’13 Reasons Why,’ the Netflix original that premiered in October, has received equal amounts of praise and backlash for the way it has approached mental health, suicide and depression in young adults. Some say it sheds light on an issue that needs to be talked about in a public and even legal sense, and some say it was too graphic or too dramatic and could have harmful effects. A preview of the show and some of the political stances the cast took can be found in an earlier post.
Regardless, if you have seen the show there is more than once scene that is very graphic and that is hard to shake. One of those scenes is [SPOILER] Hannah Baker’s suicide scene in the finale of Season 1.
The decision of how to shoot the scene did not come easily to the directors, they tell Vanity Fair. They wanted it to be serious, not dramatized by music or an unrealistic chain of events or actions. The results are jarring, scary and tragic.
Although they are seeing mixed reviews, I feel it was important to show the event as raw as possible. Suicide isn’t glamourous. It’s heartbreaking, it’s scary and it’s lonely. And the scene conveyed that.
On the topic, Yorkey (the showrunner) and Alvarez (the author of the book) had this to say, which I agree with:
“Is it concerning to me that people find the show triggering, and that vulnerable young people have been troubled by it? That’s absolutely concerning to me,” he [Yorkey] says. “But I also think that the alternative to doing the show was not doing this show. We did a show that was honest and was unflinching, and I think that the conversation sometimes seems to be dominated by controversy. And I think that there is a whole other part of the conversation that is people that have been tremendously moved by it.” Alvarez agrees: “If you don’t show the horror of it, then you’re inviting people to conjecture that maybe the act itself isn’t so bad. I think you’re inviting much more trouble.”