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Netflix show tackles the perils of oversharing on social media

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WHILE MANY viewers may have already moved on to Netflix’s comedy series Sex Education as their next binge, Lifetime’s YOU is reminding viewers why they loved the crime/psychological thriller which the streaming service premiered on December 2018. The show sheds light on how much people share on their social media accounts and how they interact with it.

(Sex Education is a teenage comedy about how the son of a sex therapist takes a page out of his mother’s book and creates a secret sex therapy clinic in his school.)

“I think [playing Joe] was always a balance between making this guy real… I was thinking sometimes [that] he’s meant to represent things that are all inside of us,” actor Penn Dayton Badgely, who plays Joe Goldberg in YOU, said in a media event on Jan. 14 at The Peninsula Manila in Makati City.

YOU, based on the 2014 Caroline Kepnes novel of the same name, follows Joe, a charming bookshop manager who falls in love and becomes obsessed with Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and aims to give her the “life she deserves” — even at the cost of the lives of people around her.

The series, developed by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, was named by The Binge Report as the most popularly binged series at the beginning of the year.

And it is easy to understand why, as actress Shay Mitchell — who plays Peach Salinger, Beck’s best friend — noted in the same media event that people fall in love with Joe’s character because he is attractive and disregard all his serial killer tendencies.




Mr. Badgely made waves on social media a few days ago after fans of the show sent tweets to him with statements like, “kidnap me pls” and professing their love for his character — he responded that Joe is “a murderer” and should not be romanticized.

Ms. Mitchell said that she has asked her friends if they “were watching the same show” after they said they were attracted to Joe.

“There are so many people that can fall in love and become obsessed with somebody they never even met before, and that’s the world we live in now,” Ms. Mitchell said.

She said that with the popularity of social media, people “become fascinated with people because you feel you get to know them with what they put out there.” But she cautioned that most things people put on social media are their “highlight reels” and not reality.

YOU, as a series about the inner working of a serial killer’s mind, takes a page out of Showtime’s Dexter (which aired in 2006 and followed the eponymous forensic technician who lives a double life as a vigilante serial killer) as YOU’s Joe, like Dexter Morgan (played by Michael C. Hall), frequently sees himself narrating the series, giving viewers an in-depth view of how his psychopathic mind works.

But what makes YOU so successful is how it has placed itself in the social media zeitgeist and portrays the perils of oversharing in social media.

“We all use social media like Joe. I mean, actually, what Joe is doing is, in a way, quite normal. That’s the most disturbing part — he isn’t really doing anything that’s super high-tech,” Mr. Badgely said, noting that this isn’t really at all different from people who investigate people online.

“The meta-response [to the show] is quite deep and if we’re not careful, Joe can bring out the ‘Joe’ in us,” he added. — Zsarlene B. Chua