You: You (on Lifetime and Netflix)
January 21, 2019 6:15 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A clever bookstore manager relies on his savvy Internet know-how to make the woman of his dreams fall in love with him. First airing on the Lifetime network, You appeared on Netflix this winter and finally found its audience. "You has the three most important qualities that translate to success on Netflix: * An attractive cast * A bingeable quality * A meme-able quality."

Half romance, half "thriller" (erm?), You is a sometimes strange journey into the romantic life of Joe and Beck.
posted by k8t (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I saw a lot of friends talking about this show on social media, so I started watching it. While it did make me feel a little nostalgic for Gossip Girl, I was overall turned off. I thought that the acting was pretty bad. The only redeemable character was the bookstore employee. And anything sort of interesting and intriguing about why Joe is like this was made so obvious. And some plot lines were trotted out and disappeared - like what happened to Beck attending graduate school and her weird relationships with her classmates and professors? Or Beck's family? Or Beck's active sex life before Joe? Did Joe put Mr. Mooney into some sort of state of disability? How do they all get around NYC so quickly?

But the worst part was that the entire season could have been 3 or 4 seasons. When Joe started (randomly) dating the neighbor's friend Karen, it felt like Season 2. Then after he killed Peach, it felt like it could have been Season 3. And then even more stuff happened! This seemed like really poor planning.

But like many Netflix or streaming shows, by the time I was a few episodes in, I was stuck. I felt compelled to finish it in a week or so, just to know what happened. Also see Man on a High Castle.
posted by k8t at 6:20 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I disliked this show. I found the bookstore employee interesting as well as his romance. I would much rather watch a whole season of those two.

I think part of the problem is I found Beck deeply annoying. Full disclosure: I got my MFA at NYU and I didn't run into anyone like her. Her character is more like what people imagine MFA students are like. I also agree with k8t that the pacing was REAAAAALLLLLYYYY rushed on this.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:35 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


I was excited about this show because I enjoy books like this (although I have not read the book the show was based on), but this was honestly too bad to actually enjoy. But I marathoned it all in one day while really sick and it was an OK entertainment for the circumstances.

Complaints:

1) Weird tonal shifts between the "romance" part of the show and the "thriller" part of the show. The romantic scenes between Joe and Beck felt like they were directed to be... romantic. When instead they were skin-crawling and terrifying because I know that he's a sociopathic predator? The inherent dread in every aspect of this was for some reason played down so that we could get cutesy love scenes like something out of a romantic comedy.

2) Beck is really annoying. Stop walking around naked in front of huge, open, street-level windows, literally no one does this. She's also a "writer" who is somehow the least observant person on earth, failing to notice for weeks as a guy she actually knows is visibly lurking in the background of her every destination and interaction.

3) Hated the ending. Despite Beck being annoying I still wanted to see her save herself and that was basically the only reason I watched the whole show. I desperately need to see Joe taken down and now I'm probably going to reluctantly watch the second season (if there is one) just to see if it happens.

Joe's interactions with the neighbor boy were one of the most interesting parts of the show. Also interesting how he and the kid's drunk abusive stepdad both recognized and disliked the other as a different kind of predator.
posted by the turtle's teeth at 8:07 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed this as a binge watch, and because it surprised me by how funny it was. Those moments of humor made me think that the show wanted the audience to watch Joe and Beck at a remove, but then, yes, their romance was romantic. I also agree that the character of Beck was annoying and utterly unremarkable (obviously, the actress is still very beautiful). At least we got a somewhat reasonable explanation for her housing, unsatisfying as it was.

Also interesting how he and the kid's drunk abusive stepdad both recognized and disliked the other as a different kind of predator.

I think the show really missed a chance to show how Joe's good-guy facade and controlling isolation could be as abusive as Ron's drunken violence. Why are Beck and Claudia so different?

Observations that have nothing to do with the characters: this is one show that really used phones/email/texting well and incorporated all of those things into the watching experience well. Maybe better than any other show I've seen. Like, some of Beck and Joe's texting conversations? I could sit there and think: that would work on me, I'd fall for that kind of banter in a second.

I kind of loved how awful everyone except Ethan and Blythe were (bookstore employee and poet/writer gf). It was so great seeing John Stamos too, and I hope he's back for a second season.
posted by gladly at 10:12 AM on January 22 [4 favorites]


John Stamos was the least real therapist-y of any TV therapist.

I found the child actor playing Paco to be really annoying. He was on Crazy Ex Girlfriend this season playing Rebecca's showbiz obsessed brother. That made more sense.

I understood that Joe was mentoring him and hoping that he would turn out better than Joe had. And this was one of Joe's few "he isn't totally evil" moments. But it didn't feel like this was actually positioned against any of his bad behavior in a useful way. It was more like... Reminder, he isn't all bad.

My husband could not stop screaming at Beck naked in front of the window. Also how did she pay for that apartment?
posted by k8t at 10:40 AM on January 22


I loved the use of animated gifs in group texts. I haven't seen that in any other show that uses texts (Jane the Virgin comes to mind).
posted by k8t at 10:41 AM on January 22


My husband could not stop screaming at Beck naked in front of the window. Also how did she pay for that apartment?

The housing was tied to her TA status; it's why she agrees to have a drink with her professor. Flimsy, but I did appreciate the show acknowledging Beck could never have afforded that place. And, yes, some curtains, and this show would never have happened.
posted by gladly at 11:05 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed this as a hatewatch and got several friends to watch because it was fun to yell at. No one on the show was likeable, and it had so many plot holes, and everything was wrong and it was wonderful.

k8t, I felt the same way about Paco! He felt like the worst child to ever be in a show. Especially in the final episode.

Who just randomly goes to Greenpoint! How dare they use the Bowery subway station as the Greenpoint Ave station. Also, of all the weird "coincidences" Joe perpetrated, the most believable one was being at the Dickens Fair and then he goes and tells Beck he was only there for her.

I can't wait to yell at season two.
posted by loriginedumonde at 11:13 AM on January 22 [3 favorites]


My husband could not stop screaming at Beck naked in front of the window.
I just assumed she must be Dutch.
posted by rongorongo at 11:20 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Every time Paco was on screen, I thought of this.
posted by k8t at 11:42 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


The only redeemable character was the bookstore employee.

I found the bookstore employee interesting as well as his romance.


Check out I Feel Bad (i cant say im otherwise particularly inclined to recommend the show). Zach Cherry (the actor who plays the bookstore employee) plays part of the endearingly juvenile team Sarayu Rao's main character manages.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:52 PM on January 22


I think one of the things I appreciate was Hari Nef's casting. I really enjoyed her in Assassination Nation, and I wish she had been given more to do here. But it's great that she got to be part of the one healthy relationship in the show.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:04 PM on January 22 [2 favorites]


I was also bummed that she had to little to do!

And I was so devastatingly bummed this show wasn't as smart as I thought it would be. And that the bad guy won! And that people are still shipping his character on twitter because he's bookish and cute, just like people were shipping Jamie Dornan's character on The Fall because he's Jamie Dornan, which somehow bizarrely and unfathomably overcomes his character being a serial killer.

But yeah. Beck made some weird slipups and lies in the early episodes, so naturally I assumed that Beck had more going on. In my version, Beck is the one staking out Joe from the beginning! She had secretly been a friend of Candace or maybe her sister. She hadn't heard from Candace in ages, and knowing Joe was sketchy, she goes to the bookstore to meet Joe and begin to build his confidence in her. So of course she went braless to the bookstore. Of course she kept her windows uncovered, knowing she would draw him in. Of course she noticed he was following her because no one is that stupid.

And there were weird slipups. Saying her dad was dead, as a way of concealing her real relationship to Candace. Veering away from Candace's friend at Peach's party when any normal person would have stuck around hearing about their date as a means of self preservation. And when she met Blythe, Blythe was sure Beck was from New Jersey instead of Nantucket, and Beck seemed weirdly alarmed. I was hoping that eventually it would be Blythe, being as weirdly awesomely astute as she was, would start to question Beck's weird behavior and potentially wreck Beck's ability to get evidence on Joe. In my version, Beck has to go through life manipulating more and more people so she can learn the fate of Candace, and that's stressful and interesting to watch! And made the romantic scenes much more interesting as well, because there's a cat-mouse-cat thing going on and you wonder how far each will go.

It was so good, right? And I believed all of this until long after Peach died! (Or even thought, hey, Beck doesn't have evidence on Candace's presumed death, no one saw her leave in the Uber, maybe she sacrified Peach and set it up to frame Joe because she could never get the right evidence on Joe and she had to end it somehow.)

I wanted Beck to be as sick, if not more sick, than Joe in her focus of searching for her friend/sister Candace.

And then I was hooked and annoyed, and watched til the end and got to see a red piller get away with murder. I could care less about Candace.

Pffffft.

Seriously, Pffffffffffffffffffffft.

The actress who plays Beck also plays Disney's Anna from Frozen in Once Upon a Time. It's kind of wonderful to rewatch an episode of that with her looking all wide-eyed in braids.
posted by mochapickle at 10:09 PM on January 22 [4 favorites]


Beck is the one staking out Joe from the beginning!

Having given up on You after a couple of episodes - I am pretty surprised that this is not how the story line was going to go. As you say, it would have been a far superior structure - especially in a show where it is the arrogant but duped "hunter" that serves as the narrator.
posted by rongorongo at 10:43 PM on January 22


Mochapickle, I would totally buy into that show. It would much more satisfying that an mfa sleeping with her therapist (WHAT?!) who then becomes obsessed with her because apparently all of humankind is completely defenseless against her clueless wiles. (Except for me. I'm somehow weirdly resistant.)

There's also the weirdness of the fact that she was sleeping with her therapist but still treating him as an actual therapist. And continues to do so even when they have a relationship. It's not just that SHE doesn't see that this is a conflict of interest for the therapist, but he doesn't either even though he's apparently a married man.

Sigh. So many things wrong with this show.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:27 AM on January 23 [3 favorites]


Weird tonal shifts between the "romance" part of the show and the "thriller" part of the show. The romantic scenes between Joe and Beck felt like they were directed to be... romantic. When instead they were skin-crawling and terrifying because I know that he's a sociopathic predator?

This is actually what I loved most about the show! Because it was playing on all the rape culture cliches we see in romances. It was leaning hard on all of the cultural training we've gotten to find stalking and other huge red flags as sweet, cute, innocent. I read the show as intending us to feel disturbed by the huge cognitive dissonance between what Joe's actions really are like with how they are portrayed within the framework of romance.

The fact that so many people are lusting after Joe online is, perhaps, evidence that the show didn't work for most people like it did for me.
posted by meese at 8:06 AM on January 23 [5 favorites]


Despite some of the flaws already mentioned here, overall I liked it. I got a very 'Dexter and Harry' vibe from the relationship between Joe and Mr. Mooney.
posted by unliteral at 5:09 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I read the show as intending us to feel disturbed by the huge cognitive dissonance between what Joe's actions really are like with how they are portrayed within the framework of romance.

I also took the show as being more aware of this tension, but reading here about some of the audience reactions (eg having Joe fantasies? Really?) makes me question if the show isn't as nuanced as I thought it was.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:35 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


(eg having Joe fantasies? Really?)

Yep. Penn Badgley has actually had to tell fans to stop romanticizing his character. (ET link)

Similarly, Netflix is currently discouraging comments from viewers who are obsessed with Ted Bundy's looks and charm. (Refinery29)

People are weird.
posted by mochapickle at 8:31 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


Did anyone feel like everyone else in the show was pathologically self-involved to the point where you half said "At least he thinks he's doing something for someone else?" Case in point when the friend at the end who says she received her dead friend's novel naming the killer in the mail and immediately knew she had to call her literary agent? I laughed at that, but also thought it representative of all the friends' behavior, and Beck's, throughout.

Was part of the point here that everyone is so full of themselves in this world that you half root for the psycho? Like Heathers without the camp black comedy?
posted by xammerboy at 3:18 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Xammerboy-or perhaps a little American Psycho?
posted by miss-lapin at 8:17 AM on January 31


The actors made this watchable but the way the season ended (and the fact that they intend a second season at all) felt cynical and contemptuous enough to retroactively poison the whole viewing experience. I don't want to revisit this world or its characters and I feel like I got conned into watching a "cute and funny" snuff film.
posted by prize bull octorok at 8:24 AM on February 5 [3 favorites]


Ugh, all I wanted is for Peach to succeed at killing Joe, and then the entire show to pivot and become about Peach's obsession. Was that too much to ask for?!
posted by redsparkler at 12:06 AM on February 27 [2 favorites]


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