Stalker trope, done right
You on Netflix gets the trashy-TV-meets-smart-writing formula right. Here is how
We started watching the Netflix original You with the expectation that it would be a cliché — like every American "stalker" movie or show. Psycho boy/girl stalks boy/girl who are the object of their affection. Stalk, stalk, stalk, till in the end, stalker is killed, and meets his dreaded end.
But, after watching a few episodes of You, we were left thinking 'ok, this is a bit different'. The fact that it's based on a novel by the same name by Caroline Kepnes could be the reason that it's nuanced. But before I comment on the plot line, we have to tell Gossip Girl's boring/pathetic 'Dan Humphrey' Penn Badgley, to take a bow. He is excellent as the creepy protagonist.
Back to the show. So Joe spots Guinevere Beck (played beautifully by Elizabeth Lail) in his bookshop, and then decides she is asking for his attention, and then starts stalking her to find out exactly who she is — all the while being judgmental about her life on Instagram. Of course, it's Joe who will set her straight, and be her saviour. The first step to that is to steal her phone, and know everything that's happening with her, because her data is connected to the Cloud. Scared yet? He then also seeks to get rid of people who he thinks are harmful for her. The show seeks to take up questions like digital privacy, and dangers of putting too much out there on social media, and trust me, we are fully warned.
What I liked about the show was that it is trashy and smart in balanced measure. It takes the cliché of the stalker tropes, and uplifts it with smart writing and literary references that keep it from sliding into the dumb content category. The only gripe we had was with the ending, which was a bit disappointing, in spite of the cliffhanger that ensures a season 2. Well, even though he scares the bejesus out of me, I am glad I will meet Joe Goldberg again. Binge on it now!
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