After saying I was going to limit my intake of tragic and/or morbid things, of course Netflix releases the TV series adaption of Caroline Kepnes’s book You.
I was a little weirded out by the idea of Penn Badgley acting like his harmless, lovestruck Lonely Boy character on Gossip Girl.
I loved Gossip Girl. I lived for the entirety of that show, the whole mise en scène hon hon oui oui baguette – the houses, the cast, the outfits, Kristen Bell’s xoxo’s, the time Jenny Humphrey sang Glamorous with her school choir…
I cried at the last episode. I’d saved it for years, I didn’t want to close the book on it and know how it all ended. I wasn’t ready!!!
Gossip Girl was all about Blair Waldorf for me. I loved seeing a girl who wasn’t always sunny and in the right kind of distress.
She was intuitive and often right. And she always had a weird feeling about Lonely Boy/Dan. He’s portrayed as clumsy and romantic but her character was always wary of him.
The tension was played off as a rivalry but considering he turned out to be the stalker trying to drink them dry for material, it’s unsurprising she had a bad feeling. (Apart from when Blair briefly lost the plot and dated him herself, but it’s a TV show called Gossip Girl, you can’t have it all.)
Anyway Lonely Boy/Dan is revealed as the faceless gossip blogger who has been stalking, manipulating and tormenting half of Manhattan. Oddly nobody really cares.
This is bizarre because it means Dan has done this for years to his own friends, family and girlfriend. Especially his girlfriend.
Stranger still, when his girlfriend finds out he’s Gossip Girl, she goes on to marry him (???????)
Even stranger still – I actually cried with happiness. I was nineteen and I didn’t think too deeply about it.
I was watching things like Hannibal, Gone Girl and Dexter and reading The Psychopath Test, True Crime Profile, Mindhunter and Without Conscience, thinking about people that and how I didn’t know any. I especially couldn’t imagine anybody like that who was likeable.
I was so aware of creeps and I wasn’t drawing any comparisons to Lonely Boy when I seen him on screen. I didn’t find it very strange that a young woman would marry her stalker in a Georges Chakra Couture dress, it was presented in a way that compelled me to feel happy for her.
At the end of You I felt hollow and sad. I couldn’t escape the feeling Dan Humphrey and Joe were as similar as they looked.
Charming, intelligent, controlling, persistent, abusive and determined to bring out the best version of a girl “in need”, and I wondered why Serena van der Woodsen married hers, and why I was ever happy for her.