tv series

TV shows ‘Riverdale’ and ‘13 Reasons Why’ prove that it takes a village to kill a child

Dark themes of murder, abuse and drug addiction course through the shows, both of which are set in American high schools.

Being a teenager is terrifying. Not only is your body and mind going through all sorts of changes, but often, it looks like everyone around you is doing a better job of handling what you are struggling with.

This is a tale as old as time, and one that television has told time and again. The high school show takes different shapes: comedy (Freaks and Geeks being great examples), drama (Friday Night Lights), a delightful blend of the two (Gossip Girl and The OC), even supernatural and paranormal (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Vampire Diaries). Newer entrants Riverdale, based on the characters from the classic Archie comics, and Netflix’s sobering 13 Reasons Why are more serious-minded than some of their forebears, falling along the thin line between drama and angst. What unites these otherwise disparate shows about teenage girl gangs and outsiders looking to fit in are the narratives of loss, confusion and the manner in which the community is paradoxically, simultaneously weakened and strengthened.

Both Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why are set in small towns, with the majority of their characters being in high school. Both open with death: in Riverdale, Jason Blossom’s staged death ends up being an actual one, while 13 Reasons Why opens with the suicide of Hannah Baker, who has left behind cassettes telling stories of the 13 people she believes have driven her to take this step. The show opens with the tapes coming to Clay Jensen, number 11 on the list.

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13 Reasons Why.

The deaths of Jason and Hannah leave the characters of their respective shows reeling. In the case of Riverdale, the safe, decent and innocent facade of the small town is blown off spectacularly. The show’s narrator, Jughead Jones, constantly reminds viewers that “things changed forever” with the discovery of Jason’s body. Factions come to light along with old feuds between picture-perfect families. Friends fight and turn their backs on one another, but at the same time, new alliances are formed, with characters like Betty Cooper and Jughead, the good girl next door and the mopey hipster, coming together to solve the various mysteries that suddenly pepper their existence.

13 Reasons Why is more explicit in its denouncement of community as killer. Hannah Baker arrives at a new high school in sophomore year, and her tragedy begins almost immediately. She hangs out with the popular jock, Justin Foley, who slaps on her the reputation of being easy. Interactions and friendships each come to a depressing halt, usually because of one misplaced word or action. Hannah’s tapes make their way through the chain of people, mostly fellow students who have had some impact on her life and decision. In her absence, they bind those same students together, each watching the other to make sure no one spills the truth of Hannah’s life.

13 Reasons Why is based on a bestselling young adult novel of the same name. Its tone couldn’t be more unlike the Archie comics, falling more in line with cult classic The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It is dark and deals with some of the dark realities of high school – the more sinister side of bullying and its fallout, slut shaming, suicide and finally and perhaps most horrifyingly, rape and sexual assault. Riverdale also attempts to shoehorn these issues into its storyline, but perhaps because of the writing, they come across as preachy extraneous and something done to check things off a list.

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Riverdale.

The examination of the ramifications of sexual and substance abuse in 13 Reasons Why makes it clear that these are not only integral to its characters’ motivations; indeed, other, more adult-oriented shows could take a page out of its book when it comes to similar portrayals.

There’s a popular adage that it takes a village to raise a child. If we are to believe the lessons of Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why, it also takes a village to kill one.

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The quirks and perks of travelling with your hard to impress mom

We must admit that the jar of pickle always comes in handy.

A year ago, Priyanka, a 26-year-old banking professional, was packing her light-weight duffel bag for an upcoming international trip. Keen to explore the place, she wanted to travel light and fuss free. It was not meant to be. For Priyanka was travelling with her mother, and that meant carrying at least two extra suitcases packed with odds and ends for any eventuality just short of a nuclear war.

Bothered by the extra suitcases that she had to lug around full of snacks and back-up woollens, Priyanka grew frustrated with her mother. However, one day, while out for some sight-seeing Priyanka and her family were famished but there were no decent restaurants in sight. That’s when her mum’s ‘food bag’ came to the rescue. Full of juice boxes, biscuits and sandwiches, her mother had remembered to pack snacks from the hotel for their day out. Towards the end of the trip, Priyanka was grateful to her mother for all her arrangements, especially the extra bag she carried for Priyanka’s shopping.

Priyanka’s story isn’t an isolated one. We spoke to many people about their mother’s travel quirks and habits and weren’t surprised at some of the themes that were consistent across all the travel memoirs.

Indian mothers are always prepared

“My mom keeps the packed suitcases in the hallway one day before our flight date. She will carry multiple print-outs of the flight tickets because she doesn’t trust smartphone batteries. She also never forgets to carry a medical kit for all sorts of illnesses and allergies”, says Shruti, a 27-year-old professional. When asked if the medical kit was helpful during the trip, she answered “All the time”, in a tone that marvelled at her mother’s clairvoyance.

Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images
Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images

Indian mothers love to feel at home, and create the same experience for their family, wherever they are

“My mother has a very strange idea of the kind of food you get in foreign lands, so she always packs multiple packets of khakra and poha for our trips. She also has a habit of carrying her favourite teabags to last the entire trip”, relates Kanchan, a marketing professional who is a frequent international flier often accompanied by her mother. Kanchan’s mother, who is very choosy about her tea, was therefore delighted when she was served a hot cup of garam chai on her recent flight to Frankfurt. She is just like many Indian mothers who love to be reminded of home wherever they are and often strive to organise their hotel rooms to give them the coziness of a home.

Most importantly, Indian mothers are tough, especially when it comes to food

Take for instance, the case of Piyush, who recalls, “We went to this fine dining restaurant and my mother kept quizzing the waiter about the ingredients and the method of preparation of a dish. She believed that once she understood the technique, she would be able to make a better version of the dish just so she could pamper me!”

Indian mothers are extremely particular about food – from the way its cooked, to the way it smells and tastes. Foreign delicacies are only allowed to be consumed if they fulfil all the criteria set by Mom i.e. is it good enough for my children to consume?

An approval from an Indian mother is a testament to great quality and great taste. In recognition of the discerning nature of an Indian mum and as a part of their ‘More Indian Than You Think’ commitment, Lufthansa has tailored their in-flight experiences to surpass even her exacting standards. Greeted with a namaste and served by an Indian crew, the passengers feel right at home as they relish the authentic Indian meals and unwind with a cup of garam chai, the perfect accompaniment to go with a variety of Indian entertainment available in the flight. As Lufthansa’s in-flight offerings show, a big part of the brand is inherently Indian because of its relationship with the country spanning over decades.

To see how Lufthansa has internalised the Indian spirit and become the airline of choice for flyers looking for a great Indian experience, watch the video below.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.