I have to say I don’t watch a lot of TV shows. I have a few shows that I’m loyal to and that’s pretty much all I have time for. When I heard all the buzz surrounding the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why I decided to check it out. I went through the 13 episodes relatively quickly and I’d like to respond by doing exactly what the show wants you to do-start conversations about some very tough issues.

If you’ve not seen or heard of 13 Reasons Why, I won’t spoil it. However, I will tell you the basic premise. The show is about a high school girl named Hannah Baker who has tragically committed suicide. Before her death she recorded 13 cassette tapes dedicated to the 13 people she felt were the reason for her demise. Every episode of the show reveals another tape and another glimpse into what led Hannah to do what she did.

I have to say I went through a lot of emotions while watching this series. As I said, I won’t give it away but I will share the some of the various thoughts I had after watching it. If you haven’t watched the series, then just consider this post 13 thought provoking ideas or comments. If you have watched the series, I’m sure you have your own thoughts and reactions. Feel free to comment.

What’s the Point of This?

Why am I suddenly departing from the typical post format? I think it’s important to respond to what’s around you. This blog in fact was started as a response to the abundance of negativity in the media and in the lives of artists. 13 Reasons Why sheds light on some very dark subjects and I think it’s important to talk about these things. After all, good art demands a response and this compelling story demands just that.

Questions, Comments, and Concerns:

My reactions vary and in an attempt to not spoil the plot, I will keep my comments and statements fairly vague. However, each one could and should be elaborated on. This was a deep show with deep issues and a simple statement can hardly suffice when dealing with complex issues. I also realize that this is a show where people have very strong and differing opinions-particularly if the issues addressed are close to you.  Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with my reactions, the point is to start a discussion because the lack of discussion was the cause for many of the problems that occurred within the show. That being said, feel free to voice comments, questions, concerns, and plot spoilers in the comment box.

My 13 Reactions:

  1. High school is hard-I don’t care how good or well balanced you are. It’s hard to be in a bad situation, it’s hard to avoid bad situations, and it’s hard to be yourself. Regardless of whether you are the smart kid or the party animal, you are not immune to poor choices or mistakes.
  2. People aren’t mind readers nor should you expect them to be.
  3. You can’t keep everything bottled up inside you. No one should be expected to bear the weight of what these teenagers were bearing. Communicate your feelings, actions, or concerns with someone that you trust or to a professional depending on the severity of the situation.  While that may be very difficult-you have to open up to someone.
  4. Nobody can possibly be there for you at all times. That’s where God comes in. People will fail you whether they mean to or not-it’s just life and human nature.  Just because someone fails doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.
  5. Yes is yes and no is no. Don’t assume that you should read between the lines of what someone really wants and don’t expect others to read between the lines of what you’re saying.
  6. There were characters I judged in the beginning that I had more empathy for by the end of the story. Backstory is always important.  People often have a reason behind why they are the way they are.
  7. Teenagers think differently than adults do. I needed to be reminded of that as I watched and was instantly reacting with what should have been done in each situation.
  8. Not every character is a victim. Yes we react to our circumstances and in this case, many of the circumstances were unfortunate. However, many poor choices were made across the board. Doing nothing is also a choice. Keeping silent is also a choice.
  9. Actions have consequences.
  10. Hannah wasn’t perfect nor was she perfect in how she handled everything, nor was everyone in her tapes guilty of “killing her.”
  11. There were things that Hannah went through that would have pushed me over the edge too.
  12. This show made me think about those that I may have shut out, even if it was unintentional. It was a reminder that as much as I’d like to think I’m above all this, I’m not. We all make mistakes. Sometimes simple mistakes or poor choices have devastating consequences that we never anticipated. We cannot think that this doesn’t apply to us.
  13. I think it’s important to view stories like this with an outsider’s perspective because it makes you assess, question, understand, problem solve and figure out where the boundaries are without actually being in that situation. However, it’s also important to realize that there are people actually in this situation and the most important thing is to listen and love them.

What can we do?

“It has to get better-the way we treat each other and look out for each other.  It has to get better somehow.”

-Clay Jensen, 13 Reasons Why

I believe the start of things getting better is by opening up and talking about these issues. I also think we need to take inventory of our own lives and actions. At the end of the day the only thing that you can always control is yourself. Maybe the start of that is just by opening up and being honest with yourself and others. So let’s open the floor for comments and discussion because there is so much more to say.  Feel free to comment in the box below.

1 Peter 5:7- Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

 

 

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