13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons is a mini-documentary that is released on Netflix for each season of the show. Professionals, Cast, Crew and Activists talk about the topics addressed in the show. The first season of it is 30 minutes long and directed by Brian Carroll. It features members of the original "13 Reasons Why" cast talking about their experiences filming the show and Executive Producers Mandy Teefey and Selena Gomez talking about why they were motivated to create the show.
Several members of the original cast, such as Dylan Minnette (Clay Jensen), Katherine Langford (Hannah Baker), and others return in this documentary to talk about their experiences with bullying and filming the show. Professionals who deal with sexual assault and bullying talk about how things play out in the show and how you can spot the signs of victims, but how you can also say the wrong thing or completely miss the signs. Executive Producers Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey, Gomez's mother, talk about their motives for creating the show and why the show is special to Gomez in particular. Jay Asher is featured in the documentary, talking about his experiences with the cast and crew in making the show and his view on the topics he wrote about.
A message of where to go if you need help, is labeled underneath a scene from 13 Reasons Why. Scenes from 13 Reasons Why and Interviews from cast members are played aside each other. Alisha Boe, who portrays Jessica Davis, says that 13 Reasons Why was a special story for her, she read it for the first time when she was 14 years old, at a time when people were being mean in middle school. It changed her perspective on how people should treat others, understanding that you have no idea what is going on with other people. Derek Luke, who portrays Kevin Porter/Mr. Porter, notes that high school is a tough environment for a person to grow up in. Katherine Langford, who portrays Hannah Baker, says that the young adult audience they have are treated like people and not teenagers. Brandon Flynn, who portrays Justin Foley, states that the story deals with harsh themes, and not in a "polite" way, to start a conversation around the topic. Justin Prentice, who portrays Bryce Walker, says that the topics they talk about in the show need to be addressed and we can't shy away from them. Jay Asher, the author of the book the show is based on, says "The whole issue of suicide is an uncomfortable thing to talk about, but it happens, and so we have to talk about it, it's dangerous not to talk about it, because there's always room for hope". Selena Gomez, an executive producer of the series, says that they wanted to be honest and make something that helps people because suicide shouldn't be an option. Dylan Minnette, who portrays Clay Jensen, says that ending your life instead of seeking help is tragic because you don't get to see your future, you don't get to see what you could go on to do. Kate Walsh, who portrays Olivia Baker, says that the topics need to be discussed to educate young men and women. Tom McCarthy, who is a writer and producer for the show, says the writers and producers are storytellers, they entertain, but he saw the meaningful material and hoped people would talk about it. Brian Yorkey, creator, writer and producer of the Netflix adaptation, says that they wanted to tell the truth about the effects the events in the show would have. They wanted to create an honest, integral show for–more so, but not limited to–young adults. They could watch this show and be educated because they don't see a lot of raw, honest and harsh portrayals of their everyday lives.
Slut Shaming and Cyberbullying
A scene from 13 Reasons Why, showing Justin Foley taking a photo of Hannah Baker going down the slide in Eisenhower Park plays and Katherine Langford says that the moment was innocent, but unflattering when taken out of context and "posted by a guy with a particular rep" spinning the photo into a story to destroy her. Langford comments that when Bryce posts the photo, it gives it a different context because no one was there, it becomes "the beginning of the end for her" and does "irreparable damage to Hannah's reputation", she can't fix it by telling people what happened. Alisha Boe tells us that it's "definitely a generational thing" because throughout her school life everyone would go home and go on the internet, summarizing their lives: school and then social media. She also adds that when you're being cyberbullied you're being attacked by so many people hiding behind a screen. Dr. Rona Hu, a psychiatrist from Stanford University School of Medicine, says that adults don't understand the affect cyberbullying has because it didn't exist when they were that age, they don't know that cyberbullying doesn't end when the school bell rings. Selena Gomez, having had experience with this, adds that a picture can say a million different things and out of those things, people will conjure up their own story, whether or not it is true and it gets used against you, it affects you. Alexis Jones adds that you can feel incredibly alone because they're consumed by technology and have access to the online world, there is no safe space for them. Yorkey vocalizes that adults underplay things that go on in a young person's mind, but for them it's their entire world. Mandy Teefey, executive producer, says that hopefully if they share the story it can help adults understand. Yorkey adds that Hannah Baker stopped being a human being to everyone and started becoming a thing. Dr. Helen Hsu voices that girls feel pressure to be attractive, but if things go too far, "somehow now you're a slut, nobody likes you, you're not worthy of being a real girlfriend", Jones adds that being labelled a slut is a snowball effect for people to treat her as a sexual object instead of a human being. Langford states that growing up is learning who you are, maybe having a first sexual experience, maybe having a boyfriend or a girlfriend, unfortunately, the culture of slut shaming that runs so deep in the school immediately labels and affects her–keeping in mind that Hannah was still new at Liberty High. After everything that happened, she has a flashback of every bad thing that has happened to her because of guys and it stops her from being able to have sex with Clay Jensen, which she originally did want to do. "I don't think Clay has any idea of what's going on in that moment", Minnette voices, "he thinks he did something wrong. I think it's, just pure confusion, just obviously there's something going on that he had no idea about.". Dr. Hu adds that "at that point, Hannah's been through so much, even being with a nice guy, like Clay, she starts to get almost Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder". McCarthy hopes that people have discussions realizing that things happened that they could have stepped in with, instead of ignoring or encouraging it.
Young Adults and Communication
Yorkey speaks on the fact that teenagers, like Clay Jensen, are not people who can communicate the things they are feelings, shown with a clip where Lainie Jensen, Clay's mother, asks about bullying, which he doesn't respond to, and then further asks him about Hannah Baker, he lies and says he barely knew her. Yorkey comments on another scene, where Clay is taking a shower and is feeling a lot of emotions that he can't express, "This scene is one of the most powerful moments of the show for me, because it rings so true to who I was when I was a teenager, where you have so much going on inside of you, and so little ability to share it with anybody." Miles Heizer, who portrays Alex Standall, adds that he remembers experiencing feelings when he was younger but couldn't communicate it because he didn't know and he didn't know how to. Brandon Flynn says that it would be healthier to talk about it but not one has the awareness, "even someone as smart as Clay", Dylan adds that people aren't sure how to talk about it and aren't sure if they'll understand. A scene between Matt Jensen, Clay's father and Clay shows Matt asking Clay to open up to him and Lainie more, or just tell them when things are happening. Teefey says that if parents were honest and didn't ignore issues and talked about what they went through, it would really help kids bit more comfortable in talking about the subject. Teefey then looks at her daughter, Selena Gomez and says that she always told her that she doesn't have to tell me everything, but if it's something important, she is there with no judgement. Jay Asher says not being able to communicate is something that almost everyone relates to.
Sexual Assault and Awareness
We see a scene with Mr. Porter and Hannah Baker, Hannah is going to give life one last try. Yorkey says that Hannah missed the opportunity to say what had happened to her and Mr. Porter missed the opportunity and missed a lot of signs to see that she was in immediate crisis who needed more help that he gave her. Asher says that Hannah could have been more helpful, and in a way she "kind of sets up Mr. Porter to fail" and says it's okay to recognize that she wasn't perfect and could have done more. "The challenge for Hannah, is that she would have had to have the strength to describe what happened to her and the courage to label it 'rape'." Yorkey says, she wasn't ready and that's not her fault. Sexual assault comes with silence and pain, it takes a safe space and someone who is qualified to help them. Mr. Porter didn't have that so Hannah could not tell him anything. Derek Luke says that "sometimes you can be trying so hard and miss it, you can be sincere but sincerely wrong.". Dr. Rebecca Hedrick says it's common for young adults to not recognize their own emotions, to not be able to verbalize them. Langford backs this up, "If Hannah had been able to understand what she was feeling, and why, then it could have made all the difference.". Yorkey says that teenagers may Instagram and Snapchat and Facebook, but that's curated. You only know what they're putting out there, you only know what they're able to tell you.
Brian Yorkey opens the talk on sexual assault: "It was a really interesting discussion in the writer's room, approaching the scene where Justin lets Bryce in to ultimately have his way with Jessica. And there were people who said 'no one would do this'. Dr. Hedrick says that a lot of times guys have their concept of the 'Bro Code' where if their friend is assaulting someone they just look the other way, no matter who it is. Instead of saying that they have their back unless they're doing something that is legitimately sketchy. Dr. Hu talks about Hannah and the Bystander effect. "The bystander effect is when we talk about how could someone not interfere if you think something terrible is going on. In the scene at the party, not only is Justin culpable, there's, I think, maybe some people wondering, well why didn't Hannah do anything?" Langford takes over, saying if you put yourself in her shoes, there are things to take into account: Hannah was drunk, Hannah was hiding and Hannah was not supposed to be there. In Katherine's opinion she believes that Hannah didn't actually realize it was happening and then all of a sudden it was happening and then all of a sudden it was over. Alexis Jones, backs this up by saying that we don't realize, so often, people in Hannah's moment will freeze. If you're not in their shoes you would say you would have done something. Which is easier to say, in theory. Truth is: it requires a bold, authentic confidence to step in and that, at the time, was not who Hannah was. Alisha Boe says that when she read the ninth episode, she called a close family member who was also a rape survivor and they told her they were happy the producers and writers we're not shying away from the ugliness, and telling it in such an authentic, harsh way. Prentice says reading the script was devastating, and they they had to bring it to life, which was harder to do. Boe comments that Jessica is forever changed, it's a permanent thing so she hopes that people understand that it's not okay to get drunk and have your way with people because you change someone's life and your life. Prentice says most people who have committed an assault on someone are a friend, people you know. If Bryce doesn't have consequences he will keep doing what he is doing.
Dr. Hu talks about people like Bryce, Predators, saying that the show displays that it's not obvious to see one, Bryce is a popular guy and an athlete. Jones says that Bryces's exist on every single campus, men don't really know what consent means or looks like. Flynn says that parents need to sit down and talk to their children and teach them what actual, true, proper consent is. Hedrick says that, people like Bryce, they are usually repeat offenders who find victim after victim. We see Hannah's rape scene play out in the hot tub as Langford, Yorkey, Jones and Hu talk over. Yorkey starts by saying that this scene was one of the two most difficult to film, they didn't shy away from what happens because if you don't tell the full story, it minimizes what sexual assault survivors, victims and what Hannah Baker went through. Langford says that their goal was to represent everything as authentically and truthfully as possible. Jessica Yu (director of the episode) put a lot of thought into the way it would be shot. In the scene, they "stay on Hannah's face longer than is comfortable", which Katherine says was actually in the script. Which is important because it is uncomfortable, it's uncomfortable to watch and to be in it. Prentice says that it does a good job of showing you what rape survivors and victims go through. Yorkey says that they had counselors advise them on how to shoot it and write it, and they talked to Justin and Katherine to help them understand what goes on through someone's mind and what or why they do what they are doing. Langford says that in talking to Rebecca Hedrick and Rebecca Caplan she had an insight into what people go through while an assault is happening. Hedrick furthers this: "Whenever someone is faced with a major trauma, they have the fight flight or freeze response. And especially if they've had accumulated trauma in the past, the more likely option would be to freeze and that's what happened with Hannah". Dr Hsu says "she might even dissociate a little bit, a lot of times victims of trauma come out of their body, she (Hannah) goes blank, you see the light go out of her eyes" Jones comments that we rarely see the bravery and the candor and the pain that exists on the other side of being a survivor, and how damaging it is. We see this with both Hannah and Jessica. Boe says that rape should be a topic that we should all be able to talk about and not be ashamed and there needs to be a safe space for them to talk. Jones also backs this up.
Suicide and Signs
Yorkey, Hsu and Hedrick take on the topic of suicide: Yorkey says that in Hannah's last day she believes she is worth nothing because she has been treated like an object instead of a human being, Hsu comments that she also stops trying and reaching out because she isn't strong or healthy enough to assert herself. Hedrick says that young adults feel like their pain is going to last forever and that there is no way out because they haven't fully formed their frontal lobe (executive function). Yorkey says that they wanted to show Hannah's suicide in graphic depiction because they wanted it to be painful to watch, because they wanted it to be clear that "there is nothing–in any way–worthwhile about suicide". Kate Walsh says she wanted to make the scene where Olivia finds Hannah as authentic as possible because people have gone through this. Hsu also says that showing it tells you that suicide isn't a pretty death or an easy one. And then the grief for her parents after is furthering the pain. "For those of you who will now be looking for signs everywhere, what does it really look like? Here's the scary thing: It looks like nothing." Hannah Baker says over the tapes. Hsu talks about Alex Standall's attempt to kill himself after everything with Hannah, "People are at a higher risk of suicide if someone that they know has died by suicide... the person who survived somebody else suicide often feels guilty and can blame themselves and that seems to be a large part of what happened with Alex." Hedrick lists the signs that you could look out for:
- Drastic change in behavior
- Grades changing
- Fighting with friends or other people
- Substance Abuse
Miles Heizer comments that "young adults don't feel like they can be treated so they don't talk about it or sometimes it's too overwhelming. But there usually is." Gomez furthers this by saying it is treatable and there are millions of ways that you can find help. Dr. Hsu believes that a lot of people become paralyzed by their fear of not knowing or not understanding and an overwhelming experience of feeling. But because they don't talk about it, no one does and that is the worst thing. Yorkey says that he hopes we see, around Hannah in the show, that there are people who care about her and there are people who care about us. Langford says that if you don't feel like talking to someone you know, you should call a hotline or talk to someone anonymously and adds that "There is an entire future of incredible things waiting for you and if you go you don't get to–you don't get to see it." Minnette ends with "I hope that this show really opens up a lot of conversations and helps people realize the smallest thing you do to someone or say can change so much for better or worse". It ends with a clip of Clay reaching out to Skye as Tom McCarthy ends with "It's more than a show about a young woman's suicide, or sexual abuse, sexual violence, rape, it's much more than that. I think it's a wonderful way the show ends, with Clay just taking a minute to acknowledge a woman in his life who he hasn't connect with in a while. And it's those small steps, which I think can make a big difference." Hsu, Yorkey and Gomez add to this and it ends.
Cast and Crew
- Order of Appearance
|“||It's definitely a generational thing, because my whole middle school and high school when we got home, all we would do is hop on, either it was Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. So that's our whole world, is our school and then social media. So that's why when you're being cyberbullied, you're being attacked by so many people, who are hiding behind, you know, a computer screen.||”|
|— Alisha Boe (on cyberbullying)|
|“||Adults don't realize how much cyber bullying is hurtful, because it didn't exist when people my age were younger. And cyberbullying doesn't end when the school bell rings.||”|
|— Dr. Hu (on cyberbullying and adults)|
|“||Once something is online, it's just there, and a picture can say a million different things. And people come up and conjure up their own story, or what they think is right. And it affects you, it hurts you.||”|
|— Selena Gomez (on Photographic Cyberbullying)|
|“||Suddenly you can feel so terribly alone, and because of their interaction and because they're so engaged, and tethered to their devices, there actually is no safe space.||”|
|— Alexis Jones (on cyberbullying)|
|“||The adults tend to trivialize what for teenagers and young adults is not trivial. Teenage brains don't work the way adult brains work. You know? Trauma and pain? Feel like they're going to last forever. And I think that we forget that sometimes.||”|
|— Brian Yorkey (on the downplay of cyberbullying from adults)|
|“||Hopefully sharing these stories can help parents pay attention to things that may be small to them, but, could be rocking the world of their kid.||”|
|— Mandy Teefey (on 13 Reasons Why)|
|“||In high school your reputation is everything. And she (Hannah) stopped being a human being to all those guys and became a "thing".||”|
|— Brian Yorkey|
|“||The topic of slut shaming, like what happened with Hannah, we're in a place where, on the one hand, girls feel incredible pressure to be rated on being attractive, to be popular, to be good-looking, to look perfect o Instagram. And yet if it goes just a touch too far somehow, now you're a slut, nobody likes you, you're not worthy of being a "real" girlfriend.||”|
|— Dr. Helen Hsu (on Slut-Shaming)|
|“||Somehow all those things get mixed up, especially for girls and women. And for a girl who's just developing her identity, and just developing into her body, and just learning about sexuality and relationships, it's a lot of hurdles to navigate.||”|
|— Dr. Helen Hsu|
|“||I think the hard thing about the minute that a girl in this context is labeled a slut is because it's just a snowball effect. Because it gives people permission to continue to treat her as though she's a sexual object instead of a human being.||”|
|— Alexis Jones|
|“||Growing up and going through high school, is when you're meant to be learning about who you are. And maybe having your first sexual experience(s); having your first boyfriend or girlfriend and trying to figure that out. And this huge culture of slut-shaming affects her, ultimately.||”|
|— Katherine Langford|
- ProtectHer is a locker room program educating male athletes on the importance of respecting women, founded by Alexis Jones, who appears in Beyond the Reasons, talking about cyberbullying and bullying in general.
- 13 Reasons Why – "Talk to Someone | 13 Reasons Why Crisis Information" (Retrieved February 1, 2019)