Kirstie Alley is among the critics of the Netflix original series 13 Reasons Why. The actress took to Twitter this week, advising her followers not to let their children watch the show. Like many of the show's critics, Alley argued that its depictions of suicide, sexual assault and other hot-button issues did more harm than good.
Alley posted about 13 Reasons Why on Twitter on Monday, apparently having found out the hard way how serious its subject matter can get. In a late-afternoon tweet, she wrote: "Don't let your kids watch 13 Reasons Why... DARK so DARK and such an onslaught of the most non stop f—ed upness to come down the high school pike since Caligula was 16." The post got a lot of engagement from Alley's followers — and from other Twitter users, with many people divided over the controversial show.
Don’t let your kids watch 13 Reasons Why...DARK so DARK and such an onslaught of the most non stop fucked upness to come down the highschool pike since Caligula was 16.— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) June 15, 2020
Alley did return to the topic a short while later, weighing in on the fan discussion taking place in her replies. She retweeted a fan who defended the show, conceding: "I think it's a good show for people over 40 or 70." Still, the actress thought that the series was too heavy-handed with its darker elements.
Many parents have voiced similar complaints about 13 Reasons Why, especially when it comes to their kids. Some believe that the packaging of the series is misleading since it seems to be a teen drama made for teens. Once it gets going, however, they think that it sets a bad example for the audience.
I think it’s a good show for people over 40 or 70 https://t.co/ob19TXwxLL— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) June 15, 2020
Alley herself has two children — William True and Lillie Price — both from her second marriage to Parker Stevenson. The couple split in 1997 but shared custody of William and Lillie until they were adults. Now a grandmother, Alley clearly remembers the anxiety of throttling a child's media diet.
Alley is far from the first person to complain about 13 Reasons Why since its premiere in 2017. The drama has inspired a wave of controversy every time new episodes drop. Yet, many believe that it is the attention of this controversy that kept the show alive longer than many other Netflix Originals.
Viewers feared that the way suicide, sexual assault and mental health struggles, in general, were represented in the show were "glorifying" the heartache and violence, potentially leading teenagers who saw it into real-life danger. Later, when the show tackled school shootings, critics complained that it had learned nothing from the backlash. Many also thought that the show had done harm by extending so far past the story of the book it was based on, defeating the purpose of the original narrative.