I really tried to think of a film adaptation I’d seen that I didn’t like, and there were a few, but I just kept going back to a TV series. A Netflix Original that aired the first season last year. Any guesses? That’s right! ’13 reasons why’ is the worst adaptation I have ever seen. It’s a controversial show anyway and being a terrible adaptation doesn’t help. I’m sorry this isn’t about an actual film, but I just have got to talk about this show. This means there may be some upsetting things spoken about in this post, so here is a trigger warning.
Where do I even begin with this show? Well, I read the book in school – in fact, I actually forget I read the book to begin with, which probably means I didn’t particularly enjoy the book, to begin with anyway. But I do know the book was better than the show. From what I can remember, I don’t think it took Clay that long to listen to all the tapes in the book, but they really dragged it out for the TV show. I think it could’ve been made into a film instead, but we all know they wanted to do a sequel whether people wanted them to or not. And guess what… They did!
I don’t like the plot of the story anyway, I feel like it makes depression and suicides a trivial thing. After the first season aired and the second season was announced, I saw multiple people on social media, Twitter specifically, saying things like ‘Hannah was a drama queen’ or that Hannah was pathetic. That is not the sort of things you want to hear after a show like this is shown. I’m sure that these reactions aren’t what the production crew and the writers wanted when they pitched the idea, but that’s what they got. When you get reactions like this maybe you should take a step back and think ‘how could we have gotten these points across without people thinking Hannah was dramatic?’ I’ve thought about this a lot, and honestly, there are one-hundred-and-one ways they could’ve portrayed this show better.
I do think important issues do come in the show, things that should be talked about. I just absolutely hate the way they went about it. Suicide is something that needs to be spoken about. Depression is something that needs to be spoken about. Rape is something that needs to be spoken about. Just not how ’13 reasons why’ talks about them. As someone who suffers from depression, I was actually quite offended that we are shown this way. We already face people every single day saying that we are being dramatic, or that we have nothing to be sad about, etc. So seeing this show, and the reactions from people afterwards really felt like all the progress and information we had spread about mental illness was knocked back about ten steps. I don’t think Hannah was depressed, to begin with. She was bullied, sure, and that isn’t okay. But the way the show portrayed Hannah, I don’t believe she was depressed. Obviously, some pretty horrific things happened to Hannah, which could’ve resulted in her becoming depressed, I totally get that. I just feel like trying to portray mental illness on TV or in movies is a fine line, and you have got to get it right. ’13 reasons why’ completely missed the mark on this.
Don’t even get me started on season two. Throughout the whole season, my heart was beating so fast. I was basically in a state of panic the whole time I was watching it. I know what you’re thinking, ‘Brenna, why didn’t you just stop?’ Well, I had to watch it because I wanted to know how they were going to weasel themselves out of the shitstorm they started after season one. Let me tell you, they didn’t. It was worse. I was not prepared for the content in season two. At least this time they actually included trigger warnings at the beginning of the episodes. Yet again they made something extremely serious into something trivial. They romanticised school shootings, rape, abuse, drug abuse, depression, bullying and suicide. Again. There is just nothing positive I can say about this show.
If you haven’t watched it yet and want to, and I really suggest you don’t – especially if you suffer from depression, anxiety or another type of mental illness, or if you’re triggered by any of the things I mentioned in this post. The show is rather graphic. If you are triggered by self-harm or suicide then do not watch the last episode of season one (episode 13) from 35:30 – 39:05 – it shows a graphic scene of a suicide.
I’m sorry this isn’t actually about a film, but I just had to talk about how horrible I thought/think the show is.
Thanks for reading!