Is Penn Badgley in ‘You’ Too Creepy?

The newly popular, hair-raising TV show, You, is based on a novel written by Caroline Kepnes. The series first debuted on the Lifetime channel in 2018 and rapidly grew in popularity once the spine-chilling thriller started streaming on Netflix. You may notice some familiar faces while watching You. One face that you might recognize right away is Gossip Girl actor, Penn Badgley.

The new thriller series is supposed to keep your heart racing, and Badgley’s character certainly seems to be doing a great job of ensuring that your pulse is thumping. Giving the previous roles that we have seen Penn Badgley play before, is it possible that his character is too creepy for the audience to handle?

A brief over of ‘You’

You tells the story of a young bookstore manager that instantly falls for a female customer that comes into his store. However, a harmless crush quickly turns into something more sinister. In order to be with the young female customer, the manager starts to exhibit stalker-like behaviors and goes to crazy lengths to try to convince the young woman to be with him.

A more in-depth look at the main character

In this series, Penn Badgley plays Joe Goldberg, a smart, yet troubled, bookstore manager. When an aspiring author, Beck, walks into the store, he instantly becomes enthralled with the young lady and soon begins to obsess over her every move.

From the beginning, Badgley’s character seems to be an extremely creepy individual. He is a good looking man, but after watching the show for only a few minutes, you quickly forget about his nice appearance, and instead, can only focus on the fact that his actions and his words are so alarming that you can’t help but feel an uneasy chill crawling up the back of your spine.

As creepy as Joe Goldberg may seem, you can’t help but admire the way that Penn Badgley accurately portrays the extreme complexities that mental illness can exhibit. He gives the viewers a first-hand look at what can go through the mind of a psychotic stalker. Sometimes, his character can cross the line of what society deems as appropriate. And the way Badgley portrays the character in such a matter-of-fact way makes it easy to forget that he is just an actor and not an actual narcissistic sociopath.

Penn Badgley’s career before ‘You’

Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey and Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl

Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey and Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen on Gossip Girl | The CW

One of the most notable roles that Penn Badgley has played in the past was his portrayal of Dale Humphrey on the hit TV show Gossip Girl. Playing a sweet and sensitive young man is quite a different role from the one he is playing now. However, after he finished the show, he admitted that he did not enjoy working on the hit CW show. When he had moved on to a new acting project, he gave an interview where he stated that it was a nice and new feeling to finally be working on something that he is proud of.

Badgley had doubts about playing Joe Goldberg

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Badgley expressed the mixed feelings that he had about agreeing to play such a complex and creepy character. “I didn’t want to do it,” he says after being asked about his initial thoughts of the show. He later confesses that he was confused by Joe Goldberg’s character and the nature of the storyline, stating “I was conflicted with the nature of the role. If this is a love story, what is it saying?” He later expressed his trepidation about humanizing such a despicable character.

Eventually, he talked it over with the show’s creators. Once he was able to see that the even though the character may have a flawed and skewed way of thinking, Joe Goldberg also had a level of humanity that Badgley wanted to show people.

With the level of seriousness and professionalism that Penn Badgley is able to treat every role that he takes, we know that no matter how long this new series is around for, he will have a long a prosperous career.