Less is More

Isha Sanghvi, Staff Writer

In the very week it aired, Thirteen Reasons Why casually slipped itself into everyday conversations of teenagers everywhere. Either everyone had started watching it, finished watching it, or read all the spoilers online. Based on the novel by Jay Asher, the show revolves around a typically angsty teenage protagonist, Clay Baker. Saddened by the suicide of his crush Hannah Baker, Clay tries to distance himself from her memory. He later receives thirteen tapes recorded by Hannah detailing the reasons and people that drove her to suicide. Each tape is awarded its own episode, interlaced with flashbacks of Hannah experiencing trauma along with present day Clay reeling from the revelations.Due to the show’s overwhelming success, a second season has been confirmed by Netflix. While most fans are beyond overjoyed to see a continued storyline of their favorite characters, a second season would only undermine the show’s message.

The narrative detailing Hannah’s depression urges viewers to understand the gravity of their actions. By the end of the season, those responsible for Hannah’s death are hinted to face the consequences in court for their actions. While the second season is expected to follow up on the consequences of those responsible, simply knowing they will be held accountable is closure enough. Viewers do not need to relive the details of Hannah’s life and death through a court case that inevitably delivers the results already expected.

In order for the show to have a dramatic season that would attract viewers, it would likely introduce another tragedy. Netflix confirmed the addition of more characters and plotlines to the second season, but this indicates the characters did not learn anything from Hannah’s suicide. Instead, her death is used as a means of extending the plotline and making money.

“[W]hen we originally pitched it, there was another version, which was an anthology version where, in sort of True Detective mode, every year you start with a new 13 reasons,” Producer Brian Yorkey told Entertainment Weekly.

That is unsettling to say the least. Introducing new characters within a fresh storyline that ultimately results in a suicide falsely affirms the fact that suicide is not preventable. That should not be the takeaway message of a show whose sole purpose is to teach youth about being wary of the impact of their actions and words.

Less is often more. Thirteen Reasons Why should remain a single season, thirteen-episode, heart wrenching, unsettling social statement on suicide rather than a double season, profit-motivated, meaningless exploration into teenage drama.