You seemed like a good late-night choice while I was scrolling through Netflix over winter break. The show’s cover features two popular stars, Penn Badgley and Shay Mitchell, whose presence in popular teen drama shows gave me the impression that the show would be nothing more than trashy fun. I was admittedly mistaken after watching the first couple of episodes. With sharp, clever writing, the Lifetime original transcends the cheap drama label, becoming a genuinely terrifying modern-day horror story. You shows how easy it is to become a stalker in today’s social media era, where someone’s address and personal information is nothing more than a Google search away.
You takes the classic anti-hero tale to a disturbing level. Joe Goldberg (played by Badgley) is a charming, almost endearing bookstore manager whose obsession with Beck (played by Once Upon a Time actress Elizabeth Lail) consistently escalates to horrifying levels. Goldberg meets her at a bookstore and is instantly smitten, going so far as to track down her address, friends, family, and workplace with a simple search engine search. You is eerily realistic. Beck seems like someone we all know (or are); she is addicted to social media, has all her accounts on public, and takes snapshots of her daily life for her followers. The show points out the dangers of social media’s accessibility. Modern shows have recently been featuring a bevy of technology, but You seems like one that is more relatable to this generation than anything I’ve seen before.
You‘s writing is remarkable in both its accuracy and its multi-dimensional characters. The show’s complex characterization of Joe makes him likable, even after he descends into full-blown psychopathy. By the end of the show, I ended up liking Joe a lot more than Beck. Joe is able to jump through the fine line between insane and dedicated with charisma. He is portrayed as a “nice guy” and in public, he certainly acts like one. The audience is sure to feel completely terrified by Joe’s actions while also rooting for him against those he labels the bad guys.
You is relatable, scary, and engaging. I highly recommend the show to anyone who enjoys the thriller genre, as its brilliant writing protects it from falling into the trite banality of those that came before.
COVER PHOTO: NBC News