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13 Reasons Why I Love You!

June 24, 2017

 

Dear 13 Reasons Why,

 

I want to pass you a note in study hall. I want to ask you to go steady. I want to write your name on my notebook a hundred times. This isn't simply a school girl crush. This is love, the kind that doesn't come around often. The kind of love that makes you feel like someone finally gets you. The kind of love that finds its way into the darkest deepest parts of you and then gnaws on those parts. It hurts to love you 13 Reasons Why, but that hurt reminds me of my capacity for empathy and my responsibility toward complacency. 

 

While there are hundreds of reasons why I love you, I know that I need to deliver on the promise of my premise, so here are only 13:

 

1. You're fucking brave - you don't shy away from the horrors of high school, you dive face first into them. You knew there would be backlash, but you also knew that someone needed to hold a mirror up to the cruelty and confusion of adolescence.

 

2. You have cool friends - Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford are heartbreaking as star-crossed and suffering teenagers Clay and Hannah.

 

3. You're not like the other shows. - You're an original . You found a totally new form to play with. I knew the ending at the beginning, and yet, I was always in suspense. 

 

4. You're nostalgic. - The cassette tapes were not only a clever device to push the story forward, they were a reminder of a time before likes and comments and swipes, when we communicated in other ways, when we made mixed tapes, wrote notes, and called our crushes on the phone. Plus, Tony has a cool car.

 

5. You're romantic. - You may be dark, but even when your love was unstated or unrequited, you gave me tiny moments of hope. And I was left with that sickening sweet feeling of wishing for one more glance, or kiss, or word uttered between us. So, I guess what I am saying is, thanks for showing me the moon.

 

6. You're mature. - You may be a show about kids, but you never talk down to them or any of your viewers. 

 

7. You're full of surprises. - I was never ahead of you, except when you wanted me to be. 

 

8. You have great taste in music. -  13 Reasons Why Soundtrack on Spotify

 

9. You call people out on their shit. - You pointed the finger at all of us. We all killed Hannah through apathy, bullying, ignorance, and any number of times and ways we didn't reach out to someone we should have. You called bullshit on the way we treat girls, on the way we treat teenagers, on the way we treat each other. And you're right, we all need to do better. 

 

10. You're a little overly dramatic at times, but so am I. - High school is high drama. And sometimes you'd really go there, but just when it would start to feel a little cheesy, you'd call it out. You'd remind us that these are the thoughts of a girl who feels her world closing in on her. And then I'd remember how everything felt heightened during adolescence. I'd remember my own angsty poetry and hysterics over a crush, a grade, or a bad lunch and suddenly Hannah's flare for the dramatic felt tepid by comparison.

 

11. You have even more cool friends. - The supporting cast of young actors on 13RW are a super talented bunch, but the performances by Alisha Boe (Jessica), Brandon Flynn (Justin), and Miles Heizer (Alex) are achingly good. 

 

12. You're a feminist. - There were plenty of moments when you could have, as so many artists before you have, exploited, glamorized, or glossed over the acts of rape and sexual harassment in this story, but you didn't look away and you didn't allow us to either. 

 

13. You get me - You get the girl inside me, the girl who felt unsafe and unseen and unheard during adolescence and who sometimes still feels that way. You created complex young female characters, but more importantly you captured the truth of how those characters have to fight in the world simply because they are young and female.

 

xoxokim

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© 2018 by Kimberlea Kressal.