Ever since the television adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why became available on Netflix, I’ve had to answer the question: “why haven’t you watched it yet?” The controversial show, based on a novel of the same name by Jay Asher, has drawn a lot of attention, both positive and negative, and I’ve had to justify my procrastinated watching by saying that I haven’t had time yet. Well, that’s not entirely true: I have had the time, I just haven’t had the motive.
After months and months of pushing it off, I’ve come to terms with the idea that I just don’t want to watch it… and that’s okay. Here are my eight reasons why I’m not going to watch “Thirteen Reasons Why:”
1. The book is probably better. I will likely never have the evidence to support this claim, but I think that Thirteen Reasons Why is a story meant to be read, not watched. When reading about Hannah’s tragic story and the fallout that impacts Clay, you fill in the gaps between the major plot points and character traits to weave a story that is close to home and close to the heart. That’s what makes it such a jarring, deeply personal read. When it’s played out on a screen, I think you lose that individualization; it becomes less about your relationship with the story and more about the drama.
2. I’m busy. I work, I write, I exercise, I read, I bake chocolate chip cookies (which I do too often). I’ve got stuff on my plate and I only have room in my schedule for one addictive television show at the moment. I’m in a committed relationship with “Jane the Virgin” and she gets irritated when I watch other shows. I just don’t have the time to sit down and watch an entire season in one day at the moment.
3. It made me paranoid. After reading 13 Reasons Why, I walked around for days wondering who around me was going through a tough time, but not in the sensitive, be-nice-to-everyone way. I was worried that if I misspoke or accidentally did something wrong, I could be someone’s reason why. Rather than worrying that I might upset someone, I want to focus on what I can do to be a good person and a welcoming friend.
4. The book worsened my anxiety. I’ve been a worrier all my life; my first response to a situation is to see the worst possible outcome (which is fabulous when writing plot twists, but not so fabulous when a friend makes a snide comment). Second semester of senior year, the pressure of college decisions, a heinous amount of homework, the approaching AP exams, early morning swim practices before school, dance rehearsal in the afternoon, and friendship drama sent me into a private spiral. While I put on a brave face, I would come home after sixteen-hour days and disintegrate. I’ve since improved drastically, but putting images of suicide into my conscious stirred up some of that dust. As important as it is to discuss these topics, I don’t want or need to be encountering a story involving unhealthy actions and mindsets. I need to focus on working through my anxiety and a huge part of that is reading and watching things that bring joy to my life.
5. I’ve already read all the spoilers. Sorry, screenwriters: your plot twists have no power over me. Between listening to friends rant about the show and reading the spoilers myself, I know all about the twisted relationships and who Hannah Baker really blames for her death. What’s the point of watching if I already know what happens?
6. I wasn’t terribly fond of Hannah’s narrative voice. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t like how vindictive she sounded in the book. I thought it was very hypocritical in that taking her life was her own choice. Like I said: maybe it’s just me, but I’m not sure I could handle an entire season of Hannah and the way she blames without a sense of consequence.
7. I’m squeamish. I’ve since improved my tolerance for blood after watching the first several seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy,” but I just can’t stomach self-harm. I understand that images like that are included in the plot to bring attention to them and to start a conversation, but I don’t think I could handle it.
8. I don’t need to be “trendy.” I’ve never been one to jump on the bandwagon and I will stand firm in this opinion as I have before. I won’t watch a show that I don’t really want to watch just because everyone and their cousins are watching it. I like fitting in, but not that bad.
Have you watched or read Thirteen Reasons Why? What did you think?
Related Post: Annie DNF’ed a Book