What do I think about “You?”


Jeffrey Williams

Illustration depicting Joe, Beck and Candace from Netflix’s “You.”

You feel like four hours fit into an hour run time. You portray the perspective of a monstrous psychopath and glorify his decisions. You show lackluster characters that make moronic decisions and have no redeemable characteristics. You have two characters that, despite the awful people you fictionalize, are cast aside our at the end commit murder. You are complicated. Hello, you.

If it’s not apparent, I didn’t love Netflix’s “You” like most of their viewers, and my friends seem to have enjoyed the show. I am going to try and give my piece on the topic, and present my views. No spoilers in this review, so if you haven’t watched the show, do what you will with my review. My goal is not to convince you that “You” is utter trash and shouldn’t be viewed. I believe that the show does provide insight into a killer stalker, a viewpoint not often portrayed. “You” should be talked about on the topics of abusive relationships and possibly victim-blaming.
“You” follows series protagonist Joe, and his journey through life and his pursuit of love interest Guinevere Beck in the first season of the show. Beck is the “you” of this season. Joe opens up with his inner dialogue, as he provides his worldly insight into his New York neighborhood and job. Joe is obsessed with Beck and vehemently pursues her. He stalks her. He lies and manipulates his way into Beck’s life, and kills whomever he views in the way of their prophetic love.

In my time watching the show at home with my girlfriend, we both had differing opinions on the show. She loved the show but agreed that the characters were awful. Both characteristically and in their writing. The decisions that characters make in the show are very, in a way, crazy, with Joe being the most “sympathetic” at times. The serial killer psycho is the most sympathetic. That says something, while you have a show like AMC’s “Breaking Bad” which portrays a similar villain as the protagonist. However, Walter White is never a sympathetic character. At first, he is, but not long after his cancer diagnosis, White starts killing, lying, creating, and selling drugs in the “name of his family.” His motives are understandable at first. Joe’s motives aren’t.

With all of my negative thoughts, the show does have it’s brilliant moments. There are moments of great suspense and tension. Not to mention the show flaunts some seriously good acting and cinematography, but the writing doesn’t do it any favors. Maybe it’s intentional? Are we supposed to despise most of the characters in the show? While Beck is the victim in all of this, she does some pretty awful things. Without getting into spoilers, we find out that Beck isn’t the perfect girl that Joe has built her up to be in his mind. Perhaps this is the show’s way of making us feel uneasy about blaming Beck for some of the things that happen to her. No one deserves to be stalked or have horrible things happen to them.

This topic could be the conversation piece of the show overall. I had this talk with my girlfriend after discussing this idea with her. I feel bad for Beck. I feel bad for initially blaming her for some of the things that happen in the show. Beck isn’t at fault for the actions and decisions of those around her. I think this show uses Beck to bring up the topic of victim-blaming. If that’s the case, then bravo. In that light, I hope the show continues to shed light on similar issues, but maybe give writing a little more polish.