Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Netflix’s “You” romanticizes the dangers of obsession

Korri Palmer

Contributing Writer

In honor of Valentine’s Day (a.k.a. the capitalist holiday that equates money with love), I figured I’d review Netflix’s new romantic thriller, “You.” At first glance, I saw the poster and was like, “Hey that’s Daniel Humphrey from “Gossip Girl” and I automatically assumed the show would be some corny rom-com. Since I am a sucker for corny rom-coms, I made my popcorn, got my tea and clicked to start a night full of binge watching. Little did I know, I was in for a big surprise.

The show opens with a creepy voiceover of the main character, Joe, who is seeing his love interest, Beck, for the first time. They have a cute exchange and go on their way following the typical script of assuming that their paths will probably never cross again. I was shocked to see that Joe had a plan of his own for Beck, and it definitely was far from romantic.

I know in the past there have been movies where a character is obsessed with the other, but the addition of Joe’s voiceover playing throughout the series allows the viewer to know every single thought of his. These thoughts range from simply complimenting Beck to highly concerning comments about how he is a necessary element in her life. Simply off of one interaction, Joe was completely obsessed with Beck and proceeded to stalk her social media. Once he stole her phone, he proceeded to stalk her in real life.

Being a part of the generation that grew up on social media, it isn’t unusual to go through someone’s profile when you first meet them; it allows you to see a small part of their world. But “You” does a good job of highlighting that social media can be used to obtain vital information about a person that could later put them in harm’s way. For Beck and anyone in her inner circle, this quickly became the case. Joe discovered Beck’s boyfriend and swiftly kidnapped him and later killed him. While Beck’s boyfriend was a pretty horrible person and a cheater, I’m pretty sure murder isn’t the romantic gesture she was expecting from Joe. This obsession only becomes worse when he later kills Beck’s best friend, Peach, who was later revealed to also be obsessed with Beck.

The crazy part is that through this entire season, obsession is romanticized in a way that makes my skin crawl. The way that Joe seamlessly makes his world revolve around Beck at the drop of a hat makes his actions seem romantic from Beck’s point of view. The audience knows that Joe is probably suffering from a number of mental illnesses and childhood traumas. You can’t help but feel sympathy for Joe because he is a lonely guy in need of some love. But it gets weird when he kills Beck’s best friend because she becomes competition for Beck’s mediocre love.

The constant switch between obsessive and romantic behavior blurs too many lines for me. Overall, Netflix once again joins the ranks of TV and movies that find a way to make obsession cute when, in reality, it’s quite deadly. 

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