How Did ’13 Reasons Why’ Influence Youth Suicide?

By Emily Love

According to The Parent Resource Program, the second leading cause of death between the ages of 10-24 is suicide. More teenages and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, AIDS, heart disease, birth defects, strokes, and pneumonia combined. Keeping these statistics in mind, 75% of the viewers of the recent TV show, 13 Reasons Why, were the ages of 34 or younger. This new Netflix original show came out March 2017 and was what everyone was talking about for months after. It was the topic of conversation in schools, work, between friends and family. However, was the conversation all good? Did everyone enjoy the show like producers were expecting? Were some parents not allowing their children to watch it? Did this show have negative effects on anymore? Did certain individuals think some overreacted about the overall topic of the show?

13 Reasons Why originally started off as a book written by Jay Asher. Ten years later, Selena Gomez partnered with Netflix to produce the show based off the book. However, the main focus will be about Season One because that is where the overall plot line is shown. Spoiler alert: Hannah Baker is the main character and is the one who commits suicide on the final episode. She does not leave the stereotypically suicide note, she does something a little different. Before she killed herself, she recorded 13 tapes for 13 different reasons to why she killed herself. Each tape is addressed to a different person because they all have an influence to why she wanted to end her life. Hannah’s friend Tony is the one who sent the first tape to the first listener and from there, they had to pass the tapes to the next name. Even though each tape represented one reason for a specific person, everyone had to listen to each tape. So, all 13 people knew each reason to why Hannah killed herself. The other man character in the show is Clay Jeggings. The show is in Clay’s perspective and is the only character where the viewers can see him listening to all of the tapes. Clay’s tape is number twelve in the series, so he has to pass all seven tapes, two stories to each tape except the 13th, to the last and final person, Mr. Porter. Some examples as to why Hannah killed herself was getting raped by Bryce, her best friend Jessica being an alcoholic, her long time crush sending out a sexual picture of Hannah, Tyler stalking her every move, and the main reason of nobody realizing the stuff Hannah has been going through. Clay’s tape was Hannah saying sorry to him for what she does and that she wished he would have admitted his feelings for her because that possibly could have saved her life. Clay, after hearing his tape, has to now live with the guilt of Hannah’s death. Each episode is reliving the flashback of why each tape happened, while Hannah’s voice of that specific tape is in the background. However, the last and final tape is Hannah committing suicide and her mother finding her body. There were two very different views on this show, the first being negative and the second only being viewed as binge worthy.

When suicide is being talked about, almost always prevention is the main focus of the conversation. Different ways to talk to someone about how they are feeling, phone numbers of people to contact, signs when someone could show when they are thinking of taking their own life, anything along these lines. However, this show basically did the opposite. Instead of showing prevention, it gave individuals thoughts and reasons to want to kill themselves. This could have been for any personal reasons or how they viewed themselves to the world. However, Hannah could have given them more examples to this thought. Realizing Hannah had nobody to talk to about what she was going through, they could relate to what was happening in her life to their own. According to a Fox News article, two families in California blame 13 Reasons Why to why their teens committed suicide. Bella Herndon and Priscilla Chui both ended their lives a few days after watching this show and they were four days apart. These two teenagers did not know each other, but both parents agreed 13 Reasons Why was a trigger in their daughters head to end their lives. Critics of this show claimed, “it glamorizes suicide and focuses too much on the reasons why Hannah Baker ended her life.” However, I personally disagree with these accused acquisitions because a show is not a determining factor over an individual’s life. If these two teenagers committed suicide days after the show was released, I think that was just a coincidence. TeacherVision states every two hours and eleven minutes, there is a teen that will commit suicide. Are all these teenagers taking their own life because of 13 Reasons Why? Not all of these teenagers have watched every episode of the show, however many of them have heard the name of the show come up in a conversation or least know what the show is about. On the last episode, all the viewers actually watch Hannah Baker sit in the bathtub, slit her wrists with a razor, and stay in their till she bleeds out. As she is laying in a pool of her own blood, her mother comes in, only to find her daughter no longer having a heart beat. I know for me, that scene was horrible to watch and was very emotional. To think this happens in the real world broke my heart for the families that are a victims of suicide.

When I am deciding to start a new TV series, I do not base it off my life, I just want to watch it for enjoyment. Most TV shows are not based on life people’s life, they are produced simply for the viewer’s liking. Scandal is a show where the main character’s, Olivia Pope, job title is a fixer who spines the truth for politicians when they do something that will be frowned upon by the public. How to Get Away With Murder is a fictional show where throughout the seasons, the storyline displays ways on how to cover up a murder. Both of these shows could happen in real life, but they normally do not because people know it is unrealistic to base their life choices off a TV show. 13 Reasons Why is just like these shows, it was not made for viewers to relate, just a made up plot line. Jay Asher did not write this book on his own life or anyone’s that he knew, it is not a true story. He simply just wanted to inform viewers of actual scenarios in the real world. Suicide is not a made up topic, it happens everyday, except it normally does not happen like Hannah Baker’s. Hannah needed a plot to go along with her suicide or it would have been a one-two episode show. The thirteen reasons behind her death told the story, which brought the show to life. Season One was simply about a girl’s unfortunate, depressing life and why it came to that point. A recent movie was just released called Peppermint. It is about a wife getting revenge on the killer and who else was involved in the killing of her husband and daughter. Now, this movie could be relatable in real life; however, not every victim of a crime similar to this is going to be going around murdering individuals. Isn’t 13 Reasons Why very similar to these two shows? This show is not responsible for being a reason why a teenager or young adult ended their life. When something bad happens in the world, is not one of the first actions to take is the find the reason behind it or to blame someone or something for the outcome. Siblings love to blame the other for something they caused because they do not want to be the one to get in trouble for it. A mistake happens at work, coworkers blame each other so they will not get punished for the negative outcome. It is unfair for viewers of 13 Reasons Why to blame this show on a person committing suicide. When the overall main purpose of this show was to simply, like any other, to tell a story.

As mentioned before, season one of 13 Reasons Why was on everyone’s mind when it was first released. It was so talked about for many different reasons. Some being positive, since it was an enjoyable show that people had to find out the ending to. I know I binged watched this show within a week because I was so eager to find out all thirteen reasons, even though I already knew what the outcome was. While others viewed this show negatively because of the horrific details and main storyline. It is the way you want to view the show, however teen suicide will always been a main concern and the problem is not going to be solved anytime soon. So, what is the harm in bringing everyone in this world aware to the topic?

Why USS Callister is wrong

By Bryan Hudak
Why USS Callister is wrongThe Black Mirror episode, “USS Callister”, tells a story of a video game coder, Robert Daly, who created a game where he inputs his coworkers to be characters in his own fantasy world where he is the leader and captain of the crew by stealing their DNA. In his game, Daly manipulates and tortures the characters to be his pawns even though the characters behave like living breathing humans with freewill. This leads the viewers to a question of moral standing. Is Daly’s video game right or wrong? As viewers we have to consider all the information the episode gives. We must think critically about the information the episode provides for us to make a decision on this moral question. In the following paragraphs we explore the moral question of whether or not Daly’s game is right or wrong. Daly’s video game is immoral and wrong because the individuals in the game can experience everything Daly does to them inside and outside of the game. Daly’s dark actions  such as his stalkerish approach where he is also just staring down his coworkers and the way he comes out at females always expecting things from them for an example after a complete mission he would always grab the ladies and kiss them and would say “ Great Job”, that he plays out in the game are not an okay thing for someone to do even if it is “virtual reality”. Daly wanted his co-workers to feel the pain he was inflicting on them by making them aware they were trapped inside the game and in for an example, he brought one of their kids in just to torture them. That action had a consequence on Walton, he felt sadness after that event. This shows that even as a clone, the characters still experience emotions that are equivalent to those humans feel in real life such as the drinks they drink on the ship which is not a normal drink to us as humans and looks weird for us as humans and seeing humans drink and eat different things. These individuals in the game feel things as if it is real life. Daly made Cole not able to see or breathe due to her not agreeing with being part of the game. He also expresses how none of the people in the game will die unless he wants them to. Daly turned one of the player into a monster because she wasn’t cooperating with him. They have knowledge of their life before the game, so this means that they are more than just pawns in Daly’s game. The creators of the show made it clear that the individuals in the game were conscious of what was going on in and out of the two different worlds. Even though what happens in the game has no consequences in real life, it still has consequences for the characters in the game because if one thing goes wrong captain Daly’s has more power than any of the characters in his game in which he will make them suffer significantly in the way which they would not try to not do the same thing again in which they got in trouble for. Daly made a DNA replica of Walton son Tommy and then brought him into the game for Walton to watch Daly throw him out of the ship. Tommy then died. Although it is in the privacy of Dalys own home and he is the only one viewing this video game, it is clear that this is affecting other beings other than just himself. One of the major issues with Daly’s escape to his virtual reality is that it requires him to steal the DNA off of someone’s coffee cup or lollipop. Once he steals this DNA, he takes it to his house and puts it on his computer to develop the characters that are instantly placed into the game forever. Due to this, the DNA is kept permanently on the computer. This action, in many ways, comes off as morally wrong and invasive. Furthermore, because the characters in Daly’s game come from their real DNA, these virtual beings seem to develop actual feelings and thoughts. This makes it even worse, because he is using the DNA to trap and control the characters in his virtual reality. In my opinion the characters appear captive, always receiving commands yet never coming out and stealing a child’s DNA to leave him spinning through the universe when he has cognitive ability, is most definitely wrong. It can also be compared to owning an ID that isn’t you. Furthermore, another aspect that is unethical would be making the father of the child watch these events take place. It is morally wrong because most people don’t think or do such things to people, and Daly takes complete advantage of them behind their back. Towards the end of The Black Mirror episode, “USS Callister”, captain Cole decides to blackmail her real-life counterpart using nude pictures she still has in her cloud. She pulls this off by presenting herself to Daly as the perfect science officer — eager to learn and even more eager to please. Cole creates a distress signal that they investigate together on a remote planet. On the planet, Cole distracts Daly by seducing him in the hopes of him entering the calm lake with her. At the same time aboard the USS Callister, Kabir Dudani beams a PDA device that helps Daly control the game to the bridge. Using this device, they gain access to Cole’s real-life cloud files, making them able to blackmail her into carrying out the rest of their plan. Real-life Cole has a pizza ordered to Daly’s place, distracting him enough to pause the game and sneak into his apartment to swipe the DNA he has stored in his mini-fridge. By the time Daly returns to the game, Cole is gone. She’s back on USS Callister, heading full speed to the wormhole (a.k.a. the software update) in the hopes that entering it will effectively wipe them from existence. A furious Daly takes control of a downed spaceship in order to stop the USS Callister. Despite the considerable power Daly has shown throughout the episode within the game — turning wayward crew members into hideous monsters, erasing Cole’s facial features to suffocate her — he is oddly unable to go fast enough to reach the USS Callister. The USS Callister is then able to enter the wormhole, narrowly escaping Daly’s grasp. The crew screams in agony as they vault through the wormhole. The screen goes black, but death isn’t apparently what’s in store for the reluctant members of the USS Callister. A bright white light followed with a lens flare that would make J.J. Abrams proud fills the screen. The team is intact, but not without a few changes. Gone is the white, bulky tech and brightly colored palette. Instead, the bridge of the USS Callister is sleek and chrome. They look more like themselves. No more blue-tinged skin, bouffant hair styles, or revealing clothing. Even better? They have their genitals. The Space Fleet mod has been stripped. They’re free and in the cloud, no longer trapped in Daly’s computer and the hellish game he created. Even the ship seems sleeker than it did under Daly’s watch. They’re also online, which we learn when they get an incoming transmission from a nearby ship that turns out to be a confrontational gamer (voiced by Aaron Paul). He’s powerless and stuck floating in the game, screaming commands that no one will heed. In the real world, his body is limp, eyes white as his mind remains fixed in the virtual-reality hells cape of his own making. In conclusion, considering it’s the holiday season and he’s a despicable person, we can’t expect that anyone will come over his apartment to save him from starving to death. Considering the depth of cruelty, he imposed on others, this seems like a just fate. But even though the final moments of Cole and the crew of USS Callister are positioned as a triumphant achievement, allowing them to explore infinite space without the fascist rule of Daly controlling them, I have a few nagging questions.

What Goes On In Your Own Little World?

By Dante Gathers Is too much technology a bad thing? Some may say so and some may disagree. We have all fallen victim to technology in our own way. When I was a kid I used to cherish my time playing outside with my friends, going on long adventures and playing sports together. As I grew up I spent more time inside, on my phone, my computer, or my Playstation. Those intimate friendships began to fade as we all grew further apart from each other and closer to our screens. That is how I have fallen victim to technology. Some have let technology take over their life, and ultimately let the dark clouds surrounded by things like social media overpower them. There are many ways technology can overpower anyone. On the other hand, technology has made us wise beyond our years. Hundreds of years ago we farmed for our food, as technology flourished so did our crops. Nowadays everything is at the tip of our fingers, if we don’t know something we Google it, if we miss somebody we text them, if we are bored we surf social media. So, my point is this, are we too advanced for our own good, and with technology getting more advanced by the second, will it one day be too much? There is no right or wrong answer because everyone utilizes, or abuses, technology in their own way. A common abuse of our technology is binge watching Netflix. I have spent many days and hours laying in bed watching Netflix. A show I like to watch is Black Mirror. Recently I watched the episode USS Callister. This episode is what sparked this debate in my head. At first glance, Robert Daly was an extremely intelligent man who utilized technology very well. As I continued to watch I realized he abused technology rather than utilize it. This was an easy outlet for his selfish needs and desires as it is for many of us. I continued to question his morals throughout the episode, he was no longer the shy and reserved man he had fooled me as, he was a maniac. Then I began to question my own morals. What was my opinion on him stealing coworker’s DNA and cloning them? Was it right, wrong, or did it not really matter? I concluded that more than anything it was weird. It wasn’t necessarily wrong because it wasn’t real, it definitely wasn’t right, and in the end, it did not affect those people’s lives in the real world so did I guess it didn’t really matter. This sparked this question within my head, was what Daly did IN his technological escape wrong? This is another question with no definitive answer. Totally controlling innocent people, stripping them of identity and even genitals, turning them into ugly creatures, and even tossing one of their sons into the endless abyss of space. Making them wait all throughout the day for him to return and leads them to victory. Daly was living out his sick and twisted desires in his virtual world where he could, because in real life he couldn’t get the girl he wanted, he couldn’t get the respect he wanted, and he didn’t have the charisma he carried on the USS Callister. Many of us feel this way, so we project ourselves online as people who do have those things, because it helps us sleep at night knowing people think we are the person we WANT to be. When you don’t think too hard about it, yes this is completely wrong, but when you get deeper into it, you cannot give a yes or no answer. It isn’t real. Its virtual. You can’t touch it. So, if it isn’t happening in the real world, or affecting them in the real world, again all you can do is question his morals and integrity rather than say what he did was right or wrong. Something I took away from these moral questions was the fact that Daly is a mentally sick person. Evidence of this is the sick things he did in his virtual world. It was HIM doing those things, consciously, HIM going out of his way to gather DNA of people to recreate. Yes, he definitely needs to speak to a therapist, regardless of it being right or wrong. This also made me think about how you never really know somebody. Nannete was under the assumption that he was a sweet, shy, and genuine genius. On the outside he appeared to be, but in his head he was twisted. On average a person will walk past 36 murderers in their lifetime. It makes me wonder how many murderers have I walked past? How many sick people have I met? What is the person sitting next to me in class thinking? It is a scary concept, but sometimes it is better to not know. I used to think if I could pick one super power it would be the ability to read minds. Maybe I would know if my crush liked me back without having to ask. As I got older I appreciated not knowing everything. If I worked with Daly I probably wouldn’t want to know that he was abusing me in his virtual world, but I also cannot give an accurate statement on something I’ve never been through (or maybe I have been cloned by a classmate, who knows?). I believe this episode brings a deeper message about mental health and how scary it can be to let it get out of control. I have seen friends with chronic anxiety and depression who think they can handle it out their own and it spirals out of control, and I have seen friends seek help and have their problems worked on. Bringing up mental health and the role it may have played in Daly’s fantasy world is not an excuse for it. It is just a potential motive. I am no expert and could not begin to explain mental health but I can say that it has a huge effect on our thought process. This must have been somehow justified to Daly in his own mind, but not by his right mind. I can only assume it stemmed from childhood issues that grew into adult problems. He may have been abused by his parents, leading to his need for power but inability to stand up for himself. He may have been rejected a lot, explaining his inability to pursue Nannete and his sexual frustration would lead to him having the women on board line up to kiss him. His short temper can be attributed to the anger he holds onto throughout his daily life of being pushed over. When you think about it you can rationalize his behaviors and even in a way justify them. After all, it just a video game right? It has nothing to do with real life. My personal opinion is that it was wrong. It was wrong to steal peoples DNA and secretly clone them. It was wrong to have people consciously alive (somewhat) in his virtual world of fantasy and fun. I concluded it was wrong because these people were able to contact themselves through this virtual world, meaning it was somewhat real. They knew who they were in the real world and they knew what was going on. All of that made it real to me. I then think about how Daly treated them, and considering that they were somewhat real it makes it all the worse. How do you punish somebody for this? I’m not sure if you can’t take them to court and explain how he abused you in a video game. I’m not even sure what the charge would be. The stealing DNA thing could probably bring about some sort of criminal charge, but other than that you might need to deal with it using some good old street justice. That’s what I would do. I would especially do that if he tossed my son into space to float around endlessly. To conclude, and to give my general opinion on the episode as a piece of entertainment, I enjoyed it more than the other Black Mirror episodes. It created a lot of deep intellectual and moral questions for me, and inspired me to think deeply on who I am, and how people are. I really liked that. There aren’t many things that can captivate my thought like that, and that motivate me to sit down and think about deep issues like USS Callister did. The theories that surround it are endless, as I sat and began to develop them more and more sub theories created. The theory I spent the most time pondering was my initial question, is too much technology a bad thing. Like I said earlier, there is no yes or no answer. The conclusion I came away with was this; it depends on who is using it.

Virtual Reality Gone Wrong

By Heather Glass Virtual Reality Gone Wrong If you have ever seen an episode of Black Mirror you would know that it almost always sends an unsettling messaging of what our society has come to. The main focus of this show is to reveal how twisted it becomes when the two worlds of high technology and an individuals darkest instincts collide. The producers of Black Mirror have shown and come up with many creative ways to exaggerate technology throughout our generation while still pointing out the big picture: technology is slowly but surely taking over our generation in many positive, yet many negative ways. In a recent episode of black mirror, USS Callister, it revolves around the main character, Robert Daly, who indulges in escaping into his virtual reality, a video game, where all of his deepest insecurities unfold. Daly has this misconception that he is not fully respected for his position in the work place by his coworkers, so he takes out his frustrations throughout a video game relaying his virtual reality. Within this video game he has digitals clones of his coworkers and they are all trapped inside of his game called “Infinity”. Within this game he treats these people like they are his slaves, while he has all the power. Later on in this episode we get to see all of the employees perspectives where they are finally aware of what is actually going on. Daly treats them with cruel and inhumane actions until finally one of the employees, Nanette, finds a way out of this world. This episode involves extremely high advanced technology that we currently do not have, and maybe never will. But it still relays an eye-opening message about how technology effects everyone day in and day out. After watching this episode, I personally was disturbed and had an unsettling feeling due to the fact that Daly uses technology to escape into a virtual reality where he completely takes over these lives of his coworkers and basically has them trapped in a video game. Which leads me to the question for readers, is Daly’s virtual reality considered right or wrong? This argument provided a lot of controversy throughout my class because many of my peers brought up the point that Daly’s virtual reality is not real life, his coworkers are not even aware of this life outside of work, and at the end of the day it is HIS own world, he can do or say whatever he pleases.  However, I do stand by the fact that Daly’s virtual reality is wrong. Each and every one of us have a different world in our head about how life could be, should be, won’t be, and a variety of different fantasies/nightmares that no one will ever discover. The difference is that when it comes to discussing Daly’s other world he is violent, ignorant, and cruel to people. He uses it all through his power in technology. For example, he steals his coworkers DNA from things like their coffee cup or lollipop, takes it home and uses their DNA to create their characters in the game, basically leaving that piece in them forever. That is morally wrong, there is no justification for that. Especially because these virtual people develop feelings and emotions. Daly is fully aware that these virtual characters are actually suffering. Even one of the coworkers exhibits his drinking problem, because he is so mentally unstable from what he is going through. For anyone to have an “escape” like this is wrong. It is not usual for a person to take a part of someone’s literal DNA just so they can be a part of their messed up and twisted world. He uses technology to an extreme, so that he does not have to actual face his problems. Daly obviously has mental health issues to be okay in doing something like that. Effect of Technology: Technology has provided us with so many different ways of coping with our feelings. Social media being one of the biggest, anyone can say or do anything behind a screen, but does that make it right? When I first was thinking about how Robert Daly is wrong, I had many other reasons as to why what he is doing actually isn’t wrong. This is all his own world, his own fantasy, and no one else’s but his, and it is ultimately fake. But then, I started to really think about how I would feel if I were in any of his coworkers position. I cannot even imagine knowing that someone could envision suffocating me, turning me into a crazy creature, holding me up by neck because I said I didn’t do one thing. It’s wrong. It is wrong for someone to think that way, and it is certainly not normal for someone to want to do those things. Just like it is wrong if someone were to post something about you on social media, spreads rumors about you, make a meme of you. Which is ultimately what this episode is exposing in a way more tech advanced way. Day in and day out there is always hate being spread out on social media, and cyberbullying has been an issue for a long time; there was a statistic found that if cyberbullying continues at the rate it has been, it will become an official epidemic in 2020. If we put what Robert Daly is doing in our generations term, he is harassing people. Not even just random people, his coworkers that he sees, talks to, spends time with every day in the work environment. It is not right.  After reading an article about this episode, Nick Stat states that, “The show often comments on tech through a lens of human failure, where the vulnerabilities of tech breakthroughs are exploited due to our propensity to hurt one another, and our hunger for new and life-changing technologies.” Which primarily tells the viewers of black mirror that most, if not all of the episodes are about how a humans vulnerabilities come out in a hurtful way towards others. If you were someone who were on the other side of it, you would not think it was right either. Mental health also plays a huge roll in this episode, not only with Robert Daly but also his coworkers that are going through the things he’s putting them through. Like I had mentioned before with the one coworker who clearly has a drinking problem, and encourages everyone else to drink. Or Nanette who goes through so much confusion, anger, and frustration. Although Daly’s virtual reality is “fake” the people who are involved in it still have thoughts and it is affecting their mental health too. Some do not even know what year it is or what they look like anymore. I think that part of what this episode was trying to reveal is that even if it indirect, it still affects the people around you. For example, if I am going on social media and all I see is hate constantly that is going to affect me as well. Robert daly feels mistreated and low within his work environment, but does not address the situation or stick up for himself in any way shape or form. When his virtual reality finally comes to end because his coworkers found a way, he seems completely broken. Even more broken then what he was before. Which is what happens when you use technology to run away from your problems. This episode, along with other Black Mirror episodes, addressing many underlying issues that we face within our society every day. Technology has become the biggest escape for people to relieve their pain, fears, happiness, whatever it may be. Technology was Robert Daly’s key to escaping his real life problems and it does not just effect one person, it never does. So although his coworkers do not really know what is going on, or even know about this other world in real life, their virtual people do and they have to suffer through it all. There could be many points to both sides of why Daly’s actions are right or wrong, but when you consider the big picture, it demonstrates everything wrong that Daly partakes in, and what most of our society partakes in. I can’t blame Daly for trying to run away from his issues, we all wish that at one point we could just escape from everything. But when you let all of these emotions build up you rely on that relief until it catches up to you. It happens but Daly takes it to a whole different level where really all his emotions come out in a harmful way making it wrong. All of it is wrong, no one should ever imagine doing those things to people, and if you do then that’s where the mental illness comes into play. This episode opened my eyes a lot on how technology has taught us the easy way out of so many obstacles everyone faces, and how it never actually helps the individual out. This episode of Black Mirror was one of the most disturbing ones I have seen, but it reveals the many issues that our society faces today and the advancement of technology combining with an individuals dark side creates a monster.

Netflix Just Threw Their Own Block Party! Does Netflix Original’s “On my​ Block” tackle the idea of diversity?

By: Caleb Augustin 

Netflix’s original,  “On My Block” a creative, deep, and diversity filled show that was created by Lauren Lungerich, Eddie Gonzalez, and Jeremy Haft. The producers are Jamie Dooner, Robert Sudduth, and Hal Olofsson; through Crazy Cat Lady Said Productions. Earlier this year on March 16, 2018, is when the show was originally released, and ever since then, the ratings have been extremely high. The show did so well the first season that now it is being brought back to kick off season 2.

Inclusion involving the diversity of ethnicities is one of the creator’s strong suits. The genre Comedy-Drama is perfect for this show because there are constant hilarious and serious scenes. From the first episode all the way to the tenth, the show goes through consistent developmental stages of their childhood in the plot; which is normally a strategy that writers use to keep viewers on their toes.

The setting of this show is in the heart of South-Central Los Angeles. The writers concisely created characters with core ideas and traits. Although there is an overall big storyline, the individual stories that are implemented through the characters give the audience a natural desire to learn more about each character. One of the strategies that were used to grab readers attention was through their diversity. This appeal was evident by the hardships that the characters experienced such as abandonment, sexual encounters, and gun violence. The cultural aspects that existed in the show added a lot of value because the issues like the “natural born gang” are real problems that exist within certain ethnic backgrounds.

It is clear that the overall objective of this show is to bring attention and awareness to some of the many struggles that young minorities face in life. It creates a realm of realistic lifestyle and gives a lot of youth a mirror because of the story of the characters may be a realistic everyday life for them.

Diverse friendships appear throughout all ten episodes of the show. The group that is the main focus consists of four people; Cesar, Monse, Ruby, and Jamal, and they are all very different from one another. They are a group of high schoolers who are trying to figure out life and how to balance it all. In one way or another, having their group friendship ultimately gives them to support in their time of need. Every individual character fights through their own hardships as a minority. This plot twist makes the show extremely relatable to minority- youth in real life. In other words, they try to associate their personality, hobbies, and characteristics with the people and environment around them. This is the same case for the characters in this show.

One of the main issues is that Ruby, Jamal, and Monse are trying to get Ceaser out of gang life. However, this is one of the greatest tasks that the group has ever endured. Cesar comes from a large Hispanic family, and many of them are already full-blown gang members. Everything was somewhat normal until his brother was released from prison. Once his brother was released from prison, that is when he started to impose the gang life onto Cesar.  Ceaser’s friends repeatedly tell him that there is more to life than being a gang member, and that is not who he is.

On the other hand, Ceaser’s brother tells him that the only way to be accepted as a man in this world is to show that you have power such as affiliating yourself with a gang. Ceaser’s brother also tells him that the gang life is a family culture and that he must keep up with the traditions. As a result, not only does Ceaser struggle to balance both lives, but he struggles to find himself. Once this starts to happen, Cesar begins to change forever. His normal high school life as a teenager has now been changed to a scary crime involved life.

Ceaser aiming his gun at a rival gang member

Cesar’s character represents many teens and young adults today. Gun violence and gangs have a huge correlation on the streets of the inner cities of LA. According to Mike Rothschild of “Ranker,” he states that “Gangs in Los Angeles have a reputation for guns, violence, criminality, and taking over whole neighborhoods. A number of gangs started simply as organizations devoted to protecting minority groups.” He also lists the major gangs such as, “18th Street Gang, West Coast Bloods, Sureños, and MS-13 (2018).” Cesar ultimately began to lose himself through the struggles of his gang life. This battle was prominent because again, it correlates to other youth who struggle with gang life. It affects you and the people close to you.  Similarly, this changed the dynamic of the entire group in the show. Furthermore, this also affected Ceaser’s relationship with Monse.

Monse is the only girl in the pack. She is an Afro-Latino girl who has a big personality. Her romantic relationship with Cesar is just one other of the many dilemmas that she faces throughout the show. She struggles so hard to keep their love life a secret because she does not want to be embarrassed. To make matters worse, Monse and Cesar’s sexual intercourse was eating her alive because she did want it to affect the pack that they all had. However, that does not last long, and Monse begins to act out on everybody. Even critic, Ariana Romeo stated “On My Block is not one of those shows. On My Block proves real young teens are having sex, and the adults in their lives should probably talk to them about. Monse’s real-life alter-ego and it shows an ultra-realistic depiction of teenage sexuality.”

Something vital about Monse’s character because she was not raised in a well-structured family. Because of work hours, Monse’s father is not able to be there for her consistently. This is a demonstration of how youth struggle to raise themselves without a structured family and their placement in the midst of being watched by their peers.  It is sad to say that it is very common to see fatherless homes within the homes of minorities.  These homes are broken because the parents work too much in an effort to take care of the family, abandoned their loved ones, do drugs, affiliate in gang activity, and some even end up in prison.

Someone with a rough childhood could easily relate to Monse. To make matters worse, Monse also struggles with the fact that her mother abandoned her when she was only two years old. Now as a teenager she is searching for answers.

Monse’s father comforting her as she tells him about her struggle with their relationship

Another of the other diverse, four main characters is Ruby. Ruby is a young, enthusiastic boy who is of Mexican descent. Ruby also suffers from an identity crisis because a lot of the characters do not take him seriously. They view him as a cute kid, and they treat him as a cute and innocent child. Towards the end of the show, Ruby goes through drastic measures in order to help plan Olivia with her quienciñera which happens during the last episode of the season. A quinciñera is an event almost all Latin-Americans can relate to, because not only is it the celebration a girl’s fifteenth birthday, but it is the celebration of a girl entering womanhood. Scenes like this made this show very relatable and it grabbed the eye of viewers like myself. 

In the year 2018, our society has truly made a greater effort to be inclusive with more communities, and in this case specifically the LGBTQ community. From the storyline of the character Ruby to the details of the show life the vibrant colors, the creators tried to represent the LGBTQ community. This may be considered to be an appeal to viewers so that the show is more relatable and more people would tune in. The symbolism of Ruby wearing the pink dress symbolized minorities who struggle with an identity disorder. All through this scene can come across as funny, Netflix subtlety introduces the struggles of minorities in their childhood.

Even ethnicity was a huge stand out in this show, especially for African-Americans and Latino-Americans. For scenes that were mainly focusing in on Latino-Americans, there were scenes of their culture that represents them. For example, during the scene of Jamal’s football game, Olivia all of the sudden rambles out her frustration in Spanish. Because of the language that Olivia’s speaking in, this scene gives more of a sense of one’s hometown and childhood. Someone with a latin background could easily relate to this scene which increases diversity in the show. 

The last main character is Jamal who is an African American and a huge nerd who is always hyperactive. He can be accredited for being the one who brings the comedy aspect to the show. Throughout the plot, Jamal struggles with an identity crisis which is the fight to be himself, or to be who his parents want him to be. His family dreams of Jamal being a big football star, however, this is not a desire of Jamal personally. The entire time Jamal keeps up with his life, he is hindering himself from being the true Jamal. Some of the subtle struggles between parents and kids are that the parents want what is best for the kids. This struggle is predominantly in minorities because their parents were limited to certain careers because of their color. Although this constitutes love to a degree, some parents will try to live a second life of youth through their kids. A young adult or teenager who has a different career path than their parents can relate to this. This is another example of a diverse childhood in the city of Los Angeles. 

After years of lying, Jamal complains about his lack of appreciation for football and how he wants to be off the team

All four of the main characters have their struggles, individually, and collectively. However, all, in all they have the strength to fight through them. With diverse friendships to maintain and families for encouragement, they all have to find different pathways to somehow survive it all. This show has the power to influence and inspire the audience in ways that not many shows can. Only some shows from Netflix can incorporate multicultural characters. These shows include Dear White People, Freedom’s grown-ish, and Degrassi. The creators of these shows are trying to create a solution to the problem of the young adult shows being too white.

Even the creator of the show, Lauren Iungerich says that “The YA [Young Adult] world is so white.” On My Block was her solution to this problem…The Netflix original goes beyond non-white representation in order to bring viewers a show that acknowledges the multiplicity of experiences and identities from those on the margins.” From the diversity of the cast to the entire creation of the show, it blew the minds of many. The realistic aspect about this show relates to many multicultural teenagers, and it gave knowledge of diversity to the other people of the audience.

 

 

 

 

Why are people so insatiable over “Insatiable?”

By Brenna Phillips

Pushing Limits

TV shows and movies in today’s world push limits and boundaries like no other. Writers use crude humor and ignorance in their works for sometimes intentional and sometimes unintentional reasons. People these days can get offended over the smallest remarks and scenes, and that can causes major controversy. I recently heard of a new Netflix show that encompasses all of the “touchy” subjects that people sometimes refrain from talking about (due to the issues behind it and strong opinions about it). The new Netflix show, Insatiable, stars an ex-Disney star Debby Ryan, and believe me this show is unlike anything this actress has done on Disney Channel. This surpasses all. The jist of this show can be summed up like this: a once morbidly fat, teenage, high school girl “gets skinny” and wants to get revenge on all the people who have wronged her when she was fat. Just in that alone, mothers everywhere are drafting Facebook posts to criticize the show. People want to argue that getting thin should not necessarily cause spiteful emotions. But that is just the tip of the ice burg. Insatiable touches on and mocks murder, sexuality, religious beliefs, mental illnesses, abortion, racial stereotypes, infidelity, and even satanic beliefs. The show throws a curveball at you every single episode, and sometimes it’s really hard to watch. It is easy to say that this show should not be on Netflix and should not have even aired, but a lot of folks are missing the point.

When we see certain images or hear certain jokes that are controversial we immediately assume that the intentions of it are to offend us. We get pissed off too quickly and make snap judgements. Surface level insults are typically obvious, when people insult for the hell of it just to get a rise out of their victim. Then there are deeper more complex insults and digs that people say that aren’t as obvious, but still pack a punch. In Insatiable, everything is an insult. Almost every single character and every single situation in this show is an insult to so many people. This TV show is a different breed. But what “breed” are we talking about?

Satire. What this entire show is, is a satire. A mere critic on our own, current society. A satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices particularly in the context of contemporary politics or other touchy issues. There have been so many famous satires in popular culture. To name a few: South Park uses the light cartoon vibe to detract a little from the crudeness of the jokes the characters make, The Office uses the simple stupidness of the characters to make fun of an office setting, and Saturday Night Live uses exaggerated skits to make fun of current events and celebrities. Insatiable encompasses all of the issues in our world today and presents them in front of you in the most raunchy way to make you realize just how sensitive we are.

To begin the main character, Patty Bladell, is played by an ex-Disney star, Debby Ryan. During her Disney reign, Debby Ryan has three hit tv shows and a few movies under her belt. Now that she has grown up a little, she has moved onto bigger and more adulted themed work. The basis of this show, and her especially her character, is to try to trigger the audience as much as she can. This is so different than any of the roles she played on Disney Channel. Her characters on Disney were warm and welcoming, this is major contrast. Patty  makes you think hard about certain current issues we have.  We see her as a troubled girl with a sad past turn to a rageful, crazy psycho who would do anything to get what she wants. The show may have casted her for her previous roles to,  again, show us that people can change. 

Her character, as a whole, is satirical because when people who get ignored and get put down finally get power, they sometimes use it in malicious ways. Patty’s power is losing all the weight that has held her back all these years.  And the fact that this woman now was power and people treat her differently because she looks thin, is sad but not far from the truth. Boys would pass Patty by in the hall before she got thin and call her names, now that she is skinny they want to get her number. People want to argue that this is triggering and offensive and false in today’s society, but in most cases this is the sad truth. I cannot understand why people want to say that this is not something that should be on TV when it is literally happening in real life.

Patty also becomes a pageant girl once she gets thin. People want to know why wasn’t she a pageant girl when she was fat, why now that she’s skinny? Beside the point, she finds a coach and starts her pageant journey to become Miss Magic Jesus! As stated before this show is a mere critic on our own society. All the topics that we want to keep hush-hush about are brought up and put in the spotlight in this show. When Patty is competing in these pageants, we see sexual assault get brought up a lot. We see characters accusing other characters of molestation to get ahead in some aspect and statutory rape getting praised. People want to sit here and say, “Take this off Netflix! Things like this never happen this way! I don’t want to watch this!” But they are so wrong. When a pageant mom accuses Patty’s pageant coach of molesting a child so that he gets disqualified, it is made a joke of. “He touched her hoo-hoo!” the mom exclaims to the gasping crowd. Obviously this is a joke, but can offend people who have had their “hoo-hoos” unwantedly touched. In real life, there have been so many instances where women have accused men of rape and molestation to get money out of them. According to Sandra Newman an American writer, every academic study on the issue finds that the most common type of fake accuser are teenage girls trying to get out of trouble for what they have done. That isn’t far from what goes on in this show. The character who accuses the coach is having an affair with a younger boy, which is statutory rape. This is a mirror of what occurs in the society we live in. That the genius of this show.

The second main character of this show is Patty’s lawyer and pageant coach, Bob Armstrong. From the moment you meet him, his character is all over the place. You can argue he has gay tendencies that he’s scared to confront. You can see he is trying to hide with his marriage, you can see the disconnect he has with his son and daughter, you can see how he might seem to lead Patty on even though she is an underage girl, and so many more weird, controversial things this character does. Multiple times throughout the season this character literally has a gun in his mouth, ready to pull the trigger to end his life. Then something as little as a phone call distracts him from killing himself and he moves right on with his life as if he was not about to end it all. People see this and are shocked by the ignorance glossing over what really happens when people are suicidal and want to immediately trash it. Once again, they are missing the point.

Satire, satire, satire. There are so many reasons why I can see how this would make people rage and complain but they are allowing this show offend them and missing the point! There is no way that someone wrote this show with the intentions to offend their audience to this extreme. That would be downright cruel. I think this show was meant to make people realize just how prominent tough issues to talk about like suicide and being scared to be gay are. With this situation, people say “I want to kill myself,” way more than we realize. (Heck I even say it at least once a day.)There is no backlash on us when we say that terrible phrase over the smallest situations. Why? Because we don’t actually mean it. Now when we see that Bob Armstrong with a gun in his mouth, about to pull the trigger over being gay and not realizing it and not being able to fix current situations, then completely forgetting he even had the gun in his mouth seconds later, picking up his phone and driving away, we think no way should this have even made the cut it is too offensive. BUT IT ISN’T. Just like when we utter that extremely dark and morbid phrase, we forget we even said it, this demonstrates in a satirical way that Bob can just as easily forget about the gun in his mouth. There is a bigger meaning to it all! The bigger picture, the reasoning behind it all. Why dance around all of these relevant topics all the time. No one ever wants to bring them up until there is an issue regarding it. This show wants people to feel what it’s like to be uncomfortable if an issue pertains to them. Not everyone experiences fat shaming, gender identity issues, suicidal thoughts, etc. But when we see these topics on screen, and feel offended when they mock these things. We get a second hand experience of what some people feel on a daily basis. This show isn’t meant to just poke fun at peoples and societies issues, but bring light to the ignorant.

People want this show off Netflix. They want it gone. They think it’s too offensive and they don’t think that these types of controversial topics should be made fun of so carefreely like this. They think it is going to make topics like this more of a joking matter for teenagers and young adults watching. What they don’t realize is it is actually the opposite. The uncomfortable feeling you get from some of the scenes in this show aren’t there just to make you squirm like most critics think, but to make you think about what is actually going on in the world. This show is a critic on our own society. All the topics that we want to keep hush-hush about are brought up and put in the spotlight in this show. And that is the beauty of the show. The first episode has vibes of a Disney Channel show, then as you fall further and further into the rabbit hole of inappropriate jokes and comments the raunchy horror, suspense type show emerges. No matter how many petitions get signed asking Netflix to remove this show from their site, I sincerely hope that they don’t take it down. Angry parents who are missing the point of the entire show need to step back and think about what is actually going on here. Hopefully more people start to realize the satirical joy this show bring in the near future, but until then everyone should watch it and see for themselves.