Is Penn Badgley’s Character In Netflix Series ‘You’ a Dan Humphrey Meets Dexter Mashup?

Penn Badgley Instagram

Netflix series You conveys a story as old as time. Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love. Boy kills anyone standing in the way of his ultimate happiness with girl…wait. Although perhaps this fractured fairy tale may not be the newest twisted love story ever, the character development and actor playing the lead role lend to its unique quirkiness.

Any Gossip Girl fan may have a tough time separating Penn Badgley’s portrayal of nice guy turned creeper, Dan Humphrey with You‘s Joe Goldberg. Although clearly playing a significantly different character, the same mannerisms and sweet understanding ingrained in Dan still linger within Joe. Both exude boyish charm, endless manners and the same level of hawkish observation typically reserved for a teen girl.

In fact, fans are admitting to this one disturbing thing too: they think Joe is kinda hot. So what has viewers swooning over Joe the serial killer? And how could Joe Goldberg be the perfect mashup between Showtime’s resident serial killer Dexter and the original Gossip Girl?

‘You’ fans want Joe to kidnap them

Badgley built a character in You that perfectly blends super creeper traits with a slew of redeeming qualities. He often comes to his abused neighbor’s son’s aid, ultimately saving the family from a drunken, abusive boyfriend. He also responds with kindness and is uber supportive of his girlfriend, Beck’s writing career. Maybe too supportive at one point. Plus, his clean-cut nice guy looks allow him to easily assimilate into society. But then again, so did  Ted Bundy.

Despite his murderous ways, fans are swooning over the character, which has left the star feeling pretty disturbed. One person tweeted, “Said this already but @PennBadgley is breaking my heart once again as Joe. What is it about him?”Badgley responded, “A: He is a murderer.” Since the initial tweet, the person who initially posted followed up by writing, “Oh LORD this was only about how much I love @PennBadgley and his acting. NOT the character.”

But others are writing things like, “@PennBadgley kidnap me pls” and “Okay but @PennBadgley was sexy as Dan but lord Joe is a whole new level.” One of Badgley’s favorite comments was,” I’ve never trusted anyone less than @PennBadgley.

Maybe because they just can’t quit Dan

Penn Bagdley on Gossip Girl | Source: The CW

Badgley artfully transferred the likable qualities he instilled in Dan to Joe. Which may be why fans can’t help themselves. How are Dan and Joe a blended character? One obvious similarity is that they are both creepers. As fans ultimately learned, Dan was the “gossip girl,” which means he was lurking around the corner creeping on his classmates and, of course, Serena van der Woodsen. Joe sets his sights on Guinevere Beck or “Beck” and uses some of the same, but higher tech methods to get into her head, life, and heart.

Dan did his creeping on the Upper East side, Elle points out. And while Joe doesn’t seem to be as enamored with people with money, he too seems to be entangled with the upper crust in You.  Both are an outsider looking in. Also, both characters are obsessed with the written word. Dan was a writer, whereas Joe was a bookseller. But clearly obsessed with authors and the classics. Especially classics encased in a bulletproof glass cage in a super eerie basement.

He’s got a dash of Dexter too

Dexter - Showtime - Michael C. Hall
Actor Michael C. Hall on Dexter. | Source: Showtime

Murder is never a good thing. But in Hollywood, if you only kill the icky evil people, maybe murder isn’t so bad? That’s what the creators of the series Dexter tried to portray. Sure he off’ed a bunch of people for eight solid seasons. But hey, for the most part, the people Dexter killed could have done (or did) worse to others.

While there are many differences between Joe and Dexter, some obvious similarities are ingrained in both characters. Joe and Dexter are protectors of children and get especially angry when anyone harms them. This may have something to do with both characters having a twisted and highly dysfunctional childhood. And while Dexter’s approach to killing differs from Joe’s, both feel justified to kill their victims. Joe’s prey either want to keep him away from Beck or harm his neighbor’s child. And Dexter’s endless string of victims are “bad people.”

Thankfully, like Dexter and Gossip Girl, You is set up to treat fans to more bloodsport for a hopeful season two. Because leaving fans hanging off the cliff You presents in the last two minutes of the series would just be downright cruel.

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