Suffering from a post-Killing Eve ennui, I knew I needed something equally as funny, violent, emotionally intense and addictive to binge. A few friends had suggested that I watch You on Netflix and, while skeptical, one glimpse at Penn Badgley’s cheekbones had my interest peaked. So I charged up my vape, grabbed a bag of Veggie Chips (anyone who says they’re disgusting doesn’t love themself), slipped on my Uggs and fired up the ol’ Netflix cue. Reader, I was not disappointed.
You, which premiered on Lifetime in September before moving to Netflix, follows Joe (Badgley, looking somehow as young, if not younger, than he did on Gossip Girl) a New York City bookstore manager who meets MFA student and aspiring Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and quickly becomes obsessed with her — like, really obsessed. After continually stalking Beck, Joe finds himself saving her life when she drunkenly stumbles onto the subway tracks. He then steals her phone and begins to infiltrate her life, identifying the people he believes to be obstacles to their love: namely her douchey boyfriend and her best friend Peach Salinger (Shay Mitchell and yes, she related to that Salinger). Once Joe and Beck actually start dating, his obsession starts to rack up a body count as his love gets deeper and even more twisted.
You first hooked me with it’s sharp writing and the way it revelled in the myopia of millennial culture. There’s no reason Joe should be so obsessed with Beck (besides her being hot). She’s completely self-obsessed, buying her friends expensive gifts so she’ll seem together, lying about her family trauma to seem more interesting, and hooking up with trust fund losers in the attempt that one of them will introduce her to the high-profile life she’s looking for The show also finds the perfect balance of romanticizing Joe’s stalking while keeping you fully aware of what a creep he is. The novel of the same name that the show is based on (by Caroline Kepnes) may have predated #MeToo, but the show is clearly enjoying setting up Joe as a protagonist who exemplifies every horrible thing men do, and despite that, we can’t help but root for him.
The show is also pretty gay. Mitchell’s Peach, who spends her time on screen delivering deliciously bitchy barbs in skintight jeans and expensive furs, is almost as obsessed with Beck as Joe is. Later in the season, Joe starts seeing Beck’s therapist (a bearded and insanely hot John Stamos) when he suspects she’s cheating and recasts Beck as his boyfriend when describing their relationship troubles.
The show also features Out covergirl Hari Nef as Beck’s fellow graduate student and frenemy who delivers brilliantly acerbic lines like “You’re not J.K. Rowling.We’ll all be fine if you want to take a time out,” when she decides Beck needs a social media hiatus. Nef’s Blythe is at once maddening and hilariously nasty. “I have this facial autism thing where I can’t hide what I’m thinking,” she says while preparing to read Beck’s latest attempt at prose during a workshop.
You seems to exist in the same universe as Gossip Girl, but the teenage sociopaths have graduated from social evisceration to actual murder. If you’re looking for the perfect 10-hour binge watch full of pretty people doing horrible things to each other, You is it.