The Concept of Self-Reflective Capacity in the Episode Tape 1, Side A of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Television Series

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The episode, “Tape 1, Side A,” of the miniseries 13 Reasons Why has some content in it that I would consider putting a warning for at the beginning. It deals with two major adult concepts: lust and suicide. Hannah Baker tries to have a relationship with a popular basketball jock, Justin. Their first night of miniscule passion, however, ended up with a photo being spread around school of Hannah in an unfavorable state, even though there was no sexual contact or intercourse. This resulted not only in Hannah’s embarrassment, but also became a factor to her eventual suicide, along with twelve others that drive the story of the Netflix series.

Several concepts can be applied to this episode, including stereotypes: not just character- wise, but conceptual stereotypes. The episode does have scenes that depict typical high school life, with boring classes, energized parties, sport-loving jocks and strives for relationships. There are stereotypes, however, that are a little exaggerated, such as the use of technology and fast communication. After the unfavorable photo is sent by one of Justin’s friends, the photo is sent immediately to almost every student’s phone in Hannah’s class, who then reply either with shock or disdain. There are many factors that make this portrayal of communication devices unrealistic. Not a lot of people have apps on their phones that immediately show a photo from one person’s device. Justin’s friend would have had to take his phone for an hour to send all those people Hannah’s picture. Justin would also need a great amount of friends to send the photo too if a major percentage of Hannah’s class were all to receive the photo at the same time. Some people would probably be quiet and delete the photo, rather than be publicly shocked and spread the photo more.

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Hannah’s whole relationship with Justin could be an example of the concept known as Self-Reflective Capacity, more specifically the enactive mode. Hannah is willing to try to have a connection with Justin at the start of a new high school year. Her choice to have a relationship with the basketball jock resulted in her first kiss, a positive outcome as she hoped for, but also with an embarrassing photo, a negative effect, which would restrain how fast she makes relationships in future episodes. If her friend, Kat, who was Justin’s former girlfriend, influenced Hannah to establish a connection with him, that could also be an example of the vicarious mode of Self-Reflective Capacity.

An additional concept that is present in the show would be disinhibitory effects. The diffusion of responsibility is already present when Hannah records that a group of people are all responsible for her death and not just one, but in the first episode there is a small example of it too. Justin did take the photo of Hannah in the playground, but it was his friend Bryce that decided to send the photo to everyone at school. Hannah did not exactly blame Justin for hurting her, but she was angry at him for allowing it to happen. Hannah knows just what certain people are responsible for and how much reprimanding they should receive.

In conclusion, these concepts make for a somewhat dark show that should receive a content warning at the beginning. The first episode deals with stereotypes, self-reflective capacity and disinhibitory effects in a high-school setting. Some concepts may be exaggerated, while others are just fine.

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The Concept of Self-Reflective Capacity in the Episode Tape 1, Side A of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Television Series. (2023, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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