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Trivia / 13 Reasons Why

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  • Actor-Inspired Element: Dylan Minnette suggested many of the songs used on the soundtrack.
  • Banned in China: A number of schools in Canada have banned students from discussing the show in class, due to what they saw as it glamorizing teen suicide.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: New Zealand censors, when classifying the show, had to build a new classification of RP18 (Persons under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian) from scratch, created specifically for the series. The censors deemed the subject matter too important to teens for the show to be given the existing R18 rating, yet the RP16 rating was considered to be too low of a rating and did not cover vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds in a country with the highest teen suicide rate in the OECD.
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  • The Cast Showoff: Nora Walker is shown running a Yoga studio, and even helps Bryce with a few moves. Her actress Brenda Strong also has her own Yoga Class she leads.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: Jay Asher gave his approval of the changes made for the series.
  • Dawson Casting: Most of the teens, and Justified given the heavy subject matter.
    • Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford were borderline, at only nineteen.
    • Brandon Flynn (Justin) was twenty-three.
    • Alisha Boe (Jessica) was twenty, which actually is only about a three or four year age difference from her character.
    • Timothy Granaderos (Montgomery) was thirty.
    • Miles Heizer (Alex), Brandon Larracuente (Jeff) and Justin Prentice (Bryce) were twenty-two.
    • Sosie Bacon (Skye) and Christian Navarro (Tony) were twenty-five.
    • Ross Butler (Zach) was twenty-six.
    • Chelsea Alden (Mackenzie) is thirty, and playing the younger sister to Bryce Cass (Cyrus) who is twenty.
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    • Many of the background high school students are early-20s to early-30s.
  • Deleted Scene: A rare post-release example: the scene of Hannah's suicide was edited out in 2019 after much criticism for being too graphic and prone to imitation.
  • Discredited Meme: A crazy fan theory in Season 1 was that Tony was actually a ghost. Christian Navarro responded to this by pointing out every scene in which he interacts with another character. Season 2 showed him interacting with more people to debunk this further.
  • Doing It for the Art:
    • Christian Navarro didn't drive before he was cast in the series. He had to learn and get his licence before filming started - since Tony drives quite a lot in the series.
    • Kate Walsh spoke to several parents who had lost a child to suicide, and a psychologist who dealt with families in similar situations - all because she wanted to make her performance as honorable as she could.
  • Dyeing for Your Art:
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    • Miles Heizer bleached his hair blond to play Alex. In the second season, the longer brown hair was a wig, but Alex has cut it back to his original length by the finale - which was his real hair dyed back darker.
    • Devin Druid and Brandon Flynn got buzz cuts for the Season 2 finale - since their characters required them.
    • Averted for Katherine Langford and Kate Walsh, who just wore wigs when their characters changed their hair.
  • Enforced Method Acting: Inverted. Because of the heavy themes the show dealt with, therapy dogs were brought on set to cheer the cast up after shooting particularly harsh scenes.
  • Fake American: Hannah is played by Australian actress Katherine Langford and Jessica is played by Somali/Norwegian actress Alisha Boe. Downplayed with Zach, who is played by Indonesian/American British actor Ross Butler, who was born in Singapore. The latter two speak with American accents naturally, making them marginal examples.
  • Hostility on the Set: Minor example. Alisha Boe and Brandon Flynn admitted to not getting on when they first met, but they became friends.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Brian d'Arcy James and Brian Yorkey previously worked together in Next to Normal.
  • Queer Character, Queer Actor: Tommy Dorfman is gay, like his character Ryan.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • Justin struggles with drug addiction in the second season, something his actor Brandon Flynn experienced in his teen years.
    • In the writers' room, Justin's addiction is largely handled by real-life survivor Nic Sheff, subject of the memoir/biopic Beautiful Boy.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: In July 2017, the Australian government audited Netflix who, up until then, had been allowed to rate their content however they saw fit, citing 13 Reasons Why as one of the reasons. As a result, the show will almost certainly be bumped from MA15+ to R18+; the Australian equivalent of NC-17.
  • Saved from Development Hell: After years of a film adaptation of the book being in the works, it wasn't until 2017 when it finally was produced, albeit as a Netflix series.
  • Star-Making Role: Katherine Langford was an unknown Australian actress who had only a few short films to her name before getting cast as Hannah. Her award-nominated performance led to a prominent role in the 2018 YA film Love, Simon, with a star-studded murder mystery, Knives Out, and another teen film, Spontaneous, on the way. Dylan Minnette can also count, although not to the same extent as he was much more well-known than Langford beforehand.
  • Technology Marches On: Although the author averted this somewhat by making Hannah use tapes (which were already outdated when the book was originally published in 2007), this did happen with the lack of cyberbullying mentioned, since in 2007, most social media sites (except MySpace) were in their infancy. The series addressed this by adding cyberbullying to the plot.
  • Those Two Actors: Tom McCarthy and Brian D'Arcy James worked together on Spotlight.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The ten year anniversary edition of the book includes the original ending, which would've had Hannah surviving her suicide attempt and being sent to the hospital, but this not being revealed until the very last chapter, when Clay mails the tapes. Presumably, this was changed due to the fact that, in context, it would've just come off as a massive cop-out.
    • There was talk of a film adaptation for years before it finally became a Netflix series. Selena Gomez was in talks to play Hannah when development first started, but by the time it actually entered production, she was way too old to play a high school student convincingly. She is an executive producer on the Netflix series, however.
    • Kate Walsh almost didn't take the role of Olivia Baker, fearing that it would be too emotionally demanding for her. But she ultimately felt the pluses outweighed the minuses and came on board.
    • The 'Me-Too' inspired scene from the Season 2 finale was nearly cut from the episode - Word of God saying they didn't want to seem like they were parodying the movement.
    • Katherine Langford auditioned for Jessica before getting cast as Hannah. Devin Druid likewise auditioned for Clay and got cast as Tyler. Brandon Larracuente (Jeff) auditioned for Justin.
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