My Celebrity Life

Stop lusting over Netflix show You’s Joe Goldberg – he’s a literal psychopath

My Celebrity Life –
Surely, we aren’t so susceptible to the male allure that we’ll sensationalise, to the point of sexualisation, the darkest moments of victims’ tragic deaths? (Picture: Netflix)

Everyone loves a bad boy, right?

Netflix series, You, tests this age-old saying to the extreme and we’re in for yet another cycle of obsession, imprisonment and bloodshed as the show’s third season is released today.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The story follows a seemingly innocent crush between a bookstore manager, Joe Goldberg (Penn Badgley), and his soon-to-be emotionally tormented and subsequently dead conquests – not to mention anyone who gets in his way.

I understand that a sane and emotionally stable male protagonist doesn’t always make for thrilling TV, but must we pine after an absolute psychopath?

With each new season release, thousands of tweets proudly proclaim Joe as ‘hot af’, ‘daddy’ and ‘sexy beast’, to name a few.

So where does this psycho-lust come from?

Organisational psychologist Karen Kwong said: ‘Typically, psychopaths are extremely charming and confident, often venturing deep into narcissism. So on a good day, they’d be fun to hang out with and will flatter you endlessly. Their confidence will be a great draw.

‘Sadly they are incapable of feeling empathy and have little to no qualms about lying and manipulating situations to suit their needs. That combined with the charm can be a most powerful weapon.’

Wrap all of that up in a fictitious character played by a handsome young actor and you’ve got yourself a serious case of cognitive dissonance.

My Celebrity Life –
Some of the world’s most well-known serial killers were infamously beguiling (Picture: John P. Fleenor/NETFLIX)

We witness Joe kill eight people across two seasons – some even in really gruesome ways – but yet, the fan lusting continues.

The controlling boyfriend is humanised as we empathise and begin to ‘understand’ the intent behind his gruesome actions. How we can watch Joe try to kill his girlfriend’s best friend, Peach, twice and still laud him as some ‘good guy’ is truly terrifying.

Surely, we aren’t so susceptible to the male allure that we’ll sensationalise, to the point of sexualisation, the darkest moments of victims’ tragic deaths?

Yet, we omit from our memories the copious news headlines detailing similar, real life events.

Some of the world’s most well-known serial killers were infamously beguiling: Charles Sobhraj, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer all charmed their victims into compromising and fateful circumstances.

Even after Bundy’s horrible atrocities came to light and he was convicted, he received love letters in prison – probably due to his subtle charisma.

Let’s also not forget Netflix literally had to urge viewers to stop lusting after Ted Bundy when it released docuseries Conversations With A Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes at the start of last year.

‘I’ve seen a lot of talk about Ted Bundy’s alleged hotness,’ the official Netflix Twitter account wrote. ‘And would like to gently remind everyone that there are literally THOUSANDS of hot men on the service — almost all of whom are not convicted serial murderers.’

So why do we exonerate these murderous men?

As Badgley puts it to Variety, we are probably all too willing to forgive ‘evil straight white men’.

‘To me, Joe is an embodiment of privilege and the resulting blindness that any kind of privilege might give someone,’ he previously told Metro.co.uk. ‘So if you’re a man, if you’re white, if you’re a white man, it’s these different levels of awareness, or lack of awareness.

‘If anyone can watch this show and sort of question the moral and social underpinnings of the sort of models and stereotypes and tropes that we’re used to, and that we really enjoy watching and seeing in media, then maybe that’s not the kind of right way to function at all.’

White male privilege absolutely comes into play here and it’s something we need to seriously talk about. He gets away with murder time and time again and the bizarre thing is that we want him to.

You author Caroline Kepnes was more forgiving of people’s love for the character, recently remarking: ‘How wonderful, how magical, when an actor and their kindness is as real as their [character’s] capacity for evil doing. So I think Penn is brilliant that way, and I get anyone watching it and loving him.’

But Joe is a delusional and extremely toxic boyfriend at best, and a relentlessly possessive murderer at worst.

At the end of it all, he believes that – behind his troubled ways – there still lies just a caring guy. Perhaps it’s the fact he believes he’s a good person, that makes us so inclined to find his better nature.

Maybe we just lazily allow ourselves to appreciate the tabooness; a quality that makes Joe seem to be an intriguing and subsequently amiable person.

But it’s time to stop lusting after these literal psychopaths, just because they have a strong jawline or great quiff.

You hasn’t instituted a new phenomenon in popular culture – 2006’s Dexter saw the charismatic and problematic persona onto our screens years after the theme’s pioneer, American Psycho. Despite all the noise created by the rising status of true crime and dark drama series, let’s remember that we shouldn’t like these guys.

It’s time to rebut the voice that says, ‘There’s just something about him.’


Credit: Original article published here.

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