It seems that everyone has an opinion about controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why, and the graphic way in which the series portrays a death by suicide. Now, the show's producer, Selena Gomez, is defending the Netflix series against critics by reminding them that the show strived for honesty in its storytelling.
13 Reasons Why, which is based on Jay Asher's novel of the same name, has been lauded by many fans for exploring challenging topics like rape and suicide with thoughtfulness, though criticised by others who believe the series has glamorised Hannah's death by suicide. In an interview with Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on Monday, June 5, Gomez stressed that the show intentionally tried to be as open as possible, even if that meant making certain people uncomfortable with the subject matter. She told the radio show:
"I feel like if this is what we are going to talk about, we might as well do it in a way that's going to be honest, it's going to be real, and it stays true to the book."
She later added:
"I think that stuff is uncomfortable for people to talk about, but it is happening and hopefully it opened the door for people to actually accept what's happening and actually go and change it, talk about it."
Gomez isn't the first person working on the series to stress the importance of cultivating an openness within the series. 13 Reasons Why showrunner Brian Yorkey echoed that statement in a letter to the press.
"It was important for us not to look away from the most difficult moments, not to artfully elide our storytelling to suggest what had happened without having to look it in the eye. We wanted to be clear-eyed and honest," he said in the letter. "To do otherwise — to look away before it got hard to watch, to imply or aestheticise crucial events, to make it easy and safe for the viewer, would be to do a grave disservice to a story that is neither easy nor safe."
For fans who appreciate the show's candour, there will be even more time for the series to tackle tough topics in the upcoming second season of 13 Reasons Why.