I’m getting to the age that high school dramas don’t really relate to me and my life, but 13RW was recommended by my wife and her friend. Those two ladies have good taste, and I love a good Netflix marathon just like anyone else so I gave it one episode to hook me, unfair to any new show, but after the first episode, I was hooked.
The series, based on the novel by Jay Asher and produced by Selena Gomez is intriguing, to say the least. I had heard the buzz and thought why would I want to watch a show about a girl who commits suicide? Some are saying it glorifies it even. I would hate for that to be the case, if we lost one young person that may be inspired by this show, it would be one too many. I didn’t want to judge a show by its thumbnail (remember the Gilmore Girls fiasco?) so I went in with an open mind.
The story is told to us through a series of 7 cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) as a sort of suicide note/mystery game that presumably 13 people have to listen to and pass on to the next person in the sequence all the while being watched over by a mysterious Joe Cool type named Tony (Christian Navarro) and being obsessed over by the previous listeners. We jump in on Clay’s (Dylan Minnette) turn to listen. Unlike the others listeners, Clay listens very slowly, luckily for us to stretch it out to 13 episodes.
Immediately I get this Veronica Mars vibe without the cheese mixed with the drawn out mystery of Reunion. Events of the past and present play out simultaneously and overlap, which forces audiences to engage their brain, put their phone down and get sucked in. For me, the only problem I had getting into it was the whole high school full of 27-year-old students, but once I accepted it, there was no turning back.
Hannah’s mom played perfectly by the amazing Kate Walsh carries the bulk of the grief and gravitas of the situation that is this story. Without which everything wouldn’t be as important as it is while watching. The biggest mystery for the first half of the series is how could the one person who seems to have her shit together more than anyone else kill herself? Is everything Hannah is saying on these tapes true? How does everyone fit into the mystery? And just how could something like this happen.
I lost a sister to suicide when she was 16 years old. High school bullshit is real, and what we sometimes forget as adults are the things we think are inconsequential now, were at one time the biggest problem we ever had in our lives up until that time. When we are kids, if we don’t get the toy we wanted, or can’t stay up late, it’s the end of the world. In our teen years, whether a boy likes us or not is the end of the world. In our thirties, marriages ending seems like the end of the world. Are you sensing a pattern yet? It’s only for now. When I was bullied in high school, I had a fleeting thought about how to end it. That scared me and luckily for me, I changed my situation, got out of there and had parents that supported me, and knew I was more important than anything else. It does get better. Hang in there, kid.
As a parent, I can’t even imagine being in a situation like Hannah’s parents are in. How could someone even write about this? And why am I watching it? I have no clue, but I can’t stop. The writing and acting are amazing. I recommend this as a must watch. I have to know how it ends, back to Netflix I go.
Update: I finished it. Wow.
<3 Albie 20170519CE