It’s safe to say that this entire article is a major SPOILER ALERT so read at your own risk! If you haven’t watched the entire 13 episode Netflix show 13 Reasons Why then you need to do that ASAP. Then come back and read this story. Of course, you probably binged the entire thing the weekend that it came out, so we’re probably all good here. As you probably already know, this is an amazing, thought-provoking and powerful show about a group of teenagers who have to come to terms with their classmate’s death. Since Hannah Baker left behind a box full of cassette tapes with the reasons why she took her own life, the people that she left behind are dealing with the fall-out. They may have some answers, but they’re still asking tons of questions. One of the characters that has been the most beloved? That would be Jeff Atkins. Unfortunately, he dies! We all watched the tenth episode where this happens and were totally surprised and sad. We’re still not over it. So let’s talk about it. Here are 15 reasons why Jeff deserved more.
15. He’s Adorable
One reason why Jeff should have stayed alive? He is totally and completely adorable. While this might seem like a bit of a silly and shallow thing to say, here’s why this is so important: because a lot of the other male characters on this show are total jerks. More than that, they’re sexist and definitely don’t treat women very well at all (and that’s an understatement). Jeff is not like that. He’s adorable, sweet, and okay, really goodlooking. Is it bad to want to be able to stare at his lovely and pretty face for the entire 13 episodes? No. We don’t think so. We’re just being honest here. This is such a dark show and while it’s absolutely incredible, we have to admit that Jeff was a lighter spot in the whole narrative. We really enjoyed his scenes and wish that he could have been in the entire thing. Is that really too much to ask?!
14. His Role Was Expanded (And Should Have Been More)
In the young adult novel by Jay Asher that the Netflix series is based on, Jeff doesn’t have the big role that he does in the TV show. He doesn’t die as a result of the car accident that Sheri is involved in (and in the book, Sheri is named Jenny). But on the television show, Sheri crashes her car into a stop sign, the stop sign is down, and Jeff gets into his car and ends up dying. It’s super tragic and horrible and really difficult to watch. Since Jeff’s role was already expanded for the Netflix adaptation, he should have been an even bigger part of it. Why kill him? Why couldn’t he stay alive? It does make a certain sort of sense that his storyline was changed to fit the narrative better. But that doesn’t mean we’re okay with this. We’re not. And we’re probably never going to get used to him being gone. Dramatic? Yes. That’s okay.
13. He Has Done A Lot For Clay
One of the sweetest parts of the story is that Clay had been tutoring Jeff before his untimely and tragic death… and Jeff was tutoring Clay right back. How? Well, not when it came to school and all that academic jazz, but when it came to girls and dating and romance. Jeff wanted Clay to be confident and happy with who he was. He saw the good in Clay and knew that if he could just realize that he had a lot to offer the world (and a girl), then he could definitely have a relationship. This is just amazing since it’s hard to think of many teenage boys doing something like that. Jeff may have been a jock but he was so much more than that and he was interested in helping Clay with his self-esteem and girl issues. It’s really sad to think about him no longer giving Clay those pep talks during study sessions and in the middle of a party.
12. Someone Else Could Have Died
This is totally true, right? While we don’t want to say that we would have liked to see one of the major or minor characters die, we can definitely say that someone else would have been better than Jeff. We’re looking at you, Bryce. Sorry not sorry. Not sorry at all. The reason why Jeff died was because the writers and producers thought that it would make more sense if someone Hannah knew died as a result of the fallen stop sign. In the book, a total stranger dies, which is still really horrible and still negatively affects Hannah, but in the TV show, there’s more of a connection. While we totally understand why this narrative change was made, we have to say that someone else could have been the victim of this car accident. It could have been another student at school, right? It definitely should have been someone who wasn’t such a great character. Sigh.
11. He’s A Really Good Guy
The cool thing about Jeff is that he’s a jock… but he doesn’t seem like it at the same time. Sure, he’s super hot and pretty buff, but that’s not why we like him. Well, it’s not the only reason why we like him. Since he clearly cared about Clay and helped him out with some things, we can tell that he’s a really good guy. He wasn’t like the other guys at school and was a very interesting character. He proved that it was possible to be a decent human being, even though the high school on this show definitely seems like a really difficult place to exist, let alone be happy and successful. It would have been absolutely awesome to be able to keep watching Jeff on the show beyond the episode where he died. So yes, we would have loved to have seen him in the present day instead of only flashbacks (more on that soon).
10. He Had A Lot To Live For
Just think about all of the things that Jeff could have accomplished in his life. Since he was working with Clay to better his grades, he definitely could have gone to college. Sure, he was a jock and maybe he would have gotten an athletic scholarship, but it’s totally possible that he would have gotten really into the whole school aspect as well. We hate to think about all the things that Jeff could have done and that now he never will. It’s pretty devastating, actually. The scene where Clay visits Jeff’s parents is just totally depressing and could honestly make us cry just thinking about it. He will never grow up. He will never get married, have a family, follow his dreams, have the best career ever, experience all of the firsts that life has to offer (first apartment, first bad job, first good job, etc). Oh man. It’s really tough to think about this.
9. This Show Has Enough Sadness
One main reason that Jeff deserved more and should have stayed alive on this show? This series is totally sad enough. Why did we have to get even sadder by realizing that poor Jeff died? Why?! We already have to deal with the awful reality that the characters are dealing with: that Hannah Baker killed herself and everyone has to figure out what part they played in her decision. If Jeff hadn’t passed away, then it would have been one less death, and that honestly would be pretty welcome. We get that it’s a dark, serious, and powerful show and that the cast and crew didn’t shy away from sharing these things. We totally get that. We just have to say that we don’t think that Jeff needed to die (even though it does fit pretty nicely and neatly into the narrative). We’re pretty sure that other fans agree with us too.
8. The Actor Is The Coolest
Last night I stopped for a moment, looked around the room and thought to myself, "This is so surreal." I am so proud of @13ReasonsWhy and everything this show stands for. For anyone watching if you're struggling just know you aren't alone and life is SO precious. Thank you to the cast for being amazing and thank you to the backbone of 13 Reasons Why for choosing me to be apart of telling this story. I will be forever grateful for the friends I've made and the experiences I'm having making this series.
The actor who plays Jeff, Brandon Larracuente, is honestly the coolest. He has got 1 million Instagram followers so we just know that his IG account is totally worth following. He honestly has appreciated the experience of being part of 13 Reasons Why, which we know is true based on this post. He wrote, “For anyone watching if you are struggling just know you are not alone and life is SO precious.” We have to be fans of anyone who is going to say something like that, especially publicly. We think that since Brandon is clearly super awesome, he should have been given a bigger role on the show. It would be like double the awesome. We totally think that he would have agreed that he would have enjoyed being in more scenes, especially in the present day. Oh Jeff Atkins. Why did you have to go so early?!
7. He Might Have Told The Teachers
Would Jeff have told the teachers what was going on if he caught wind of the fact that these tapes exist? We think that this is definitely a possibility. And we have to say that while it might make him sound like a tattletale, it might have been a good idea. We do have to admit that the teenagers are having a really tough time dealing with the tapes… and part of the reason seems to be that they are keeping everything a secret. They are talking amongst themselves in the hallways and in secret places at school, but that’s not really helping them because they’re terrified that people are going to find out about the tapes. We totally think that Jeff could find a trusted adult and talk to them about what’s going on and how everyone should proceed. He would totally be the kind of guy to make sure that everyone could handle what was happening.
6. Clay And Jeff Could Have Gotten Even Closer
Think about what things would be like if Jeff hadn’t died. This would have totally changed Clay’s life for the better. Since Clay and Jeff were becoming friends (or at least were friendly), it’s safe to say that they might have gotten even closer. And we think that would have been a really, really good thing for both of them. It would have been good for Jeff to hang out with someone who wasn’t a jock and wasn’t part of that whole crowd since that crowd can clearly be pretty horrible and toxic. And, of course, it would have been good for Clay to have a good friend since he can be a bit of a loner. We would have enjoyed seeing these two become closer and bond a bit more. Just think about all the adorable bromance scenes. Oh man. Now we’re really, really sad that we’re not going to be able to see those scenes.
5. Clay Doesn’t Need To Miss Two Friends
This is really what it comes down to: at the end of the day, Clay is dealing with the death of two of his friends, and that’s really difficult. On the one hand, he’s mourning Hannah and trying to figure out his own role in her death, and on the other hand, he’s remembering all the nice moments that he spent with Jeff and wondering why his friend had to die. Clay really, really doesn’t need to miss two friends. He shouldn’t have to deal with that. Life is hard enough, high school is hard enough, and oh man, he’s definitely been put through the ringer. If Jeff hadn’t died, we think that Clay’s journey cycling through Hannah’s death and his own feelings would be much different. Not easier. Because it would be impossible for that to be easier. Just different. And that’s something that’s pretty interesting to think about.
4. He Could Have Been In Season 2
Sure, since Jeff technically was only in flashbacks in the first season of the Netflix show, he could possibly be in flashbacks if there is a season two (which we are really hoping that there will be). But if Jeff hadn’t died, then he could have been in the second season, and that’s something that is hard for us to let go of. We would absolutely love to see him if they do decide to make more episodes. We could see him becoming more comfortable with the academic side of school, we could continue to see him school Clay in everything girl related, and maybe he would even move away from the whole jock lifestyle. After all, the world of this high school post-Hannah Baker is much different than it was before. It’s possible that he would change a lot and wouldn’t be interested in being on a sports team any longer.
3. He Would Have Been The Voice Of Reason
Since Jeff is such a legit, good guy, we think that he deserved to live and that he would be the awesome voice of reason on the show (well, in the present day, not just in the flashbacks that he appears in). He could get everyone to calm down and stop freaking out and approach their new reality in a better way. He might even have ensured that there was no fighting between all of Hannah’s classmates. He could have helped every person who was on the tapes and would be able to see things logically and realistically. He wouldn’t be clouded by emotions since he wasn’t really involved with Hannah and it seems like he didn’t even know her (except for the fact that he knew that Clay had a thing for her and he encouraged them to date). It’s safe to say that the high school world would look much different if Jeff was still there.
2. He Wouldn’t Have Been On The Tapes
This is a really important thing, right? Sure, we can technically say that Jeff is on the tapes because he’s part of Sheri’s tape, but that’s really not the same thing. Since Jeff is such a good guy and didn’t deal with Hannah in any way (either positive or negative), he wouldn’t be on the tapes. He just wouldn’t. We think that proves that he deserved more because it’s refreshing that there is at least one person at this high school who wasn’t a part of this dark and difficult narrative. It would make us feel better about humanity, at least. Let’s face it: even though we may like some of the characters on this show, we have to admit that they didn’t treat Hannah in the best way and that we hate some of the choices they have made and things that they have done. We can’t say that about Jeff. Since he wouldn’t have been on his own tape, he would have been able to talk to everyone about what was going on, and people would trust him since they would know that he just wanted to be useful and helpful.
1. He Could Help Clay With The Tapes
In some ways, Clay has Tony to talk to and that’s a really beautiful friendship. But at the same time, we think that if Jeff was still alive in the present day, Clay would talk to him about the tapes. He would probably confide in him since he felt like Jeff was there for him and was helping him with his own problems (even though, of course, girl problems definitely pale in comparison to what Clay is dealing with now). It would be super interesting to see what Jeff would say to Clay. Would he have convinced him to listen to the tapes faster? Would he have said that it’s definitely not Clay’s fault, even though he’s on his own tape? Would he have helped him come to terms with Hannah’s death and help him see everything in a totally new light? We’ll never know. While we seriously enjoyed watching 13 Reasons Why and are big fans, we can’t help thinking about Jeff, and we can’t help missing him. Yup, this lovely character definitely deserved more.