The masturbating scene in the You pilot episode, according to actor Penn Badgley, was initially far nastier. You on Netflix, narrated by Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg, provides viewers insight into a stalker’s thoughts as Joe looks for a new victim each season and pursues her in an effort to attract her. Despite the fact that the targets of his devotion frequently die, he continues to seek out new victims and exhibit increasingly hideous actions. Joe’s conviction that he always acts out of love is the center of the story, and his fantasies of romance drive him to commit some highly heinous acts.
In an interview with Team Coco, Badgley discusses a particularly horrific sequence from the You pilot episode, which included Joe masturbating on a street corner while seeing Beck (Elizabeth Lail) from her window. The actor talks about how “awkward” the sequence was and how his major concern was making sure not to celebrate Joe’s acts, keeping the “horrific features” of the character on full show, which prompted him to make the scenario more unsettling by keeping his eyes wide open and moving slowly. Badgley says that while the episode’s director tried to persuade him to veer away from that characterization, it was crucial to him that Joe come across as horrifying as possible.
“One of the things that I struggled with a lot when I first took the role is that I don’t want to lean away from the horrific aspects of this person, I don’t want to be, as we’ve said, it’s hard not to glorify actually almost anything you see on camera, so I’m gonna just be conscious of that. So…what I did, up until the director came and was like, ‘You can’t do that anymore,’ is that I was slow, and my eyes were open. And I just, you know? I was like, ‘I am going to be very slow and I am not gonna f**king blink.’ And at some point…[director Lee Krieger] comes up and he was trying to be very kind, and he was like, ‘Hey, so um, I think we’re gonna have to get you to close your eyes, you know?’”
Why Badgley does not want You to glorify Joe
The camera alternates between Joe and his dream with Beck in the final version of the You pilot episode so that viewers don’t have to watch him indulge himself the entire time. Joe’s eyes are only partially open. Even if the little scene doesn’t quite have the same scary effect as they take Badgley recounts, it nevertheless makes the skin crawl, which presumably convinced the actor to give his approval. Even if the series sometimes doesn’t appear to buy into Badgley’s knowledge of Joe, his comments demonstrate that he has the correct intentions when it comes to exposing Joe’s terrible behavior.
Joe serves as the main protagonist as You treads a fine line. Despite his nefarious actions, the show must avoid making him completely repulsive to viewers, or else they could opt to quit watching the show entirely. Joe’s narration leads You along, therefore in order to keep them interested, the audience must continue to find his voice to be captivating. As the plot develops, readers frequently express a wish to learn more about the main character, which has resulted in the exploration of Joe’s past, which occasionally seems to be an attempt to humanize him.
You occasionally present Joe as a misled romantic or tragic hero rather than the villain that he actually is, a problem that has become more prevalent with crime dramas and even true-crime programs. This is due to the show’s desire to satisfy the fundamental criteria needed to maintain its audience base. Since he is committed to preventing Joe from becoming a figure that viewers identify with, Badgley’s portrayal of Joe and determination to highlight his wickedness are crucial. It will be fascinating to watch how the actor maintains that quality of the character in You season 4 while delving more into his backstory in a different location.