Why people obsess over ‘YOU’

Yuzuki Okuda and Hira Baig

YOU, a 2018 TV series, now on Netflix became one of the biggest hits this year, and the second season was immediately announced after the end of the addicting first one. This series, told from the perspective of a seemingly harmless owner of a bookstore, Joe (Penn Badgley), begins when he spots Beck (Elizabeth Lail), an aspiring author who is struggling to control her life. He immediately finds this out through stalking and takes on the role himself to fix her life for her. His thoughts constantly being narrated in the background reveal how, while he is kind and understanding on the outside, he is actually controlling and a psychopath. This is only apparent to the audience while Beck herself doesn’t.

Here are the reasons why YOU was such a captivating series:

1. The show is original and unique

The show YOU decides to take a new spin on the thriller/mystery genre, and tells the story of a stalker and psychopath through the perspective of the actual perpetrator. Much of the narration of the story is told through the thoughts of Joe, and does the job of establishing context and background, while doing it in an interesting way that keeps the traditional thriller feeling in effect.

For example, the introduction to the show is told through Joe’s perspective, where we hear his thoughts as he first lays eyes on Beck, and his narration foreshadows the imminent future of the victim, while still giving us a feeling of suspense. Since many shows instead choose to go with the viewpoint of the victim getting hunted, this TV series gives a fresh new feeling and perspective, while continuing to hit home with the traditional elements of a mystery as well.

2. It takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions

The structure of this whole series makes the audience constantly feel conflicted, watching all the events unfold through the eyes of the perpetrator. The interesting part of this series is how the narration of Joe’s thoughts provide justification. He constantly repeats how all his actions are for Beck, and though you know what he is doing is terrible, he makes it seem like it is rationalized. It makes the audience root for the success of Joe and want him to not get caught, even though he is the bad guy.

When Joe takes it to an extreme, it makes the audience wonder if Beck is even worth it, or when she does something stupid, you think that Joe should just leave her and find a better person. It makes you invested and makes you feel like you are Joe and you are in on all his plans. Also, this is caused by how it shows that Joe has multiple sides to him, and not all of them are bad. For an example, helping the kid next door who’s drug abusing mother has an abusive relationship with a boyfriend, who is a cop.

3. The tone of the show is mesmerizing

Another fascinating part of this new Netflix series is the feeling that it elicits from its viewers. When you watch a whole 10 episodes from the perspective of a psychotic killer, the growing uneasiness and captivation is territory that is unexplored in popular media among teens. The show foreshadows the inevitable unfortunate events, but the viewer can’t help but hope that things won’t happen.

While viewers feel an impending sense of dread for the future of the characters, the show still manages to play with their emotions. Around the middle of the show, they show Beck and Joe’s relationship as positive and even sweet at times. The show manages to use their background music and visuals as tools to completely shift the tone of the show at times where it would seem almost inappropriate. They use upbeat songs when introducing the scene of a crime and happy imagery when Joe may be describing something completely disgusting. These instances make it hard for people to stop watching, especially since it’s so outside the bounds of our regular media.

4. The cliffhangers

The style and design of the show is not something particularly new, but still very effective. Many of the episodes end by foreshadowing a particularly nasty or imminent event, and the effect of these types of endings on the viewer is powerful. Even as we were watching and might have had enough for the day, the endings always made us want to know more and continue watching, even if we had things to do. While most endings had the typical effect of keeping the audience interested, the way they ended the finale had a much more powerful effect. The last episode lends itself to a preview of what the next season might be about, and the curiosity it leaves with the viewers is enough to power them off toward the next season.

Watching events unfold from the eyes of a disgusting and psychopathic man, made YOU an enrapturing series that keeps viewers hooked. Through the overall quality of this series, we can be sure that the second season will be equally as addicting.

Link to photo – (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Penn_Badgley.jpg)