If you haven’t already fallen victim to binge-watching the 10-part Netflix series You, you’ve definitely heard people talking about it. And by talking about it, we mean people coyly admitting they have a twisted crush on main character/part-time psychopath stalker, Joe.
You follows the story of student Guinevere (nicknamed Beck), who meets Joe in the New York bookstore he works in – all sounds pretty normal, right?
Immediately after meeting Beck, Joe becomes obsessed with her and frequently follows her every move, follows her home and steals the laptops and phones of Beck and her friends to go on social media to find out every detail of her life. If this hasn’t already triggered alarm bells in your mind, there’s more.
Joe is willing to overcome any obstacle standing between him and how he imagines his life with Beck, and spoiler alert: there’s a whole lot of murder, kidnap and definitely not a lot of relationship goals. So he did save Beck from getting hit by a train, but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he did smash a rock over her best friend Peach’s head because he was worried she fancied her. Sounds likely. And what’s more, the show convinces us to hate the bratty socialite played by Pretty Little Liars star Shay Mitchell for trying to protect Beck from her new secret stalker.
It concludes with Joe killing Beck as she tries to escape his clutches, but the bookseller is soon left stunned as another ex-girlfriend, who he thought he had killed off, Candace, shows up.
But why is this *supposedly* ok?
Because Joe is an attractive, intelligent 20-something male who occasionally holds the car door open for the girl who’s head he’s spent the last few months getting inside of. Like we didn’t already learn our lesson from Dan Humphrey- ladies, we really gotta raise our expectations here.
Since the show aired, it’s taken social media by storm with many girls (as young as 15) begging Penn Badgley, who plays Joe, to “kidnap them” and expressing their love for a toxic, abusive character, that outside of his attractive privilege in the real world, would probably be asking for an internet bashing and a lengthy prison sentence.
Penn himself has spoken out about the borderline-creepy obsessions with his on-screen-persona, jokingly replying to tweets acknowledging his characters problematic traits:
Yes, You is a good show (and we already can’t wait for the next season, yes, Joe is high-key-hot-as-hell, but as a society, we need to draw a line between TV and abuse culture.