Why You Like “You,” by E.A. Laslo
Updated: Apr 21
What are you doing here? You have better things to be doing than perusing an article, my article. You could be folding laundry. Studying for that exam. Going Uptown. Binging Netflix. No, you already binge Netflix. I can tell by the way your soft eyes glide across the screen, by the way you hunch so intently, that you — you, my dear reader — take time to enjoy the simpler things in life, time for, well, you.
You're probably familiar with Netflix's You. The FOMO is real. For a lot of couch surfers, it's an obsession (until the next hit series comes along). I mean, don't get me wrong. Fans love it for a reason: it's a popular thriller series three seasons strong thanks to Joe Goldberg's serial "romantic gestures."
Joe Goldberg. (Google “Penn Badgley” to find out who he really is). Before you meet him, you hear his voice. He's not just the manager of some brick-and-mortar bookstore in New York. He's a creep. A stalker. A predator. And you know that. You know better. But you can't look away. You listen to him. You root for him. You find him irresistible.
Come on. You wouldn't sympathize with an abuser. You wouldn't romanticize a murderer. Would you? That's not like you. You know that. (I know that.)
What is it you see in him? You don't really like this guy, do you? Relate to him?
No. You're not like him. And you don't "like" him. You're being manipulated. His handsome looks. His seductive voice. His deadpan demeanor. Because that's what he does. He manipulates people. He stalks people. He kills people.
Maybe I was wrong about you. Maybe you've never even watched the series. Maybe the name "Joe Goldberg" is just that: a name.
But I can tell by the way you linger on the page, the way you scroll, that you want something, someone, to pull your attention away. No, you want someone to give your attention to. You want more. You need more.
You're obsessed with Joe Goldberg.
But why? Is it because fictional men appeal to the female gaze? Because he can give you what no one else can? Maybe, or maybe it's because toxic masculinity has poisoned our expectations for fictional men. (Trite take, I know.)
Face it: Chivalry is dead. No one reads anymore. No one believes in love anymore.
Except him. Mysterious. Dangerous. Salacious. The embodiment of "if looks could kill." Calm, but not harmless. Romantic, but would kill for you. Psychotic, but…
The harsh reality: Joe is the narrator of his story. His truth becomes the truth. To him, he isn't crazy. Just crazy in love. He’s compulsive, dead set on "fixing" his love interests like one of his old books.
But maybe that's why you like him. Maybe you think you can fix him.
You’re dead wrong.
In Season 3, Joe Goldberg, no stranger to glass prisons, is trapped in a marriage with Love Quinn. Oh, and their baby is the only thing keeping them together. Spoiler: They don't live happily ever after. Bad habits die hard (and so do the neighbors.)
So that’s it. Maybe I've convinced you to binge the Netflix series. Maybe you've already moved on to a new obsession. For me, this show isn't like other shows. This series is special. So, until something better comes along, I'll be watching You.