Opinion: Hello you, what’s the deal with Joe Goldberg?


This is a common game amongst generation Z. What are the students’ takes on Joe Goldberg when it comes to kiss, marry, kill? Graphic by: Belen Hibbler

Belen Hibbler

In honor of “YOU” season three, here is an attempt to dissect the intricate mind of Joe Goldberg himself

The latest season of Netflix’s hit TV show “YOU” came out on Oct.15, 2021. The main character, Joe Goldberg who is played by Penn Badgley, is a mastermind in killing and scheming. Up until this last season, his basic routine was discovering, stalking, dating then murdering a new girl. But, for the majority of this last season, he has switched his ways up. 

Goldberg is portrayed in a way that makes it hard for viewers to dislike him despite him being a murderer. He’s attractive, charming, smart and has an oddly innocent mind set when rationalizing his crimes.

In the third season, the writers have given viewers additional reasons to support Goldberg since his character has been reflecting and attempting to improve himself. Although he’s tried his hardest to be a normal human being, he can’t help but give in to his immoral urges. But, it turns out fans didn’t need those reasons after all in order to root for him. 

Why would Joe be appealing to fans? A common theme in students’ responses is that he is good looking. “It’s usually just because he’s the protagonist and they [the viewers] like to root for the main person that they’re watching. For me personally, it’s because he’s hot,” said senior Clay Eidson.

His traits that are stated above could be reasoning for fans’ reactions to him, but another cause could simply be the universal love for thrill and entertainment. “YOU” is a good mix of psychological thriller, slasher, comedy and a bit of mystery. Since there are multiple genres mixed in, it appeals to many different people who seek amusement in entertaining shows such as “YOU.”

Did the creators of the popular show expect people’s positive reactions to Goldberg or was he meant to be perceived completely differently? ¨I think the writers left it up to the people… they made him a character that many men could see themselves being if they took more steps because they get so obsessed with a girl, but then they never actually do the stalking or whatever. He’s a bad guy but you kind of want him to be with her so I think the writers knew that,” said Eidson. 

Junior Hannah Raygor is a fan of the show, and roots for Joe. “I would have to say Joe is my favorite (character).” Photo by: Belen Hibbler

According to TV Guide, the creator of “YOU” the series, Sera Gamble, said, “Part of the fun of the book and now the show is that you may be surprised by some moments where you find yourself rooting for a character you know is doing bad things.” So, for the people who might scare themselves by rooting for Goldberg but not knowing why, you are not alone. His character is meant to confuse people. 

Because of the way Goldberg and his wife are portrayed in the show, it’s possible that the show could come off in a way that glorifies stalkers, sociopaths or murderers.  “…It’s very sensitive in that sense because many people have gone through traumatizing things similar to events in the show,” said junior Hannah Raygor. Is it possible that people can root for a person without concurring with all of their actions?