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13 Reasons Why: A Show That’s Changing The Way Teens Think

Grace Blessington, Editor

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Every once in awhile, a television show sweeps the nation, sparking nationwide buzz on social media and television. In the past, America has gotten hooked on the story of a school teacher-turned meth dealer, the fiery personas of the inmates of a women’s prison, and the all-too-relatable office setting. Wielding the power of a Netflix subscription, binge watchers everywhere are able to hop on the next trend in television with the tap of their fingers.

The newest craze comes from a place a bit darker than usual. Set in a modern suburb, “13 Reasons Why” embraces the concept of a teen girl’s suicide and the effects that follow. Originally a best selling novel by Jay Asher, the story of Hannah Baker was re-adapted for television, with Selena Gomez sitting in the producer’s chair.

Gomez was originally supposed to play Hannah, the show’s painfully relatable main character, but later decided that her “recognizable face” would taint the story. This decision proved to be a brilliant one, allowing for breakout star Katherine Langford to step into the role, accompanied by a cast of talented, fresh-faced actors.

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From the left: Katherine Langford (Hannah), Selena Gomez, Dylan Minette (Clay)

The 13 episode series follows the show’s protagonist, Clay (Dylan Minette), through flashbacks and present day scenes as he attempts to reveal the truth behind his friend Hannah’s suicide. Hannah, taking her  grudges to the grave, produced 13 cassette tapes, each highlighting a reason why she killed herself. The story begins with Clay’s retrieval of the tapes, which travel with him as he begins to understand his friend’s tragic death.

Morbid as it is, the tale is expertly crafted for the screen, opening the eyes of anyone who views the saga. With characters all-too-similar to the people in our own lives, the show has the power to connect with viewers of all ages.

Unsurprisingly, the show has received enormous praise from society and critics alike, taking over social media by the minute. While the fame is likely sweet, the stars of the series made their intent clear. “Everything that we do within the show is something that’s happening, has happened or is something that someone can relate too…What I’m proud about is that we did not shy away from that. A lot of shows and movies that have tried to represent teenagers or the chaos that is coming at that age, they shy away from it, romanticize it or they kind of fantasize what it’s like to be a teenager. It can be sh**,” said Langford in an interview with People magazine.

Topping off Netflix’s charts as the most viewed production of all time, 13 Reasons Why has only just began its journey. Rumors of a second season are already brewing, all while the cast’s Instagram and Twitter handles are blowing up with followers: Langford with 1.5 million, Minette with 1.3 million, and Miles Heizer (Alex Standall) with a toppling 999,000 followers.

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Miles Heizer’s Instagram Page

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Katherine Langford’s Instagram Page

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Alisha Boe’s Instagram

 
Although the show is just a simple 13 episodes, the story of Hannah, geniusly told by the cast, crew, and producers, will continue to touch lives and inspire those with similar stories.

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13 Reasons Why: A Show That’s Changing The Way Teens Think