LA TIMES – For a moment, the conversation is light. It’s a blustery spring day on the Paramount lot and Katherine Langford, who just turned 21, and Dylan Minnette, 20, are talking about some of the Internet’s more playful obsessions — the face-transforming software FaceApp and unicorn frappuccinos.
“It looks disgusting,” Langford says, her Australian accent undisguised, of the vibrant, multi-colored Starbucks concoction.
Minnette chimes in: “It looks like the wet dream of frappuccinos.”
Then the conversation gets a bit heavier. It’s been a few weeks since the March 31 release of “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix drama about a teenage girl’s suicide in which the pair stars, and they are in the thick of it, juggling appearances on “Ellen” with this weekend’s MTV Movie & TV Awards.
And then there’s the other part of it. The part they knew would inevitably take shape given the show’s fraught subject matter: the backlash.
The 13-episode adaptation of Jay Asher’s bestselling novel quickly blew up laptops of American teenagers, and one by one, anxious-to-angry headlines followed. “Does ‘13 Reasons Why’ Glamorize Teen Suicide?” “Critics say 13 Reasons Why has artistic merit. Suicide prevention experts say it’s dangerous.” “‘13 Reasons Why’ Is Not the Force for Mental Health Awareness People Say It Is”
As hot takes and think pieces about the show’s merits and flaws began to pile up across the Web, superintendents, teachers and other school officials around the country began issuing warnings to parents: that its content may be inappropriate for young viewers — for its depiction of suicide and sexual assault, among them — and that it might be viewed as glamorizing suicide.
But then too came comments like the ones on Langford and Minnette’s Instagram pages: “I hope that a lot of people will reflect about the consequences that the harassment on the life of somebody can have” and “I watched the whole series with my dad” and “I’m a mother of a 17 year old and i finished watching it today, every parent should watch this show.”