A review of the highly-anticipated Netflix show

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Erin Green, Newspaper Editor-in-Chief

You, a show that originally appeared on Lifetime before it was picked up by Netflix, has climbed its way to popularity and found itself at the center of controversial conversations ever since it was released on the streaming website December 26th. The story follows Joe, a charismatic bookstore clerk who finds himself unknowingly obsessed with an aspiring writer called Beck. His questionable character has left a few viewers sickened and other viewers smitten, and for some; both.

Before I started the show, my expectations were low. I had seen the same predictable “stalker” storyline play out in many shows before, and each time was left a little bit more disappointed. With You, however, every single episode ended with me desperately clicking on the next one to find answers I never thought I would feel the need to get. Seeing a typical and somewhat cliche plotline told from an atypical point of view made the events transpiring way more exciting than expected. It’s usually pretty easy for me to guess what’s going to happen next in a show, but oftentimes I found myself completely in the dark while watching You.

The biggest element that makes this show so intriguing is the characters; starting with Guinevere “Beck”, the kindhearted, hopeful, at-times-painfully-clueless pushover who is struggling through college and young adult life. Beck is in a vulnerable place as she attempts to navigate her complicated relationships, insecurities about writing, and complicated taste in men when she meets Joe and quickly falls for his superficial charm. She immediately became my favorite character as I watched her enter into a situation too many girls unfortunately find themselves in these days. Of course, it was frustrating to see her constantly ignore red flag after red flag, but at the end of the day, it was illogical not to root for her.

Next, Peach, who if she wasn’t in a story about a psychotic murderous stalker, would easily be the most perplexing character on the show. She is Beck’s best friend, and although their love for each other is clear, Peach is constantly doing things to sabotage Beck’s success with no clear motive given. I still can’t quite decide whether she was just plain crazy, or a sad, overly concerned friend whose true self was suppressed by her own secrets she was taught to be ashamed of. Her insecure and jealous tactics made her quite unlikeable, but impossible to look away from.

Finally, we have Joe Goldberg, the seemingly normal book nerd who enjoys reading Charles Dickens, fathering his neighbor Paco, and obsessing over impressionable young girls on the lookout for someone to “save” them. As much as I hate to admit it, at times I felt for Joe (I mean, it’s a little hard not to when shown his rough upbringing and desire to help people in need), but I think that’s what makes the show so important. Each time I felt myself thinking, “Maybe he’s not so bad,” I was quickly reminded why, in-fact, he is so bad. Just like Beck, my judgement was clouded by empathy and compassion for someone who is too far gone to salvage, and You reminds us why that is so dangerous.

All in all, You was worth the watch. Oftentimes, these types of shows depict these stalker situations as almost easy to suspect and maintain, but this captivating thriller–despite being slightly far-fetched–shows the real detrimental events that these sick-minded people can cause. If you enjoy maddening characters and a plot that keeps you guessing, give the first episode a go.