After You season one was released on Netflix last year, many fans commented on how much they had taken a liking to stalker Joe Goldberg (played by Penn Badgley). In fact, actor Badgley had to step in to remind fans he was the villain in the show. Similar reactions occurred following the release of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starring Zac Efron as serial killer Ted Bundy. But why are viewers interpreting these evil figures as romantic characters? Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to psychologist and co-founder at mental wellbeing and self-development platform Remente, Niels Eék to find out more.
You came onto our screens in 2018, where we followed the disturbing story of bookstore manager Joe Goldberg who became obsessed with Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail).
Fans watched on as he followed her every move, becomes possessive, tries to stop her from seeing her friends and ends up murdering her ex-boyfriend Benji (Lou Taylor Pucci).
As the show progressed, more fans started tweeting their admirations for the character, calling Joe “sexy” and one jokingly tweeted Badgley saying: “kidnap me pls.”, to which he responded: “No thanks.”
The actor has responded to a number of fans’ tweets reminding them “he is a murderer”.
Why do viewers romanticise characters like You's Joe Goldberg and Ted Bundy in Extremely Vile? (Image: Netflix)
Joe Goldberg stalking Beck in You. (Image: Netflix)
But Eék says this is more common than you would initially think.
He said: “Fictional and true crime stories alike hold a unique appeal for women.