You, now streaming on Netflix, tilts the rom-com into postmodern horror

In You, rom-com fantasies are reimagined as the stuff of postmodern horror.

The series is a long, poisoned bath in male toxicity. It was one of the best new dramas of the year.

Everything about the Lifetime series You, which recently concluded its first season and just started streaming on Netflix (where it will move for its second season), is a trap.

The show flirts with being outright pulpy trash, then bounces gleefully between genres, underlining the many ways those genres prop up systems that prioritize the feelings and accomplishments of toxic men. Over the course of its 10-episode first season, the show visits the romantic comedy, the “bad boy reformed by a good girl” story, the stalker thriller, and the “girl comes of age in the big city” tale, taking only the parts of these stories it needs, then leaving their corpses moldering in the ground.

But its genre-hopping and its trashier elements are very much intentional. You is a story about what happens when you assume that other people don’t have stories. It imprisons viewers in the point-of-view of Joe (Penn Badgley), a nice-guy narcissist who meets the girl of his dreams, then quietly stalks her to transform himself into her perfect guy. And that’s just his first course of action; from there, he slowly eliminates threats to his dominance over her heart, convinced that he’s protecting her from people who don’t want what’s best for her (like he does). Even when he commits murder, he frames it as chivalric.

This is icky moral territory to wade into at any time, but especially in an era when terrible men are newly exposed every day, and asking viewers to spend a 10-episode season trapped inside the brain of one feels like a tall order. And, to be sure, plenty of critics and viewers have been turned off …read more

Source:: Vox – All

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