Penn Badgley Wants You to Want More for Yourself

Penn Badgley in 'You.'
Penn Badgley in You. Photo: Netflix

Did you, in the throes of New Year New Me and various resolutions, decide to better both yourself and your love life? Did you take stock of everyone you dated in 2018, realize you are the constant in every one of your relationships, and demand higher standards with regards to the people you text back? Literally, the bar could be on the floor, but congratulations, there is now a bar. We’re nine days in and it is a brave new world indeed.

(No, I am not talking to myself here, what are you insinuating?)

Anyway, it seems that this resolution did not wholly sink in for a cadre of people who apparently binge-watched You the minute it hit Netflix over the holiday break. Because what says “Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!” more than a Lifetime thriller about a man (Joe, played by Penn Badgley) who stalks and obsesses over a woman (Beck, played by Elizabeth Lail) and is also — spoiler, though, again, this is Lifetime so maybe it’s to be expected — an honest-to-God murderer? And yet! People are … kind of into Joe? Huh.

The fact that Joe is, at the bare minimum, somewhat charming is crucial to the show’s entire premise; presumably, it would be harder for him to woo Beck, a random woman he saw at his bookshop, if he was a complete monster. Given that the series is told from his point of view, they would have to make him at least tolerable enough to stick with through each episode. But the people in Penn Badgley’s Twitter mentions seem to have taken that creative generosity a step too far, and have gone and fallen in love with, again, a murderer. (I cannot underscore the fact that Joe is a murderer enough.)

People have asked Badgley to kidnap them, and they have confessed they find Badgley-as-Joe “sexier” than Badgley-as-Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl (who was also very creepy, and now I am not entirely unconvinced wasn’t also doing murders). To Badgley, this comparison is telling: When one fan zeroed in on the similarities between Dan and Joe, noting that she had a crush on the former but was terrified of the latter, he responded, “Maybe part of the transition is actually you—all of us—growing up, or rather maturing in our perception of these toxic norms.”

… Or maybe not. As he wrote in an apparent fit of frustration to a fan who professed her inability to “see past the crazy shit” because of his “gorgeous” face, “You’re supposed to see past my face TO the crazy shit! It’s the other way! The other wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyhhyyyyggg.”

Penn Badgley Wants You to Want More for Yourself