Netflix is the guy from You.
And they are going to make you watch YOU when you least expect it. I didn’t even know what YOU was until Netflix was auto-playing the trailer and then the pilot episode after I finished Derry Girls. In fact, for my regularly scheduled Wednesday morning article here at That’s Normal, I was planning on talking about Derry Girls which is hilariously caustic AND set in the 90s (two of my favorite things). But suddenly my eyeballs are glued to YOU thank to Netflix’s sociopathic algorithm that knows me better than I know myself, and I don’t want to sleep tonight, and I forgot what Derry Girls was even about.
Netflix has figured out what I want before I know it exists, and along with Instagram sending me perfect targeted ads for things I definitely want and never googled, I would like it to stop because it creeps me out. But I would also like it to never stop because how would I know that the MVMT Malibu Marble watch is on sale without Instagram stalking me … and how would I know that I was going to fall in love with a show about a stalker without Netflix also being one???
That’s right. YOU is about a hot guy, Joe (played by Penn Badgley from Gossip Girl) who starts stalking a gorgeous woman, Beck (Elizabeth Lail) after meeting her ONE TIME. The show starts out in my least favorite way: 2nd person. Joe is speaking directly to Beck as they meet and he begins his obsession with her. And since YOU is based on a book of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, I’m going to guess that it is also written in 2nd person and … gross, Netflix. I never asked for that.
YOU is also NOT what it first appears to be. NOT a Netflix original. Despite being the newest hit of 2019 (it hit Netflix in late December), YOU originally aired this past fall on LIFETIME. You guys, I haven’t watched anything on Lifetime since I lived with my mother and she made me. I know some of you enjoy a Megan Markle special here and there, but that is not my jam. I don’t watch Hallmark movies and I only watch PBS if Benedict Cumberbatch is in something. But Netflix is over here auto-playing to the tune of my heartstrings with this new show about a bookish brunette boy with soulful eyes who sees into this precious blonde writer’s heart, and I AM HOOKED ON A LIFETIME ORIGINAL? How dare you dupe me like that, Netflix.
THEN within fifteen minutes of this couple’s meet cute in a old, New York bookstore where Joe is the resident know-it-all bibliophile who judges rightly every person who deigns enter his domain, and Beck is the unassuming grad student who is picking up some less-than-pretentious poetry from the unwitting celebrity section, LESS THAN FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER Joe is shockingly able to find her full name, last known location, workplace, shoe size and … her address. He’s outside her window before the day is out, watching her do all the things we do in private, and I AM NOT OK, NETFLIX. I realize you are probably watching me write this article about you from the camera on my MacBook, but I don’t like the reminder that you are a total creep, Tech Giant of My Nightmares.
What makes YOU so fascinating is that Joe is a complete and utter sociopath – living and working in the world and hiding all of his worse tendencies. He’s helping old ladies gets cabs, he’s practically mentoring a young boy with no positive male role models into a literary world of empathy and bliss, he’s channeling all your Hugh Grant in Notting Hill fantasies into his daily book-selling little life. But he is also stalking da f**k outta this girl. And it never ends. And that’s sounds just like you, Netflix.
So … should you watch YOU? Look, I’m not going to tell you what to do. If you live alone, I say no. If you’re single and afraid of your character judgement, please no. But the truth is, you don’t need me to recommend this or any other show to you ever again because Netflix sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake, and WILL LET YOU KNOW when you need to watch YOU or anything else that will creep you out at night. See you in real life Black Mirror.