According to You star Penn Badgley, the masturbation scene in the show’s pilot was originally significantly more graphic. Netflix’s You, narrated by Badgley’s character Joe Goldberg, takes viewers inside the head of a stalker as Joe searches out a new victim each season and chases her in an attempt to attract her. The objects of his devotion are frequently killed, but this does not seem to prevent him from seeking out fresh prey and ramping up his horrific behavior. Joe’s assumption that he is constantly behaving out of love is central to the plot, with his romantic fantasies leading him to do some pretty heinous acts.
During a meeting with Team Coco, Badgley discusses a particularly distressing sequence in the pilot episode of You, in which Joe masturbated on a street corner while peering through her window at Beck (Elizabeth Lail). The actor discusses the “awkward” nature of the sequence and says the key thing on his mind was not glorifying Joe’s deeds but rather highlighting the “horrific features” of the character, As a result, he made the situation scarier by keeping his eyes wide open & moving slowly.
While the episode’s director tried to persuade him to change his portrayal, Badgley notes that it was critical to him to make Joe appear as grotesque as possible. Check out the actor’s account below:
Why It’s a Good Thing, Badgley Doesn’t Want You To Glorify Netflix Joe
Joe’s eyelids are half-open in the final cut of the You pilot episode, with the camera alternating between him and his fantasy with Beck so that viewers don’t have to see him pleasuring himself the entire time. The brief sequence is not as terrifying as the take described by Badgley, but it surely makes the skin crawl, which presumably leads to the actor’s approval. Even though the series doesn’t always seem to buy into Badgley’s understanding of Joe, his comments reveal that his heart is in the right place when it comes to putting Joe’s horrible acts on display.
With Joe as the major protagonist, you walk a delicate line.
Despite his heinous actions, the series must keep him from being completely repulsive to viewers, or they may abandon the show entirely. Furthermore, because Joe’s narration transports You, his voice must remain captivating to the audience in order to keep them interested. As the plot progresses, audiences frequently want to know more about the main character, which has resulted in backstories for Joe that often appear to try to make him a sympathetic figure.
You occasionally appear to present Joe as a misled romantic or tragic hero rather than the criminal that he is by meeting the essential points required to keep the show’s fan base alive, an issue that has become more common with crime dramas and even true-crime shows. As a result, Badgley’s interpretation of Joe and devotion to highlighting his vileness is critical, demonstrating that he is committed to preventing Joe from becoming a character that viewers root for. It would be interesting to watch how the actor maintains that aspect of the character while exploring his story in a different context in You, season 4.