'13 Reasons Why' may be explicit, but the message is so important
The Netflix original series '13 Reasons Why' is currently in its second season, and despite many complaints from various mental health awareness and parenting groups, an unannounced season 3 might be in the pipeline.
I for one enjoy the show. Not only does it have a talented cast, as a parent I find the plot to be a subtle awakening and an ode to the fact that there really is such a thing as a "secret life of a teenager" — I would know, I was one.
And while I never suffered from teenage depression and for the most part skated through high school unaffected — or indifferent — to its social pressures, I think it's important to acknowledge that it is very real.
'13 Reasons Why' season one tells the story of teenage Hannah Baker whose high school life is a series of unfortunate events, including being a victim of gossip, body shaming, bullying and rape. She eventually commits suicide and leaves 13 tapes which she believes explains why she chose to end her life.
While the plot is very dramatic, and for the most part unrealistic, it does tell the story of how our choices impact each other's lives directly or indirectly and how the unknown consequences can be a catalyst for the greater good or greater evil.
No one expected another season as the main character of the story seemingly came full circle at the end of season 1, but as with most stories... there's always more to it.
Season 2 delves deeper into the "why" of the storyline and eloquently portrays how one responds to people and the situations we find ourselves in, as its characters battle with who they think they are, who they want to be and how the rest of the world perceives to them.
The show also addresses drug addiction, sexual assault, bullying, sexuality and ineffective support systems at school and at home — all of which could easily relate to adult life — and reminds us just how easily one can overlook signs and cries for help because ignoring a problem and hoping it will go away is often easier than dealing it.
While the show is explicit, and not everyone's cup of tea, I do believe that if you have the mindset to look beyond the obscenities, you'd understand that it's story that needs to be told to remind us to pay attention because nothing is ever what it seems.
And for those who are watching through the eyes of a parent, accepting that we will not necessarily be the greatest influence in children's lives, as much as we may try.