'You,' A Review of the Creepy and Cute
The story of the new Netflix series You starts off as a typical "boy meets girl" story. A girl enters a bookstore, a boy watches her from across the room. Notices the clothes she's wearing and presumes things about her, things that he would like in a partner. At first it may seem creepy but in this day and age who isn't a little creepy? The story goes on to show the main character Joe as charismatic, attractive and sweet. What becomes problematic to me as a viewer is learning more and more about Joe as the story progresses and little to nothing about his conquest and current target Beck. Beck seemingly gets her own episode where we learn a little more, but is it enough?
Many viewers of the show have watched the first few episodes and stated that the main character Joe is not a psycho or a serial killer, he is in fact in love. And if this is truly what people think when watching the show, I fear for the generation of dating soon to come. To think this is acceptable behavior is to think that true chivalry and kindness have died a painful death. We, as the viewer, are inside Joe's head, he is narrating everything that's happening and walking us through a step-by-step handbook of how to be a creepy stalker. As a horror fan I enjoyed the idea of a possible American Psycho inspired killer. But as the show went on, the writers seem to almost be romanticizing the thought of someone following you, knowing your every move and ultimately being obsessed with you.
Cinematically, the show was done very well. The camera angles are beautiful, there is natural light coming through almost every window. The show is very visually pleasing both in the scenery and the characters themselves. However, something I did not like in the show was Joe pointing out something controlling and obsessive to Beck and her becoming understandably angry with him. They fight, she leaves. Then the very next day she comes back apologizing to him and they make up. The first time this happened it was cute. You thought “Oh they're like a real couple! That's sweet, that's nice.” But after the third or fourth time of them getting in an argument over the same obsessive thing, then her crawling back the next day seems repetitive and quite annoying.
There is, however, a saving grace character in the show. I am, of course, speaking of Peach Salinger. Peach Salinger is introduced as one of Beck's best friends and seemingly just a rich brat. She is heiress and descendant of JD Salinger who famously wrote the novel A Catcher in the Rye. A Catcher in the Rye is known for pointing out phonies and hating fake people where Peach is exactly that: phony, fake and self-centered. But in a wonderfully ironic way, all of the characters in some way or another in this show are fake and phony. Peach has a few twists and turns of her own that even I didn't see coming, and these turns added a brand new element to the story line.
I don't know how season two will go but with how the last episode of You ended I have high hopes. We, as the viewers, are left with a cliffhanger in the form of Joe’s ex-lover who we assumed was dead this whole time. What a twist! But always remember that old cliche “you can’t judge a book by its cover.”And let's take one thing away from a show like this, dreamy boys can be creepy boys too.