I didn’t watch ’13 Reasons Why’ Season 2.
Well, I did, but I stopped right in the middle of the second episode. Soon as it premiered, the whole internet was on fire. There were already a bunch of haters who have been talking about the first season, telling how the second season will be “just as bad”. There were also a bunch of vague reactions from its audiences. But I didn’t lurk too much on my Twitter timeline and its hashtag feed. I sat right next to a friend and watched the first (and half of the second) episode(s) with her.
Then I lost it.
I tried to continue at home but as I scrolled through the Netflix suggestions, my attention was caught by a different series. ’13 Reasons Why’ completely vanished from my consciousness and I was unfazed by the intrepid people of the internet.
An actual footage of me in the midst of the 13RW debate (via GIPHY)
But of course, I had reasons why I refused to watch (or continue watching) the series. And those reasons are all personal and therefore it does not reflect other people’s reason for choosing to not watch the series. It also does not contrast the reason why other people chose to watch it. But these points helped me make a decision that I don’t regret even after 72 hours of thinking: “was it really not worth the watch?”
Warning: Spoiler alert and trigger warnings are in effect.
1. I didn’t feel the need to
Having read the book and watched the first season gave me the conclusion I needed. I didn’t need any “justice-seeking drama” and I just felt content after finding out why Hannah chose to do what she did. As a fan of open endings, I really admired how the last sequence of the first season played out. Then I asked a friend to spoil everything for me. I felt like that’s not something I actually needed to watch.
2. The “uncomfortable feeling”
As someone who had struggled with suicide attempts and resorted to self-harm, I was offended at how it was explained in the first season. Skye, saying self-harm was better than killing yourself, and Hannah seemingly doing it as a form of revenge to the people who hurt her was a no from me. But I went on to finish the first season in hopes to find a twist that would turn my opinion around but there was none. What’s there to expect from a show that has already influenced many who don’t go through this that the events in the series are what actually goes through the minds of mentally ill individuals?
3. I had no one to watch it with
There is a trigger warning at the beginning of each episode. Though the first season didn’t really trigger me, I was afraid of what would happen this time. It’s always better safe than sorry, right? When I asked my family members if they could watch it with me, they all said no and I believe they did it for me. It was for the best. And besides…
4. I have seen better
There are many times I have explored media on how to cope with an undiagnosed case. There is a ton of movies that I had found comforting and another ton that is, needless to say, detrimental to me. The movies that helped me were complete works of art and nothing- not even ’13 Reasons Why’- can compare to. And not all of them are even about high school or about coming-of-age, but they all gave me the standards of what reality is supposed to look like onscreen.
5. It felt unrealistic
With that being said, I found ’13 Reasons Why’ as an unrealistic piece. I have no idea what the landscape of American high school looks like but with all the news I had been hearing, it seemed really close to it. But even news can be sensationalized so it was really hard for me to tell how “real” it was. But there was one definite thing that felt unrealistic: the lines. It still carried over the tone of a novel and the lines didn’t work on a series. This is what I believe in: “the purpose of visual media is to show and not to tell.” And ’13 Reasons Why’ did a little too much of telling in an episode and a half, so it already felt dragging.
6. Hannah isn’t effective
Tyler Durden did a better job at this, Hannah. (via GIPHY)
Her appearance wasn’t convincing. It didn’t make me think that she was an imagination of Clay. It made me think that she was put there just so Katherine Langford wouldn’t lose her job. Sure, they needed her to keep her presence in the second season. But I believe it could have been done in a more compelling and maybe even eerie way. When she became the third wheel between Clay and Skye, it completely made me stop and say, “nope, I’m done”.
7. There is a pattern
Me trying to figure out the pattern (via GIPHY)
It was too obvious. Like the first season, there will be a person in focus every episode. That was their way of putting together their truths with Hannah’s, leading up to the conclusion of the case. I almost thought: “At the end of the season, a morbid scene will play out.” I was expecting maybe a school shooting since Tyler’s ender from the first season involved gun ownership, and lo and behold, the bathroom scene happens. Seems like a pattern to me.
8. It was doomed from the start
Well, uhm, sike? (via GIPHY)
It wasn’t only the pattern that I noticed. From the first episode, I was pretty sure they would lose the case. The school lawyer was created to outsmart everyone with their leading questions and the Bakers’ lawyer just had a weak case. They only have Hannah’s tapes and the testimonies. There was no concrete evidence that would point out the wrong of the school which had a few items that they used to their advantage. I probably watched too many court dramas.
9. What I believe the second season was made for
It wasn’t to seek justice for the bullied and abused because, as aforementioned, it was doomed from the start. Aside from the money, it felt like a desperate attempt to redeem the first season. It was as if the producers realized, “We messed up the first season; now we have to turn things around.” Hannah dominated the first season and the rest were underdeveloped characters (except for Justin who, I believe, has the best character arc in the series). To me, it will be 13 episodes of excuses and establishment of characters that should have already happened in the first season.
10. It’s not even for teens
I expect the second season to be way more graphic than the first. And the fact that the first season ended with Hannah’s step-by-step guide on how she did it, was already a slap in everyone’s faces that this isn’t meant for kids 16 and up to watch alone (or with a friend). It’s a series that should be watched with the company of a guardian. But who watches these kinds of series with adults anyway? I would rate it an R-18 for its graphic content and a PG for the rest.
11. It’s not fit for the Filipino audience
Want deep, dark, and edgy teen drama? Try watching this movie instead.
It’s an American teen drama about kids struggling with mental health issues plus family and school. The Filipino landscape is much different. I honestly have no idea what high school is like now for kids these days with the change in the educational system in our country but I am pretty sure it’s still far different from the American landscape. I wouldn’t recommend this for Filipino teens to watch.
12. Jay Asher
Even though Netflix has said he has no involvement in the second season (per this Vanity Fair Article https://t.co/c7W0h52eeg), you can't get away from the man behind the source material.
— Macy Davis (@BookishlyBright) May 21, 2018
It had been a long debate for me as to whether or not I should watch the series because of the alleged sexual harassment the author has committed. Even to this day, there are no updates regarding this case and Netflix was quick to issue a statement saying Asher didn’t have any involvement in the second season.
“Innocent until proven guilty” is how I should be thinking but the fact that Jay Asher cheated on his wife with these women is already a big “NO” for me. Don’t get me started on the content of his statement made by his spokesperson, Tamara Taylor.
“Mr. Asher was married at the time of these relationships, as were many of the women. He is deeply sorry for the pain these consensual decisions caused his family, and others.”
13. The internet
The internet debate is tiring. There are a lot of butthurt people defending the show too much and a lot of unpopular opinions trying to be popular. No one has any right to invalidate someone’s opinion unless it’s an actual example of ‘hate speech’. Even constructive criticism has its limits but some people just always go overboard. No one is going to win this debate. Ever.