Here’s a list of things I did when I was 15: I labeled myself cool because I was using Netflix Instant to get into a totally obscure show called Freaks and Geeks. I kissed exactly one boy (I think? Who can remember?). I turned in all my math homework late and joined my high-school speech-and-debate team because I’d just seen Goodfellas for the first time, and I was desperate to tell everyone that this movie was really spectacular.
Here’s what the teens on 13 Reasons Why do when they’re 15: Get lots of tattoos! Lots. Enough to make me pause during the first few episodes in total befuddlement. A small tattoo here or there, safe from a strict mother’s prying eyes, sure. But since when do the youth of a town vanilla enough to name its high school Liberty High have the time or the cash to get tatted up? So here you go: The teens of 13 Reasons Why have an unrealistic number of tattoos.
Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) is 15. He has four whole tattoos. It’s apparently illegal to give minors tattoos without parental consent in some states. But so what, who cares — I’m no snitch. It’s just that this 15-year-old has four tattoos, and they are not good.
This is Justin’s mom’s boyfriend — real bad dude. He has a handful of tattoos, but it makes sense because he’s an adult. He’s not going through puberty, buying Clean & Clear for chin pimples. He’s had years to amass these tattoos, and life experience for these tattoos to reflect. These tattoos make sense.
Would you believe me if I told you these tattoos are only half of all of the ink alleged teen Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro) has? It’s true — look at his tattoos from another angle:
One of Clay’s old friends, Skye Miller (Sosie Bacon), has a lot of tattoos, too. And yes, that’s an alligator on her neck, as she informs Clay when even he asks how many tattoos she has. Does Liberty High allow this? My high school didn’t.
Look at this 30-something chillin’ with his 15-year-old fellow youths in the locker room. We’re to believe that this adult man sits in Algebra I with this tattoo and no one bats an eye.
No spoilers, but Bryce is another bad teen, one crude enough to invite his friend to eat whatever “Mexican shit” his family’s housekeeper was cooking. Until Bryce flashes whatever baseball-rosary business he has going on on his right shoulder there, it seems like 13 Reasons Why is pushing a pretty classist agenda, implying that only Liberty’s lower-income students are inked. But no! Bryce, an asshole, has a tattoo as well.
13 Reasons Why executive producer Selena Gomez and series stars Alisha Boe (as Jessica Davis) and Tommy Dorfman (as Ryan Shaver) got small tattoos in honor of the mental-health nonprofit Project Semicolon. Miles Heizer, who plays Alex Standall, also has cool, tiny tattoos IRL. These tattoos are nice! But 13 Reasons Why’s teen characters? They just have so many tattoos — bad ones — that they’ll probably regret in two years.