Penn Badgley Really Doesn’t Want You To Like His ‘You’ Character

Catherine Michelle

January 23, 2019

Penn Badgley has THOUGHTS about the public’s love for his ‘You’ character, Joe Goldberg.

On Tuesday (January 22) during an appearance on Today, the 32-year-old actor opened up about audiences’ fascination for Joe, who develops an obsession for a girl named Beck in the Netflix series – an obsession that proved fatal.

His character, though presented openly in a negative light, won over countless viewers who couldn’t help but be charmed by Penn’s portrayal. Fans have taken to social media to express their adoration for Joe.

Penn stated that Joe was “reprehensible” – but admitted that the whole point of the character is “to garner a conflicted reaction.” And a conflicted reaction is exactly what they got when everyone fell for the ‘You’ stalker.

He said of the public fascination for Joe:

“That was partly disingenuous on my part because the whole point is he’s meant to garner a conflicted reaction. I don’t see him as a portrayal of a real person, I see him as a representation of a part of us that identifies with him. The part of us that is a troll; that part of us that is victim blaming; the part of us that is privileged and blind.

We’re meant to identify with him.”

Penn also talked about his quips on Twitter responding to the Joe love, stating that it was all “tongue in cheek.” He added that he reached out to one woman who tweeted him after fans actually began to attack her:

“I reached out [to] that woman, her name is Nobia and hopefully she’s seeing this. We were DMing. I just wanted to check in and be like, ‘Hey, I didn’t realize…’

She’s very intelligent. She’s on the right track. I was having fun, they were having fun, and I think what’s funny is that people kind of jumped on the Joe train and were trolling her and it’s like, ‘No, wait! That’s not what I intended at all.'”

He shared that he found all the Joe love “interesting”, particularly because his nefarious motives are realized very early on:

“You start to discover true motives pretty early on, like eight minutes into the show. He’s a guy who’s capable of stalking. He’s a guy who’s capable of murder. He’s a guy who’s capable of a lot of manipulation and abuse.

It’s this really interesting thing where you’re seeing the trajectory of a soul, of a man and he’s just completely obsessive and compulsive and believing that he’s operating by the logic of a true romantic.

I think what he does is he takes the tropes that we’ve seen in romantic comedies — movies and shows that I’ve been a part of and many of my colleagues [have been a part of] — and it totally subverts them by actually following them closely and he comes to this, like, really terrifying conclusion.”

And Penn reiterated that Joe is not exceptionally smart; it’s just that these days, stalking is a lot easier because of the internet:

“The whole point is that Joe is actually not a mastermind. He’s actually, in some ways, extremely average.”