An Actual English Major/Writer Reviews Season 1 of “You”

I just finished watching Season 3 of “You” and boy is that Joe Goldberg really messed up. I wanted to write this post ages ago, when I first watched Season 1 of “You” in 2018. As an English major, (graduated 2011, thank you very much) I was very intrigued by this so-called book expert (and snob) who judged people based on their reading preferences, and who is also slightly obsessed with the condition of rare books. Really, the Joe character is fleshed out really well. But boy, did I see many problems in these book-centered plot points in season 1.

If you don’t like horror, you wouldn’t like this show. It is about a stalker who fixates on vulnerable and innocent women. But also he justifies it so you’re pretty charmed and understanding of why he does creepy things. Season 1’s main love interest is named Beck, who apparently is doing her Master’s in Creative Writing, although her talent is dubious, as she spends way too much time “hanging out” than actually writing. I know that it won’t make good TV to have an aspiring writer just stare at a blank document for hours, and then, to procrastinate, wander around her apartment and clean things, but that’s really what creative writing is like.

This was my first red flag as to the accuracy of the show; episode two’s main problem is Beck trying to find inspiration to write a story for her creative writing class. She has to start from scratch, and it has to be a good, deep, metaphorical story! Yeah, no. Anyone who has been in any kind of academic writing career 1) always has a story swimming around in their head 2) doesn’t really care about how “deep” and “metaphorical” it is and 3) always reuses stories. C’mon, she’s got a deadline and has “no idea” what story she will submit?! Anyone in this real-life situation won’t even stress; they’ll search through their old writing that they are not too embarrassed by and throw in some new adjectives and there ya go, you got a story.

And, after hearing Beck’s cringey poetry, her story doesn’t even have to be that good.

My other issue with the realistic aspect of this so-called book expert was when he saw this apparently expensive and rare copy of Ozma of Oz and it was like, 400 pages! He sees it in Peach Salinger’s (yes, obviously the descendant of J D Salinger) library, and he pulls out this thick hard-copy tome. Guys, this is a children’s book. It is in no way close to 400 pages, even when you include all the (albeit delightful) illustrations.

These issues really bug me as it takes me out of the universe of the show. You know, the realistic universe where someone as good-looking as Joe is just an anonymous book seller whose only friend is a little kid.

Anyway, those are just two things that bugged me in “You.” Truly it’s a delightful show and it shows the depths that someone can reach while thinking they were right the whole time. Highly recommended.

English teacher by trade, story writer for fun