Netflix's 'You' Star Penn Badgley: Pop Culture's Portrayal of Love is Messed Up

you season 2 penn badgely

Ever since Netflix’s hit series You season 2 dropped, the cast has been on a press tour to discuss all the twisted shit that went down.

Penn Badgley, aka murdering stalker psychopath Joe Goldberg, recently sat down with Vice UK to discuss how messed up Joe’s view of love is. But equally as messed up? How pop culture portrays romance.

In fact, Penn actually thinks that You helps to remind women of just how fucked up romantic tropes in rom-coms truly are. He explained,

“I think [You] helps us to see that we have some really strange and distorted ideas about love and relationships that seem more like lust and possession than actual love.”

He continued,

“But we’re inundated in pop culture with stories of love that have nothing to do with love. And we have been as long as there’s been pop culture, so I think the fact that the show makes us think about these things is actually really great.”

netflix you season 2 joe goldberg
Victoria Pedretti and Penn Badgley in You

Although Penn acknowledges that the show doesn’t offer “constructive solutions,” he is grateful that it’s at least starting a conversation about make behavior in relationships.

You is certainly starting a conversation alright. And even though it obviously takes things to the extreme, there are some very real aspects of Joe’s relationships that are unfortunately all too common in real life. Aggression, possessiveness, and stalker-esque behavior are all things that we see every day and are sadly portrayed as “romantic” in pop culture. How many movies have we seen where the guy continues to pursue a woman even if she isn’t interested? They somehow get us to root for the male suitor, just hoping that eventually he’ll wear her down and they’ll magically fall in love.

But sometimes it takes something extreme to show us the truth behind things we consider to be “normal.” And that’s precisely what Penn Badgley hopes to achieve with You.


‘You’ Season 2 Review: We Need to Talk About Joe’s White Savior Complex

Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.