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“You” – Is Obsession Love?

By Karis Fuller

Arts & Entertainment Editor

“You,” a television thriller that originally premiered on Lifetime, came to Netflix Dec. 26, and has since gained great popularity. The television show is based on the novel “You” by Caroline Kepnes.

The show follows Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley) as he obsesses over Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a smart, attractive blonde he meets by chance at the bookstore where he works. Goldberg quickly begins stalking Beck, and uses her social media to gain a deeper view into her life. The show leaves viewers questioning how easily accessible one’s life is on social media, and when exactly ‘love’ begins to become unhealthy obsession.

“You” sparked controversy on many social media platforms for its portrayal of love. On Twitter, some women tweeted that they were looking past Goldbergs’s acts of lurking in Beck’s window and breaking into her apartment, saying they were simply acts of love, and that they would want a potential boyfriend to ‘love’ them that much.

Junior public relations major Alex Cordova expressed her concerns with the attention the show has gained. “The problem is they’re using an attractive actor and from putting it in his perspective and how he feels he’s bettering her life. It makes it seem endearing and lovable,” Cordova said. “How obsessed he is about her is worrying.”

Others students said that the show’s widening fan base is a good thing, as it informs viewers of the dangers of an unhealthy relationship.

“[The show makes] people aware of what to look for in a relationship, to suggest it isn’t healthy,” Britney Caprio, a sophomore business major, said. “Obviously it is open to interpretation, but I feel it spreads awareness for both men and women who could be facing a similar situation.”

Some viewers feel the show’s message fails to support current events such as the “Me Too” movement, which advocates against sexual assault and harassment. “I think it harms the Me Too movement, as it blurs the line between what’s appropriate and what should be illegal behavior,” Cordova said.

The show is in the romance category on Netflix, whereas the book is listed as a thriller. Cordova described her confusion about the genre and blames it on the casting and presentation of the character. “You [the audience] are convinced as the audience that he is doing it out of love, and they romanticize his acts,” Cordova said. Caprio agreed, saying that due to the choice of attractive lead actors, the stalking may be seen as endearing.

Some viewers failed to finish the show because it made them feel uneasy. “I found the show made me so uncomfortable that I stopped watching after the second episode,” Caitlin Johnstone, senior health science major, said.

Netflix announced that “You” has been renewed for a second season, based on Kepnes’ second book “Hidden Bodies.” No premiere date has been released, but Netflix released information on the second season, tweeting that “Haunting of Hill House” star Victoria Pedretti will be starring as Badgley’s new love interest, and the show will be set in Los Angeles.

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