Sunday, May 7, 2017

6 Reasons Why 13 Reasons Why Is Important

13 Reasons Why is one of the most controversial series in a long time, they said. Depicting a Girl's descent into a mindset that suicide was her only option, and her friend's anguished attempt at trying to understand it, "13 Reasons Why" became a flash point for child psychologists everywhere.  It was a triggering situation for vulnerable youths.  It depicted a high school that really couldn't exist in reality.  It wasn't lighthearted enough.  Numerous reasons abounded for why "13 Reason Why" was bad for kids and their parents alike.  Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen are bad for our kids!

I'm here though to tell you that there were actually 6 reasons why "13 Reasons Why" was actually a useful and necessary show to come along.

1.  The Music.  OK, C would not say that the music was one of the best things about the show, but the atmospheric 1990's alternative music sensibility was perfect for the show.  The show was moody, somber and serious.  So was the music from the 1990's.  The Cure and Joy Division?  Count me in. And the final scene with Bob Mould's "See a Little Light?"  What a great song for this show.  I'm still humming.

2.  The Cinematography.  I'm sure I wasn't the only one to notice that as Bryce's tape was playing and for all scenes afterward, all of the blues were accentuated while all of the other colors became muted.  Maybe a parlor trick, but you just don't see TV shows with these kinds of processes.

3.  Clay's Tape.  I admit that the melodrama was thick with this show, and especially so when the lead character finally listens to his tape.  This was a deeply affecting episode and I felt awful when Clay declares that "I killed Hannah Baker and breaks down in Tony's arms.  Heartbreaking.

4.  The Symbolism.  I hope I'm not forcing things here but it seemed reasonably plausible that that last scene I talked about before did not feature anyone who was alive.  Tony was clearly a guardian angel.  I don't have an answer for his boyfriend since he was a bit player with few lines.  Clay could have easily thrown himself off of the cliff.  Skye also slit her wrists as shown when Tony and Clay were in the cafe.  I think what we saw were four dead people driving off on the highway at the end.

5.  Real Depiction of Teenage Angst.  Hey, I was a teenager once.  And I am raising one, soon to be two teenagers.  The tapes were a microcosm of teenage life.  Every tape depicted something important in Hannah's life, but only a couple were actually important.  A couple of the tapes were, taken by themselves, not terribly important.  The poem tape?  Not really a big deal.  And I'm still unsure what Marcus did.  But no matter, these were important tapes to Hannah.  Just like typical teenage angst.

6.  Talking to the Kids.  This is the big one.  Since I finished the last episode a couple of weeks ago, I have been able to have a heart to heart with C.  But we've also had small conversations with both C and G about the show.  We have talked about how disturbing the suicide scene was.  I have talked about the music that I like.  And we have talked to the kids about how bad at his job Mr. Porter was.  All of the time trying to reinforce how much they mean to me. Yeah, this was an important show at an important time.

And all of the words we said yesterday, well that's a long time ago.  Sing it Bob Mould.

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