TV Review: Netflix's 'You' & Why People Are So Obsessed With It

If you aren’t familiar with the TV series You, you definitely will be soon. This Lifetime series, which has moved to Netflix, is one of the most twisted, complicated and disturbing shows I have ever seen… and I love it. Most creepy shows like this can be scary, but are obnoxiously unrealistic. The thing that makes the show so chilling is that every event that occurs could happen in real life. 

A bit of background

To give some background, the show is based on a guy in his mid-20s named Joe, who becomes dangerously obsessed with a young writer named Beck. With his twisted tactics, they fall in love. But, he does the worst things imaginable to get close to her. Aside from killing anyone in his way, he stalks Beck and even goes into her apartment when she isn’t home.

Wait, Joe’s actually a psychopath?

Based on this information, you’d assume the main character would be problematic. The weird thing is that his problems aren’t with his harsh actions. The problem is that he’s actually… likeable. When he’s not doing some horrible act, he seems like such a normal guy. He’s the manager of a bookstore, which gives him a cool boy-next-door, artsy vibe. He helps out the neighbor who’s a little kid living in a broken family, adding to that sweet, giving facade. To strangers, he seems like the nicest guy who could do no harm. Even as someone who knows him well from watching the show, we still like him, and that may be a problem. 

At first I didn’t realize what made it all so interesting. Beck is a fairly normal character. She’s struggling to be successful in New York City and works as a TA in order to pay for her apartment. Her complex mind is what makes her writing interesting, which is what Joe finds so appealing. It all seems fine, right? Maybe even a little bit cute that the bookstore manager and aspiring writer are falling for each other? If that was all, this show would not have nearly as much buzz as it does. 

Are we crazy for liking Joe?

What I, along with many others, really want to understand is why Joe is so well-liked. We’re all guilty of it. So, let’s start from the beginning. At first, we see Joe at work, and that’s it. After he meets Beck briefly, he goes crazy on a social media stalking. Let’s face it, we’ve all done it, so it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Things start to go awry when Joe finds her address and watches her in her apartment. If you’ve seen the show though, we’re all really confused as to why Beck doesn’t have curtains up on those huge windows. C’mon, Beck -- don’t you care about privacy? Maybe it’s because she never expected her soon-to-be boyfriend to actually be her stalker, but that’s a whole other issue. 

As the show progresses, Joe does some horrible things that I won’t specifically say, just so I don’t give too much away. All I can say is, how does this man literallyget away with murder? As watchers, we see everything he does. Then, he goes home to Beck and acts like he’s never hurt a fly… and we believe him. This character is the most manipulative, convincing person I’ve ever witnessed. 

“Joe” speaks out 

There has been a significant amount of social media chatter about the show, specifically about Joe. My Twitter feed has been blowing up about how there’s something weirdly admirable about Joe and how he and Beck are actually great together. When you really think about it, it’s messed up. Joe is able to justify his actions to Beck and to himself, which makes it seem okay to us. The actor, Penn Badgley, also played Dan, the “lonely boy,” in Gossip Girl and people are comparing the two characters. The difference though is that Dan was not even close to being a killer, so it really can’t be justified at all. 

Since the topic of the show has been all the rage, Penn Badgley has taken to Twitter to respond to people’s statements about his character. He has responded to people, trying to shut down their fantasies, saying that Joe is a murderer and that he has lots of problems. He recently told E! News, “I’m really questioning why people like Joe so much.” 

Where’s season two?

As viewers, I think we take the time to get so invested in shows that we think that characters are real. In this case, many people are only looking at his cute bookworm side and not enough at his psycho killer side. This is something that the actor clearly doesn’t understand, and rightfully so. 

Personally, I think You is something new. It taps into what seems like real circumstances. The disturbing thing is just that. Every episode I found myself in awe wondering how this boy could act so nonchalant. 

Netflix has said that a second season will be released. With this next season, I can’t help but wonder if the Joe bandwagon will continue. It’s like doing something you know is wrong, but you just can’t help it. It’s the thrill of it. 

If you haven’t seen You yet, you’re in for a very messed up series. I can’t begin to describe my feelings when watching, but I couldn't look away. I may have given away a few spoilers, but my hope is that it was just enough to reel more people into watching it. 

It’s not everyday that you see an ex-Gossip Girl actor taking the spotlight on a new show. Joe delivers even more than Dan did. I can guarantee it.