13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why

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Updated Nov 21, 2018 at 03:02PM EST by Matt.

Added Apr 19, 2017 at 04:53PM EDT by Adam.

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13 Reasons Why is an American television show produced by Netflix based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Jay Asher. The show revolves around a young girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide after a series of failures in her life brought about by people in her high school. In the first episode, a series of cassette tapes is anonymously dropped on the doorstep of the main character, Clay Jensen. Each tape is of the deceased girl addressing a person who led her to commit suicide. The series has been received generally favorably, though it has attracted criticism from those who feel it glorifies suicide.


13 Reasons Why is run by Diana Son and Brian Yorkey.[1] The series, along with the special 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons were released on March 31st, 2017. It was originally conceived as a film that would star Selena Gomez, but was later adapted into a Netflix series for which Gomez served as executive producer. The series stars Katherine Langford as Hannah Baker and Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen.

Season 2

On May 18th, 2018, Netflix released the second season of 13 Reasons Why.[1] The season is 13 episodes long and follows a trial surrounding Baker's death.

Over the course of the season, issues of sexual assault and trauma permeate the lives of the characters around Baker. The finale of the season drew strong response from critics.

In the final episode of the season, the character Tyler is beaten in a school bathroom and anally raped with a broomstick.

Critics at Jezebel[9] and Digital Spy[10] discussed the finale of the show, with the latter saying the season was "even more problematic" than the first. Jezebel said the show "still exploits teens" while purporting to support them. Those comments were echoed in a thread on /r/OutOfTheLoop[11] on the controversy surrounding the finale. Some users called the content exploitative while others pointed out that it's not without precedent both in real life and on television.


The show has been generally well received by critics, with a score of 76 on Metacritic[2] as of April 19th, 2017. While critics tend to agree it is not without its flaws, many praise the show's honesty with which it treats the subject matter. However, it has also received criticism for the way some feel it glamorizes teen suicide. The Chicago Sun-Times[3] argued that the underlying message of the show was, "Commit suicide and you will make people regret they mistreated you, while assigning responsibility to others for your terrible decision."

Also, the show received criticism for the graphic way it depicts Hannah's suicide in the final episode. The Chicago Tribune[4] said that the graphic depiction of Hannah's suicide may inspire copycat suicides.

University Study

On November 20th, 2018, the University of Michigan[12] released a study that stated "A significant proportion of suicidal teens treated in a psychiatric emergency department said that watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why had increased their suicide risk." The study spoke to 87 youths in their study. They found that about half had seen the show, and of that half, 21 said "it heightened their suicide risk."

Despite the findings, the doctors in the study did not believe that the show contributed to suicide risk. Dr. Victor Hong said:

"Our study doesn’t confirm that the show is increasing suicide risk, but it confirms that we should definitely be concerned about its impact on impressionable and vulnerable youth. Few believe this type of media exposure will take kids who are not depressed and make them suicidal. The concern is about how this may negatively impact youth who are already teetering on the edge."

Some online claimed to have expected the results. Twitter[13] user @Brainfeargone tweeted, "My fiancé who is a mental health therapist predicted this when the show first came out. It’s stuck with me when she said it" (shown below, left). Twitter[14] user @alexbrucesmith tweeted, "In unsurprising news, a study found a link between watching 13 Reasons Why and an increased suicide risk for vulnerable young people" (shown below, right).

Several media outlets covered the study, including AV Club,[15] The Daily Dot, [16]

Replying to @BuzzFeedNews My fiancé who is a mental health therapist predicted this when the show first came out. It's stuck with me when she said it. In unsurprising news, a study found a link between watching 13 Reasons Why and an increased suicide risk for vulnerable young people. @10Daily

Online Presence

The show and book are popular online. On Facebook,[5] the fan page has over 360,000 likes. Fans of the series have also responded by making memes about the show, sometimes mocking Hannah's decision to make a tape for the people who wronged her.

13 reasons why Hannah: Can I borrow a pencil? Kld: Sorry, this is my only one Hannah: Welcome to your tape

Refinery29[6] wrote that the memes of the show missed the point, though they did link to several popular examples.

hannah baker be like "Welcome to your tape" #13ReasonsWhy what was he listening to that had him so shook someone: hannah me: BAKER HERE LIVE AND IN STEREO. NO RETURN ENGAGEMENTS. NO ENCORE. AND THIS TIME, ABSOLUTELY NO REQUESTS. I HOPE YOU'RE RE SA

14 Reasons Why

On May 24th, Instagram user @human.esophagus[7] posted a parody of the 13 Reasons Why promotional poster in a post called "14 Reasons Why." In the image (shown below), the image is split into the three quadrants. On top is the unchanged 13 Reasons Why poster, underneath that is a YouTube thumbnail and description for a Fidget Spinner video featuring Freddy Fazbear, and finally, in the bottom quadrant, is an altered promotional poster reading "14 Reasons Why."

13 R EASONS MARCH 31 NETFLIX FREDDY FAZBEAR has a FIDGET OY SPINNER! in Roblox Cor 42K views 1 week ago 14:41 14 REASONS WHY MARCH 31 NET

Several days later, on May 30th, Redditor FhantoBlob[8] posted the image on the /r/MemeEconomy subreddit. They said, "I think this "14 Reasons Why" format may have some potential. Thoughts?" The post received more than 6,900 points (95% upvoted) and 93 comments.

Over the next few hours, users began posting variations of the "14 Reasons Why Template" (examples below).

3 R EASON S WHY MARCH 31 FLIX .oooo AT&T 5:22 PM 7896-0 203 Today 5:20 PM Jessica (huneybunny) omg bb have u ever heard of a fidget spinner!!! amazing SO A Text Message 14 REASONS WHY 13 REASONS HY Counting down to The Emoji Movie while spinning 15 fidget spinners and dabbing every 60 seconds 566K views Streamed 15 hours ago jacksfilms oEMOJI MOVIE 57 11 18 01 1:01:51 14 REASON SWHY 13 REASO N NO REASONS WH

Welcome To Your Tape

Welcome to Your Tape refers to a series of jokes quoting Baker's line to each character. It was used to create jokes for situations when a person wrongs another.

That Damn Smile

That Damn Smile refers to a series of four-panel exploitable images based a popular scene from _13 Reasons Why_. In the meme, the first, third and fourth panels, featuring screenshots and captions from the series, always remain the same, while the second panel is a different character, subverting the sincerity of the scene. In episode one (video below), the character Hannah Baker sees the character Justin Foley, to whom she is attracted, and her narration says "So you see, that's where the trouble began. That smile. That damn smile."

The earliest example of the moment being used in a meme comes from Instagram user @joblessmarwadi. On May 25th, 2017, he posted three screenshots from the scene, replacing the shot of Justin with different man smiling.[1] As of July 2017, the post has received more than 900 likes.

Welcome to your tape So you see, that's where the trouble began That smile, n'·'s '11 That damned smile.n

Search Interest

External References

Recent Videos 6 total

Recent Images 20 total

Top Comments


I don't know, I personally feel any media that displays suicide being the means by which a character gets others around them to lament their death is loathsome. It is natural to mourn, it is natural to feel remorse, but a character which commits suicide in order to inflict those feelings on others is- I believe – very scummy.

A show which paints a character that commits suicide in order to do this, regardless of the motive, sends that message to other impressionable teens. Without trying to sound too "THINK OF THE CHILDREN", it does show desired results being derived from committing suicide, which is promotion/glorification.


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