He’s Not Toxic, He’s A Predator: Penn Badgley Wants ‘You’ To Know The Difference



No one hates Joe Goldberg more than Penn Badgley himself, the actor who plays the main character in Netflix’ YOU.

RELATED: Penn Badgley On Doing It All For Love On ‘YOU’ Season 2

“I would change the world before I waste my time changing Joe,” Penn Badgley says about his character in the hit Netflix series, “YOU,” during an exclusive video chat interview with MEGA last November.

At this point, most–if not everyone–already know that Joe Goldberg is a bad guy. But YOU still has a way of making us root for Joe, even when he’s being creepily disgusting. It goes without saying that a performance like that requires to have a charming, charismatic and sexy lead, which is exactly why Penn Badgley is perfect for the role.

The show puts us inside the head of Joe Goldberg, a sociopathic stalker that thinks he’s a hopeless lover. He lets us know his intentions and inevitably keeps us on his side throughout the story. Sure, we watch him murder people and obsessively stalk his victims, but at the same time, we want to see how long he can get away with it. In the second season, the series picks up where it left off; Joe Goldberg’s escape after finding out that Candace, his not-so-dead ex-girlfriend, is alive and plotting revenge. He packs his bags and flees to Los Angeles, a.k.a the last place he wants to be, and starts a new life with a new identity as Will Bettleheim.

Photo from Netflix

By now, we could assume that season two would be predictable; he meets a girl, falls in love, and ends up killing her. But it is clear that the creators are trying to avoid the same formula for season two–all without having to lose the impact of its predecessor. So if season one had Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), an insecure girl whom Joe has to chase around and manipulate into falling for him, season two has Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti) a confident woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it… and it just so happens to be Joe. Or should I say Will Bettleheim?

“It’s a new experience because Love actually wants to be in a relationship with him,” Penn explains.

“Joe had to chase Beck in a way that made a lot of sense to Joe because he’s a predator. Love doesn’t make as much sense to Joe if any, because she’s not prey. She’s trying to be in a meaningful relationship with him. And actually, that continues to really destabilize Joe in new ways.”

Joe faces a lot of obstacles in season two that we haven’t seen in the previous season. One is the fact that his ex (that he tried to murder) was alive and back to get her revenge. Another is his personal conflict, his self-awareness and desire to be a better person in the name of Love. Joe also encounters new characters such as Love’s co-dependent brother, Forty Quinn (James Scully) and his neighbors, Delilah (Carla Zumbado) and Ellie (Jenna Ortega.)

Photo from Netflix

However, despite the twists and turns for season two, it still has parallels from the first season. For instance, his need to be the savior and step in the role of a big brother to his neighbor Paco in the first season. This time, he becomes the protector for 15-year-old Ellie when he finds out that she’s hanging out with a pedophile in the film industry. Another parallel is the obvious murders that he commits throughout the season.

All the same, season two of YOU hooks the audience into binge-watching the whole series. It’s just as gripping, shocking, and it doesn’t disappoint. Because just like the first season, you’ll be at the edge of your seat in the last episode and ask yourself, “WTF did I just watch?”

YOU season 2 is streaming on Netflix now.

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