Denise DuBois: “You” is creepy, but we love the show

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“You” has been the topic of many discussions on the web. Both social media and entertainment sites are forums for women to talk about how much they love the Lifetime TV original series star Joe Goldberg, how they’re ready to get off of social media and, oddly enough, wrestling with their feelings for Joe and Guinevere Beck as a couple.

If you’ve not yet watched it, or simply aren’t interested in watching it, here’s a quick synopsis (be warned of spoilers): Joe meets Beck in a bookstore, Joe “gets to know” Beck by spying on her and stalking her social media, Joe kills a few people who don’t have Beck’s best interest at heart, Beck cheats on Joe, Joe holds Beck hostage in an effort to get her to understand everything he did was for her, Joe posts to social media as Beck so no one is the wiser, finally Joe kills Beck because she tries to escape. And by the way, this isn’t the first woman he’s done this to.

As a side note, the show originally appeared in Fall 2018 on Lifetime with no fanfare. It wasn’t until it began streaming on Netflix in December that it became a hit, The New York Times reported earlier this week. Netflix will shoot the second season.

The New York Times explains it this way: “Mr. (Greg) Berlanti began developing ‘You’ almost four years ago with the producer Sera Gamble. Showtime originally planned to make the series, which is based on a novel by Caroline Kepnes, before passing on it. It then went to Lifetime, which over the summer committed to making a second season. ‘You’ centers on a Manhattan bookstore manager named Joe (Mr. Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a young woman who stops by his shop. He plumbs her social media channels. He follows her home. He begins reading her text messages. The occasionally hilarious series, which examines internet privacy and youth culture, was warmly received by critics when it debuted in September. The New Yorker called it ‘a scary, delicious snack of a show.’”

That’s enough about the show’s background. It’s important, but it’s time to get back to the point I wanted to make. Joe, played by Penn Badgley, is seen as a heartthrob! Even the actor realized this is an issue. Badgley gave an interview to the Today Show where he revealed that he hears fans describe themselves as addicted to Joe. He responded, “It’s interesting the way people are talking about it, because I don’t find it addictive, because I have to be him. He’s a pretty reprehensible guy. You start to discover his true motives pretty early on. He’s a guy who’s capable of stalking, he’s a guy who’s capable of murder, he’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation. . . He’s just completely obsessive and compulsive and believing that he’s operating by the logic of a true romantic. What he does is he takes the tropes that we’ve seen in romantic comedies … and it totally subverts them by actually following them closely, and he comes to this really kind of terrifying conclusion.”

It’s so crazy that we can see that kind of character in a romantic light. Can we just blame TV producers for putting us in a situation to root for the bad guy and the sweet girl to end up together? I hope this isn’t anything like real life.

I am, however, thrilled to see that the younger generation of women in my news feeds are super conscious of what they’re posting on social media and thinking about keeping themselves safer online. Maybe this show will do good by making us aware of red flags in relationships, too.

And by the way, if you want spoilers to season two, the show is actually based on a book. Enjoy!

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