By Paula Fuentes
The new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” is at the intersection of sexual assault awareness and pop culture.
Originally a young-adult novel by author Jay Asher, it has been adapted as a Netflix series.
The show is now breaking records upon its release, becoming the most tweeted show ever, according to Twitter data.
It’s a show filled with mystery and drama intertwined.
Its emotional rawness draws its audience in, then makes them shoot back to their seats suddenly to gather their breath from what was just seen.
The show follows a group of high school students who are left to figure out what to do after fellow classmate Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) commits suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes for them to listen to.
Each cassette contains the different reasons and the people who led to her suicide.
As classmate Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) gets the tapes delivered to his porch, viewers are able to relive some of Hannah’s darkest moments during the last few years of her life.
The show highlights the issues of bullying, suicide and sexual assault in a way that many argue might be a bit melodramatic.
Although it’s geared toward teens and young adults, it also grabs the attention of parents who ask themselves how much of this is actually going on in their teenager’s life.
The first few episodes of the show are your typical intro to a series, filled with context and background information.
About halfway through the first episode, Clay receives the tapes, which serves as the jumpstart to the tangled web viewers will follow and try to come to terms with as the show progresses.
Besides the cliche high school scenes” such as a high school party, where jocks get shirtless after wrestling in the sprinklers, or the awkward texting back and fourth between Hannah and classmate Justin Foley” I couldn’t stop watching.
Why did this girl commit suicide? What’s on the 13 tapes? Why are all these students so tense?
Also, Clay, why can’t you sit down and listen to the tapes?
Each episode is focused around the tape Clay is listening to in the moment, which slowly begins to introduce different characters and classmates.
As the protagonist, Clay attempts to confront them, or to try to get justice for the allegations Hannah is making on the tapes.
The plot continues to intensify as the episodes progress, finding out exactly what each person did to deserve their own tape.
The further Clay gets into the tapes, the more on edge the other students get, believing he might be the one to bring them all down.
The show also deals with Hannah’s parents’ lawsuit against the school, which is an effort to get to the bottom of their daughter’s death.
This serves as a way to hook parents of teenagers across the country who must be terrified wondering how much of these events are going on at their own children’s schools.
The show pulls a lot of different strings.
You find yourself hating one character, feeling sorry for another and constantly wishing the flashbacks of Hannah being alive could somehow change her final decision.
Your heart gets ripped out as you see two parents completely distraught looking for answers, and then grows cold as you see students be so self-absorbed with their own concerns.
Many are arguing this show is a slap in the face for high school students everywhere, claiming the show is sensationalizing the idea of teen suicide, mental illness, bullying and sexual assault.
A study from healthychildren.org shares that suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.
The show tackles many issues that high schoolers are confronted with daily, and it does it in an unapologetic way.
By episode nine, questions begin to get answered for viewers, and the show dives straight into dealing with the horrible things that Hannah, like other high school students across the county might, have to live through.
There are scenes that leave you breathless, can give you goosebumps and others that make you hit pause and walk away from the screen to process everything you just watched.
Because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it seems fitting to have “13 Reasons Why” generate so much buzz, whether it be positive or negative.
“13 Reasons Why” shines a light on issues that many might not be aware of, and how difficult life can be for teenagers coming of age.
Courtesy of Netflix
’13 Reasons Why’ poster
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