Even without suicide, ‘13 Reasons Why’ is still ridiculous

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Netflix’s controversial hit “13 Reasons Why” tried to re-brand itself in its third season, but it’s still over the top and ridiculous.

The teen drama, which began its life as a show about the reasons why Hannah (Katherine Langford) took her own life, has long attracted protests and scorn for its graphic scenes of rape and suicide. The streaming service even edited out the suicide scene in Season 1 after a continuous public uproar. And that’s not even mentioning the fact that Jay Asher, who wrote the book the show is based on, was accused of sexual harassment.

Clearly, Season 3 wants to get away from all that. It’s the first season Hannah doesn’t appear in, and it pivots into being a murder mystery about serial rapist Bryce (Justin Prentice) — whose assault was one of the reasons she cited for taking her own life.

But even in its efforts to tame itself, this show is still … this show.

Spoiler alert for Season 3

It turns out the season-long mystery of who killed Bryce has an outlandish answer. The murderer is not one, not two, but three people.

Bryce’s classmate, good-guy jock Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler), beat him up and left him for dead on a dock. Then Alex Stendall (Miles Heizer) threw him into the water while Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) looked on, complicit. They conspired to frame football player Montgomery de la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos), but then he was killed in jail. Just some light programming for teens.

While Season 3 doesn’t feature graphic scenes of rape or suicide, it’s still laughable that this is the show’s effort to clean itself up for a so-called young audience.

“13 Reasons Why” wants to cover hot-button issues in the same vein as “Degrassi” or even HBO’s “Euphoria.” Sex, drugs, trauma, class divides and parental issues are all well and good to cover as far as racy material that real teens face. But who can forget the most relatable teen issue, how to get away with conspiring to cover up the death of the school rapist? Ah yes, the things we all face.

And yet, somehow, this show is returning for a fourth and (mercifully) final season. Season 4 does not have a premiere date.

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