13 Reasons Why -- ostensibly a show about a teenage girl who kills herself and leaves a set of mysterious cassettes behind but in reality a show about beautiful twinks -- has been divisive since it premiered on Netflix last year for its graphic depictions of suicide and sexual assault. Also, a lot of people just don't think it's a very good show, but to those people I say: have you seen what Sam Smith's boyfriend looks like in his letterman jacket?
Many parents have been concerned that the show glamorizes suicide and could inspire teens to harm themselves, and now the Parents Council has demanded that Netflix cancel the show, which just dropped its second season on Friday. President Tim Winter explained:
"Netflix has delivered a ticking time bomb to teens and children who watch 13 Reasons Why. The content and thematic elements of the second season are even worse than we expected. We would have liked to have 13 reasons for hope and redemption following the graphic suicide of the lead female teen character, but rather than providing a path forward, the season only provides cause for despondency...
"If you come into the series with feelings of hopelessness or depression, you'll never walk away from the series feeling any better. If you're not feeling that way, the series will make you feel hopeless and depressed. For kids who are already at risk, who are being bullied or abused, the show may only serve to trigger those feelings and create dangerous real-life circumstances."
"The unfortunate reality is that the show is clearly produced for young viewers despite being rated for mature audiences. The fact that Netflix would point back to its website for those needing crisis intervention after watching the show demonstrates the company's belief that at-risk viewers will need crisis intervention. Ironically, the entire crux of the show demonstrates that crisis intervention doesn't really matter because the system doesn't work to protect children from harm."
While each episode of the show opens with a trigger warning and provides viewers with crisis resources, for some that simply isn't enough when weighed against the show's content: several graphic rape scenes, depictions of suicide and a school shooting. But when weighed against those beautiful twinks...we're still hoping for season three.
All joking aside, teenage audiences are exposed to much more graphic violence in movies and TV than what they can find in 13 Reasons Why, and rather than inspiring teens to take their own the lives, the show seems to instead be prompting open discussions about depression, sexual assault and self-harm, which can only be a good thing.