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Reasons to Watch '13 Reasons Why'

As the educationist, trying to highlight relationship issues to be addressed and to be dealt!

I Am Not Into Watching 'Teens Flicks'

I want to clarify that I am an educationist by profession and not a teenager to write about this TV show. This leads to my header as well that I am not into watching the teen shows and reading teens novels. So what has led me to watch and follow it then? I will answer this in the next header but first I would like to write the synopsis of the story. "13 Reasons Why" premiered in 2017 as Netflix's original series. It is based on the 2007 novel with the same title. The show revolves around a suicide of a girl named Hannah Baker who left the tapes behind for the classmates to listen to. This is the most interesting aspect of this plot. I would like to give my reasons for why and how I happened watching this show. There are reasons for parents too that why they should watch it as well.

Reasons to Watch This Show

Not A Typical Teen Drama

I either read a good book or watch a good TV show or a film based on the book. Somehow I could not read this novel by Jay Asher because I thought it to be a teen stuff as usual. Then I came to know about the hype it created at its premiere of pilot episodes at Netflix. So I thought to give it a try. I like watching seasons a lot so downloaded the first episode. Bang! It has clicked me right from the start when Hannah's recorded voice came out of the first tape with these words:

Hannah Baker: "Hey, it's Hannah, Hannah Baker. That's right. Don't adjust your... whatever device you're listening to this one. It's me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore. And this time absolutely no requests. Get a snack. Settle in. 'cause I'm about to tell you the story of my life."

This dialogue increased my curiosity. I was motivated to watch this show from the beginning to the end indeed. It sounded too promising to the viewer that this show is not a typical teen stuff.

A Strong Message to Pass On

As in Hannah's words:

Hannah Baker: [her recorded voice] "The rules here are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: you listen. Number two: you pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy. It's not supposed to be easy, or I would have emailed you an MP3. When you're done listening to all 13 sides, because there are 13 sides to every story, rewind the tapes, put them back in the box, and pass them on to the next person."

So I would relate to rule number one: watch it or listen to the story of this girl, for what made her committing suicide. Number two: passing on the director's message to all the teens of the world why not to do this thing ever in life.

Teens Needing Help Worldwide

The world is in a chaos these days and so are the teens all over the world. For them, fighting with bullying all alone is the worst of all. As an educationist, I condemn the bullying culture. It has been so into trends that students feel helpless at times. They can't share their issues with the parents. Parents are often unable to understand their children. It proves to be a reason for emotional chaos for the teens. The message is strong in Hannah's tapes that in the end, she found everybody responsible for being her reason to commit suicide. The director has woven the incidents and characters skillfully to prove her death cause being associated with this snobbish culture of bullying at schools. He suggested dealing with this with strict hands to save our generation of this malicious suicide attempts and deaths.

The Numbers Are Just Numbers After All

Hannah Baker: "See, I've heard so many stories about me now that I don't know which one is the most popular, but I do know the least popular. The truth. See, the truth isn't always the most exciting version of things or the best or the worst. It's somewhere between, but it deserves to be heard and being remembered. The truth will out like someone said once. It remains."

Another important reason is that sooner or later the 'truth' will be out and needs to be promoted instead of being negated. The numbering will not justify the reasons to watch this melodrama of teens. It deserves to watch as it has the bitter truths of our life and society.

Criticism Rectified

The audience gave the following comments at the end of season 1:

  • It's disturbing because it raised questions in the education system and authorities of the school in handling the issues like bullying, rape, and suicide.
  • Another group argued over Hannah's suicidal death, too glorified by her tapes claiming her mates being the reasons for her death instead of conveying the real message.
  • Another notion argued at the story and plot being one-sided, dealt only with Hannah's perspective, not with the culprits' perspective.

So season 2 was launched this year! And the director has nailed it by narrating all the perspectives of all the characters. Thumbs up! On dealing with such sensitive and debatable issues of teens with grace and depth. The season 2 rectified all the criticisms attached to this season. I recommend watching “13 Reasons Why” and to promote, it provides the parental guide in dealing with teens and their issues. Hannah's story seems universal in its appeal. The season 2 has highlighted the other side to her story. I would call it the real story. The miseries and sufferings of the deceased have been very well depicted. The victims' families issues are well presented too making it be at the top of all the TV show lovers' watch list.

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On A Lighter Note

Well! On a lighter note, this show does not seem boring or pathetic at any moment. In all 13 tapes of Hannah's story, it has a well-packed entertainment for all age viewers. It has teen jokes and fun parties, romance and friendship stuff. For me, it contained some of my personal favorite songs. They were very entertaining until the end of this show. Hannah Baker has never appeared as a boring girl. I felt a strong connection with her feelings and thoughts at times. She proved a funny and cute teen girl with lots of dreams and aspirations. She happened to get along and a very good friend, who kept so many secrets of her friends & foes in her heart until the end. In dealing with the controversial issues of suicide & rape, this show provided good comic relief scenes to pacify the viewers.

Hannah Baker: "Love the helmet. It's adorable.

Clay Jensen: You mean "adorable" in a helpless baby animal sort of way, I'm guessing.

Hannah Baker: Aren't you afraid of helmet hair?

Clay Jensen: My hair does the same thing no matter what - just sits there.

Hannah Baker: You just need some product. [Touching his hair]

Hannah Baker: A little effort to style it, blow-dry it in the morning.

Clay Jensen: And sacrifice my masculinity?

Hannah Baker: That ship has sailed, don't you think?"

Hannah Baker: [about Justin] "So, you see, that's where the trouble began. That smile. That damned smile.

"Bryce Walker: "[to Hannah] I like your laugh. Hannah Baker: Thanks. I like your understated sense of fashion.

"Justin Foley: [to Hannah as she leaves the school bus] "Hey, where the hell is this thing going?

Hannah Baker: No clue. I don't take the bus either.

Justin Foley: Seriously? Hannah Baker! Hannah Baker: [as the bus drives off with Justin in it] Call me! Handsome."

My Takeaway Songs From The Show

Watch It As A Parental Guide

I have watched both the seasons and have relished them. It made me laugh and cry. It gave me the reasons to watch this teen show from the parents and educationists perspective. The parents need to watch it because they may have teenage children who are victims of bullying at school. They may find it difficult to handle their teenage son or a daughter. They may have issues unaddressed with their children. So to make children aware of the disastrous effects of suicide, it is important to let them watch this show. It may guide them about the sufferings & miseries of the affected families. It will guide the parents being vigilant in the upbringing of their teens.

© 2018 Tajwer Shakir

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