You… what the actual…?!

Holy shit-balls. Someone gave Dan Humphrey a knife. Is this what happened to him after we all found out he was Gossip Girl?! Makes sense…

For those of you who haven’t yet had chance to watch You, the ten-episode series on Netflix, y’all are late to the party, catch up. It’s essentially about a psychopath who falls for a girl that walks into his bookstore, and how he figures out (through the use of social media, I might add) how to infiltrate her life. It’s great! And sick and twisted at the same time. In short, I get the hype.

Penn Badgley depicts the antagonist (who also happens to be our lead character), perfectly. He’s fiercely intelligent, well-read, attractive and he’s brilliant at luring you into this macabre love story or rom-com, where the humour is… dark. Badgley presents his character on the surface with grace, calm and a quiet charm, leaving you wanting to know more. Underneath, boils a stew of unaddressed childhood trauma and possibly mental health issues too.

After binging on the series in about two days, I’ve drawn a sad, but real conclusion. Joe Goldberg isn’t the first romantic lead that has presented sociopathic, selfish and psychopathic tendencies. What’s even worse, of almost all the romantic leads in history, I’ve fallen for them. With Joe, I’ve seen the light. What’s most worrying, is that I’ve been loving them all my life. *Editors note* I realise that I am talking as though all these characters are real, I’m well aware that they are not, and I am not crazy… most of the time…

Let’s take it back to Disney, shall we? You all know that to me, Disney is life, but maybe not when it comes to finding the love of your life… Take Beauty and the Beast for starters. The Beast was so set on control and forcing a romance to help his end game, that he kept Belle trapped… admittedly, it was in a castle, but that’s not the point. Prince Phillip, in the real story of Sleeping Beauty rapes Aurora, it’s just depicted as a kiss in the Disney version. Oh, and don’t get me started on Aladdin, pertaining to be something he’s not, lures Jasmine in too deep, and she justifies his lying behaviour by marrying the man! Freddie Prinze Jr’s character in She’s All That, a classic in the rom-com world of the late 90s and early 00’s, alienates his geeky love interest from her peer group to make her more ‘cool’ and more like him. Tom Hanks’ character in You’ve got Mail (one of my faves) manipulates Meg Ryan in so many ways by pertaining to be this dream character online, all the while, putting her livelihood out of business. Oh, this also isn’t exclusive to men. My examples happen to be though. There are plenty of female protagonists that are just as crazy – go and watch Sleepless in Seattle if you don’t believe me…

Why do we justify sociopathic and obsessive traits as being romantic? And how do we draw the line to know what is good and what isn’t? Looking back with some sanity, or at something objectively, dissecting the facts is easy. When you’re ‘head over heels’… not so much. Warning signs are no longer relevant and your heart will often counteract your brain because in short, everyone wants to be loved, and everyone wants a fairytale… right?!

Perhaps, in my absolute failure of a love life, and also the fact that I find it hard to connect with people, I’ve become a cynic when it comes to romance, and this is (unfortunately) how I’m currently seeing the world. Love is selfish so much of the time. However, I also believe that there are genuine people out there who love selflessly and ‘normally’, but in the modern world, it’s harder to decipher and find them, don’t you think?

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