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Thirteen Reasons Why



First up, here is a suicide prevention line in NZ: 0800 543 354. And if you want to find out more about the show, start here.

It’s super hard, parenting in this age of media over saturation. New stuff floods in and becomes a sensation before we’ve had a chance to parse it, and everyone gets on board with their various interpretations of it. It’s bad / it’s great / it’s good entertainment / it’s dangerous and gratuitous / it should’ve come with a rating / it’s totally overwhelming.  I’m sure it’s true what the commentators said – the book was better. It was more nuanced, more subtle, less of a revenge story and more of a heartbreaking portrait of how bullying contributes towards suicide. I find the whole cloak of silence around suicide confusing though. There seems to be a belief that if we deny that it happens, then it won’t happen. Which is patently untrue, given New Zealand’s suicide rates. Whenever there’s an article about someone who has died and they don’t tell you why, I become obsessed with finding out. As a child I knew of suicides – there were kids at school whose parents had gassed themselves in their cars. There were stories I overheard my mother talking to her friends about.

I’m still unsure as to whether it was a good thing or a bad thing to watch with my son, but I feel like it’s important to acknowledge that suicide exists, and that there are things you can do – help you can get – in order to prevent it. Although if you read All My Puny Sorrows by the brilliant Miriam Toews, you may come to different conclusions.

Anyway, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and also to hear any good TV recommendations you have!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Lissa Mitchell permalink
    01/05/2017 2:00 pm

    Brillant thanks. I watched Search Party recently and thought it was excellent – sure it would appeal to a teenager as well.

  2. 01/05/2017 2:26 pm

    You might enjoy Broad City.

    Two hella hot babes unpretenciously owning NYC and being real women.

    Smoking pot and fucking like we do. Who? Not me. Y’know..

    • Sarah Laing permalink*
      01/05/2017 2:28 pm

      I LOVE Broad City. I am hanging out for the next season (has it started yet?)

  3. 01/05/2017 3:06 pm

    I’m still feeling guilty for recommending it – but…. he may have watched it without you if I didn’t 😮

  4. 01/05/2017 9:02 pm

    I began watching it just a few days ago and it’s gripping! I limited myself to just one episode a day or I’d probably go insane. I’m already planning to see a therapist and this might ruin my whole therapy or probably the opposite. I cannot wait to watch it till the end.

  5. Velmeran permalink
    02/05/2017 12:26 am

    I sincerely believe that it is better that you watch it with him and that you make your comments. He may not like it, but he is hearing you.

  6. 02/05/2017 12:37 am

    I love that you guys are watching it together. It may be awkward from time to time but he knows you are there. Even when your commentary isn’t appreciated, he may feel more comfortable talking with you when he needs to. Good work !!!

  7. daveyone1 permalink
    02/05/2017 1:08 am

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

  8. 02/05/2017 4:20 am

    Sarah (great name by the way), my hubby and I binged this show yesterday (he’s a teacher and they were talking about it in school last week).

    I felt that Hannah was portrayed as angry and petulant (on the show). Up until tape 12, her ‘reasons’ were fairly typical of the pettiness of high school and while I could relate to her emotions, the way the character was portrayed – major drama queen – put me at a distance. I realize this might have been the intent, but I wanted to reach into the TV and smack her upside the head on more than one occasion.

    I’m not sure if I would recommend that the intended demographic watch it alone, as some scenes are intense. There were some lighter scenes, those between Clay and Hannah are filled with clever, sarcastic banter that I found myself smiling or laughing.

    The fact they are contemplating a Season 2 is puzzling since it would be difficult to continue the storyline without the main character’s narration.

    • 03/05/2017 11:32 am

      Quote: ‘The fact they are contemplating a Season 2 is puzzling since it would be difficult to continue the storyline without the main character’s narration.’

      Slightly OT, but this is a weakness I find with Netflix (which I otherwise love). They seem fixated on turning every series with the potential to earn a few more dollars, into never-ending series on series. They (will) all end up bland and boring, and it’s starting to push me back to novels (a good thing) as I’m yearning for story-telling (which requires an ending).

      Netflix’s accountants need to be benched and production to learn it’s okay to give us a single series, with a complete story, that we can then take to our own heads. Stop trying to draw everything out.

      • 05/05/2017 1:21 am

        I agree with you Mark. Sometimes a great story doesn’t need a second season. 13 Reasons had a pretty solid ending. What else is there to tell? There are thousands of stories out there waiting to be told to the masses – they should go find them.

  9. 03/05/2017 11:27 am

    I work from the belief that prohibition – including the silencing around suicide – doesn’t solve anything (ever). Far preferable to have open discussion – albeit this works far better with a tight family unit (such as you have), and parents taking responsibility for leading their children through issues like this.

    As for TV recommendations: don’t watch most of it (sorry).

    • 03/05/2017 11:43 am

      Sorry, if by TV you mean Netflix, then I’m looking forward to series 2 of Sense8 starting this Friday. And I have a cringing ambivalence currently over ‘You Me Her’: I started out finding the concept interesting with good characters, but I’m on episode 6 and starting to get a little over it. Can’t wait for Stranger Things and The Crown second series.

  10. 04/05/2017 2:11 am

    I’m glad you shared this.

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