Stop Romanticizing Relationships in ’13 Reasons Why’

Disclaimer: this may include spoilers. 

It’s been exactly a week since the release of the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why. For those who have not yet watched the show, here’s a quick summary. The show revolves around seventeen year old Hannah Baker who commits suicide. Two weeks following her death, a fellow classmate Clay Jensen receives thirteen tapes that Hannah recorded prior to her suicide. Each tape gives detailed reasons as to who played a role in her suicide and how they did. She follows with the ultimatum that the tapes must be heard by each person on the tape, and passed on in the same order, or they would be released by a trusted friend to the public.

The show is an adaptation of the book 13 Reasons Why by author Jay Asher. Throughout the show, the themes and characters from the book are shown in-depth, making the television show resonate with multiple teenagers around the world. The reasoning as to why teenagers are relating with the show as well as the characters is due to the fact that the show explores the themes of sexualization, harassment, isolation, loss of friendships, depression, abusive households, and suicide. Teenagers watching and reading 13 Reasons Why have been responding with positive feedback to what is now a phenomenon. However, many teenagers have taken to the internet as per usual to talk about their ship on the show.

A ‘ship’ most commonly refers to a romantic relationship individuals hope to see in works of fiction. Perhaps one of the worst things that has come about on the internet since the release of the show, are the comments and reviews as to how Hannah and Clay should have ended up together. This ruins the entire purpose of what has made the show stand out from others. 13 Reasons Why explores important themes that go beyond that of a romantic teenage relationship. Yet some individuals choose to focus on the aspect of their relationship beyond being platonic. Before anything else, Clay was Hannah’s friend. He serves as someone she was able to rely on when she had no one else by her side. Their relationship went beyond that of a teenage love story.

To romanticize the relationship Clay and Hannah had would be to disregard what the writers of 13 Reasons Why were aiming to accomplish. Had the writers wanted a romantic relationship to be prominent in the show, they could’ve easily made it a topic that was explored in depth. However, the way the show was left off, as well as how Clay’s tape described their relationship, it’s safe to say that what Hannah and Clay had was not meant to serve as a love story, much less a tragic love story. Therefore, to previous watchers, as well as future watchers, please don’t romanticize any aspect of 13 Reasons Why and take away from what the show — as well as the book — meant to accomplish.



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