Netflix Presents Genre-Hopping “You”

Robin Blassberg   A&E Editor

The Lifetime series “You” premiered internationally on Netflix on Dec. 26, 2018 bringing Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail to the screen. Badgley and Lail serve opposite each other as Joe Goldberg and Guinevere Beck, who simply goes by Beck. The show is an adaptation of a book of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, which puts a new twist on stories about stalkers. Time and time again, the point of view is the victim, but in “You,” viewers follow the stalker, Badgley’s, perspective.

Joe Goldberg is a young, attractive book store manager who, the show implies, has been connected to this book store for most of his life. He encounters Beck and is immediately attached. He marvels at her every move, analyzing her steps and the books she examines. This seems to be Joe’s direction throughout the show, as he watches her from afar most of his day.

“You” is also unique in the way that it seems to follow many different genres. When Joe and Beck’s relationship is going well, viewers see a fun and flirty romantic comedy, filled with Beck’s sometimes outlandish, overprotective friends’ side comments on Joe and whether they trust him. On the flip side, the show switches into a drama when viewers are met with the ongoing confrontation between his next door neighbor’s family: a young nurse named Claudia, and her son, Paco, who are constantly battling with Claudia’s boyfriend, Ron, an alcoholic parole officer. This switch up of genres continually keeps the show interesting, since we see Joe and Beck kissing in one scene, and Joe attempting to keep Paco positive while his mother gets beaten.

While watching “You,” viewers will likely be asking themselves the same question over and over: How can Beck be such a horrible judge of character? Who in real life is this trusting? Beck lives in a ground floor apartment in New York City without a single curtain on her windows. However, Beck’s seemingly unreal trustworthiness is exactly why this show works. Had Beck acted like a normal person and seen into the double life Joe leads as a bookstore manager/narcissist/poster boy for toxic masculinity on the surface and a stalker/serial killer on the inside, the show would be over in the first episode. Thus, the show becomes extremely gripping to watch.

In addition to it’s unnerving story line, “You” serves as a somewhat accurate portrayal of millennials, making it relatable for its audience. Several television shows today often find themselves parodying the way millennials behave, whether it be for entertainment or satire, the young adults are always the most extreme versions of themselves. The show’s oftentimes funny portrayal of millennial behavior is easily seen in the way Beck’s friends interact with each other, and simply, their story line. Beck’s ex-boyfriend, Benji, is a prime example of this. He is a womanizing drug user, who is the founder of an artisan soda company. Meanwhile, her best friends are Instagram influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, who, with one controversial video posted anonymously, can get their reputations tarnished and be “canceled” as a result. Milennials can relate to this idea of everything being looked at with a magnifying glass. A concept that can also can be seen as a symbol for the show itself. Everything Beck does is watched closely by Joe, just like the social media of the New York socialites Beck surrounds herself with.

If you are looking for a show that will have you laughing, cringing, locking your doors a second time and buying darker curtains, “You” is the show for you. According to buzz.ie, the second season’s expected release date is Autumn 2019.

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