“Who are you? Based on your vibe,” a romance. Your title is brief but insistent. You. Your preview picture is a girl on top of a guy. Another white, heteronormative rom-com? Maybe. But, wait—is that the guy from Gossip Girl?
I quickly learn that you’re more Gone Girl (2014) than Gossip Girl, but that your characters really aren’t too different from Dan (Penn Badgley) and Serena (Blake Lively). You even have that idealized blonde, and what a name. Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail). Please, you’re not even trying. It’s like you want me to overanalyze you.
And your main character—my gosh, he’s so beautiful. The things he does for the object of his affection are so cute. Making pancakes, playing Scrabble with made-up words, dancing like the Fitzgeralds. Straight out of a fairy tale. But you’re “Bluebeard,” not “Cinderella.” You’re more than a love story; you’re so much deeper, so much more complex. I understand you.
I have to admit—when I first watch you, I have reservations. I’m in groups that deal with interpersonal violence, and having a love story with a stalker? What if the audience gets the wrong idea? I mean, you’re so perfect. But that’s the thing: you tell it like it is. You emphasize that you have a stalker and that it’s not okay. But the lines are so blurred. Why do you do this to me?
You have flaws; I know that. But I love you because of them, even with a character whose first name is a fruit. I find your writing to be incredible, with so many double meanings and metaphors that your entire literary vibe just makes sense. I fall for your acting, your unique voice-over narration style, your emotionally-charged scenes. I love your bookstore, the New York backdrop—even the privileged writing-student element. You really have it all, pulling me in so far I’m worried I can’t pull out. But it’s societally acceptable to be obsessed with a TV show. It’s not so societally acceptable to be obsessed with a person, and your main character really should’ve known better. You should’ve known better.
But you do know literary allusions. That’s how I know it’s love. If we weren’t meant to be, you wouldn’t have included all of my favorite classics. The Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, Wuthering Heights—and a dress-up-as-your-favorite-literary-character book party? You understand me. And that Benji episode—is that supposed to have “Cask of Amontillado” vibes? I haven’t read Desperate Characters, but I trust your insight that it’s better than any Dan Brown novel.
I trust You. “If we don’t have trust, we don’t have anything.”
The Frankenstein reference, though—that’s your finest moment, and you know it. You question who the real monster is. You make me question what a good person is, what a bad person is. Because a bad person isn’t supposed to help his neighbor’s kid so much. A good person isn’t supposed to be so emotionally manipulative. Why do you have me rooting for the villain?
As I continue watching you, I realize you even have social commentary. Lessons on domestic abuse, sexual harassment, eating disorders, and addiction. You have characters that are nonwhite. That’s rare—but, to be fair, you could’ve had one of the two main characters be nonwhite. And some of the themes you touch on are underdeveloped: is that the best way to deal with a predatory thesis advisor? Did you really address the eating disorder? Is any of this realistic at all? Probably not. It’s okay. I still love you. I would do anything for you.
When I watch you for the last time over Spring Break, I’m home alone and it’s the middle of the night. You terrify me. You excite me. You are everything I want in a show and—oh no. Oh, that’s not good at all. This was a bad idea, but I have to keep watching. I have to. I need to know what happens next.
What? Netflix isn’t letting me continue with you. There are no more episodes, and it’s trying to introduce me to someone else, someone who can never compare to you. What am I supposed to do now?
Hello there. Does that say, “You has been renewed for Season 2?”
Image Credits: IMDb