Let me start this review off by saying, I was reluctant to write it. In fact, this is the second time I am starting this post because I trashed the original. Right after finishing the finale, I knew I wanted to write a review, but then all this controversy was brought about saying that the show was triggering and inappropriate for viewers. Let’s get one thing straight, Netflix rated the show as TV-MA:
This program may contain one or more of the following: intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), intense sexual situations (S), or intense violence (V). Mature Audience Only. This program is specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17.
This information was taken from www.tvguidelines.org, but basically, this rating is the TV equivalent of a movie being rated R. I know the book is labelled as YA Fiction, so teens will most likely have read it (or those who are adults now may have read it while still a teenager). This is an appropriate rating because of the nature of violence, language, a graphic images that we don’t seem to care about as much in books. These things matter more when they are being portrayed visually. Now that I think about it, that’s a bit of a double standard, but I suppose it does make some sense.
The main argument I have heard against the show is that it is inappropriate for young viewers. Now, I can see why this is a problem in several ways:
1) Parents should have some say in what their child sees or doesn’t see. I think anyone under the age of 15 should probably steer clear of this show because the situations would be above their current level of experience, and again it is a very graphic show. That said, I do believe it is okay for teens under 17 to see R rated (or TV-MA) programs as long as they and their parents have come to the conclusion that they are ready for it. I won’t lie, I was watching American Horror story and plenty of R-rated movies with sex and violence when I was 16. Because I knew, and my mother knew, that I was mature enough to watch them. It’s a joint effort I think to watch something so emotionally taxing and I wouldn’t see anything wrong with a parent watching the program with their child.
Maybe this is an issue that could be avoided in the future by different parental permissions being set on Netflix accounts. Maybe greater security needs to be implemented for accounts that are used by multiple people in one household so that parents are more aware of the mature content that their children are watching. It’s all just out there on Netflix right now with nothing to block mature shows from younger viewers (as far as I know).
2) With what I said in the previous point, it is a personal choice to watch and/or mature content. As stated above, you have to know that you are ready for it, that you won’t let this fiction affect real life. To hammer in my American Horror Story anecdote, I stopped watching after the premiere of season 5. At that point I was 18 years old, but the content of that premiere episode was a bit too much for me. It was creepy and bloody and sexual and it made me uncomfortable enough to stop watching altogether. I may go back and watch this show again, but at that point I knew I was not ready to continue. At any point during a show or movie, it’s okay to stop watching if you are not comfortable with what is being shown on screen. I think this is SO important to remember.
3) I’ll only briefly touch upon my stance on this next one because it’s similar to those above. Those who are suicidal, depressed or suffer from any of the issues talked about in the show (i.e. suicide, rape, bullying) should be aware that this show may trigger their bad emotions and decide whether they are able to watch the show based on this. Of course this show is going to be difficult to watch for anyone, so those who relate too closely should 100% be aware that it may not be the show for them.
I was disturbed myself as I watched Hannah slit her wrists and bleed out. That was the point. The whole point of the show was to hammer in to our minds the effects of suicide on everyone in a person’s life. In this way, the show-runners and actors did very well. In others, I do have a few criticisms. Continue reading “13 Reasons Why Review”