Penn Badgley reveals why so many fans find his “You” character attractive

Penn Badgley'You' actor
Photo by Mark Kari, via Wikimedia Commons

Arguably one of the most talked about TV shows of the moment is ‘You’. The first season was released in late December 2018 on Netflix and was binge watched by many Netflix viewers around the world.

If you are yet to watch the show, it’s an American psychological thriller based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel of the same name. The basic premise follows a New York book store manager, Joe, who uses his knowledge of social media to make, Beck, a young writer fall in love with him.

Essentially the program highlights how dangerous social media can be. The series takes online stalking to a whole new level and is sure to make you want to set your Facebook and Instagram profiles to private.

One of the most intriguing things to come from the hit series ‘You’ is the amount of viewers that were attracted with the character of Joe. It is important to note that the character portrayed by Penn Badgley is not only a stalker, but also a murderer. So why is it that fans find themselves rooting for the character? And why are so many people attracted to him?

The simple fact is the attraction to the character cannot be based on physical attraction alone. The character is certainly dedicated to his love interest Beck. But is this part of why fans find themselves so attracted to him? Possibly. Although in reality, very few people would be happy if their partner was so overbearing. This still leaves many wondering, what is it about Joe that is so attractive?

In a recent interview with Today, Badgley offers more insight into why he believes fans find his character so appealing.

“I don’t see him as a portrayal of a real person, I see him as a representation of the part of us that identifies with him”

According to the actor people are so fascinated by the character because he is not designed to emulate a real person. Instead, we are rooting for Joe, simply because we can see part of ourselves in him. The reason why we are not completely disgusted by his behaviour is simply because viewers are able to identify with him.

Badgley goes on to discuss how the character is an exaggerated version of all of our bad social media habits.

“The part of us that is a troll; that part of us that is victim blaming; the part of us that is privileged and blind. We’re meant to identify with him”

It is also important to note that the show is viewed from Joe’s perspective. Therefore, watchers are able to see why the character acts in the way he does. Oftentimes, Joe’s bad actions are done for what he believes to be good reasons.

In essence, the character is trying to protect the girl he loves. All most people want is to be loved and protected, so perhaps this is another reason why Joe is so engaging for viewers.

Basically, if you have watched the series and have found yourself strangely attracted to Joe, you’re not alone and your love for the character is not as bizarre as you first thought.