13 Reasons Why is the most controversial new series to hit television in recent memory and that has as much to do with Katherine Langford’s compelling performance as with the dark subject matter. The series has come under fire for attempting to tackle topics like bullying, depression, and suicide among teens. In response, Netflix, series producer Selena Gomez, and creator Brian Yorkey have all stepped up to defend the show and assure the public that the drama attempts to deal with sensitive subjects responsibly. Now, 13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford is adding her voice to those defending the Netflix series.
13 Reasons Why Should Generate Discussion, Says Katherine Langford
Glamour reports that Katherine Langford’s appearance on The Tonight Show offered the actress an opportunity to explain her feelings about the criticism launched at 13 Reasons Why. Langford, who plays Hannah Baker on the series, told host Jimmy Fallon that the controversy is only natural and that dramas like 13 Reasons Why are intended to generate discussion. She added that the various topics covered in the series will affect each viewer differently, based on his or her experiences.
“But personally being directly involved in the show and seeing the thought and consideration that went into it—also being a young adult, playing a young adult, and covering issues that are relevant—I feel really proud of the way we covered it and the way we showed things,” says Langford.
Katherine also explained to Fallon and his audience that 13 Reasons Why was developed to stay true to the Jay Asher novel, but producers also wanted to do what they could to ensure viewers weren’t too negatively impacted. As a result, several episodes open with a trigger warning and the 13-episode season ends with Beyond the Reasons, a 30-minute featurette in which series stars and medical professionals discuss the issues presented throughout the season.
Katherine takes it a step further with her social media pages. The 13 Reasons Why actress leaves helpful links in her bio information to help any fan in need.
“Because I figure if one in 10 girls watch that out of 5 million, you’re going to hopefully help a lot of people,” says Langford.
13 Reasons Why Boss Brian Yorkey Defends Controversial Issues
The 13 Reasons Why showrunner, Brian Yorkey, also came forward to defend the way in which the Netflix series deals with bullying, sexual assault, and suicide. Yorkey told Entertainment Weekly that he felt it was important to be as graphic as possible in dealing with those three issues because to do otherwise would have been doing a disservice to viewers. He adds that dealing with these topics in an honest and frank way was important for the sake of the story, as well as for the impact the show should have on audiences.
In the novel upon which 13 Reasons Why is based, Hannah is rumored to have committed suicide by overdosing on pills, but Brian felt that scene, as well, should have been more explicit.
“It’s a very brutal sequence and very hard to watch, and we debated that at great length,” Yorkey says.
“We had some wonderful doctors who helped us to understand what the experience would be like for Hannah and in what ways past depictions of suicide, especially by teenagers, had been aestheticized and made pretty. We set about to do it as truthfully as we could.”
The 13 Reasons Why boss went on to explain that these topics are generally skimmed over in television and film, so the viewer is never really exposed to the harsh reality of these acts. For that reason, Yorkey feels that society has never come to terms with the horrors associated with assault, bullying, and suicide. 13 Reasons Why seeks to lay the truth out plainly, so people can see just how horrific the experience is in real life.
Netflix has already approved Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why.
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