Today marks week two of when the Netflix Original “13 Reasons Why” debuted on March 31st. While I can say I actually finished this show within two days of it airing, many are just now getting through it, if they actually decided to keep watching.
For those that don’t know the story behind the book or television series, here’s a recap. Clay Jenson comes home from school to find a box near his doorstep. Upon opening it there are 13 cassette tapes inside, all recorded by a classmate and friend, Hannah Baker. Hannah had recently decided to take her own life and each side of every tape is based on a person and how they contributed to this outcome. Hannah had instructed someone to keep hold of these tapes in case of emergency and was instructed to help all of them listen. The tapes are sent in the order each person is brought up. You listen and pass the tapes on to the next person when finished.
Being as I know people that have taken their own lives, I was skeptical in watching. While I can agree that there is graphic detailing about harsh topics (including rape, bullying, and suicide) I do believe there is a large message people may have missed. I don’t believe the situation should’ve been as romanticized as it was. I also believe Hannah’s actions were to blame for the outcomes that occur throughout the episodes. She didn’t use her voice and by making those tapes, she had left 13 people loathing themselves. It was a chain of bullying that went unnoticed.
What also went unnoticed in this series, is towards the end when those which showed interaction with Hannah (also on the tapes) were subpoenaed to testify for a trial her parents were having against the school. Each person was taped and on these tapes in the bottom left hand corner was a date: November 10, 2017. Currently, today is only April 15, 2017 while his show was released on March 31, 2017, meaning it was set in the future.
I came to the conclusion that for those of us watching, if this story were to actually be taking place in real life, it would be occurring right now. Some events within the show can be looked at as already happened (Winter Formal). While further watching, you’ll notice that certain things also have yet to occur, including both rapes and Jeff’s death.
I find this date in the show significant. This is depicting the idea of hope. What if you were a bystander, watching as this occurred? What if it was possible for you to intervene and stop someone from being raped or if you could prevent someone from dying?
This is where the show got my attention. Every day, we are given an opportunity to better the lives around us, or make them worse. We’re given that choice because we were given the gift of waking up that morning.
This series with such a specific date stamp is trying to explain that there is still a chance. There is still time to save someone and there is still time for people to speak up. It’s explaining that there is still hope for those which believe there isn’t.
I recently just experienced this. I was at the store when I noticed a man sitting outside. It wasn't the same man that my roommate and I have given food to before. That day, I decided to grab a bag of potato chips and water for him. I went outside to hand him these items thinking nothing of it, it's a gesture I've done in the past. He told me he hadn't eaten in over a week and was ready to give up trying. Now, I understand for many his story may be hard to believe; however, that day I believed it. That day, I also realized the power one small gesture towards someone could have.
While I may not personally agree with this show, I do believe in the message I have found within it. Tell the man you see at the local diner every day that you hope he has a good day. Tell the woman you passed on the street walking to school that she has a beautiful smile. Whatever the case may be, impact the world in a positive manner. We don’t fully understand, but sometimes our actions play a larger part in other’s lives than they do in our own.