Oh my gosh he’s so cute, I’d let him kidnap and murder me!
The Netflix show “You” romanticizing psychopaths and making them look like the perfect boyfriend makes me uncomfortable. I feel like it’s a pretty gross and irresponsible message to be sending people.
Scrolling through my Twitter feed, I see girls tweeting about how cute the main character Joe (Penn Badgley) is, while completely overlooking the fact that he’s a literal murderer. It’s not like that fact is a small or glossed-over part of the show, it’s actually the main plot, so why is everybody choosing to ignore it?
Robert Hare, the scientist who invented the Psychopathy Checklist, said about 1 percent of the world, approximately 7.5 billion people, are psychopaths. “You” shows that they can be just about anybody you meet.
The protagonist of the show, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), is just an average girl that happened to collide paths with Joe. She was not portrayed as the sharpest knife in the torture chamber, but she’s meant to show other girls how easy it is for someone like Joe to edge themselves into your life and slowly take over.
We all like to say that it wouldn’t happen to us, but from the posts that I’ve seen, people are too distracted by a white boy with a nice jawline to use their critical thinking skills. Even Badgley was taken aback by the things people had to say on Twitter.
One girl said she could look past all of the crazy murder and kidnapping because Badgley was attractive. He made sure, multiple times, on his Twitter to tell people like her that the show was not trying to send that message. This convoluted narrative may be hinting at a bigger problem, endearing a crazy killer.
I’m sure that the writers didn’t set out to make people think that murder is okay as long as you’re a cute boy, but the show doesn’t do much to negate that message either. One scene even made Joe look like a hero for murdering a domestic abuser who beat Joe’s neighbor and her kid.
The relationship between Joe and his neighbor’s son, Paco (Luca Padovan), made him endearing to viewers. Even I had to stop myself from thinking, “Oh that’s so sweet of him to do for the kid,” by reminding myself about the gruesome way he murdered another character earlier on.
I think the show set out to do something very ambitious by bringing light to people like Joe and the dangers they can pose, but it had some questionable methods. These methods led girls watching the show to fangirl over a murderous psychopath the same way some girls did with Ted Bundy in the 1980s.
Bundy brings us into Netflix’s latest spotlight of dangerous men on their far-reaching platform. Its recent release of the four-episode docuseries, “Conversations With a Killer: the Ted Bundy Tapes,” is just giving more attention to psychopaths.
The similarity between the two Netflix originals is that the featured point of view is the murderer, which I find a tad problematic. If I learned anything in my forensic science class it’s that murderers love attention. Ted Bundy would be over the moon if he knew how many people watched that docuseries.
The same director that made “The Ted Bundy Tapes” also released a new film based on Bundy’s case starring Zac Efron called “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.” The fact that Efron was in the running for People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” makes me roll my eyes thinking of how many hot Bundy jokes are no-doubt in my future.
As one of the most notorious serial killers in America, I don’t think Bundy’s case is starved for attention, so I don’t see the point in telling his story again. I think there are more important issues in the world that need to be talked about rather than murderers.
Just this week, Lifetime announced that “You” was renewed for a second season. I hope that in the time between seasons, people hone their critical thinking skills and stop crushing on murderous psychopaths.
Rachel is a third year journalism major working currently as the Arts and Life Editor for the Daily 49er. She’s studied at Fresno City College and at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo where she used to be Editor-in-chief at the Cuestonian Student Newspaper. Her goal is to become a local crime reporter and to tell the stories of her community.
In her, very limited, spare time she likes to spend time with her cat Beans and go to Disneyland.