The ‘You’ Showrunner Makes The Case For Stalker Joe Not Being Much Different Than Other Romcom Leads


You moved from Lifetime to Netflix over last winter’s holidays and quickly became a dangerously addictive binge watch. Soon, though, star Penn Badgley urged viewers to please stop lusting over his serial-killing, sociopathic leading character, and he also stated that men are even more horrified than some women by Stalker Joe’s popularity. Season 2 is currently in production because, well, it’s such a darn watchable series. Showrunner Sera Gamble has now weighed in on the show’s popularity and why Joe’s actually not much different than, say, romcom “heroes” like Lloyd Dobler from 1989’s Say Anything.

Let’s briefly refresh our memories on exactly how pushy Dobler was while pursuing the object of his affections by holding a boombox (to the tune of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”) outside her window. In retrospect, it’s not a good look.

20th Century Fox

While speaking during a Hollywood Reporter roundtable, Gamble elaborated:

“There’s a very vocal contingent of fans of Caroline Kepnes’ book who were like, ‘I heart Joe.’ Essentially what she’s done is taken the classic romantic hero and just peeled back the gloss and sheen and John Cusack with the boom box and she followed it to its logical conclusion. I mean, if you turn off the sappy music and turn on a David Fincher score, romantic comedies are stalker movies.”

Gamble continued arguing, rather convincingly, that romcom behavior — like the placard scene in Love Actually; Bridget Jones’ snowy, mad dash; or even George Clooney surprising Vera Farmiga at her family’s home in Up In The Air — is generally pretty stalker-y, even accounting for permutations. So, the beginning point for how she crafted You was to remember that “[r]omantic comedy behavior in real life is criminal!” And that gets literal in You with Joe breaking into Beck’s apartment, stealing her phone, and watching her have sex, eat, and sleep. Gamble makes a fair point, even if her words might result in a sobering realization.

Netflix’s You season 2 is due at some point in 2019.

(Via Hollywood Reporter)