Before we lay 13 Reasons Why to rest, here’s everything it got wrong in four seasons

Oh the land of ‘Liberty High School’ long may she rest

Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” is the email that keeps bouncing back when you’re adamantly trying to ask your lecturer why they graded you so low. You don’t want it, every time it comes back you’re reminded of what you’re getting yourself in for and the end result is never going to benefit you in the long run. 

Somehow, we are onto series four of Netflix’s endlessly triggering drama. After we all tuned in to the first series to find out the 13 reasons that contributed to the fate of main character Hannah Baker, we thought it was all over. But it came back. And then it came back again, and again, much like a stubborn wart. It’s not even 13 reasons anymore, it’s 52 reasons America is not a country on planet sane. 

So if you want to relive it through rage instead of rose tinted glasses, here’s everything it got wrong in its time. From badly mishandled to downright scarring, it had as much of deft grip on social issues like someone with complete butterfingers. Oh, what a show.

The bathtub scene

It doesn’t feel like long ago when the world entered a debate of: should Netflix have included THAT scene or not? (It actually wasn’t, it was 2017).

You already know what I’m talking about. It was beyond graphic. The scene was so controversial, Netflix had to remove the scene from the series two years after it aired.

The third series literally tried to do a redemption arc for a serial rapist

The third series was ordered in 2018, and released to our unwilling eyes in 2019. The third series was focused around Bryce, who was series two’s nasty villain who we all hate because he’s a rapist, and they actually tried to make us feel sorry for him.

Two of the characters want to kill Bryce and just before Zach breaks both of his legs and dislocates his right arm, Bryce  takes inspo from Hannah Baker, by leaving a tape for his victim Jessica. On said tape Bryce apologises to her saying: “I’m trying to set things right, I’m trying to be better but this fucking world won’t let me… Nobody believes I can change.”

Netflix want us to develop sympathy for a man who emotionally torments his victims not only through making them listen to cassettes, but by telling them he has changed.

There are seven deaths in four series

And, all of those four series came out within four years. Imagine attending a high school where seven people are killed within four years, all your classmates are dropping like flies and you’re just minding your own business trying to make sure you pass maths.

The real heroes of 13 Reasons Why are the student body who seem to be oblivious to the constant murders and dramas of the 13 Reasons gang.

They managed to convince fans they predicted the future

Almost as if they read the room before lockdown.

The producers KNOW the triggering scenes are too graphic

I’m one hundred per cent certain I don’t even need to reference which scenes I’m talking about here. THOSE scenes. The scenes where the series finally reaches its main point and shows you exactly what happened. They seem to pop up near the end of the series, like Hannah’s bathtub scene or the mop scene in series two. 

Before you even say it, I know the producers include these little trigger warnings, but if you’re invested in a plot you’re not going to skip the episode are you?

In the Beyond The Reasons post-show discussion for series two, Tyler’s assault scene is one of the first topics discussed. Speaking to a panel that includes the entire ensemble of executive producers, host Elaine Welteroth asks about Tyler’s sexual assault and why they felt the need to show the assault in such a graphic way.

“It was important for us to try and bring the audience over to Tyler’s side at little bit. There’s a concept called ‘radical empathy’, which is essentially the exercise or the attempt to empathise with someone completely and someone who is completely different from you. As brutal as that scene is to watch, I defy anybody to watch it and not feel pain for Tyler,” he said.

Okay, so it’s definitely in the name of the literary device ‘Radical empathy’, definitely not for the drama. 

They’re ‘spreading awareness’

Any 13 Reasons Why stan will tell you that the show deserves praise because it’s “spreading awareness”. Has it though? Really? Is it not all just about shocking the audience and buzzing off tweets about how shocking it is? What happens in the show that we weren’t already “aware” of? Saying that 13 Reasons Why is about spreading awareness has the same energy as Kylie Jenner saying 2016 was the year of “realising things”. You’re not actually saying anything at all.

In the land of ‘Liberty High School’ the tragedy of school shootings is prevented through the power of emotions

Our soft king Clay steps in front of the gun wearing a skinny tie and politely says: “Please don’t do it.” About two seconds later, Tyler (the gunman, who about 10 minutes ago went through some brutal on screen assault) does exactly as he is told, puts the AK-47 down and ducks into Clay’s car, escaping any consequences. Trivialised gun violence, it’s what the kids want. 

That HIV plot twist

Justin, one of the show’s “would spoon you after sex but then ask you to leave five minutes later” boys, recovers from heroin addiction in series four. Then, Justin dies after contracting HIV which developed into AIDS.

Before hardcore stans defend the inclusion of an AIDS plot line being absolutely essential to spreading awareness; Netflix basically said in Pride month 2020, if you get AIDS you will die. Putting a character through recovery to then kill them off anyway basically says: Life isn’t gonna get any better.

In series four Clay’s therapist tells him his mental health is bad because he keeps secrets

If my therapist said this to me I would not only ask what I am paying for, but I would also then willingly reveal each time I stole cigarettes from my mum as a wanna-be Skins teen. Is this what you wanted? They weren’t even Sterling.

By the end of the fourth series, six of the characters are redeemed from their villain image because they are LGBTQ+

I’m completely for the representation of  LGBTQ+ characters in shows and films, but by the sixth reveal, Netflix’s handling of LGBTQ+ representation seems a bit off.

Exhibit (A) Montgomery de la Cruz. De la Cruz is a villian because he is a rapist. Netflix then intend to get the audience to emphasise with Montgomery because he is actually gay! Ah, all makes sense now! Then they kill him.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• ’13 Reasons Why’ needs to be taken more seriously and here’s why

• Why the latest series of 13 Reasons Why is worse than Season 1

• The worst thing about 13 Reasons Why is its fanbase