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Is Joe Goldberg The New Ted Bundy?

Like many past trends, this unusual attraction seems to be making a comeback.

Credit: Encyclopædia Britannica/Netflix

It’s already been renewed for a fourth season, but the shocking storylines on You aren’t the only thing that has fans hooked. Spoilers within!

Long gone are the days of girls swooning over singing schoolboys on the Disney Channel. And whilst there’s always been an unfathomable attraction to bad boys, serial killers might be a step too far. 

Over 40 years ago, Ted Bundy made news headlines for being one of the most notorious criminals in the US. But it wasn’t necessarily his gory crimes that found him fame… 

Bundy’s trial had a major following, with thousands of women refusing to accept he was guilty simply because of his good looks. Although he targeted only women and is believed to have killed at least 30, he acquired an incredibly large fan following. He literally could have got away with murder if they were the jury!

There’s even a name for the sexual interest in criminals: Hybristophilia. Surprisingly, Ted Bundy isn’t the only one who was adorned by those who heard of him. Another prolific sex offender, Jeffrey Dahmer, received hundreds of love letters during his time in jail, despite being charged on multiple counts of cannibalism. 

After Bundy’s case, there were many arguments surrounding how the media presented him. Many disputed how romanticized he had been, especially considering how gruesome his crimes were. So there’s no surprise that once more a mass murderer is presented in such an endearing way, albeit fictional this time around.

You, a Netflix adaptation of the Caroline Kepnes books under the same name, tells the story of Joe Goldberg (and his other aliases) as he obsesses over different women and willingly kills to isolate them and keep them around him. In total, he killed ten people across all three seasons, including two of his girlfriends at-the-time and his wife after they tried to end their respective relationships.

Credit: Netflix

Not only has You gained immense popularity after its first season debuted in 2018, but the character of Joe has also received his own fame. After every season comes a new batch of memes and jokes revolving around how attractive Joe is, when in reality it’s Penn Badgley, the actor who plays him, that they lust after. Unless they really do have hybristophilia…

It’s fair to say that Joe is far from your typical boy-next-door sort of crush. His personality is seemingly far from desirable, with his obsessive stalking abilities enough to scare anyone, but yet he still maintains a strong following of women wanting to be his latest victim girlfriend.

Netflix has even released not one, but two disclaimers surrounding the serial killer shows they have released. It’s safe to say that there’s a difference between finding a serial killer attractive or just the actor who plays them, but unfortunately, sometimes that isn’t such an easily distinguishable difference.

Hopefully, serial killers aren’t quite your vibe. If that’s the case, there are plenty more things that have arrived on Netflix this month. But if, like the majority of us, you enjoyed You for all the right reasons, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s been renewed for a fourth season!

It’s evident that there’s a fine line between romanticizing negative characters and falling for the actors who play them. So don’t fall down a rabbit hole and start sending love letters to inmates. Just tweet your favorite actors instead!

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