You (TV series)

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You
You (TV series) intertitle.png
Genre
Based on
by Caroline Kepnes
Developed by
Starring
Narrated by
  • Penn Badgley
  • Elizabeth Lail
Composer(s)Blake Neely
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes20 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Ryan Lindenberg
  • Adria Lang
  • Jason Sokoloff
  • Jennifer Lence
  • Wayne Carmona
Production location(s)
  • New York City[1]
  • Los Angeles, California[2]
Cinematography
Editor(s)
  • Harry Jierjian
  • Gaston Jaren Lopez
  • Troy Takaki
  • Rita K. Sanders
  • Felicia M. Livingston
  • Erin Wolf
  • Becca Berry
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time41–50 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorWarner Bros. Television Distribution
Release
Original network
Picture format
Audio format5.1 surround sound
Original releaseSeptember 9, 2018 (2018-09-09) –
present (present)
External links
Website

You is an American psychological thriller television series developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble. Produced by Warner Horizon Television, in association with Alloy Entertainment and A&E Studios, the first season is based on the 2014 novel by Caroline Kepnes and follows Joe Goldberg, a New York bookstore manager who falls in love with a customer named Guinevere Beck and quickly develops an extreme, toxic, and delusional obsession. The first season, which was released in 2018, stars Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail, Luca Padovan, Zach Cherry, and Shay Mitchell. For the second season, Ambyr Childers was upgraded to a series regular, joining newly cast Victoria Pedretti, James Scully, Jenna Ortega and Carmela Zumbado.

The series premiered on Lifetime on September 9, 2018, in the United States and streaming on Netflix internationally on December 26, 2018. The series attracted a limited audience on Lifetime before becoming more popular and a critical success for Netflix, with over 43 million viewers having streamed the first season after its debut on the streaming service.[4][5] Lifetime announced that You had been renewed for a second season based on Kepnes' follow-up novel Hidden Bodies, on July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere. On December 3, 2018, it was announced that the series would move to Netflix as a Netflix Original title. The second season was released exclusively on Netflix on December 26, 2019.[6] On January 14, 2020, the series was renewed for a third season by Netflix, which is set to be released sometime in 2021, with Badgley and Pedretti both reprising their roles.[7][8]

Premise[edit]

The first season follows the story of Joe Goldberg, a bookstore manager in New York, who upon meeting Guinevere Beck, an aspiring writer, becomes immediately infatuated with her. To feed his toxic obsession, he uses social media and other technology to track her presence and remove obstacles to their romance.

In the second season, Joe Goldberg moves from New York to Los Angeles to escape his past, and starts over with a new identity. When he meets avid chef Love Quinn, Joe begins falling into his old patterns of obsession and violence. As Joe attempts to forge a new love in the City of Angels, he strives to make his relationship with Love succeed at all costs, to avoid the fate of his past romantic endeavors.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg, a former bookstore manager at Mooney's who stalks and dates Beck in the first season.[9] In the second season, he goes by the name Will Bettelheim and dates Love and works as a bookstore clerk at Anavrin.[9] Joe is portrayed as a teenager by Gianni Ciardiello in season one, and as a child by Aidan Wallace in season two.
  • Victoria Pedretti as Love Quinn, an aspiring chef and health guru in Los Angeles. (season 2–present)[10][11]

Season 1[edit]

  • Elizabeth Lail as Guinevere Beck, a broke NYU graduate student and an aspiring writer (guest season 2)[12]
  • Luca Padovan as Paco, Joe's young neighbor[12]
  • Zach Cherry as Ethan, a bookstore clerk who works with Joe[12][13]
  • Shay Mitchell as Peach Salinger, a wealthy and influential socialite and Beck's best friend[14]

Season 2[edit]

  • James Scully as Forty Quinn, Love's beloved and troubled twin brother[15]
  • Jenna Ortega as Ellie Alves, a teenager who grew up fast in the big city and Delilah's younger sister[15][16]
  • Ambyr Childers as Candace Stone, Joe's ex-girlfriend who follows him to Los Angeles (recurring season 1)[17][18]
  • Carmela Zumbado as Delilah Alves, an investigative reporter who is Ellie's older sister[19]

Recurring[edit]

Season 1[edit]

  • Daniel Cosgrove as Ron, the parole officer boyfriend of Paco's mother[20]
  • Kathryn Gallagher as Annika Atwater, one of Beck's friends and a social media influencer
  • Nicole Kang as Lynn Lieser, another of Beck's rich friends[21]
  • Victoria Cartagena as Claudia, Paco's mother
  • Mark Blum as Mr. Mooney, the owner of Mooney's and Joe's former boss
  • Hari Nef as Blythe, a rival graduate student to Beck
  • John Stamos as Dr. Nicky, Beck's therapist (guest season 2)[22][23]

Season 2[edit]

  • Adwin Brown as Calvin, a manager at Anavrin, a trendy high-end grocery store[24]
  • Robin Lord Taylor as Will Bettelheim, a hacker who deals with unsavory clients as part of his job and whose identity Joe briefly assumes[25]
  • Marielle Scott as Lucy Sprecher, an edgy-chic literary agent and Sunrise's partner[26]
  • Chris D'Elia as Joshua "Henderson" Bunter, a famous stand-up comedian in Los Angeles[27]
  • Charlie Barnett as Gabe Miranda, a successful acupuncturist and Love's oldest friend and closest confidant[28]
  • Melanie Field as Sunrise Darshan Cummings, a stay at home lifestyle blogger and Lucy's partner[29]
  • Magda Apanowicz as Sandy, Joe's mother[29]
  • Danny Vasquez as David Fincher, a LAPD officer[30]
  • Saffron Burrows as Dottie Quinn, Love and Forty's mother

Guests[edit]

Season 1[edit]

  • Lou Taylor Pucci as Benjamin "Benji" Ashby Jr. III, Beck's wealthy, toxic hipster ex-boyfriend[31]
  • Reg Rogers as Professor Paul Leahy, Beck's graduate school advisor who has a sexual interest in her
  • Michael Park as Edwin Beck, Beck's father
  • Emily Bergl as Nancy Whitesell, Edwin's new wife and Beck's stepmother
  • Michael Maize as Officer Nico, a Greenwich police officer[17]
  • Gerrard Lobo as Raj, a med student and an old friend of Beck and Peach
  • Natalie Paul as Karen Minty, Paco's babysitter and Joe's new girlfriend after his breakup with Beck[32]
  • Ryan Andes as Ross, a private investigator hired by Peach's family to look into her death

Season 2[edit]

  • Steven W. Bailey as Jasper Krenn, a criminal to whom Will owes money
  • Kathy Griffin as herself, a eulogist at Henderson's funeral
  • Michael Reilly Burke as Ray Quinn, Love and Forty's father
  • David Paladino as Alec Grigoryan, a private investigator hired by Love to investigate Candace
  • Haven Everly as Gigi, Will's fiancée
  • Andrew Creer as Milo Warrington, James' best friend and Love's new boyfriend after her breakup with Joe
  • Daniel Durant as James, Love's deaf and deceased husband who died of cancer
  • Madeline Zima as Rachel, Candace/Amy's roommate who knows Krav Maga
  • Brooke Johnson as Sofia, Forty's au pair lover who was murdered by Love

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast releasedNetwork
110September 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)November 11, 2018 (2018-11-11)Lifetime
210December 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)Netflix

Season 1 (2018)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
U.S. viewers
(millions)
11"Pilot"Lee Toland KriegerGreg Berlanti & Sera GambleSeptember 9, 2018 (2018-09-09)U13.129010.82[33]
22"The Last Nice Guy in New York"Lee Toland KriegerSera GambleSeptember 16, 2018 (2018-09-16)U13.129020.77[34]
33"Maybe"Marcos SiegaApril BlairSeptember 23, 2018 (2018-09-23)U13.129030.57[35]
44"The Captain"Vic MahoneyMichael FoleySeptember 30, 2018 (2018-09-30)U13.129040.56[36]
55"Living with the Enemy"Marta CunninghamNeil ReynoldsOctober 7, 2018 (2018-10-07)U13.129050.57[37]
66"Amour Fou"Marcos SiegaAdria LangOctober 14, 2018 (2018-10-14)U13.129060.71[38]
77"Everythingship"Kellie CyrusApril Blair & Amanda ZetterströmOctober 21, 2018 (2018-10-21)U13.129070.62[39]
88"You Got Me, Babe"Erin FeeleyCaroline KepnesOctober 28, 2018 (2018-10-28)U13.129080.49[40]
99"Candace"Martha MitchellKelli Breslin & Michael FoleyNovember 4, 2018 (2018-11-04)U13.129090.47[41]
1010"Bluebeard's Castle"Marcos SiegaSera Gamble & Neil ReynoldsNovember 11, 2018 (2018-11-11)U13.129100.53[42]

Season 2 (2019)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release dateProd.
code
111"A Fresh Start"Kevin Rodney SullivanSera GambleDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13701
122"Just the Tip"Silver TreeMichael FoleyDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13702
133"What Are Friends For?"John ScottNeil ReynoldsDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13703
144"The Good, the Bad, & the Hendy"DeMane DavisJustin W. LoDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13704
155"Have a Good Wellkend, Joe!"Cherie NowlanAmanda Johnson-ZetterströmDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13705
166"Farewell, My Bunny"Meera MenonAdria LangDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13706
177"Ex-istential Crisis"Shannon KohliKelli BreslinDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13707
188"Fear and Loathing in Beverly Hills"Harry JierjianKara Lee Corthron & Justin W. LoDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13708
199"P.I. Joe"Silver TreeMichael Foley & Mairin ReedDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13709
2010"Love, Actually"Silver TreeSera Gamble & Neil ReynoldsDecember 26, 2019 (2019-12-26)U13.13710

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In February 2015, it was announced that Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble would develop a series based on Caroline Kepnes' book: You with Berlanti and Gamble as the scriptwriters, and Berlanti as the pilot director.[43] Initially, Berlanti and Gamble pitched the show to Showtime but were unsuccessful in their attempts.[44] In addition, both creators had also originally pitched the series to Netflix but were declined twice, prior to Netflix's head of international non-English originals, Bela Bajaria joining the company.[45][4] Two years later, it was announced that the series was purchased by Lifetime and put on fast-track development.[46]

In April 2017, Lifetime gave You a 10-episode straight-to-series order.[47] On July 26, 2018, ahead of the series premiere, Lifetime announced that the series had been renewed for a second season.[48][49] On December 3, 2018, it was confirmed that Lifetime had passed on the series and that Netflix picked up the series ahead of the release of the second season.[50][51] On January 14, 2020, the series was renewed for a 10-episode third season.[7][8]

In November 2018, Gamble confirmed that like Hidden Bodies, the sequel novel to You, the setting of the series would move to Los Angeles for the second season.[52][53][54][55]

In March 2019, Berlanti discussed in a panel interview on the challenges of finding the right platform for the series. Speaking at the INTV conference, he stated that "we pitched it [You] and sold it to Showtime of all places, but…once they read the script, they were really cool about saying, ‘You can take it somewhere else’...". After being turned down by the network, he later pitched the show to Lifetime, who "wanted to make it, and we shot it, and because of their launch cycle it sat in the can for a while for two-and-a-half years. Then they finally started to release it, and it didn't do very well." Although, Lifetime reneged on their initial renewal offer for a second season in late 2018, Berlanti recalled that he went to the offices of the network executives to plead them to change their mind, asking "I still think it's going to work, I still think it's going to work – maybe one more episode, maybe if people have a chance to see five more episodes." Later, he was relieved by the news of Netflix's guarantee of committing to a second season after Lifetime canceled the series.[56]

Following Netflix's reportings on the considerable success that You obtained after it was made available to stream on their platform service, Penn Badgley wrote in an email response to The Washington Post that "We're grateful to Lifetime for being the gateway to getting the show made. We wouldn't have been able to make the show without them, as far as I can tell. There is no sense of bewilderment that the show had one reaction while it was on Lifetime and another when it went to Netflix. The difference in viewership is obvious, and it's indicative of so many different things, not the least of which is the way young people consume media."[57]

Casting[edit]

Penn Badgley at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
Penn Badgley plays series protagonist Joe Goldberg.

Penn Badgley was cast as lead character Joe Goldberg in June 2017.[9] Elizabeth Lail's casting as Guinevere Beck was announced in July 2017,[12] as well as Luca Padovan as Joe's neighbor Paco, and Zach Cherry as Ethan, a bookstore clerk who works with Joe.[12] Shay Mitchell was cast as Peach Salinger, Beck's wealthy best friend, in August 2017.[14]

In September 2017, Hari Nef was cast in the recurring role as Blythe, a talented and competitive peer in Beck's MFA program.[58] A few days later it was announced that Daniel Cosgrove had been cast in the recurring role of Ron, a correctional officer.[20] In October 2017, Michael Maize and Ambyr Childers were cast in the recurring roles of Officer Nico and Candace, respectively.[17] It was announced in November 2017 that John Stamos would recur as Dr. Nicky, Beck's therapist.[22][59]

On January 30, 2019, it was announced that Victoria Pedretti had been cast in the main role of Love Quinn on the second season.[10][11] On January 31, 2019, James Scully was cast in a main role as Forty Quinn, Love's brother and Jenna Ortega was also cast in a main role as Ellie Alves.[15]

On February 1, 2019, Deadline Hollywood reported that Ambyr Childers had been promoted to a series regular role, ahead of the premiere of the second season.[18] On February 6, 2019, Adwin Brown was cast in the recurring role of Calvin on the second season.[24][60][61] On February 15, 2019, Robin Lord Taylor was cast in the recurring role of Will on the second season.[25] On February 21, 2019, Carmela Zumbado was cast in the series regular role of Delilah Alves on the second season.[19] On March 4, 2019, it was reported that Marielle Scott has been cast in the recurring role of Lucy on the second season.[26] On March 5, 2019, Chris D’Elia was cast in the recurring role of Henderson on the second season.[27] On March 26, 2019, Charlie Barnett was cast in the recurring role of Gabe on the second season.[28][62][63] On April 4, 2019, Melanie Field and Magda Apanowicz were cast in recurring roles as Sunrise and Sandy, respectively.[29] On June 4, 2019, Danny Vasquez had been cast in a recurring role.[30] On June 24, 2019, it was confirmed that John Stamos will reprise his role, as Dr. Nicky in the second season.[23] On October 17, 2019, Elizabeth Lail confirmed in a BUILD Series interview that she will reprise her role as Guinevere Beck in a guest appearance on the second season.[64][65]

Filming[edit]

The first season of You was filmed in New York City[1] and wrapped on December 19, 2017.[66] For the second season, the series relocated its production to California to take advantage of tax incentives provided by the California Film Commission under its "Program 2.0" initiative.[2] Filming for the second season took place on location in Los Angeles, California from February 2019 to June 2019.[67][68][69]

Technical aspects[edit]

Lee Toland Krieger and David Lanzenberg were both credited as the director and cinematographer for the first two episodes, respectively. Since then, the series has had a number of cinematographers and directors. Krieger and Lanzenberg were inspired by the works of cinematographer Darius Khondji in films such as Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris and David Fincher’s Seven. As part of creating the striking look for the series, they executed various dolly shots and used anamorphic lenses to evoke a level of surrealistic voyeurism, demanding from the viewer, their participation in the romantic manifestations of Joe's worldview. Krieger asserted that in order to sell Joe's character to the audience, he needed to craft You with a certain visual look and mood, slightly different, unconventional and accented than the standard color palette and tone for contemporary thrillers. He stated that "I wanted something that felt like a great New York love story, just with a very disturbed protagonist", adding that "The show opens with these luscious slow-motion shots. There’s that amber glow. It doesn’t feel like a thriller."[70]

Release[edit]

The official trailer for You was released on April 10, 2018 by Lifetime.[71] You premiered on Lifetime in the United States on September 9, 2018.[72] In May 2018, it was announced that Netflix acquired the exclusive international broadcast rights to You, making it available as an original series on the platform.[73][74] On December 3, 2018, it was announced that Lifetime had passed on the second season, and that the series would move to Netflix as a global Netflix Original series.[75][76] The first season became available to stream instantly on Netflix worldwide on December 26, 2018.[77] On December 5, 2019, a teaser trailer for the second season was released by Netflix.[78] On December 16, 2019, the official trailer for the second season was released.[79] The second season was released on December 26, 2019.[6]

Marketing[edit]

Teasing the original premiere on Lifetime on September 9, 2018, the main cast, Penn Badgley, Elizabeth Lail and Shay Mitchell, as well as the show creator, Sera Gamble, and author of the original book, Caroline Kepnes, sat down with BUILD Series, a YouTube talk show meant to promote new buzzworthy shows and movies.[80]

Prior to the show's premiere, Badgley mentioned his disinterest in playing the character of Joe Goldberg in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying that "I didn’t want to do it — it was too much. I was conflicted with the nature of the role. If this is a love story, what is it saying? It’s not an average show; it’s a social experiment." However, he was strongly convinced by the script and the social commentary around the series, adding that "what was key in me wanting to jump on board were my conversations with Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, the creators, and understanding Joe’s humanity. I knew that I would be conflicted about the role from day one till the last day, and that is why they thought I would be good for it, is that I’m not psyched to play somebody of this nature."[81] Relaying similar thoughts in an interview with GQ, Badgley again raised his concerns of portraying Joe, noting that he was first apprehensive at the role but later, changed his mind, expressing that "no one in any position of authority could ever try to act as though we don’t know that sex and murder sells, but how can it work in a different way we’ve not seen? That’s where I think this show does something that none of us could have said for certain that we would nail. It could have been really irresponsible. It could have fallen flat and been like, whoa."[82] In another interview at The Contenders Emmys 2019 panel, Badgley mentioned that his character was "the hero of his own story...every serial killer is" but added that Joe is "ultimately, the word that’s coming to mind is un-saveable". The actor highlighted that though, there is an apparent affinity to Joe's character, it is somewhat of a "Rorschach test of a kind for us," adding that "we’re failing..."[83]

Various critics gave praise to the series, by complimenting its eerie tone and terrifying approach to the themes of violence and stalking, reminiscent of contemporary thriller films and series like Dexter, Gone Girl and American Psycho. Certain reviewers highlight that You provides an alluring but, disturbing insight into the mind and profile of a psychopath, who charmingly manipulates his way through his anti-hero charisma, motives and warped sense of morality, in order to convince the audience "to sympathize with a stalker" and "serial killer".[84][85][86][87][88][89][90][91][92][93][94][95]

The marketing for the series used the buzz around the #MeToo Movement to gain attention to the start of the show. You has been said to have been "tailor-made for the #MeToo Era."[96] One of the show creators, Sera Gamble, commented on this era by highlighting that in contemporary culture, attention is almost unanimously given to the perspective of the male and his story, so naturally he is positioned through the lens of a hero. She states "We're focused on their story, their triumph, their downfall, their redemption arc...So I doubt the show will single handedly change the way we think about dudes and our culture, but I'm happy to be part of the conversation."[96]

Cultural influence[edit]

Once the first season became available to stream on Netflix, the series' popularity increased dramatically with an estimated 40 million people having viewed it, in its first month on the streaming platform,[5][97] dwarfing its viewership from Lifetime.[98][84] The series later became the subject of numerous online discussions and debates surrounding the romanticization of the serial killer and stalker protagonist in question.[99][100][101][102] According to many reporters and critics, concerns were expressed regarding the viewers who have positively identified and connected with Penn Badgley's character on multiple social media platforms, despite the transgressive acts that the protagonist displayed and committed over the course of the season.[103][104][105] Among the viewers who took an affinity to Joe was Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown. Brown took to social media, sharing her initial thoughts in a video by downplaying Joe's questionable acts but subsequently, changed her position on the matter after watching the entirety of the first season.[106][107][108]

After Badgley received tweets from various fans and viewers of the series, seemingly glorifying Joe's violent behaviors in the process, the actor responded in tongue-and-cheek replies on Twitter and Instagram, by denoting the importance of not romanticizing the actions of a psychopathic murderer.[109][110] In response to the growing concerns of viewers romanticizing Joe's vicious behaviors, Elizabeth Lail conveyed her thoughts surrounding the conversation in an interview with Image. Lail expressed her alarming concerns on the audience's reactions and impressions initially, but later explained that "I think we are programmed that way. Myself included. With all the rom-coms and fairytales we've read, we're programmed to root for the hero at any cost, unfortunately. And so, my hope is that these women notice that inside themselves; and ask themselves, 'oh gosh, why do I love this terrible man?' I hope they recognise it as an unconscious bias (that’s inside most of us), and actively work against it."[111]

Victoria Pedretti, the lead actress of the second season responded in a commentary of the audience's strong alignment to the perspective of the show's protagonist. In an interview with Variety, Pedretti stated that, though she is aware of the phenomenon behind the reactions and concerns after the series gained a remarkable following, she noted that it's fueling the conversation, citing that it "talks about the kind of horrors of being a young person on the internet today. These kinds of things affect everyone, but obviously that’s what the show is focused on. And I think it’s really been a warning sign to some people; I know people who have changed their passwords and re-maneuvered their relationship with social media because of the show — really thinking about how much we’re putting our private lives into the hands of the public. And because I think it’s a really smart way to discuss this trope that we’ve romanticized so much — this idea of this man that Penn plays. We know these people, and they’re really hard to pluck out because they see themselves, and we see them, as the nice guys."[112]

Themes[edit]

Sera Gamble at the 2011 Comic Con in San Diego
Sera Gamble, co-creator and showrunner of You

You explores the psychodynamic view of erotomania and obsessive love between Joe and his romantic interests. In the process, it examines the prevalence of maladaptive behaviors in Hollywood romantic comedy films, and how anti-social behaviors underpin much of the romantic endeavors that Joe undertakes, to the point of destroying the autonomy and agency of his love interests, by committing criminal acts to capture their attention and affection.[113][114] In addition, the series further raises questions on the ethics and potential implications of manipulating circumstances and how the psychology of stalking is best exemplified by Joe's intrusive and insidious actions, to manufacture the constructs of an idealized love relationship.[115]

As the first season of You is situated in modern-day New York City, it explores the dangers of stalking and social media culture with an emphasis on a lack of digital privacy.[116][117][118] The author of the novel, Caroline Kepnes explained the darkness of You, which deconstructs the romantic-comedy tropes highlighted in many films and shows, by making the protagonist, a violent stalker and serial killer, saying it was written in a dark period of her life, the year her father died of cancer, and in which she experienced several other personal challenges.[119] She further stated that her inspiration for the novel grew out of her moving back to LA. She expressed that when she moved, she noticed that "suddenly everyone was following each other and being followed, and I always thought of that as such a negative thing," soon creating Joe in her mind as a very real possibility of what can happen with that type of access into people's lives.[80] After the series premiered, Kepnes mentioned in an interview with Emily Baker from iNews, that she was initially hesitant on labeling Joe, as a few readers argued that his actions, classified him as a serial killer. The author then, clarified her position on the matter, citing that "I remember when I wrote You and someone first referred to Joe as a serial killer. I argued 'he’s not a serial killer, he meets these terrible people and has these awful thoughts, but he’s very sensitive'. It’s very strange to realise you have written a serial killer."[120]

Sera Gamble, the showrunner and co-creator of the series, stated in an interview with Collider, that when envisioning Joe, the main protagonist of the series, she wanted to delve deeply into the root cause of the pathology of his behavior that shaped his amoral position to justify and rationalize stalking, kidnapping and killing his victims. When she was writing the character, she stated that "I want to understand what coaxes behavior of this nature out of that very tiny percentage of men. I like to think it’s a very tiny percentage of men who would cross a line like the line that Joe Goldberg crosses".[121]

In an interview at The Contenders Emmys 2019 panel, Gamble highlighted the importance of casting the right person to play the role of Joe Goldberg. She stated that "it had to be a love story and a horror movie in every single scene", further adding that if they "cast someone who was sort of creepy, then the story wouldn't work; the idea is that it's a lead in a romantic comedy who works in a bookstore and a woman walks in, they have a cute meet and fall in love and live happily ever after. That's the show."[122] Expanding on her commentary on the show's themes and origin, Gamble stated at The Hollywood Reporter's roundtable interview, that she was not surprised to hear an overwhelming reception to Joe's character amongst online fans and viewers, citing that "There's a very vocal contingent of fans of Caroline Kepnes' book [on which You is based] who were like, "I heart Joe." Essentially what she's done is taken the classic romantic hero and just peeled back the gloss and sheen and John Cusack with the boombox and she followed it to its logical conclusion. I mean, if you turn off the sappy music and turn on a David Fincher score, romantic comedies are stalker movies. The plot of pretty much every one I can think of — and we have watched all of them many times in the writers room — is contingent on the guy ... well, first of all, he has to do a certain amount of fucking up so she can forgive him. And he has to get over some of her shortcomings. I mean, that's love, right? But also, he's chasing her through a fucking airport, chasing her on a freeway, watching her sleep because he feels protective. Romantic comedy behavior in real life is criminal! And that was basically the starting place for the show."[123]

After the series was acquired by Netflix, Gamble noted in several interviews on the changes that would occur in the following season. In an interview with New Musical Express, Gamble highlighted that an exploration of Joe's descent in future storylines will further necessitate a focus on underlying issues that inform his skewed worldview. She later added that "We’re interested in exploring the character and we’re well aware that what the character is doing is not ok – it’s deeply, deeply problematic. So what’s interesting to us is: what does he think he’s done wrong, what does he think he has to do differently, and to really explore that while still keeping that clinical cold eye on the whole show. And that eye is on a show that’s about a guy who kills people."[67] Given the hands off approach that Netflix is known for, Gamble added in an interview with The New York Times that the second season will be different, explaining that "Certain things are changing in the way we are thinking about Season 2 of You. We have a little more flexibility around timing, since we don’t have commercial ads, and also we can say the word [expletive] a lot more. As someone who swears a lot, that’s a great thing. Netflix lets you give as many [expletive] as you want."[124] In an interview with LadBible, Gamble declared that the team's approach to writing the second season would necessitate a change in the formula, noting that "We knew that it wouldn't be possible to repeat it as the audience is very much onto Joe now and will see through him". Furthermore, she highlighted that the second season will be more "gorier and scarier than anything we had in season one."[125]

Due to narrative changes, the second season would necessitate a shift in setting to Los Angeles from the prior season. As a result, Gamble noted in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the season will have a different feeling, citing that "Los Angeles is full of people who are really trying to live their best life and self-actualize," and that "When you put somebody who needs a lot of healing into a city that advertises itself basically as this Mecca full of cutting-edge healers, the alchemy is a little unexpected for him." She further added, that there will be more deviations in the ongoing story compared to Kepnes' sequel novel Hidden Bodies but stressed that some plot elements will still be adapted in the second season.[126] Speaking in an interview with Vogue, the showrunner explained that the second season, offered an opportunity for the writers to satirize and dig beneath the Hollywood scene, influencer lifestyle and wellness culture that permeates the surface of Los Angeles.[127][128] Though, Gamble mentioned that it was imperative to balance the pokes at L.A. culture by representing a different side to the city, citing that "I think when you squint at it from far away, it seems like a city that’s sprung up around the entertainment business which is technically true to a certain extent, but a lot of the portrayal of LA that people have seen in stuff like Entourage... and what you see in tabloids, where you think it’s all famous people running around to their plastic surgeon and in BMWs, and that’s actually a very small slice of a city that’s this vast patchwork of neighbourhoods. We’re all very lucky that Hollywood is here because it’s paying our bills... the reach of Hollywood is vast... but people have much fuller, deeper more expansive lives than that, once you’re here."[129] In an interview with Boston Herald, Gamble stated that "Joe will always have biting thoughts about other people," further highlighting that "so it’s fun to drop him into an environment that gives him a lot of fodder. He had judgments about the crowd in New York, and he also does about the crowd around him in L.A. And since we [the show’s creative team] all live in Los Angeles, that’s a lot of fun for us. We’re really excited to do the other side of the coin."[130]

Reception[edit]

Audience viewership[edit]

On January 17, 2019, Netflix announced that the series was on track to be streamed by over 40 million viewers within its first month of release on the streaming platform.[131] On December 13, 2019, Netflix announced that the first season had been viewed by over 43 million viewers since its release on the service.[4]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the first season has a 93% approval rating with 56 reviews, with an average rating of 6.97/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "You pairs thrilling drama with trashy fun to create an addictive social media horror story that works its way under the skin – and stays there."[132] Review aggregator Metacritic gave the first season a normalized score of 74 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[133]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season has a 91% rating with an average rating of 8.08/10, based on 35 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Penn Badgley's perversely endearing serial stalker keeps looking for love in all the wrong places during a second season that maintains the subversive tension while adding some welcome variations on the series' formula."[134] On Metacritic, the second season has a weighted average score of 74 out of 100, based on 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[135]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2019 Saturn Awards Best Streaming Horror & Thriller Series You Nominated [136]
Best Actor in a Streaming Presentation Penn Badgley Nominated
Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation Elizabeth Lail Nominated

Home media[edit]

The first season will be released on DVD as a manufacture-on-demand title by Warner Archive Collection on January 14, 2020.[137]

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