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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
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.
Olga is a senior at Clark University studying psychology and marketing. She's got a serious coffee addiction and a passion for writing.
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