Warning: Spoilers for Netflix’s You below.
Penn Badgley, star of the Lifetime turned Netflix mega-hit You, sat down with the Today Show to talk about his character, Joe Goldberg, and how fans have become obsessed with the stalker/murderer. In the series, which originally aired on Lifetime before Netflix picked it up, follows Badgley’s Joe Goldberg as he stalks, stages meetings, and eventually wins over the object of his affection, Guinevere Beck.
Fans of the show gobbled up the series, and some have taken to Twitter to vocalize their obsession over Joe Goldberg. Some have even said they are “addicted” to the stalker turned murderer, and have Tweeted out to Badgley expressing their lust over his character.
“He’s a pretty reprehensible guy. You start to discover his true motives pretty early on. He’s a guy who’s capable of stalking, he’s a guy who’s capable of murder, he’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation,” Badgley told Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Today.
Badgley takes the time to respond to fans of the show to let them know that Joe isn’t necessarily the best guy to romanticize. One fan asked the Gossip Girl star what it was about Joe that drew her in, and Badgley responded that he’s a murderer.
Joe’s obsessive use of social media — and how the platforms can shape how we are found so easily these days — is also a major theme in the series. Joe gets Beck’s cell phone and tracks her every move while reading all of her messages to her friends and lovers. This feeds into his predator-like fixation on the writer and shows a side of the dark romantic stories we don’t normally see. It also warns of the dangers of having a public social media account, as Joe uses GPS coordinates and landmarks from Beck’s pictures to find out where she is at any time.
“He’s just completely obsessive and compulsive and believing that he’s operating by the logic of a true romantic. What he does is he takes the tropes that we’ve seen in romantic comedies… and it totally subverts them by actually following them closely, and he comes to this really kind of terrifying conclusion,” Badgley added.
The actor has also been propositioned to kidnap a fan, which he politely declined.
Joe’s obsession with Beck ends in her murder at the end of the series, and the show was left on a cliffhanger with his ex (who fans assumed Joe also murdered) showing up at the bookstore he manages. When the second season rolls around, perhaps fans of Badgley’s will see more of his creepy antics.