Hopefully there’s no confusion as to why the scene of Hannah’s suicide was cut from 13 Reasons Why, since quite honestly the realistic depiction was just another way for critics to lash out at the show for promoting a real-world issue that’s been affecting a large number of teens before and after the show came out. Allyson Chiu of The Washington Post commented on this matter in a way that seems to explain in a few words that almost make it sound as though Netflix was worried more about the show than the effect it was seen to cause among many of the impressionable viewers. For obvious reasons it would be stated that this isn’t the case of course since Netflix isn’t in the business of only thinking about its ratings when teens committing suicide is a very real problem, but the wording at times in several articles seems to imply that instead of solving the problem they’re willing to keep the show running, as it’s already had two seasons.
Jacob Stolworthy of the Independent even wrote about the backlash this show inspired since the idea of teen suicide being dramatized in such way was, as you might imagine, kind of disturbing to many people since it’s nothing that needs to be dramatized or cashed in on. The whole idea of Hannah killing herself was to make a point to those that had a hand in her downward spiral, and in that sense the show was kind of brilliant. But the first scene that took so long to get axed was hard for many people to watch and for good reason. Suicide at any age is rough since it indicates that something has gone horribly, horribly wrong and the person seeking to take their life can’t find any way out, but depicting it on screen is one of the few subjects that people will absolutely lose their minds about since it’s a painful loss that can tear people apart when it happens. The trauma of a suicide has been seen in movies and on TV before, but for some reason this show hit closer to home in this day and age since quite honestly the level of depression that exists now seems to be worse than at many other times in history.
For whatever reason, teens in this era are more stressed, more likely to cause self-harm, and in many ways more likely to simply commit suicide without a cry for help. Back in the 90s this matter was just as serious and throughout the years it’s become worse. But to think that a TV show could have this much power over young minds is kind of terrifying really. What’s worse is that the TV shows and movies that depict suicide don’t seem to care at times that the scenes they show are rather traumatic and can possibly trigger the person watching them or worse, give them the idea that this is somehow a trendy thing to do in order to get attention. The message of the story is one that’s easy enough to see when one moves past the dramatization, and in truth vilifying it doesn’t make any difference since Netflix will continue to run the show as long as it’s profitable or until the outrage becomes too much to withstand, though it’s likely that the former will hold over the latter without much effort.
Sam Warning of Digital Spy wrote that the scene has been changed to show Hannah in front of the mirror, but the more graphic portion of it has indeed been cut. Two years it took to do this, TWO YEARS before Netflix figured “hey, maybe that’s not a good idea”. The outrage should be palpable, but then the hypocrisy would set in with a vengeance since not only have we all seen suicides in the movies and on other TV shows, but they’ve been rather graphic as well. Want to know the difference? The big differences is that suicides in other shows and in the movies tends to happen for much different reasons on many occasions, and those that happen in the same manner as Hannah’s either don’t show the actual suicide or they belong to movies and shows that don’t get watched often. There’s a matter of timing, of taste, and of class when depicting such a scene since over the years suicide has become a subject that is quite sore for many people and triggering for others. How it ever came to this state of affairs is hard to say, but in an era when simply speaking to another person in a wrong tone can trigger them, the idea of showing a suicide on a streaming network seems to indicate that Netflix was willing to gamble with their reputation and would have lost in a big way had they not decided to cut the scene. It’s hard to know whether to admonish Netflix or tell people to grow up.