13 reasons why

‘Welcome to Your Tape’ Is This Week’s Troubling New Meme from 13 Reasons Why

Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford in Netflix’s Thirteen Reasons Why Photo: Beth Dubber/Netflix

There’s a new meme floating around right now. The format is pretty simple. A person gets an unpleasant response — like a Chipotle employee informing her that guacamole costs extra — and replies, “Welcome to your tape.”

Does this meme make sense to you? If you’re not a teen, or a parent of a teen, or a blogger who spent approximately 13 hours this weekend binge-watching watching a show you wish you hadn’t, the answer is probably “no.” The meme was inspired by Thirteen Reasons Why, a new Netflix series based on a book by the same name, which chronicles a high-school student’s decision to take her own life. In the show, the student, Hannah Baker, leaves behind a box full of cassette tapes on which she has recorded the 13 reasons why she felt suicide was the only option. Tapes correspond to students in her class, i.e., “Welcome to your tape, [insert name here.]” So, to put it in meme form, that means guac costing extra translates to a reason someone might kill themselves.

Netflix even used the joke to tweet at rival streaming service Hulu last week.

Those who frequent the meme world will know it’s no stranger to all things dark and twisted and (sometimes deliciously) inappropriate. But this particular gag feels beyond the pale — especially Netflix’s using it for a Twitter burn, albeit a timely one — given that the show has already come under fire from critics and mental health professionals for romanticizing suicide. Hopefully this meme, like most of its internet peers, will run its course quickly. Though Thirteen Reasons Why has already claimed the title of most-tweeted-about show in 2017 so that seems unlikely.

Here’s Why Everyone Is Saying ‘Welcome to Your Tape’