It's not everyday that a show like 13 Reasons Why comes around. The Netflix series, based on a YA book of the same name by Jay Asher, ignited unfiltered conversations on bullying, depression, suicide, and the other dark realities that can come with being a teenager.
The 13-episode series is narrated by Hannah Baker, a likable and pretty high schooler who takes her own life, but leaves behind a box of 13 tapes explaining why. On each of the tapes, a name of a classmate (and often former friend) is said, and the circumstances of their relationship is described in detail. She starts each tape, and thus episode, with the (memed) line "Welcome to your tape," before she explains why she believes each teen had, in their own way, contributed to her death. It's gripping, intense, and difficult to watch — and it immediately received harsh criticism from teachers, parents, organizations, and other influential teens. But to many, it opened up a new world of entertainment — one that wasn't afraid to approach the more difficult topics of high school and depression.
Despite the public backlash, one would assume that a show with such name recognition (and breakout performances) could find a spot on the list of Emmy nominees. But no: the series was shut out from top to bottom. Not one mention of the Selena Gomez-backed production is seen in the 67-page Emmy nomination press release. Seeing this snub begs the age-old question: Do teens' tastes even matter?
In the words of Harry Styles: "How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future."
But, surprisingly, the Emmys have nominated shows geared towards the youth, namely young women, before. Freaks and Geeks was nominated twice, as was Degrassi multiple times (albeit in the Outstanding Children's Series Program). Stranger Things is the big exception this year, but truthfully the sci-fi drama's kid-driven plot line is a lot less teen-friendly than the realistic narrative of 13 Reasons Why. Did Netflix not properly campaign for the show to make it to the Emmys for some reason (as one of my co-workers hypothesizes), instead placing all its backing on more surefire wins like the aforementioned Stranger Things, along with previous winners like House of Cards?
But what may be even more baffling is the fact that the show was also nominated for exactly zero Teen Choice Awards. The 2017 TCA announced their nominees the same day as the Emmys and found room for Riverdale and Famous in Love, but not for 13 Reasons Why. A show literally dedicated to the interests of teens snubbed a series for teens, played by teens. It's okay if you're confused as to why, because I am, too.
This contradicts many critic's predictions. Two semi-explanations come to mind about why the show was "robbed," as heated fans are saying on Twitter: one being that a number of teen suicides have allegedly been linked to the fictional series, and another being that the show is confirmed for a second season (perhaps a more cheerful one). Either way, the exclusion of 13 Reasons Why is one of the most shocking developments to come from the Emmys and the TCA, and fans are vocalizing their frustration online.
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