August 18, 2022

‘You’ spotlights toxicity in modern love

Here’s the thing about love–it’s crazy.

While in love, you find yourself doing some ridiculous things sometimes. Suddenly you’re taking spontaneous vacations, buying each other extraordinary gifts, and you’re with each other every waking moment of every single day.

But that love-induced high isn’t the best–or most healthy–thing for you, and the series You portrays that in a chillingly accurate way.

The show is about bookseller Joe Goldberg and his obsession with a writer he meets at the bookstore, Guinevere Beck, or just Beck for short. Joe uses his skills prowling the internet in order to find out whatever he can about her and her friends so that he can get closer to her and make her fall in love with him.

He steals her phone, follows her, watches her through her window and even kills her boyfriend and best friend, all in order to have her for himself. And the whole time, Beck is oblivious.

Benn Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, bookstore manager and stalker boyfriend.

And while Joe’s behavior is obviously extreme, it’s frightening because controlling situations like these happen all the time on much smaller scales.

The toxicity that exists in many relationships is something that, somehow, often gets overlooked. Controlling who your significant other texts or hangs out with, forcing you to give away your social media passwords, and needing to know where you are 100 percent of the time are way too common in these tech-controlled relationships.

And a lot of the time, the person in the relationship being controlled is just as unaware of it as Beck is in You. In a lot of the same ways as the tragic heroine, it’s easy to subliminally justify the controlling actions.

For example, while watching the show, your mind goes from “wow, Joe is being absolutely crazy” to “well, Beck was being kind of shady.”

And, hopefully, the problem there is obvious: you’re justifying the toxic, controlling behavior. The strength in Joe’s demeanor, the way that he seems so sure of himself, is poisonous. He hides his toxicity behind a kind, charming, good-guy shell and you’re too smitten to notice the bad traits.

You end up rooting for Joe, somehow. Crazy, possessive, stalker Joe. He just wants love, after all.

And the series does exactly what it’s meant to do: it makes you aware of everything that’s happening. It opens up your eyes to the problems in both your and other people’s relationships and urges you to do the right thing. It prompts you to speak up about another person’s problems or take action in your own relationship.

You takes a conventionally attractive male and makes you fall for him. It blinds you, makes it hard to look past the crazy.

But please, try to look past the crazy, or you might end up like Guinevere Beck.

  • Sydney was the managing editor at the Chimes for her junior and senior years after working as a staff reporter during her first year at Capital in 2017. Sydney graduated in 2020 with a degree in professional writing and journalism. Some of her favorite things are cold brew, books about dragons, horror films, and her cat, Sterling.

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