Pittsburgh — When the first season of Netflix’s "You" was released, I’ll admit I was intrigued. But after the second season, I’ve grown sick of fans lusting after the sociopathic main character.
The show centers around the mind and inner thoughts of Joe, played by Penn Badgley, and he is not your typical knight in shining armor. He kills all in the name of love. In the first season, his obsession was with an aspiring writer named Beck. He stalked her, killed for her and manipulated her to think he was the perfect man — and people ate this up.
“You” is a contributor to the fetishization of murder and Joe was worse in Season 2. With the new season, I’m not hopeful for a change.
Am I alone in my disgust? Yes and no.
Maggie Vlasaty, 23, said constant portrayals of negative in entertainment may cause negative actions in real life, but that “The show is entertaining. All forms of fiction, no matter what media they come to us in, need to be ingested with a grain of salt.”
Christian Fernandez believes fetishization is dangerous.
“I feel like people have gone in a weird direction where people correlate ‘sexiness’ with the true crime genre. It happened with the Zac Efron in “Ted Bundy” when “South Park” called it ‘murder porn’ and it keeps going. While this may not be new, it’s a disturbing trend that shouldn’t be encouraged,” said the 24-year-old.
I needed to learn how we got to this point and consulted with an expert who provided historical insight on the fascination of violence and murder.
Dr. Barna William Donovan said we can look as far back to the mid-1800s and the “National Police Gazette” and to keep in mind that art doesn’t always imitate life. There’s no fear factor involved.
The magazine “found immense success by featuring stories of real-world crimes and frontier outlaws. People would make entertainment out of watching public executions. In frontier towns, the hangings of criminals ranging from murderers to cattle rustlers and horse thieves would draw huge crowds. Families would pack up picnic baskets and take the kids to see the executions of outlaws like this,” said the author and professor at Saint Peter’s University.
When asked if “You” or similar shows are a danger to society, he said “no.”
Season 3 of “You” debuts Friday.