This article caught me off guard yesterday, perusing the daily shit posts on /r/television:
TLDR: Netflix has gone back and removed roughly 3 minutes of their show depicting a suicide in the finale of season 1’s 13 Reasons Why.
Spoiler: Hannah kills herself. This isn’t a spoiler, by the way, if you’ve watched more than the first five minutes of the show.
My First Reaction:
What the actual fucking fuck?
First, let’s be very clear up front right now:
- I am not a fan of 13 Reasons Why.
- I am not a Trumpist, alt-right, GAB troll, that believes the United States is becoming too ‘politically correct’.
- Nor am I a fan of George Lucas adding all his fancy special effects to the original Star Wars movies.
That all said, something about this makes my blood boil, for reasons not pertaining to the list above.
Let’s be even more clear: ’13 Reasons Why’ is an absolute shit-show.
But that doesn’t mean Netflix should go back and make it more palatable to audiences by removing key scenes.
The scene in question here is, awful.
Hannah is a bit of a pretentious brat, and season 1 was roundly critiqued for glorifying her decision to kill herself.
The scene at least showed the reality that killing herself was painful, and wasn’t easy to do.
Stripping it out, makes it seem even more like the show is trying to tell kids that suicide is okay, in certain circumstances.
That message is absolutely wrong.
In my mind, I contrast this scene, with the scene in Sharp Objects:
They managed to make the show worse
By putting up a middle finger to any critics saying the show glorifies suicide, by removing the last bastion of their defense:
The gory scene depicting the awfulness of suicide.
And they’ve done this in favor of making the show more ‘politically correct’, and ‘less graphic’.
Where does this editing practice stop?
I already can’t watch movies on TV anymore because of the time-crunching editing they do to cram in any many commercials as possible, as well as the product-placement campaigns.
This is the first instance that I know of, of a streaming-service engaging in the practice to, appease some unknown god of public opinion without fully understanding the consequences.
Let’s make my stance on editing clear here:
Release a show. Don’t edit it under any circumstance.
If it’s terrible, it’s terrible, let it be.
The only form of post-release editing that is acceptable is in the form of ‘Director’s Cut’ reworkings of the source material.
Blade Runner remains the shining example of this, with the Director’s Cut stripping out all the unnecessary narration.
Additionally, it should make everyone that watches Netflix and other streaming services incredibly nervous.
Nervous that they’re not ever watching the original release the way it was originally received and reviewed.
I still advocate for downloading and possessing access to copies of every movie/tv show. This is just one more prime example of why that is a good idea.
I need to write a rant on the other reasons, as well as how to get into that for anyone that is interested.
Have a good day.
And don’t EVER watch 13 Reasons Why.
Except to use it as a benchmark of terrible television.