“You” on Netflix has been generating some buzz, especially around the office; so I sat down this weekend to watch. All I knew about it was that it stars someone from Gossip Girl (which I’ve never watched) and that the actor (Penn Badgley) vehemently shuts those down attempting to romanticize his character. You see, Penn plays Joe on You, who would seem perfectly charming, knowledgable, and the ideal boyfriend if it weren’t for the fact that he was a complete stalker. Not just a stalker, but so chaotic, so delusional that he believes hacking into your phone, killing your best friends, and following you around to your family’s retreat means that he is just simply looking out for you.
The number one thing that I can compare You to is 50 Shades of Grey, but without the harmful rhetoric that that level of stalking is “sweet”. You makes sure to show you, even through the moments that Joe is charming; that this is not healthy nor sane. And the show certainly does tug you in different directions, because Joe takes Beck (the main girl) on lovely dates and he’s so nice and protective of a young boy living in his apartment complex who has a very abusive stepfather and a drug-addicted mother. From an outsider’s perspective, he’s a catch, but between the inner dialogue, the jerking off in the bushes while watching Beck through a window, and did I mention that he kept Beck’s on again/off again boyfriend in a glass cage? Joe is the quintessential “nice guy” who believes that all he is doing is giving Beck the world and that she should see how good and how nice he is to her, not admitting to himself that he has completely swerved the course of their existence within each other’s lives since day one.
One of the confusing things about Joe, though; is at times he doesn’t seem insane. There are things he can admit to himself and he isn’t delusional about everything. He has a job, friends, and at some point, even a healthy relationship that soon sours because it is not to the level of obsessiveness that he feels for Beck. And let’s talk about Beck for a little. I will try to be as spoiler-free as possible due to the show having been out for a short period of time. Everyone in this show is amplified to be the true stereotype of their characters. Beck is a wallflower who is seemingly in no control of her situation; things just “happen to her”. Which, can get a little frustrating at times because there are situations that she puts herself in where it is not necessary to do so. But, then we have to remember that we were all young and figuring ourselves out and Beck even comes to the conclusion at some point that she does not know who she is, which makes her so easily influenced and unfortunately, an easy target for someone like Joe who believes she is in need of saving.
There really is not one person in the show that you can definitively say you like, except for the young boy; who in the end plays his own part in Beck’s demise. Beck’s best friend Peach is the only one who is not a complete empty shell and proves to be quite a match for Joe, but we see a few episodes in that Peach has her own agenda and her own toxic behavior that is attempting to influence Beck. And Beck, who is so easily swayed; is caught in the middle between two people who are so adamant about being the better person for her and you really have to decide who you think is crazier in that instance.
The ten episodes in this show are incredibly easy to breeze through, although; I did feel that the story reached its climax a little too early in the series and probably could have been cut down to about seven or eight episodes. But, I believe that this was done strategically and to show us how many layers there are to the story. What we find out about Joe in the later episodes and especially with the season finale, we’re not done with this story yet. Someone who just was a murmur and a mentioned name here or there will certainly play a bigger part in a second season, which has been confirmed. You not only serves as a terrifying and suspenseful thriller, but a cautionary tale for those who romanticize this kind of dark and unhealthy behavior. While it may seem like an extreme exaggeration, I believe that the series serves its purpose in letting you know that as farfetched as it may seem that this does happen.
You is on Netflix and definitely worth the watch!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.