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13 Reasons Why is an American Netflix series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix. Diana Son and Brian Yorkey are co-showrunners on the series. 

Originally conceived as a film set to be released by Universal Pictures with Selena Gomez in the lead role, the adaptation was picked up as a television series by Netflix in late 2015. Gomez served as an executive producer. The series premiered on March 31, 2017, attracting 6.08 million U.S. viewers in the first three days[1]; and its second season released on May 18, 2018, (Although the second season is not related to the original book, unlike the first season). In 2018, 13 Reasons Why was the most watched Netflix show[2]. The series was renewed on June 6, 2018, for a third season, which is set to premiere in 2019.[3]

The series received universal acclaim from critics and audiences, who praised its subject matter and casting.

Synopsis

Based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why follows teenager Clay Jensen as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them? If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, 13 Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heart wrenching story of teenage life that will deeply affect viewers. [4]

Plot

17-year-old Hannah Baker committed suicide by slitting her arms––in the novel she swallows and overdoses on pills. Her school locker becomes a memorial adorned with students' letters and her pictures. Clay Jensen comes home from school to find a box, on his doorstep. It contains audio cassette tapes containing a recording of Hannah talking about the 13 reasons why she chose to end her life. Hannah warns listeners to follow certain rules; everyone mentioned on the tapes must listen to the complete set then pass it along to the next person addressed. If they fail to do so, the second set of tapes, held by personal friend Tony Padilla, who is not on the tapes, will be released. Clay listens to the tapes, on which Hannah narrates the series of events that led to her suicide.

Hannah's Reasons

Her first reason is Justin Foley, she kisses him in the park–her first kiss–and he takes an upskirt photo of her. Justin shares it with his friends, including Bryce Walker, who gets ahold of it and spreads it around school, Justin does nothing about it and from then on, seems to not care about Hannah. Clay remembers telling Hannah "it's better to wait" she understands that he believes the rumors and walks away. Clay, who was secretly in love with Hannah, spends the first season reminiscing about the time he spent with her. He finds listening to Hannah's story difficult, but Tony repeatedly finds him and helps him through it but also warns Clay things will go wrong if he does not obey the rules.

Hannah's second reason is Jessica Davis, who becomes friends with Hannah after being paired up with her, they stay friends and meet Alex Standall who becomes a part of their group, they disband and Jess and Alex start dating. Jess refuses to have sex with Alex and he contributes to a list to anger her, giving Hannah the label of "Best Ass" and Jess the label "Worst Ass". Jessica becomes angry because she believes Hannah broke them up. She calls her a slut, Hannah says "Fuck you", Jessica replies by slapping her, leaving a mark.

Hannah's third reason is Alex Standall, after he contributes to the list, things spiral out of control for Hannah, she is labelled 'Hannah the Slut' and guys start to treat her as a sexual object instead of a human being. Bryce Walker decides to take things further, he offers to buy Hannah candy and as he is handing it to her, he reaches over and grabs her ass. Smugly stating that Alex was right about "Best Ass". Hannah doesn't move until Bryce leaves. She runs out of the store and begins to cry. She tells Alex over the tapes "You made it open season on Hannah Baker."

Hannah's fourth reason is Tyler Down, he is the school photographer. He began taking photographs of Hannah outside of her house without her consent. Hannah heard the clicks of his camera all the time and became increasingly scared. She tells Courtney Crimsen who offers her help. They have a sleepover, play a game of truth or dare that ends with Courtney and Hannah kissing and catch her stalker, they both find out it's Tyler Down, Courtney leaves quickly after learning that it wasn't a stranger but someone at their school who caught them on camera. Hannah asks Tyler to destroy the photos, who agrees. He asks Hannah if they can hangout, but she says no. He becomes angry and spreads the photo around school instead. Courtney stops being her friend because she doesn't want to be seen with her.

Hannah's fifth reason is Courtney Crimsen. After Tyler spreads the photo and Courtney says she doesn't want to be seen with her, they reconcile. Courtney and Hannah go to the Winter Formal and Montgomery de la Cruz questions Courtney over the photo Tyler took of them. Courtney becomes so afraid that she gives him made up details about Hannah's sex life. Telling him that Hannah asked for a three way between her and Laura, a known lesbian at school and that she let Justin finger her in the park and gave him a blowjob. Montgomery confronts Hannah over this in front of Clay. Hannah finds Courtney, who tells her people were starting to talk and she had to do something. Hannah tells her that she doesn't get to mess with her life because she is scared of people finding out about her sexuality. Courtney and Hannah end their friendship.

Hannah's sixth reason is Marcus Cole. He is paired up with Hannah by a mutual friend for Dollar Valentine, a match-making charity event. They go to Rosie's Diner–or at least Hannah goes. Marcus shows up an hour late and with some of his friends on the football team. Hannah is angry, and is even more upset when Marcus, without her consent, starts to feel her up after sneakily glancing at his friends, she knows he is doing it for them, and asks him to stop, he ignores her and she forces him off by pushing him. He gets up and says that he thought she'd be easy. He leaves with his friends and Hannah is left alone, embarrassed. Zach Dempsey is the only one who hesitates and stays with her.

Hannah's seventh reason is Zach Dempsey. After he stays with her, he tries to cheer up but fails. In class the students are given compliment bags. Hannah gets one almost every day, and checks every day. Zach, however, doesn't get any telling her "it's kind of soul-crushing, you know?". Zach becomes jealous and starts to take from Hannah's bag before she can check it. Hannah catches onto this and leaves him a note about why she needs the compliments and talks about the negative things going on in her life. Zach takes the note and reads it. Hannah says he dropped it on the floor, after seeing this, she shouts "Why me?". She believed Zach was a nice guy until this.

Hannah's eighth reason is Ryan Shaver. He is a poet who publishes a magazine called Lost and Found. He helps Hannah write poems and one day, takes one without her consent. He publishes it, also without her consent, in his magazine. The next day everyone is reading it, to Hannah's surprise. Hannah becomes angry and upset because her personal thoughts and feelings were published without her consent. She finds Ryan and asks why he did it. Ryan tells her that some day she will thank him. Hannah becomes angry and leaves.

Hannah's ninth reason is Justin Foley, again. Jessica Davis throws a end of year party. She attends this although she wasn't very keen on going. Hannah ends up in Jessica's room (after the eleventh reason), hiding near Jessica's bed. Justin and Jessica come in, kissing, Jessica is drunk and almost as soon as she gets on her own bed she passes out and sleeps. Justin leaves after trying to wake her up for sex and sees his friend, Bryce outside the door, Bryce and Justin have an altercation before Bryce enters Jessica's room to have sex with her. Bryce leans over Jessica and getting ready to take off his pants. Justin bursts into the room and tries to force Bryce off of an unconscious Jessica, Bryce forces Justin out of the room and locks the door. Bryce gets on top of Jessica after taking off his pants and rapes her. She wakes up at during and asks what he is doing although she doesn't know who is having sex with her. She passes back out, Bryce finishes and leaves. Hannah had moved from hiding near Jessica's bed to hiding in her closet, unable to move her body to stop Jessica from being raped. When Bryce is gone, Hannah exits the closet and and throws up, she puts a blanket over Jess and says she is sorry for not being able to stop it. She blames Justin and herself for not stopping Jessica from being raped. (In the books Hannah says that she did not put Bryce as a reason because "..the tapes need to be passed on. And if I sent them to him, they would stop. Think about it. He raped a girl and would leave town in a second if he knew... well... if he knew that we knew."– This is not explained in the Series.)

Hannah's tenth reason is Sheri Holland. Mutual friend of Marcus and Hannah, Sheri offers to give Hannah a ride home, as Hannah is drunk and distraught after pushing Clay away and witnessing her friend get raped. Hannah is reluctant to say yes so Sheri does a cartwheel to show that she is sober enough to drive her home. Hannah accepts her offer and gets into her car, they start to drive and Hannah asks for a charger because her phone just died. While Sheri helps her search she looks away from the road and looks back up to see that she is about to smash into a stop sign. They both get out and Sheri tells Hannah to get back in the car, Hannah wants to report it but Sheri doesn't want to get in trouble. Hannah insists they report it and Sheri drives off because Hannah refuses to get back in. Hannah later finds a working phone to report it but the police say they already got the call, but not about the stop sign, there was an accident a few minutes later and Jeff Atkins, a school friend of Clay's died because he crashed into another car after one of them did not see the stop sign.

Hannah's eleventh reason is Clay Jensen. During her attendance at Jessica's party, she sees Clay and they start talking, they end up going upstairs and talking some more, a couple come out of Jessica's room and she suggests they go into the room. When they are int he room, Clay kisses Hannah, Hannah allows this and they start to make out on the bed Hannah and Clay are about to have sex when Hannah remembers every bad things that happened to her because of something sexual, Justin, Alex, Tyler, Marcus and Courtney. She begins to have flashbacks and can't handle them. She becomes scared of being touched and asks Clay to leave. Clay obeys and Hannah reveals that this one is actually on her, and Clay doesn't belong on the list, but he needs to be there if she is going to tell her story.

Hannah's twelfth reason is Bryce Walker. After sending the photo around school and assaulting Hannah in the corner shop, he gets into the hot tub while Hannah is in it, alone. Hannah becomes scared of him, knowing that he raped her friend. She tells him that she needs to go home but Bryce refuses to let her get out of the hot tub. He grabs her hands and holds her down while he rapes her. Hannah becomes lifeless, and looks like she is no longer inside of her body. She freezes and Bryce continues. Hannah walks home after Bryce is gone, when she gets home she writes down a names of people that have helped her get where she is, emotionally, mentally and physically. She says over the tapes that Bryce had helped her live up to her reputation of being a slut. At this point she is completely drained and plans to kill herself so that no one can ever hurt her again. However after finishing what she thought was her last tape, she felt something shift and decided to seek help.

Hannah's thirteenth reason is Mr. Porter, the guidance counselor. After Hannah decides to seek help, she visits the school counselor. She tells him that she wants everything to stop–life. He asks a series of questions and she answers them. She then talks about the list that went around, labelling her "Best Ass". Mr. Porter says he hadn't heard of it. She tells him that people were reacting to it and he asks when the last time was, she tells him that it was at a party. Something happened but she doesn't really tell him what, he thinks she is implying that she had sex with someone that she didn't want to at first but maybe consented and changed her mind. Hannah becomes upset that that is the first thing he assumes. Mr. Porter asks more questions and Hannah further implies that she was raped. Mr. Porter understands slightly her implications, he asks for a name of the person who raped her, Hannah refuses to give his name without security, she wants him to go to jail and asks that she never sees him in school again. Unfortunately, Mr. Porter can't promise her this he tells her that if she can't give him a name or if she isn't sure that she can even press charges then the best option is to move on. Hannah becomes more upset and angry asking "Do nothing?!" Mr. Porter tries to help her further but Hannah has all that she needs, she needs to "move on". She decides to finish the tapes, she drops makes a copy and drops the copy off with Tony, her only trusted friend left, she then mails the tapes to the first reasons. She proceeds to go home to kill herself. She slits her arms with razor blades and bleeds to death in a bath she filled with warm water. Tony races to her house after listening to the tapes but he is too late.

Main Cast

Production Notes

  • Universal Studios purchased film rights to the novel on February 8, 2011, with Selena Gomez cast to play the lead role of Hannah Baker. 
  • On October 29, 2015, it was announced that Netflix would be making a television adaptation of the book with Gomez instead serving as an executive producer.
  • Tom McCarthy was hired to direct the first two episodes. 
  • The series is produced by Anonymous Content and Paramount Television with Selena Gomez, Tom McCarthy, Joy GormanMichael SugarSteve Golin, Mandy Teefey, and Kristel Laiblin serving as executive producers.
  • Filming for the show took place in Northern California towns of Vallejo, Benicia, San Rafael, Crockett and Sebastopol, during the summer of 2016.
  • All 13 episodes of 13 Reasons Why and the special, "13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons" were released on Netflix on March 31, 2017.[5]
  • On May 7, 2017, 13 Reasons Why was renewed for a 13-episode second season to premiere on May 18, 2018.[6]
  • New resources were added for Season 2:
    • For the Series: An automatic warning video was added at the start of each Season, based on the findings of a study by Northwestern University’s Center on Media and Human Development.[7]
    • In addition, Netflix has established a discussion guide at 13ReasonsWhy.info, which includes information from mental-health experts as well as the numbers and websites for crisis-prevention centers and helplines.[7]
  • For the second season, there is another Beyond the Reasons for aftershow which features members of the cast, educators, crew and experts breaking down the themes of the episodes.[7]
  • On June 6, 2018, the series was renewed for a 13-episode third season, which is set to premiere in 2019.[3]

Reception

The show has brought awareness about suicide to teens. The series was also credited for an almost 100% increase in the number of calls to Brazil's suicide hotlines. Australian youth mental health service for 12–25 year-olds headspace, issued a warning in late April 2017 over the graphic content featured in the series due to the increased number of calls to the service following the show's release in the country.[8][9]

Quotes

I think 13 Reasons Why will always be an important part of my life. It was the first job I ever had, even if it’s in a small capacity, on social media.
— Katherine Langford on being done with 13 Reasons Why[[src]]
What happened to Hannah will always be the first clause of the story. The rest of the story is about young people, as so many young people, maybe all young people today (learn) how to heal from the things that have hurt them…to make the world that they want it to be, not just the world they are inheriting…and above all, how to take care of each other.
— Brian Yorkey on Hannah on being one part of the story.[[src]]
We had a number of people ask us, along the way, why we had Hannah kill herself in the way we did and why we showed it. We worked very hard not to be gratuitous, but we did want it to be painful to watch, because we wanted it to be very clear, that there is nothing, worthwhile about suicide, in any way.
— Brian Yorkey[src]
As hard as it was to see the final decision that Hannah made when she died of suicide I think was important to show that it's not a pretty death, it's not an easy one, and then the pain that never ends, for her parents immediately thereafter, who are left with this horrible burden.
— Dr. Helen Hsu[src]

Trivia

  • Katherine Langford, the actress who portrays Hannah Baker, admitted that she hadn't read the book before starting filming, not knowing what she was in for and hadn't read it during filming and then realized that the story was getting quite heavy. Dylan Minnette, the actor who portrays Clay Jensen, also admitted he hadn't read the book before filming.[10]
  • Selena Gomez commented in the 2017 13 Reasons Why panel, that she felt like the book was meant to become or be a series.[10]
    • Mandy Teefey, Gomez's Mother, also commented that she read the book and also felt like it was meant to become or be a series.[10]
  • Selena Gomez was originally asked to be cast as Hannah Baker, but she stated that she didn't want there to be two different conversations: one about the Netflix series and the other focused on her. She asked for someone else to be cast to take the focus off of her. She felt the series needed to do the book justice for the young adults who related to the story line.
  • Together Selena Gomez, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman got matching semi-colon tattoos.[11] Brandon Flynn got the same tattoo, but did it at a separate time from them.[12]
  • The second season and third season are not based on the book.

Multimedia

Images

References

  1. Variety—"‘13 Reasons Why’ Season 2 Premiere Drew 6 Million U.S. Viewers in First Three Days, Nielsen Says" (May 31, 2018)
  2. Business Insider—"The 20 most-watched Netflix shows of 2018" (December 6, 2018)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Deadline-"‘13 Reasons Why’ Renewed For Season 3 By Netflix" (June 6, 2018)
  4. Netflix Media Center—"13 Reasons Why"
  5. Deadline—"'13 Reasons Why' Gets Netflix Premiere" (January 25, 2017)
  6. Deadline—"'13 Reasons Why' Renewed For Season 2 By Netflix" (May 7, 2017)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Vulture—"Netflix Is Adding Warning Video Before 13 Reasons Why" (March 21, 2018)
  8. Cockburn Gazette—"13 Reasons Why: Headspace issues warning over new Netflix show" (April 18, 2017)
  9. Headspace—"Headspace: dangerous content in 13 Reasons Why"
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Netflix on YouTube— "13 Reasons Why Panel | There’s Never Enough TV | Netflix"
  11. Alisha Boe (@alishaboe)—Selena Gomez, Alisha Boe and Tommy Dorfman get matching tattoos of a semi-colon for 13 Reasons Why and Project Semi-Colon.
  12. Brandon Flynn (@flynnagin11)—Brandon Flynn gets a semi-colon tattoo for 13 Reasons Why
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