The Student News Site and Newsletter of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

The Torch

The Student News Site and Newsletter of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

The Torch

The Student News Site and Newsletter of John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

The Torch

What is it about Netflix’s show ‘You’?

Is it the plot that drives the show, or is it Penn Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg?
Briana McClymont
Season 4 of ‘You’ premiered in 2023. Season 5 is to be released by the end of 2024. Photo courtesy of Netflix

“You” is an American psychological thriller television series based on the books by Caroline Kepnes. The series is about a man named Joe, who is very charming but obsessive, manipulative, and psychopathic. He stops at nothing to get the woman he is transfixed by, even if it means getting away with murder. “You” is one of the most watched shows on Netflix, with four successful seasons, with season five being set to premiere around this year. The series has a rotten tomato rating of 92%.

The main character and narrator is Joe, which is played by actor Penn Badgley. Joe is a conflicted character who grapples with an impulse to kill and has an extreme desire to “protect” those he loves, at least that’s what he believes.

But what makes Joe different from other psychotic characters is that he has an exceptional understanding of human behavior which allows him to objectively perceive the hidden intentions and needs of others. Joe sees himself as a protector, and believes the harm that he causes people has to be done because they “deserve” it. Instead of killing out of malicious intent, he kills with the belief that he is doing good for the people he cares about. 

Plot of “You”

The show itself starts off with Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager in New York City becoming obsessed with a young woman named Guinevere Beck. He falls for her hard and fast, immediately after a bit of small talk and after she purchases a book from the store he manages. Joe begins to stalk Guinevere after learning her name from her credit card. From then on, we follow Joe through his twisted narrative. What sets the show apart from other thrillers is that the viewer usually feels torn about Joe; his actions are disturbing yet intriguing.


For me, I was automatically intrigued. I thought this nail-biter was very entertaining, considering that the viewer gets an insight into a psychopathic killer’s mind. What could drive a person to have an impulse to lie, manipulate, kill and stalk? Before watching, I assumed that this was just a show about a creepy stalker, and even though it was, I was hooked because I oddly grew to like Joe. 

Perhaps the most unsettling reason viewers keep coming back is because we all, to varying degrees, fancy Joe,” jouranalist Susan Akyeampong states. “Fans are constantly swooning over him on social media.”

Viewers surprisingly root for Joe, but at the same time, feel bad because of the amount of harm he causes. Joe may be a bad person, but he has empathy and doesn’t kill out of spite.

“You” is a very intense and fascinating show.  Without a doubt, The Torch recommends it to anyone who enjoys over the top psychological thrillers.

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About the Contributor
Briana McClymont is a sophomore at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School, where she also is a contributing member of The Torch. This spring semester is Briana’s first year taking journalism. She decided to take journalism to one; become more involved in her school community, and because she really enjoys giving her opinion on interesting topics. Not only this, but she has always taken an interest in writing since she was little. She enjoys learning about new subjects and always enjoys reporting the information she finds. Her hobbies consist of drawing, painting, writing, makeup or basically anything that involves using her creativity and imagination! She does not participate in many clubs, but the one she puts a lot of time into is FCCLA; and she is planning on joining the JFK’s Spring Track team.   

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