Netflix officially announced that there will be a season two of 13 Reasons Why, which leaves fans with many questions as to what they can expect with season two. Will we see Bryce, the monstrous teenage boy who seemingly rapes everyone and anyone, pay the price for his past transgressions? Will Hannah, who was only in season one via her tapes, be a part of season two? And, what happened to Alex?! Did he try to kill himself or did Tyler shoot him? Will there be a mass shooting? SO MANY QUESTIONS! But, the most important question may be this: Will Clay be any less annoying in season two?
Listen, I get that many people liked Clay and he was fine, I guess. He wasn’t a villain, like Bryce or several of the other characters. But, Clay also kind of sucked in his own special way. If you look beyond the puppy-dog eyes and the whole “I’m a good boy” thing, Clay was self-righteous, lame, and overall just a total snoozefest to watch. I mean, Clay was basically a character built on inaction. The kid did NOTHING in the flashbacks. He didn’t tell Hannah how he felt about her and he also didn’t ask Hannah what the hell was going on with her while she was presenting, like, all the signs of someone about to kill herself. This is not to say that I hate Clay, because I don’t. It’s impossible to hate Clay, but I did found the mopey character to be outrageously annoying and lame.
Below are 16 times Clay was seriously annoying AF on 13 Reasons Why. Hopefully season two can make him, like, 300% less lame.
16. WHY Didn’t He Listen To The Tapes At Once?
Okay, I get why, on a narrative level, Clay didn’t listen to all the tapes at once like a normal friggin’ person, but I also don’t get why, on a personal level, he didn’t listen to all the tapes at once like a normal person. The narrative of the show needed a reason for things to be spread out so that consequences could happen. Had Clay listened to all the tapes the very first night – LIKE A NORMAL PERSON – he wouldn’t have slowly spiralled in his rage blackouts and the show would have had 60% less drama. Had he listened to them all at once, like every single other character did, the show would have just been Clay listening to the tapes in his dark bedroom. That would have been the show and it would have been much less interesting.
All that being said, the writers could have come up with a better reason for Clay’s reluctance rather than it was hard for him to hear Hannah’s voice. While I understand the reasoning for spreading out the tapes on a narrative level, on a character level Clay’s reluctance to listen to the tapes just felt false. All of the other characters even question why he hasn’t finished the tapes, which is pretty much what the audience is thinking.
15. Um, He Bullied Tyler
Guys, remember when Clay literally bullied Tyler? (But, let’s all make Facebook statuses about the importance of being kind, right?)
In case you had forgotten, Tyler is the character who takes pictures of everyone. I’m not down with Tyler taking all those pictures, as the first time we meet him he literally has a camera in the men’s bathroom. That’s weird and I don’t know why Tyler thinks it’s okay to bring his camera in the men’s bathroom. Via a tape, we find out that Tyler took pictures of Hannah, which makes her feel violated. And so, this violation lands Tyler a tape. Tyler, though, becomes a victim because of his tape, as the other tapers throw rocks through his window. Clay doesn’t just throw a rock through Tyler’s window like everyone else, though. He snaps a photo of Tyler – NAKED – and passed it around the school. Let me be clear, Clay was being a bully to Tyler. And, this is Tyler, y’know the same character who is planning a mass shooting. BE NICE TO HIM, CLAY!
14. He Also Keyed Zach’s Car
This is fun, so I’ll keep talking about how Clay was pretty much a bully to the other characters. I mean, it’s kind of hilarious that this show, of all shows, prompted people to make declarations about being kind to each other because you don’t know anyone’s struggles but… Clay, the main character who most people loved, was kind of an asshole. Like, remember when Clay keyed Zach’s car? First of all, Zach seemed like a genuinely sweet character. He was nice to Hannah several times, even when she was rude back to him. Yes, Zach ended up stealing her compliment cards, which, by the way, I didn’t realize they were in the third friggin’ grade. Compliment cards? Are you kidding me? The only thing lamer than the compliment cards is the fact that Hannah lists Zach stealing her compliments as a reason she killed herself. Whatever, moving on. Stealing her compliment cards was shitty on Zach’s part, but then Clay went and keyed Zach’s car and that just seemed… a little much.
13. Basically, He Was Mean To Everyone On The Tapes
Besides lashing out on Tyler and Zach, Clay was mean to just about every single character who was also on the tapes… as if he wasn’t on the tapes himself! Even before Clay had gotten to his own tape, it seemed that he thought he was somehow better or different than these characters to whom he was being rude. Of course, Hannah’s tape confirms Clay’s assumption, as she says he’s actually not at fault for her suicide, but still. Clay didn’t know that before getting to his own tape, so why did Clay think he was so much better or so much different than the other characters on the tapes? Also, did Hannah want Clay to be an asshole to everyone on the tapes? Did she want to make Clay into a monster? I don’t know, but I do know that Clay was a super asshole to many of the characters on the tapes, not caring how they were affected by the tapes or his actions.
12. He Blamed Everyone… Except Hannah
Like I said in the previous item, Clay was mean to almost every single character on the tapes. He seemed to blame them for Hannah’s suicide, which I guess makes sense because Hannah literally says her suicide is the fault of everyone on the tapes. (Hard eye roll to both of them here.)
All of the other characters on the tapes, however, constantly try to remind themselves and each other that Hannah’s suicide is not their fault, but rather that she choose suicide on her own accord. First of all, that’s very mature thinking for teenagers so props to them. Secondly, the weight of thinking you’re to blame for someone’s suicide is ROUGH. Alex was one of the characters who seemingly felt responsible for Hannah’s death and he may have attempted suicide in the finale, so that’s how heavy feeling responsible for someone’s suicide is. Anyway, the fact that Clay blames all the other characters for Hannah’s suicide isn’t healthy for him or the other characters. Clay needs to accept that Hannah chose suicide rather than blame the other characters for her not being there.
11. But, He Never Asked Hannah What Was Up
Here’s something really fun – CLAY NEVER ASKED HANNAH WHAT WAS UP. Yes, the other characters may have affected Hannah through their actions, but Clay’s inaction was something that affected her as well. Clay was supposed to be her friend, right? I mean, I would think so since Clay now believes he was “in love” with her, y’know now that she’s dead. That being said, Hannah cutting her hair, leaving her work uniform, quitting her job, and her withdrawn behavior – well, these are all signs of suicidal behavior, so why didn’t Clay, her friend, ask her if she was okay? Yes, it’s weird to be like, “Hey, I noticed you cut your hair. Are you thinking of killing yourself?” But, had Clay stepped up, he may have been able to stop Hannah from killing herself. Clay doesn’t seem to be taking responsibility for his inaction, and instead, he just blames everyone else.
10. He Ignored Skye For, Like, All His Life
I connected to Skye, like, a lot. She was maybe the least annoying character on the show. If you forget who Skye was – since she was a minor character who didn’t even warrant a tape – she was the tattooed, edgy, coffee shop employee. Also, how did she have so much time to work at that coffee shop while being in high school? Maybe, she had to work that much to afford all of her tattoos…? And why was everyone so tattooed? Skye, Tony, and Justin had more tattoos than any other high schooler I’ve ever seen. Ugh, okay moving on. Skye spoke some harsh truth about the Hannah situation and Clay was such a hurt little puppy dog when she did. Was Skye a little too blunt? Maybe, but she also wasn’t wrong.
Skye also pointed out that Clay ignored her basically forever, and he simply melted for Hannah. Basically, Skye wasn’t afraid to point out what an asshole Clay could be from time to time, and that was awesome. Of course, Clay seemingly ends up with Skye. So, maybe he, like, learned a lesson from the tapes or whatever. Either way, I’m still into Skye’s realness and Clay is a chump for not appreciating her sooner.
9. His Head Wound That Never Healed
In the first episode, Clay rides his bike like an idiot, falls, and cuts his forehead open. Okay, that’s fine. I can get down with the little gash in his forehead. But, then the gash never goes away… like, literally never goes away. He has a cut on his head for the entire series. How long did the events of the series take? A week, a month? Somewhere in that time frame probably. If the cut on his head took a couple weeks to heal, something weird is going on with his white blood cells or whatever.
The creators of the show have stated that Clay’s wound served the purpose of letting the audience know if the events were taking place in the past or present, as he would have a head wound in the present but no head wound in the past scenes. I get the reasoning for this wound, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying to constantly see Clay’s head wrapped in a bandage all the time. Bro, if you have a cut that takes that long to heal, see a specialist or something.
8. His Weird Rage Blackouts
Ugh, were we supposed to enjoy Clay’s weird rage blackouts? Because, I was really bored by them. Actually, they would have been interesting if they really happened, but, yet again, Clay is mostly about that inactivity.
Basically, listening to Hannah’s tapes made Clay have these weird rage blackouts, during which he’d be zoned out but, like, imagining what he’d do in this head – like that time he caught the basketball at the game and was zoned out for about a half hour, with the entire town staring at him. This was clearly a way to show how deeply Hannah’s tapes were effecting Clay, but it made me think that maybe Clay had some deep issues. He was in therapy before, but we don’t know exactly why. Does Clay always have these weird rage blackouts? I don’t know. Quite frankly, scenes like this worked better in Mean Girls when Cady would imagine people fighting like jungle animals. Clay’s rage blackouts were… I don’t know. They just never actually paid off in any capacity.
7. That Time He Freaked Out On The New Students
Oh, and then the time his weird rage blackout wasn’t a weird rage blackout, but rather real. It was real AF.
When they finally took down the memorial taped to Hannah’s locker, Clay went insane. Mind you, they could have kept the memorial up for a little while longer. Like, maybe they should have kept it up until the end of the school year and taken it down during summer vacation so sensitive students, like Clay, didn’t lose their minds. Anyway, after Clay sees Hannah’s memorial has been taken down, Clay and Courtney are supposed to show around new students. At this point, Clay goes insane… in front of these new students, who are definitely going to transfer the hell out of there.
6. When Clay Wouldn’t Listen To Any Of The Other Tapers
Clay was losing his shit left and right, and yet he hadn’t even finished the tapes. Guys, he hasn’t even finished the tapes!!! This resulted in the other people on the tapes (tapers as I lovingly call them) repeatedly telling him to just listen to all of the tapes. But, Clay didn’t just listen to the tapers – repeatedly – just telling him to listen to the tapes. Instead, he even decided to stop listening to the tapes at one point.
There’s also the issue of Hannah’s truthfulness that Clay never takes into consideration. The tapers repeatedly tell Clay that Hannah is lying. While she isn’t lying per se, there is the fact that the tapes are 100% Hannah’s interpretation of the events. Other characters remember the events quite differently, with their memories not always painting Hannah in the most positive light. Clay should have taken the objectiveness of memories into consideration. I mean, remember when Zach still had Hannah’s note… the one she claimed he threw out? Yeah, that’s a thing that Clay should have thought harder about.
5. The Whole Lost Love Thing
This is going to sound bad at first, but hear me out – It’s really easy to love a dead person. That’s the awful truth, because alive people are much more difficult to love. Alive people have flaws, make mistakes and have morning breath, meanwhile people have passed on are idealized in our minds. This is the case with Clay’s obsession with Hannah Baker. Now that Hannah is dead, Clay remembers her as perfect and he suddenly thinks he was in love with her the whole time. I’m not saying Clay didn’t have feelings for Hannah while she was alive. Hey, Clay may have even had a huge crush on Hannah. I’m not denying him that. But, he never really acted on those feelings. How is he to know if they would have ever really worked out?
Also, we’ve learned via the tapes that Clay’s crush was pretty evident and yet Hannah was more interested in the jocks and popular boys the whole time – Justin and Marcus. Why is Clay suddenly feeling like this is the lost love of his life when she wasn’t interested in him? He’s rewriting the past and it’s annoying. I mean, I kind of feel bad for him in this regard, but still.
4. Remember His Rando Hook Up With Sheri?
If Clay was so in love with Hannah, he sure moved on quickly, right? I mean, his rando hook up with Sheri got pretty heavy before it abruptly ended.
Let’s break down this hook up. Clay was vulnerable and sensitive, so he ends up hooking up with Sheri. Okay, we maybe understand that, even if he’s like SO IN LOVE with Hannah, Sheri was there and Clay needed to be comforted. On the Sheri front, doesn’t her interest in Clay seem random? My theory is that Sheri had developed a crush on Clay while listening to his tape, which is really weird and twisted. I’m sure Hannah didn’t intend for her Clay tape to help him hook up with cheerleaders, but it did seem to help him score with Sheri.
3. He Actually Broke Hannah’s Rule
Yo, but do we care that Clay broke Hannah’s one rule? In the tapes, Hannah specifically says that you must pass the tape on to the next person or else someone (Tony) will release to tape to everyone in the world. Everyone on the tapes follows this rule just as told… except Clay, who has always thought he was above the tapes. Clay decides that he’s not going to pass the tapes to Bryce, Hannah’s rapist, and possibly the most vile character on the show. Instead, he bypasses Bryce and gives the tapes to Mr. Porter. Clay’s reasoning is that Bryce may destroy the tapes, which is probably correct. However, why does Clay feel he has the right to do this? Maybe this was Hannah’s one way to confront her rapist from beyond the grave… and Clay took that away for her.
2. Mostly, He’s Just Boring
As a character, Clay was a major snoozefest. He’s just so very boring. I mean, if you can tell me anything, anything at all, about Clay as a character, be my guest. What’s his favorite band, color, movie? All I really know about this guy is that he jerked off to that weird picture of Hannah and Courtney kissing and, honestly, that was probably the most interesting moment for Clay.
The reason for Clay’s lameness is that his character served as a placeholder for the audience. We, like Clay, learned Hannah’s story via the tapes. Clay was an outsider, just like the audience. Clay’s blankness allows the audience to connect with him and see the story through his eyes, but it also makes him a lot more boring. The fact that Clay was a mostly inactive character adds to the boring factor. Characters are defined by their actions, so Clay’s inaction kept the audience forever formulating a solid opinion of him. Long story short, I’m bored.
1. Quite Frankly, There Were Just So Many Other Interesting Characters
To be honest, Clay’s scenes were extra annoying because the other character were simply more interesting. As was discussed in the previous slide, Clay’s character had a certain blankness that served the narrative. Clay has overprotective parents, does well in school, but is genuinely less interesting than the rest of the characters who are struggling with much bigger things. Justin was struggling with a very difficult home life. Jessica was acting out because of her repressed rape. Courtney had two gay fathers but refused to come out of the closet herself. Even Ryan’s one-liners made him a more interesting character than Clay. AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I would have taken about 1,000 more Jeff scenes before his untimely death. Jeff deserved so much more… and so much more screen time. I mean, even if some of these other character were annoying (Courtney), they were at least complex and layered. Clay was flat, flat, flat.
At the end of the day, Clay was a sweet character – I’ll admit that much – but that didn’t save him from becoming one of the most annoying characters on a show full of annoying characters. Can season two make Clay any less annoying? It’s doubtful, but don’t underestimate the power of Netflix. Netflix can do anything.