is already vulnerable in any way, the capacity to wreak damage is just enormous. And that incredible power is in the hands of teenagers who don’t understand the full ramifications of their actions. When they do begin to understand it, as Zach (Ross Butler) most certainly did, they sometimes turn away and shut that information out. Or all too often, they understand too late, which is the case with everyone Hannah knew, or tried to reach out to.

Saraiya: I hope “13 Reasons Why” is inspiring a lot of people to have a conversation about these issues. And I hope that anyone who watches it sees what I did — a story of a girl who didn’t need to end her life, despite what happened to her and around her. During the last episode with its terrible suicide scene I just kept hoping Hannah wouldn’t do it. That’s a profound feeling; for that alone “13 Reasons Why” will stick with me.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 11

Leave a Reply

11 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. It amazes me that not one critic of this show has pointed out what I see as its largest flaw. WHY ARE WE SEEKING AN ANSWER OF WHO IS TO BLAME!?! CLEARLY THE ANSWER IS EVERYONE, and therefore no one. Season 2 shouldn’t continue to ask this same dumb question.

    Also the show never gives explicit attention to mental illness or depression. Were meant to just assume she must have been depressed since she said so (?) and we must believe someone so self-aware and eloquent (in direct conflict with her poor academic performance).

    – The list sexualized her and objectified her, sure. However, ANY WOMAN AT ANY AGE SHOULD TAKE HAVING A GOOD ASS AS A COMPLEMENT. No matter what. Especially when the person saying so is a gay man. This incident was one of the many times I had to be that person who rolled my eyes and demanded that Hannah ‘get over it.’ And I really did not want to be that person.

    – The photo snapped of her on the slide which was then passed around was not explicit enough to warrant its temporary fame. Seeing underwear and maybe a little labia in a dark photo wouldn’t be worthy of going viral. No one would care.

    – The Asian female lesbian is a spoiled brat and a bad person and I do not think that’s hammered home enough. Not to mention she gives homosexual parents a bad name by essentially proving nurture over nature. We don’t want to hear that.

    – On a more superficial note — the social dynamics of this show were actually NOT realistic. Why was Alex friends with the jocks?! Why/how were many of these people even friends?!

    And the teens having too much ink shouldn’t scare parents out there — kids don’t havethat much ink under 18. The actors were just too old.

  2. Meagan says:

    13 reasons why

    Season 1 Episode 13

    This episode is absolutely heartbreaking. While Clay goes through the events of Hannah’s death and scenes show as he’s explaining. Once he gets to the parts of her killing herself his voice dies and the music fades out. She climbs in the tub and slits her wrists 3 times. Later, her mom and dad come home to find the tub water overflowing. The mother walks in and you can see her go into shock, her hands shake and she repeatedly says that it will be okay. It’s the most gut wrenching scene in the whole episode.

  3. My Name says:

    One more note… they all seem to be freaking out about non events. This MAY happen. Some teenagers have called prevention lines and said the show helped them realize they needed to talk to someone and this is a travesty!!! Someone might kill themselves, and it will be Netflix’s fault! Denver, don’t blame outside sources for suicides as the show did, because this is wrong but it’s perfectly acceptable to blame outside sources for suicides that even happened.

    They should have thrown in a Teenage Suicide, don’t do it! song like Heathers and been done with it. Thank god for satire about prevention groups.

    • My Name says:

      That should be remember.. don’t blame outside sources for suicides… and it’s perfectly fine to blame outside sources for suicides that haven’t been happened. Blasted phone!

  4. My Name says:

    I have been a little bewildered by reactions from suicide prevention groups who are upset that teens managed to google and find a suicide prevention hotline number in their country, without it being flashed on yet another screen (yes they are aware they exist and don’t need to be 2456 times a day), and called to discuss feelings the show brought up or helped them identify. They have somehow turned this into a forewarning of a rash of copycat suicides. I would think the fact that they actually sought out help would be good thing. The story I read that described the hotline frustration was out of Australia, which brings up another good reason for not displaying a suicide prevention hotline number in America or The UK (all the prevention groups are mad). Again, teenagers are often far more capable than people give them credit for.

    They seem to fearful that no one can navigate a fictional drama without killing themselves, while attempting to make everyone aware that fictional dramas are just that, and won’t make most feel the urge to kill themselves. Yeah… we know.

    I see the whole… this show will glorify and cause suicides routine to be tired and no I’m not going to respect it. Try growing up during the moral panics and PMRC days in the 1980s. People can **** off with their content labels (trigger warnings as they are called now) and their need to blame external sources such as music, games, books, radio, comics, movies or shows for every problem. After hearing insane adults ramble on about everything but the quadrupled divorce rates causing teen pregnancy, suicides and devil worship (what?) I have no patience for this. After watching multiple friends being demonized as devil worshippers and kicked out of school because they listened to punk and metal and sometimes wore black concert tees… I have nothing but distain for those who spew it. They did not care about “the children”. They only wanted to censor on ideological (and federal grant funding) grounds, be it radical feminism or religious fundamentalism. Yes, it came from both. I see no difference in the 20 year Satanic Panic of old and students today being demonized as racist or sexist and expelled for reading non fictional library books about the KKK (about Notre Dame students fighting the Klan in 1924) because the cover triggered a hateful person, or students being demonized as sexist and expelled for satirical flyers about the freshman 15. Several campuses have been holding a witch hunt for 17 years, a witch hunt monitored by civil liberties groups, and destroying several lives in the process.

    On that note, many seem to be missing an important part of the story. I think they did a good job mocking some of the more ignorant and insane parts of radical feminism and radical social justice as it stands today, which is the 1970s & 80s part 2 (or a mental illness on Tumbler), but they also showed how more immature and narcissistic talking points made Hannah feel more isolated. She fell into the only girls go through this trap, so no guys will understand, as you watch some of the male characters going through a hell of their own.

    Overall I thought it was good show. I think it has several teachable moments, including why trigger warnings and hotlines are not always necessary or beneficial when dealing with fiction in general, and more specifically a cautionary tale pieces together in hindsight in a world where warnings are slapped on everything.

  5. OldHannah says:

    Watching that series opened up a lot of old wounds that I thought were buried. I never got help for what happened to me, but my choices in life all stem from what happened to me in high school. I’m in my 50’s now and think what could have been if I had just talked to someone. This show was powerful. The rape scene with Hannah and Bryce was so hard to watch but it was accurate. Her dead expression was chilling. People seem to think that rape always entails a stranger, getting beaten up, the girl scratching and biting and trying to do whatever she can to get away. When you’re in high school and want to fit in, you put yourself into situations that make it difficult. I totally related when she said that maybe she should have tried harder to get away, but in reality she was already dead inside.

  6. K says:

    Well first off it was written by Jay Asher and not Nic Sheff, though Tweak is an equally moving novel.

  7. Courtney Walters says:

    The Jeff part of the story wasn’t merely added in to give Sheri a tape; that whole part of the story was in the actual book as well.

  8. Martin Coton says:

    Given the content of the show, Netflix should have/be actively blocking the normal behaviour of their website. Frankly I was disgusted by being presented with “If you liked this” suggestions after watching this through. If they were truly invested in the content of the show, the right thing to do would have been to display a page showing where people who wanted to talk about this kind of thing could then go.
    I’m not a teenager, I was profoundly moved by the content , but as I say, I’m disgusted that Netflix’s attitude is that this is just another show and that I might want to go on to watch something similar. Really? REALLY NETFLIX!?
    Insensitive, they don’t actually care about what they show. This was a deeply disturbing and important narrative but Netflix are content that it is getting good viewing figures, forget the content.

  9. Yadirichi Stephenie Oyibo says:

    My name is Stephenie, and as much as I’d love to disagree with this article, I just have to agree.

    I strongly believe that a lot of time was wasted mid series — so there wasn’t a lot of time to generally dwell on the main issue at the end. Whether there’ll be some sort of justice for Hannah; whether the students at her school would finally realize their errors; or whether the character Bryce would actually go to jail, or receive some sort of justice for his actions.

    I was secretly just hoping there’d be a 14th episode, but I also get the cliché thing they were trying to do by making it thirteen episodes.

    Also, there were like a million things left unsaid, to say the least — how Justin handled his whole Mom and family situation; why Alex actually shot himself and what was the deal with the whole ‘yes, Sir’ with his father, probably why he took that decision (although in the previous episode when they showed the ambulance and the boy with the gun shot wound to the head, I was kinda maybe hoping it was Bryce, and that Justin shot him or something — but still, there wouldn’t be closure there); also how Jessica got over the whole situation and what her father did, and all that; if actually Clay finally opened up to his parents about the tapes and everything, and maybe they’d support Hannah instead, and the list goes on and on.

    There was absolutely zero closure, and I was kinda hurt. The only closure I got was at that point where Clay decided to start talking with that girl Susan, – the one who works at the beverage shop and he noticed cut her wrists a couple times — and I felt, “well, at least that’s showing us some protective measures.”

    But as the series progressed, I kinda felt like instead of dwelling on ’13 reasons why’, they could’ve dwelt on ’13 reasons why *not*’ — because from the very first episode, we knew Hannah commited suicide, and we all just wanted to find out all the reasons why, as much as the next person — but we just went through all the intensifying phases, but only saw Clay as a reason why she should’ve stayed, and still no other alternative reason as to why she shouldn’t have done it.

    And as far as I’m concerned, only a tiny number of people actually felt remorse, while basically others were concerned about their own self-centered problems – which is wrong, and should’ve been addressed and the end, with some justice, awareness, an actual memorial, or anything basically!

    And then all the hoolaboo at the ending part, I felt was just too much too handle, mostly unnecessary at some point, with why Sherry was even be on the list.

    Nevertheless all across, I think they did an overall great job at highlighting some things that are very well neglected in the societies of today. Which is why I generally love episode 7 where Clay went on a rampage in school hollering about how everyone’s so nice until they force you to kill yourself. I mean yes that’s what should’ve been done, noise should’ve been made, it was something serious, create awareness and make that noise!!!!

    Which is why sometines I feel like I myself should seek justice for Hannah Baker, but I just have to remind myself, that this is just fiction.

    Nevertheless I’m an eighteen year old, who found this show a bit disturbing and enlightening — and in as much as I wouldn’t basically want my younger ones to watch this show, it kinda opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t quite see before.

    Thanks for listening.

    • My Name says:

      I believe most are aware there are hotlines out there and it’s only a google away. Most of the time now we are bombarded with information for hotlines, and guidance after a show (it is a show), an in general. We’re all treated like fragile little morons and have been since the moral panics of the 1980s. Schools are telling parents not to let teenagers watch it because they didn’t follow the guidance and guidelines of suicide prevention groups (who are probably full of members who feel they failed family members in real life), who asked Netflix not to allow it to air. I’m sorry but even though this hits on events that can happen in real life it’s still a fictional cautionary tale. It’s not like the hotlines disappeared because they didn’t mention it. We don’t require this after every song or short story about suicide.

      It comes equipped with a rating system/guide and they were kind enough to put additional warnings about sensitive material. I’m glad they did not forewarn the masses about every detail. Right now we are overloaded with millennial morons who want trigger warnings on books and ask their law professors to leave out discussions on rape cases because it may be triggering for them. Screw the people who may need lawyers services one day. They try to get every show that contains a rape scene shut down, no matter how well it is handled. Rape scenes do not trigger every person that has been assaulted and it’s not up to everyone else to handle your reaction for you. You have to learn how to cope, no matter what might bother you. I will also add that Hannah was under the highly immature and misguided feminist impression that only girls are shamed and bullied, therefore no guy could understand, even though they were being shamed and bullied while listening to her tapes.

      I think some good discussions could come out of this show but at the same time I think everyone acting like “the children” are ignorant and in mortal danger after a tv show is not helping anything. It takes me back to the 1980s when morons thought sad rock songs caused suicide, and wanted them banned. It’s always easier to blame external factors alone. How many schools are telling parents not let their teens watch this now? How many parents watched it, felt clueless and terrified and then had an overly hysterical My baby! My baby! reaction and are now acting like this tv show must be stopped because they are scared?

      Pull it together people!! That’s a general people.

More TV News from Variety

Loading