A Netflix TV show or a psychology class?
Recently, I just finished binge-watching the show "You," and I can tell you that it sent me on a wild emotional journey that I was not prepared for.
For those of you who don't know, the show is about a man — Joe — who becomes obsessed with this girl, Beck. He begins to stalk her and learn information about her and eventually they start dating. He loves her and will do anything for her love — including harm anyone who gets in their way. The show has so many twists and turns and is creepy but also insanely interesting and addictive. Just when you think you've had enough and don't need to see anymore, they do something that makes you have to come back and find out what happens next.
The thing that really got me about this show is how it shows the story from the perspective of Joe. Joe is a stalker and with that comes all the creepiness you think of, yet he also has a side of him that is caring, kind, thoughtful, and loving. Throughout the show, I found myself not only understanding him but rooting for him. There were times when I just knew he wasn't a bad guy and could start to explain away his behavior because we saw what he saw and could understand why he did what he did (no spoilers here!)
And while that might be a controversial opinion and maybe not everyone watching the show felt the same way I did, I think the show was trying to make a point. When you've never suffered from a mental illness it is easy to judge and hard to understand. We see people's actions and can clearly see how wrong they are and how crazy they are. Yet, when in that person's mind things don't look the same way. The lines between sane and insane, right and wrong, logical and illogical are severely blurred and when you become obsessed with something it can be hard to see beyond that. I think the show, underneath the drama and suspense, taught me how there are mental illnesses out there that are not easily diagnosable and more than that, way more complex than a simple right and wrong choice.
The show also showed the power of social media, and how in today's culture where we so easily share our lives on the internet it is so easy to be taken advantage of. It is insanely easy for someone to find you at any moment or to manipulate appearances to their motives. We must stay on our guard and always be careful. There are so many benefits from the internet and the way it has shrunk the size of the world and given us so much at our fingertips, however, with power comes great responsibility and we must never forget the duties that come with every social media account. Duties to others but also to our own safety.
This is not a perfect show and may not be for everyone. But I think that it is a show that teaches powerful lessons and says a lot behind the characters. In fact, I've even joked with a friend about taking a psychology class just on this show! Whether you watch it or not, be reminded that you must be careful out there in this world (don't live in fear please, but do be careful) and also approach mental illness with humility and the desire to understand and the attitude that is a world that many of us will never fully grasp.