13 Reasons Why.. And all it takes is one

28 June, 2017

I think everyone by now should know that I prefer story over mechanics when it comes to games, story over destruction in movies. Don’t get me wrong mechanics and destruction are both amazing but nothing captivates me more than an amazingly told story. I guess that should be obvious? Not really, not everybody enjoys an amazing story, they would rather just be competitive or see things blow up and all those things are the right thing. There is no single one thing to like. Besides Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as it’s not a story rich game all my other stand out, favourite and highly recommended games are story rich, and serious games. What does that say about me? Spec Ops: The Line was spectacular for a lot of things but what really got me was the terrifying choices I had to make in this third person shooter game, I questioned my own moral, multiple times. The Walking Dead: Season 1 (Video Game), an episodic interactive adventure survival game and all the other games in that series for that matter all had me weak at the knees for many different reasons.

Not only about my decision to the all terrible choices I had, the terrible things that occurred due to what I thought was an excellent decision and what happened regardless of what I did. These are games that either through action or otherwise make you tremble, make you feel things, make you write things to get it off your chest are the types of games that are amazing within this world. I was never big on reading, despite most of my family being enthusiastic readers and I think as I’ve grown older I have grown out of the whole ‘FIND, KILL, SHOOT’ for the most part and need to find something with more substance. I’ll still love me some Call of Duty, League of Legends and my newest obsession, Overwatch but the things that captivate me are story rich.

Where am I going with this? That was all about games, but that theory doesn’t just apply to games it also applies to everything including movies/TV shows. Long story short after finding time, hopping back on Netflix I saw Netflix recommended ‘13 Reasons Why’. I’d heard that there was some controversy surrounding it, that it was all about suicide. I thought I’d give it a shot but I never would have imagined that it would have given me the same sort of feelings as the games I’ve previously mentioned. 13 Reasons Why started out in 2007 as a novel written by Jay Asher. In 2017, it was released on Netflix, a TV show based off the novel. It’s funny, I never knew it was a novel first until after I finished watching the series. I won’t spoil much for you, but here is the synopsis the Internet Movie Database gives, “Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life”. I think, the actors were amazing, the story was amazing, the production was amazing.

I will just add a caution that this shouldn’t be watched by just anyone as discussed topics are quite harsh in nature and depicted on screen during certain episodes. I do think that having something like this is great to start discussions that normally would be taboo or brushed under the carpet. Boy it certainly started discussions, I’m just glad that it wasn’t an awful show trying to bring up these discussions as it would just turn into blaming the show for suicides that probably would have occurred anyway (which is ironic considering when you watch it, it’s all about people blaming others to protect themselves) …

… Which did happen anyway. Just one Google search of the shows name and the top results are “TV show 13 reasons why ‘inspired’ suicides of teens”, “Families blame ’13 reasons why’ for 2 teens’ suicides”, and many others. That’s not the discussion that we are meant to be having. Mental health is a serious issue, and whilst most just like me and you just get swept away with our own issues, there are many, many things going a lot worse for others. I’ve always believed suicide is the cowards way out, you hurt those around you more than you hurt yourself and whilst I still believe that, going through high school, having certain situations arise in life and watching something like 13 Reasons Why gives me a pretty good understanding as why some people would want to go that way, the world isn’t a nice place, well it is, but people aren’t... Sometimes.

There will always be good and evil and with the rise of the internet like it has been for over a decade the internet just creates a new way to bully, harass, stalk and many other things to people who are trying to make ends meet like the rest of it. Take one look on 4chan, reddit or even the YouTube comments section, a lot of the times they are toxic. What about when you were in high school and there was a fight online between two people and you either commented, egging the fight on or just sat there with some popcorn and watched. The world isn’t a pretty place but if we all do our bit, and help be a part of a solution, not the problem then I think that could go a long way.

I don’t know how parents believed the show ‘convinced’ or ‘inspired’ their loved ones to go through with it. What that show inspired me to do is start some conversation about the topic. The show doesn’t end on a low indicating that suicide is the way out. It has a carefully crafted ending that gives across the right message for those who either are considering suicide or those who know someone who is. I recommend the show 13 Reasons Why, and by extent it’s source material. Just so you know, you have been warned it’s type of content and I can’t wait for the second season which I didn’t think they’d make, but from a quick search it seems like it is coming in 2018.