A Handsome Devil: Romanticizing “You”

You article

Article by: Lindsay Grover, Columnist

Photo Courtesy of Canva

Originally a Lifetime series, “You,” now produced by Netflix, just released its second season this past December and has certainly taken the internet by storm. “You” follows the actions of Joe Goldberg, played by Penn Badgley (“Easy-A” and “Gossip Girl”) a man getting over an ill-fated romance in both seasons as he finds new prey (or “love”?). The first season takes place in New York, while the second season takes place in Los Angeles with many new twists and turns. The show has a great dynamic to it, offering dramatic, thrilling, and even romantic themes. But in a modern world with the ever-looming fear of human trafficking and an unfortunate myriad of sexual assaults, why would a show about a stalker be so appealing?

The popularity of this show is just like the popularity behind serial killer documentaries or true crime podcasts. We all want to know why an evil person committed their crime and what makes them tick. With so many thrilling scenes, this show is surely binge-worthy. I couldn’t stop watching to find out what happened next.

On social media, however, the main character is being heavily romanticized, even though he commits heinous acts throughout both seasons. This might be due to the portrayal of his character, who has many facets from sensitive to manipulative. Ben Lowry from CNN Entertainment states that “one of the particularly clever— if somewhat queasy— aspects of “You” is that it forces the audience to see things through Joe, despite what a damaged and dangerous loon he is.” For me personally, I can understand why people find Joe to be a romantic character even though he has done terrible things. I feel that this is evidence of human nature, we try to see the good under evil. I even find myself sympathizing for him at times. But in the end, I can’t romanticize him as I can’t condone the fictional destruction he’s caused to so many people.

Ultimately, I highly recommend this show to anyone who is a true crime, serial killer, or murder mystery fan. This show has kept me hooked through both seasons and I can’t wait to see what Joe Goldberg has in store for his fans next. But with that being said, “You” holds a lesson to be learned for all viewers. Lowry states “buried within the show… is a warning about social interactions in the modern age, and the way people can be manipulated online thanks to the volume of information that’s available”. So be careful out there and have fun watching “You”.

Categories: Culture, Opinion, Uncategorized

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