“You” Plot Unsettles Viewers

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After returning to campus from winter break and feeling the need to binge watch a new show, I decided on “You.” I had seen memes and tweets floating around the internet over a mysterious looking show, so I decided to see what the fuss was about and began about three long nights of not sleeping at all.

I was curious what had everyone wondering how they could possibly feel empathetic towards a sociopathic murderer/stalker from a TV show and rationale his actions and thoughts. What was even more frightening, is that after finishing the show, I kind of got it.

The show is based on the exhilarating novel written by Caroline Kepnes. The show reveals another side of the classic boy meets girl love story relationship. It does this by exposing another point of view that many individuals don’t really think of, which is narrated by the stalker himself.

I recognized Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl in the trailer for the show as he plays the main actor (the stalker), Joe Goldberg. Joe falls in love with a girl, Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) who walks into a bookstore that he works at. At first, I thought it was a cute concept for a new show, I love bookstores! However, as the trailer continued rolling, I learned that this was not a typical love story and that now, there is no way I will ever give my name to an employee at a bookstore. Ever.

After running into a cute boy and having like a two-second interaction with them, I might find myself thinking about what it would have been like to exchange numbers or perhaps just talk a bit more. Though, there is no way that I would have ever pictured that cute boy stalking me and analyzing my every move- or at least not until I watched this show.

Badgley does an excellent job at playing his character as he makes viewers guilty for their feelings towards Joe. Do we feel empathetic for him? Or are we disgusted by his actions and thoughts? He is a man on a mission, and he will let no one in the way of his future with Beck.

When viewing Beck’s social media profiles, he recounts how her social media settings are set to public and states, “she wants to be seen.” Personally, this made me throw up in my mouth, but also, it quite literally terrified me. I know plenty of people who are careless with their social media and who may have posted their address or even more private information before and I wonder if they know that everyone, including people like Joe, have access to this.

I read many comments stating that the show made viewers uncomfortable with finding love in this day in age because cyber-stalking is a real problem that our generation is now faced with. It was easy for Joe to rationalize his stalking and violent behavior with his love for Beck and his willingness to do anything to protect her. It is terrifying to think that just about anyone could be exhibiting this behavior.

There are many different opinions on the show, but no one can deny that the show took a twist and shocked many individuals with its ability to show viewers what the mind of a stalker might look like. However, it made many individuals reevaluate their behavior on social media.

Overall the show made me question the way we conduct our lives on social media and hold ourselves. I started cyber-stalking myself to see what a potential stalker could have to work with. Everyone has heard the term “whatever you post on the internet is there forever, it can’t be deleted,” but how many of us actually take this into consideration? Have you ever googled yourself? Are your social media accounts on private? How much information can someone get about you off of these accounts, and most importantly, are you okay with that information being out in the open for everyone to see?

Myrea Mora, Staff Writer