“13 Reasons Why” is not exactly light entertainment.
The show is entirely centered on teenage suicide, and on the circumstances that create this problem in modern society. It’s intended as an exploration of a very real modern problem that affects the lives of far too many people.
If the first season of the show felt dark and depressing, though, it seems that season two is going even further down the rabbit hole.
A newly released content warning video, made publicly available on YouTube, is to play at the start of every episode of the second season of the show, as members of the cast, out of character, caution those watching to do so with care, and to discuss the issues with a trusted adult if they feel that they’ve been personally affected by the content within the show.
This is a really nice gesture. Too often, in a media landscape that’s dominated by discussion surrounding violence and sexual content, we overlook the fact that often, the most dangerous content isn’t necessarily the stuff that can be easily identified by counting the number of curse words involved in a show.
Everyone experiences media differently, and some people, who are suffering from very real challenges in their lives, might find “13 Reasons Why” more distressing than others.
All of this begs the question, what prompted the showrunners to include this warning in the new episodes?
Is this an awakening, or a realization, that the show might not be as teen-friendly as the creators had thought? Or is it instead an indication that the second series of “13 Reasons Why” is going to get darker, more explicit in its themes, and more troubling and potentially traumatic to watch?
It’s probably best to assume the latter of these two possibilities. As the show goes on, we’re probably going to see things that are increasingly difficult to watch, especially for those who can best identify with the characters in the show.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t watch “13 Reasons Why” season two. Just be aware of how it might affect you, and bear in mind that the show’s content warning is there for a reason.
If you do feel the need, definitely seek out help from someone you trust. If “13 Reasons why” encourages just one person to speak out, then it’ll all be worth it.