“You” is a psychological thriller streaming on Netflix about a bookstore owner who falls in love with a woman and obsessively starts stalking her. Much of the story takes place from the stalker’s sick point of view, but regardless his character (Joe Goldberg) is so likable that viewers of the show have claimed that he’s their “dream guy.” This has led to a lot of really interesting discussion online as to why that could possible be considering his psychotic mindset and behavior.
For me, one of the draws to this story is the inner monologue of the main character. To me, the inner mind and it’s emotions are much more fascinating than displays of action.
It also doesn’t hurt that the two main actors are really hot.
While I can acknowledge that loads of people are objectively attractive I don’t often see people or characters that I’d happily make out with in real life. The two main characters are insanely attractive and I feel emotionally connected to the story so it was a pleasant viewing experience for me. I think this may be a reflection of the fact that I may possibly be demisexual and bisexual. Or I may just be a straight person trying to figure myself out as I’m recovering from a sex-shaming religion.
Either way, I found them both really hot. Just look at them…
Beyond that, the setup of the show makes it feel as if it’s a beginning to a romantic comedy which gives it an even darker undertone. Whether it was the producer’s intent or not the show acts as a sort of satire of the romantic comedy genre. As I’ve previously stated in my post “You’ve Got Mail“, I typically cannot stand romantic comedies. Though, a part of my brain has fed into the lie that there must be a romantic story created by the cosmos for me. Yet, over the past couple years I’ve determined that despite the romanticism of my thought (I am a extremely romantic person) there is no basis for that in reality. The fact that “You” gives validation to my skepticism and hatred of this idea brings me the perverse pleasure of seeing the dark consequences of this belief played out.
How many romantic comedies are based on the trope that one character likes the other and through persistence ends up winning the other to fall in love with them? Most of them!
Silly girl (or boy) ! If only you’d stop falling for everyone who is wrong with you and see that I am the person for you.
Sing it, Taylor!
If you really think about it, the self-centeredness and arrogance of this belief is alarming, because to act on this belief is a violation of the other person.
First of all, no one belongs to you. And you to no one. NO. ONE. You can choose fidelity to another person and vice versa if you both agree, sure, but you both have free agency.
Secondly, despite how insightful you are about psychology you still do not know what’s in another person’s head. Part of the reason I find the “You” series so fascinating is my ability to relate to how Joe (the stalker) is adept at observing other people’s behavior and at times has more insight about why a person may be acting the way that they do than the other person knows themselves.
This quality as an astute observer may make a person a good psychologist, but not a god. No matter how much you think you know what’s in someone’s mind, you really don’t. I myself, have gotten this very wrong so many times, despite the fact that I think I’m pretty smart about such things. It’s very humbling to watch a lovable but psychotic stalker think he knows what is better for his love interest than she knows for herself. It’s so fucking creepy.
As someone who has been lightly stalked (I say “lightly” because it didn’t involve actual criminality but was never-the-less uncomfortable and creepy) you want to scream to the obsess-er You aren’t ACTUALLY in love with me! Love doesn’t trap a person. (Well, unless it’s temporary as a consensual kinky sex thing, of course.)
The obsess-ee in this series is the female character, Beck. She is like most people is a walking contradiction. Her desires in life are sometimes antithetical to her goals and it totally makes sense that as a 20-something year old she’s figuring it all out. But Joe the Stalker jumps in like a psychotic knight-in-shining-armor and scarily the show so warps you into it’s narrative that often you identify with his argument that his actions are for her own good until they are…not.
In a way, this series kind of reminds me of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels (never saw the movies), though Beck has way more personality, identity and dignity than Anastasia ever did. It is a wonder that women keep fetishizing a confident and creepy man developing a psychotic obsessive love interest in a woman and giving her everything that she didn’t know she even needed.
Upon studying this theme extensively due to my interest in female sexuality and social psychology my only explanation is that this fetishism is taking place because our society has been so male-driven that women have throughout history felt 1. unheard and 2. wanted to be sexually free. We are currently in a time when despite our cultural progress we females still are, to this day, looking at ourselves from the male lens and have done so for so long that we think we want what the men want for us, but at the same time aren’t so sure anymore. Are we allowed to actually want sex now? It’s not just a male thing? It’s this tension that causes this eroticsm.
Plus, who doesn’t want to be wanted? Joe the Stalker wants Beck for more than just her beauty. Women who are used to male attention for their externally pleasing features long for men to be attracted to their humor, their bravery and their intelligence. Their craving is to be so irresistible to a man that the man would do anything for them. This makes me also think, who doesn’t want to be worshiped? There is such a lack that many women would heartedly take a man like Joe the Stalker. Of course, if Joe the Stalker wasn’t so damn handsome and charming that’d be a whole other story…
As a side note: I think I may have published this version and republished a draft with only a couple of lines. I’m so grateful for the “history” button because I thought I lost the entire post. Phew!