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13 Reasons Why is back after controversy

by Briana DeTuro

The Netflix television series, 13 Reasons Why, is a popular and trendy show adaptation from the young adult novel written by Jay Asher. This television show developed by Brian Yorkey, takes place at Liberty High, with the main characters Hannah Baker, Clay Jensen and his friends along with antagonist, Bryce Walker, the popular yet controversial character in the series. 

 13 Reasons Why is out on Netflix with three seasons so far, with the third season premiering  on Friday, Aug. 23. This show addresses difficult topics, such as mental health, suicide, rape and assault. Every episode comes with a trigger warning at the beginning with a website link provided before and after the show with crisis information and resources for anyone struggling with any of these hard topics.

 Actors will break character at the beginning and end of the show to present this link and warning, which gives it a more personal tone, showing the audience that this isn’t just a show to entertain, but a show to educate, teach and provide resources.

 Although this show is very popular, it has received some backlash from the watchers and critics. In the beginning of season one, Hannah Baker does commit suicide, and a graphic scene where she takes her own life is shown. This caused an uproar with watchers.

 A statement from Netflix’s Twitter account stated that they were aware that the show has caused people to start to have conversations about these topics such as suicide and depression, often for the first time, and they were happy that their resources and encouragement to not hide these mental health issues is working. Although this is the case, Netflix reached out to Brian Yorkey and asked for the scene to be edited out. 

 With this in mind, season three takes a new approach with the main topic revolving around the murder of football player Bryce Walker. This whole season is centered amongst a tight knit group of friends trying to resolve if Bryce Walker was murdered or if his death was a freak accident. This series is famous for its cliff hangers, and so far, that’s all of season three. Watchers can  find themselves sitting on the edge of their seat every time an episode comes on. 

UT alumni communications major, Jasmine Cordoba, was concerned to watch the show at the beginning, but after a few episodes she said she was hooked. “I really didn’t feel like the show was any different than all the horror movies or suspenseful movies already out on Netflix,” said Cordoba. “Yes, it has very intense topics, but doesn’t a lot of other shows and movies? The story line is addicting and I can easily binge watch it.”  

Despite the fact that it is a dramatic television show, the  emotionally driven topics, such as depression, suicide, etc. have been handled in a realistic manner.

Tifanie Burgess, junior communication and science disorders major at the University of South Florida decided she was against the show because of the fact that she works with students in a school system. “I didn’t want to watch it because I heard it was very morbid, and working within a school with children, it just makes it even more real because it hits too close to home. I usually want to watch shows that make me happy.”

Stephanie Jiron Quesada, UT sophomore international business and marketing major, started watching the show, but actually decided to stop because she felt the total opposite.  “What caught my attention was the topic on which the show was based on but after a couple of episodes I lost interest in it because it was too dramatic for my taste,” said Quesada. “Teen suicide should be a big deal and should be taken seriously but I feel like the show didn’t portray the seriousness or how we can prevent more suicides from happening.”

 With all these different opinions on this show, it’s hard to say whether someone should watch it or not. Will it bother someone or disturb them, or will it be intriguing? I would say though, that you definitely need to watch it for yourself to form your own opinion.

Briana DeTuro can be reached at briana.deturo@theminaretonline.com

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