Bleats

Penn Badgley Is Determined To Make Sure Nobody Falls In Love With His Character From Netflix's 'You'

You'll just have to try harder to resist his smouldering good looks.

Penn Badgley, famous for playing Dan in Gossip Girl, is very alarmed by some of the responses to his latest show, You. 

You was picked up by Netflix after initially being broadcast by Lifetime in the US, and debuted on the platform late last month.

It’s about a bookstore employee, Joe, who lives in New York and is obsessed with romantic tropes. Joe sees himself as a good guy, a ‘nice guy’ if you will, and as someone women should want to fall in love with.

Joe is also an incredibly creepy stalker and, spoiler alert, murderer. In case that doesn’t make it clear: you are not supposed to root for Joe or find him attractive. He’s a deconstruction and dramatisation of the ‘Nice Guy’ trope, and, again, he’s a stalker and a murderer.

This hasn’t stopped people from thirsting over him though, because Penn Badgley is just too damn irresistible, I guess.

But Badgley himself is concerned by the things people are tweeting about his character. His Twitter is full of responses to fans who don’t know what to make of their crushes on Joe.

At least some people are reacting the right way.

Frankly, I haven’t trusted him ever since it was revealed that he was Gossip Girl the whole time. I realise actors are playing characters and not actually embodying them, but the reveal of Dan Humphrey as Gossip Girl affected teenage me very deeply.

I’m having flashbacks.

Someone mentioned Badgley’s transition from teen crush to terrifying stalker, and Badgley’s response is interesting: perhaps our perception of his previous characters has changed as we’ve all matured.

Because seriously, you aren’t meant to crush on Gossip Girl. Gossip Girl ruined lives and caused nothing but drama, and it was all Dan’s way of getting Serena’s attention because he had a crush on her.

In hindsight, he wasn’t so different from Joe, aside from the lack of kidnapping and murder.

Evidently Badgley is interested in these types of characters – ones that put a spotlight on harmful tropes we’ve all grown up with, that many of us never really questioned. In addition, Badgley seems like a genuinely good guy, so maybe it’s time for me to forgive him for playing a character who was eventually revealed to be Gossip Girl.

If you haven’t seen You, it’s worth checking out, although bear in mind it’s a tough watch, particularly if you’re sensitive to issues of abuse and violence. But it does a good job of critiquing a lot of troubling notions about romance and dating that society has normalised, and Penn Badgley and Elizabeth Lail do a great job.

Bird Box Had The Most Popular Opening Week In Netflix History With Over 45 Million Views In A Week

How many of those views were confused people looking for bird house tutorials?

According to Netflix, Bird Box, the post-apocalyptic thriller starring Sandra Bullock, has racked up over 45 million views in its first 7 days, which is a record for the streaming platform.

It’s rare for Netflix to release viewer numbers like this, and the numbers can’t be independently verified. Plus, Netflix reps declined to clarify to Variety what ‘watched’ means: whether it means completing the movie, or only watching part of it.

Nevertheless, 45 million is a tonne of viewers, and since Netflix doesn’t have box office numbers, this is the closest we’ll get to knowing what success on streaming platforms looks like. And if the number is accurate, that means roughly one-third of Netflix subscribers watched Bird Box.

Apparently everyone on Twitter was amongst that 45 million, if the memes are anything to go by.

Speaking of memes, some people reckon the memes are part of Netflix’s marketing push for the movie, including film critic Emily Yoshida.

While taking advantage of online culture for marketing seems cynical, I still prefer pre-made memes over ads clogging up my social media feeds. C’est la vie.

If you haven’t watched Bird Box yet, you should, if only so you can understand all the memes.

Black Mirror's Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Movie Is Causing Moral Dilemmas All Over The Place

Apparently none of us can handle the responsibility of controlling a fictional character's life when we're forced to witness the consequences.

Warning: this article contains spoilers.

Black Mirror’s interactive movie Bandersnatch was released on Netflix last night, and the internet is abuzz. With good reason – having played the movie through with several different endings, I can confirm it was an entertaining, but mildly anxiety-inducing, experience.

The movie is about a video game that’s based on a choose-your-own-adventure book, Bandersnatch, and the teenager, Stefan (played by Fionn Whitehead from Dunkirk), who’s creating it.

From the first choice, Sugar Puffs or Frosties, people were stressed.

The first choice that really matters is whether you decide to create the game at Tuckersoft or at home. If you choose Tuckersoft, Colin will inform you you’ve chosen the wrong path, the game will flop, and you’ll try again, waking up to the sounds of Frankie Goes To Hollywood once more.

So basically, to get anywhere interesting, you have to choose to work on the game at home, where Stefan can slowly and progressively become more troubled and sleep-deprived.

Being able to control a TV character’s fate is evidently too much pressure for many of us. Many people, including me, initially tried to play through to the best outcome for Stefan, only to remember that this is Black Mirror and there are no happy endings.

Once you realise that, it becomes easier to make Stefan choose the most destructive path.

Deaths aside, the weirdest parts of the episode were definitely the times when it broke the fourth wall, and let you talk to Stefan (almost) directly.

I don’t know why Netflix opted for the most confusing definition of itself for someone from the 1980s, though. Just say ‘it’s TV’ and be done with it. Someone from the 80s isn’t going to know what a ‘streaming entertainment platform’ is.

As Kanye once said, no one man should have all that power. Even though it forced us to reckon with our newfound power, Bandersnatch is entertaining, and Fionn Whitehead does a fantastic job as Stefan.

Despite enjoying it, I think I prefer when scriptwriters make the decisions for me. I don’t want to have a crisis of conscience every time I watch something new. Can you tell I was never into choose-your-own-adventure books as a kid?

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