even penn badgley thinks you’re weird for romanticising his character on netflix’s ‘you’
PSA: Joe Goldberg is not a good guy!
Perhaps the only thing more unnerving and creepy than You, the Lifetime series acquired by Netflix earlier this month, is the online reaction to the show, which has increasingly supported, romanticised and defended its main character, Joe Goldberg.
You, which takes the viewer inside Joe’s mind -- while making it clear he’s an immoral, unreliable narrator -- follows the millennial Patrick Bateman as he stalks, abuses and destroys the object of his obsession and affection, Guinevere Beck.
Throughout the series’ 10 episodes he isolates Beck, displaying all the signifiers of emotional abuse and blackmail in order to totally control her, as well as occasionally masturbating in the bushes outside her house. So naturally, the internet has focused most attention on how awful, unlikeable and unworthy Beck’s character is, and how hot and misunderstood Joe is. It’s a real trip into the dark world of internalised misogyny, let me tell ya!
Anywho, now even Penn Badgley, who plays Joe, has waded into the debate over how his character should be received, reminding viewers that he is, truly, awful. Responding to some serious thirsty fans on Twitter, Penn wrote succinctly: “He is a murderer”. When another fan asked if the actor would kidnap him, he quickly shut it down with a “No thx”.
We stan an emotionally mature legend who will not engage with damaging conflations of romance and emotional abuse in order to hype up his TV show.
Taking it even further, Penn retweeted one fan who wrote “the amount of people romanticising Penn Badgley’s character in You scares me”, adding, “Ditto. It will be all the motivation I need for season 2”.
We can’t wait.