#NewsBytesExplainer: Why people love to love Netflix 'YOU's Joe Goldberg
Netflix's global sensation YOU—whose Season 4 Part 2 dropped on Thursday—has climbed viewership charts ever since its inception in 2018. The show has amassed a cult following, who have even supported protagonist Joe Goldberg even when he dispatched several people to death's door. Viewers—especially women—seem to root for Goldberg, despite him being the very manifestation of all things evil. Why does that happen?
But first, read what the show is all about
YOU follows the twisted life of Goldberg (Penn Badgley), who lives in New York and works at a bookstore. He has had a troubled past and lived a difficult life with his abusive father, the psychological repercussions of which he carries even in his adult life. He regularly meets and falls in "love" with women, only to kill them eventually mercilessly with no remorse.
Goldberg's obsessive, protective nature appeals to some women
In a conversation with indy100, Clarissa Silva, a psychologist, broke down women's love for Goldberg and their "attraction" toward them. Goldberg's "attention to detail," his "protective nature" and the lengths to which he can go to protect his lady love are all wrongfully perceived as romantic as "many haven't experienced romance and they would like to have it emulated in their lives."
Some women think they can 'fix' a broken, loveless man
"Some women see a person that is broken, and that failed to be loved at some point in their lives and can empathize with him. They see a person who can benefit from their nurturing," says Silva while dissecting women's psychology toward the character. Several women have accepted on social media that know Goldberg's actions are wrong, and yet, they want him to succeed.
Parallels can be drawn to several notorious serial killers
"Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, and David Berkowitz were perceived not as master manipulators but charming, powerful, hypermasculine, and an idealized version of a partner," explains Silva further. This usually happens due to a condition called Hybristophilia, more commonly known as the Bonnie and Clyde syndrome where one's dark traits and problematic behavior amp up their attractiveness. Example: the cliche of women loving "bad men."
Badgley's incredible acting, monologues, and overall personality's contribution
Another reason why people are so unapologetically attracted to Goldberg is, of course, because of the actor portraying him, whose fan-following runs in millions across the globe. Apart from YOU, Badgley is also known for his work in The Stepfather and Gossip Girl. Several fans have stated that perhaps it's Badgley they love and not Goldberg, but sometimes it's "difficult to chart out differences."
Badgley has repeatedly asked viewers to reassess their choice
Badgley has repeatedly reminded viewers that Goldberg is not the man they should be rooting for, no matter how handsome or attractive he may seem. In 2019, he responded to some viewers on Twitter who had mentioned that they "crush over Joe" and will "root for him no matter what." "You're supposed to see past my face TO the crazy sh*t," he once tweeted.Share this timeline