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S01.E01: Tape 1, Side A 2017.03.31

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As the school mourns the death of Hannah Baker, her friend Clay receives a box of tapes with messages she recorded before she committed suicide.

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This show is sort of toeing the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl line that was popular during the John Green era a little too hard, and the analog tape catalog being traded between teenagers in 2017 is a little much. You could have gotten away with it in 2007 when the book was written, because it was a plausible transition time when teens would have leftover Walkmens from the early-90's, or, more likely have a tape player in their car instead of a CD player.

 That said, this show's also got a Veronica Mars/noir element to it that I'm really digging. The kid playing Clay is doing an excellent job, although I'm really worried about his erratic bike riding all over town.

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Agree about the bike riding, I'm like "put on your helmet, Helmet!" Or at least watch where you're going, brah.

As for the episode, I liked it! Good start. I thought it was brought up to current day very well, with the picture being sent around and everything. I knew with her going down that slide in a skirt that that little fucker would pull some shit. I'm enjoying Clay and Tony a lot. So far so good.

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4 hours ago, absnow54 said:

This show is sort of toeing the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl line that was popular during the John Green era a little too hard, and the analog tape catalog being traded between teenagers in 2017 is a little much. You could have gotten away with it in 2007 when the book was written, because it was a plausible transition time when teens would have leftover Walkmens from the early-90's, or, more likely have a tape player in their car instead of a CD player.

 That said, this show's also got a Veronica Mars/noir element to it that I'm really digging. The kid playing Clay is doing an excellent job, although I'm really worried about his erratic bike riding all over town.

yeah 2007 it would be easier to get away with it but 2017 it's totally unrealistic. Like the show but my brother is 15 and probably doesn't even know what a casette players is. Like remember the characters in this were born in like the year 2000. 

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20 hours ago, absnow54 said:

This show is sort of toeing the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl line that was popular during the John Green era a little too hard, and the analog tape catalog being traded between teenagers in 2017 is a little much. You could have gotten away with it in 2007 when the book was written, because it was a plausible transition time when teens would have leftover Walkmens from the early-90's, or, more likely have a tape player in their car instead of a CD player.

 That said, this show's also got a Veronica Mars/noir element to it that I'm really digging. The kid playing Clay is doing an excellent job, although I'm really worried about his erratic bike riding all over town.

I do agree. I get that they wanted to keep the spirit of the book somehow here and having the cassette tapes is a pretty unique twist to keep for 2017. I do think they attempted to explain why, but they probably could have done a better job. 

I liked it, though. I was born in the early 90s so tapes were slightly ahead of my time and I used more Walkman devices than anything. But I actually happened to find my own boom box in our basement last week, cassette tapes and all, and was actually talking to my grandfather about what was going to come back now, since records are making a comeback. He was talking about how he might have to throw his tapes out. It was very surreal to go from that to this show. 

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20 hours ago, ban1o said:

yeah 2007 it would be easier to get away with it but 2017 it's totally unrealistic. Like the show but my brother is 15 and probably doesn't even know what a casette players is. Like remember the characters in this were born in like the year 2000. 

While I agree it would be unusual for teens to have cassette players, I'm pretty sure my 14-year-old niece knows what a cassette is, even if she hasn't used one herself. I think it's reasonable that a guy like Tony would have a cassette player in his car and the other kids would've been able to find one just like Clay did. I used to keep an old boom box in my garage until recently, so it totally made sense to me.

On 4/1/2017 at 11:59 AM, absnow54 said:

That said, this show's also got a Veronica Mars/noir element to it that I'm really digging. 

I was telling a friend the show reminded me of both Pretty Little Liars--although I only watched a couple episodes of it--and Veronica Mars

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3 hours ago, DittyDotDot said:

While I agree it would be unusual for teens to have cassette players, I'm pretty sure my 14-year-old niece knows what a cassette is, even if she hasn't used one herself. I think it's reasonable that a guy like Tony would have a cassette player in his car and the other kids would've been able to find one just like Clay did. I used to keep an old boom box in my garage until recently, so it totally made sense to me.

I was telling a friend the show reminded me of both Pretty Little Liars--although I only watched a couple episodes of it--and Veronica Mars

I agree, I know what a Victrola is, doesn't mean I've ever used or actually even seen one.  I loved Veronica Mars and really want to like this, but the first episode didn't really grab me.  Frankly, I find Hannah a little off-putting for some reason.  I'll try at least one more episode though.

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I read this book quite a few years ago, so I cant say I remember all the details, so I'm looking forward to revisiting the story. I remember really liking the book, but being frequently irritated with the characters, so I'm interested in seeing how they translate it from book to TV, especially the Netflix format. I liked this episode, so I'm excited to get back to watching! I kind of want to go online to be reminded of what all happens, but I also want to be surprised by things I didn't remember, so...I don't know. On to the next episode I guess.

I don't mind the tape thing (although I feel like, by 2017, Hannah would have recorded this some other way) because I think most parents still have cassette players laying around, so I buy it. It adds to the old school teen noir thing it has going on. I also see the Veronica Mars comparison, with the voice over and the main character trying to piece together the circumstances of a friends death.

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On 2017-04-01 at 0:59 PM, absnow54 said:

This show is sort of toeing the Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl line that was popular during the John Green era a little too hard, and the analog tape catalog being traded between teenagers in 2017 is a little much. You could have gotten away with it in 2007 when the book was written, because it was a plausible transition time when teens would have leftover Walkmens from the early-90's, or, more likely have a tape player in their car instead of a CD player.

 That said, this show's also got a Veronica Mars/noir element to it that I'm really digging. The kid playing Clay is doing an excellent job, although I'm really worried about his erratic bike riding all over town.

Well the book was written in 2007 and the writers and director want to stay true to the book for the most part. 

Edited by Nkiru.
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I'm enjoying it.  

I can buy the "I wanted listening to this to be hard for you" cassette element.  It also makes his actions stand out to even the adults in his life who aren't listening to cassettes either.  I get that they put that in to make the 13 sides work, but I'm letting it slide.  Not the hardest thing I've had to accept for a show...

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I want to like this, but ... Nobody talks like these teenagers. I can't stand that oh so witty, self aware banter that these characters are constantly spouting. I'll try to stick with it but it might be hard to get past the precocious dialogue.

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19 hours ago, iggysaurus said:

I want to like this, but ... Nobody talks like these teenagers. I can't stand that oh so witty, self aware banter that these characters are constantly spouting. I'll try to stick with it but it might be hard to get past the precocious dialogue.

I actually thought they did a great job of showing us that not all of the teens can keep up with the witty banter-Hannah was too fast for Justin, she had to keep explaining what she meant! And yet she was so into him anyway. So real. 

I'm definitely intrigued by this first episode and getting a vibe that this is going somewhere very dark.

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I just started this today. I am a sucker for a good teen drama, and I like the mystery in this too. I can see some of the characters getting on my nerves, but so far so good. I'm in!

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I haven't read the book but already in ep 1 there was verbage saying it mattered that this stuff wasn't online, to Hannah.  That to me is enough explanation for the cassettes.  We've already seen one instance of cyberbullying.  I watched this with my high schooler who did read the book maybe 4 years ago and she didn't balk at the tapes, either.  She did say they all look too old to be 10th graders but of course that's true of all high schoolers on tv.  

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I thought I recognized that bridge!  I checked to see where this was filmed, and it was indeed near Vallejo, San Rafael and Sebastopol, CA.  I have family there and I definitely recognized the look.  I have been thinking about moving there myself, and watching this is making me want to even more!  

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I read the book and started watching this because a friend recommended it. Plus imdb rates it highly. I can't say I was overly impressed with the pilot but then many pilots aren't excellent. 

I'm just hoping the rest of the episodes aren't quite so slow.

I thought it was strange with the cassettes too but they still set it in modern times. Although in the end it became clear why Tony made a point of showing he had a cassette player (2 even).

Am I the only one that thought the worst thing about this episode was the girls taking selfies in front of the memorial for Hannah. After they did it I said "ugh, is this what teenaged girls are like now?" and I hope they're not.

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I really liked this first episode and really liked Clay/Hannah.  I thought the actors did a nice job with them.

I do have one small critique and I'm a little unsure whether I can discuss it or not.  But I was a little taken aback when they showed the flashback to Clay complimenting Hannah on her shorter hair.  Having just read the book, that was something that resonated with me when she told everyone listening that they never noticed or at least they never mentioned her chopping off her hair.

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7 minutes ago, MV007 said:

I do have one small critique and I'm a little unsure whether I can discuss it or not.  But I was a little taken aback when they showed the flashback to Clay complimenting Hannah on her shorter hair.  Having just read the book, that was something that resonated with me when she told everyone listening that they never noticed or at least they never mentioned her chopping off her hair.

Was it a flashback or a revisionist daydream? I thought Clay was imagining a way he could've been a better friend to Hannah now that he realizes she was struggling.

Either way though, Hannah is telling the truth as she saw it on the tapes, but that's not necessarily the whole truth. She may have thought no one noticed her hair because they didn't mention anything, but that doesn't' mean no one noticed it. 

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Was it a flashback or a revisionist daydream? I thought Clay was imagining a way he could've been a better friend to Hannah now that he realizes she was struggling.

Yeah, I'd have to re-watch that scene to check the lighting, it the coloring is yellowish and warm, it was the past, and if it's blue and unsaturated then it's the present, but I suspect that scene was a moment of "things I could have said" for Clay.

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Maybe, I'll understand more as I go along in the series.  I didn't think there were scenes that were Clay imagining what could've been or could've been said.  

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hmm that's an interesting idea. Although he did say something like "I'm sorry about how I reacted last night" as though he had noticed and didn't like it? But it would be cool if it was actually him wishing he'd dealt with the situation another way.

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Regarding the cassette tape thing, Jay Asher addresses this in the Q and A at the end of the book. He basically says that he could have gone with some modern technology, but it would be outdated very quickly. If he used technology that was already outdated, it wouldn't date the story as much. Basically, the cassettes are old school and they know it, which makes it easier to be done at any time: 2007, 2011, 2017, whatever. 

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On 4/7/2017 at 8:58 AM, MV007 said:

I do have one small critique and I'm a little unsure whether I can discuss it or not.  But I was a little taken aback when they showed the flashback to Clay complimenting Hannah on her shorter hair.  Having just read the book, that was something that resonated with me when she told everyone listening that they never noticed or at least they never mentioned her chopping off her hair.

It may have just been that the right people didn't notice?

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who recognized the bridge! And I'm glad I'm not the only reason who was yelling, "CLAY! Pay attention when you're riding your bike!"

I think that despite the cassette tapes and smart phones, the story itself is very true to the teenage experience. There's a new girl in town, a guy she likes who seems perfectly nice on his own but betrays her because he can't resist letting his friends think that they had sex, a guy who likes her but is in the friend zone. It's actually kind of depressing to see that teenage boys STILL do shit like refuse to deny that they had sex. Ugh.

I didn't mind that she recorded her messages on tape. I kind of liked that she knew it would be a pain in the ass for everyone to find a way to listen to them and that she was deliberately choosing a way that wasn't easy. The main thing that bothered me about the tape thing was Clay stealing Tony's Walkman. If he had just asked, Tony would have said yes so stealing was unnecessary and rude.

At least we know that Kat and Clay weren't kidding about Bryce being a frat boy Darth Vader since he's the one who actually sent the picture that Justin took of Hannah.

Those girls who took selfies in front of Hannah's locker - ugh, really?

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On 4/7/2017 at 3:53 AM, Kalliste said:

Am I the only one that thought the worst thing about this episode was the girls taking selfies in front of the memorial for Hannah. After they did it I said "ugh, is this what teenaged girls are like now?" and I hope they're not.

Not just teenaged girls. I have 30 year old friends selfie hashtagging with the same level of narcissism.

 

18 minutes ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I didn't mind that she recorded her messages on tape. I kind of liked that she knew it would be a pain in the ass for everyone to find a way to listen to them and that she was deliberately choosing a way that wasn't easy. The main thing that bothered me about the tape thing was Clay stealing Tony's Walkman. If he had just asked, Tony would have said yes so stealing was unnecessary and rude.

I'm assuming Tony is the secret friend who will share the tapes with the public if the current listeners don't finish and pass on accordingly? Considering his affinity for old school technology, I can see him helping her record her thoughts this way. Just guessing, though. 

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49 minutes ago, Chewy101 said:

I'm assuming Tony is the secret friend who will share the tapes with the public if the current listeners don't finish and pass on accordingly? Considering his affinity for old school technology, I can see him helping her record her thoughts this way. Just guessing, though. 

Clay asked Tony if he helped her make the tapes and Tony said no, so I want to believe that Tony wouldn't lie. I guess we'll find out eventually.

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On 4/6/2017 at 8:05 AM, heatherchandler said:

I thought I recognized that bridge!  I checked to see where this was filmed, and it was indeed near Vallejo, San Rafael and Sebastopol, CA.  I have family there and I definitely recognized the look.  I have been thinking about moving there myself, and watching this is making me want to even more!  

Yeah I thought I recognized that bridge too. Also the rock climbing scene was at Mt. Diablo, which is just a few minutes away from me. 

I was actually really hoping they would have filmed in San Luis Obispo, since Jay Asher has said the idea for Crestmont was based on SLO (since he lived there while attending (but not actually graduating from) my alma mater, Cal Poly). The Fremont Theater would have been much more visually stunning than the theater they used in the show. Back when I was in college, Lindsay Lohan filmed a total flop of a film (surprise) in SLO and many of us college kids got to be extras in it, so that was fun. I think we were also the only ones who went to see that movie and contributed to the revenue, just to see if we ended up in the film (I'm in one of the downtown scenes after a football game and Lindsay walks right by me. We had to pretend to be having animated conversations without actually making any sounds. Good times. Also she was much shorter than I thought she'd be.)

10 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Those girls who took selfies in front of Hannah's locker - ugh, really?

They're probably also the same types of girls who take selfies at grandma's funeral, or even worse, while visiting Auschwitz. #sosad

Edited by MVFrostsMyPie.
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On 4/9/2017 at 6:56 AM, Chewy101 said:

It may have just been that the right people didn't notice?

I don't know.  Without getting too spoilery, I would think Clay would be the person she would want to notice the most.

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I refuse to watch any show in which an actor telegraphs to the audience that he or she is lying by stuttering or displaying nervous behavior while the other actors are too stupid to notice it.

I know the character is lying. You showed me what the character is lying about. You don't need to treat me like an idiot.

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My friends are all watching this-- women in their 40s / 50s.  Parents of almost teens.  I know it is based a YA novel, but from the perspective of a parent, it is a scary show so far.  (Have only seen episode 1).    Saw the selfie coming.  Saw the bike injury coming (but how dumb is Clay that he didn't realize the car stalking him was his ONE friend with a growly old car?)  Saw the photo sharing coming, naturally.   Saw Clay finally losing his patience at the worst possible moment coming.  It seems to be a show about kids who aren't bad people doing wretched things.

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Just watched this episode . I never read the books but I assume The reason for clay being on the tapes won't be shown until the last tape and it's him who she liked all along . Girl has it written all over her face that she wants him 

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Just started watching this series. My first impression is that Katherine Langford (Hannah) reminds me of a younger Natalie Portman.

Edited by preeya.
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Just started in on the second episode.  So far, Hannah seems like kind of a sarcastic, manipulative, meanie and I'm finding myself kinda glad that she's dead.

Edited by Thrifty.
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On 7/22/2017 at 8:32 AM, Thrifty said:

Just started in on the second episode.  So far, Hannah seems like kind of a sarcastic, manipulative, meanie and I'm finding myself kinda glad that she's dead.

While I'm not glad a teenager is dead (even a fictional one), I'd have to agree that Hannah doesn't seem all that sympathetic so far. (But I suppose it's more realistic than making her a goody-goody.) I'm thinking that the use of sarcastic banter as the main form of communication makes it much harder to let someone know "I'm in pain."

I'll probably keep watching, but I hate the whole "adults are useless" trope. At least in this story thus far, peers seem pretty useless too.

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I mean, one of Hannah's earliest scenes had her and Jessica making fun of the blonde guy (I forget his name).  She seems like the kind of person who, if she hadn't been the victim of bullying, would have been an enthusiastic perpetrator.

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I am intrigued by this show, but I really really hate Hannah, she us so manipulative and a bully herself.

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On 5/8/2017 at 10:14 AM, preeya said:

Just started watching this series. My first impression is that Katherine Langford (Hannah) reminds me of a younger Natalie Portman.

She reminds me of the girl from "Two Broke Girls" who was also in Thor with Natalie Portman.

Anyway I just started watching this and IMHO it was strong. Dylan Minette is a strong actor and  he makes it work.  I was totally captivated and that is saying something.  The only thing is that it clearly kind of has a romance to suicide thing that cracks me up a little being a fan of "Heathers".  Hannah already seems to be a manipulative drama queen who openly uses Clay when best for her so not sure I care too much about her at the start. 

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I thought the conversation between Hannah and Clay while they were eating lunch told us a lot about Hannah.  First, she was pretty perceptive.  Even that early in their relationship she realized Clay was scared--something he never stopped being until after she died.  To her credit, I don't think she hardly ever thought less of him for it.  Second, she would stand up for herself.  After he made his, at best, thoughtless remark about it sometimes being better to wait, she did not just become quiet or slink off.  Instead, she told him clearly that he had hurt her feelings.  He tried to call after her, but, as always, made no attempt to actually go after her.

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