Netflix’s adaptation of the YA novel 13 Reasons Why has proven to be one of their most controversial series. The show is wildly popular with its intended age demographic and many have praised it for its unflinching portrayal of issues like depression and suicide, but just as many have criticized it for turning those topics into lurid shock tactics. One scene, where the protagonist, played by Katherine Langford, committed suicide in a very graphic manner, has now been removed from the show.
In a statement released yesterday (via Variety), Netflix explained their decision:
‘We’ve heard from many young people that ‘13 Reasons Why’ encouraged them to start conversations about difficult issues like depression and suicide and get help—often for the first time. As we prepare to launch season three later this summer, we’ve been mindful about the ongoing debate around the show. So on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we’ve decided with creator Brian Yorkey and the producers to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one.’
So here’s the thing: 13 Reasons Why is garbage. Always has been. The book is garbage and the show is garbage and frankly, I think it’s disgusting that Netflix even adapted it on such a level. The book was long criticized for its glamorizing of suicide. It was talked about for years in the YA community (I should know, I was there). It’s a nasty little book that sees suicide as a fun noir-esque plot point and has no qualms about turning it into a voyeur’s dream. The series actually fixes a lot of the problems of the book and it’s STILL hot garbage that made suicide look like something out of a music video. Netflix executives are only taking steps now because a bunch of research and recent studies showed a possible link between the show and current trends in teen suicide. As with all such studies, caution should be taken before drawing direct parallels or causation, but that was still something Netflix should have been aware of. The book is garbage!
But remember how Netflix CEO Reed Hastings originally defended the show against criticism: ‘It is controversial, but nobody has to watch it.’
Header Image Source: Netflix