Netflix’s New Series You Has the Scariest Nice Guy Character

Warning: Spoilers Ahead
 
Penn Badgley--previously known as the beloved Dan Humphrey, the outsider of Gossip Girl’s elite upper east side--takes on a new role in the Lifetime series, You. Badgley plays a different kind of outsider in the city of New York as Joe Goldberg. Joe's sick, twisted thoughts narrate the journey of a book clerk living a quiet, old fashioned life. The cliches are endless. He refuses to exist on social media for the toxic, mind numbing self centeredness he believes it represents. He adamantly convinces the audience that he’s not like anyone else. He’s old fashioned, genuine, and knowledgeable. As customers stroll his bookstore, he silently picks apart each customer’s choice of book. Within seconds, he knows who people are.
 
The series revolves around his deep obsession of Beck, the blonde graduate student who walks into his bookstore and buys a copy of a book he very much approved of. And suddenly, from the simple interaction and a lengthy and very creepy observation, he decides that Beck is his. Beck is not like the rest of the people in the city. She isn’t like her pretentious, ingenuine friends. He decides Beck needs his help. He decides with a few more artificially planned meetings, they naturally will fall in love. He is neurotic in every aspect of his life. Books are kept at certain temperatures, the humidity is controlled. He follows Beck’s every single move with the help of her hacked cloud account. He decides what people are toxic and cuts them off for her (hence, Benji no more).
And in every other moment, you want to roll your eyes at the pretentious, self-centeredness of Joe’s narration. You laugh at the absurdity of how he presents Beck’s friends. Partying, having brunch, gossiping. Are they really the worst kind of people? Or just privileged girls having fun? Personally my favorite line- when Joe says, “Frankly, Beck, I think I’m the best feminist you know”.
Joe’s narration is so irritating in it’s judgement and presumptuousness that I was reeled into the
series to scoff at him. Just as you think Joe’s crazy antics end at inappropriate, stalker behavior- he becomes a killer too. And even in those deeply horrific moments, Joe’s narration still tries to
convince the audience that he is a good kind of villain. He’s willing to do the absolute most for the people he loves. He’s a monster with a heart, which he’s so good at tricking people to believe. He’s very good at convincing everyone around him he’s a good guy which is the scariest part of the series.