Is Netflix hit ‘You’ based on a true story?
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Is Netflix hit 'You' based on a true story?

Nowadays, the idea of Facebook stalking or searching for someone on social media to find significantly tiny details is considered a significant skill that is often glorified. The scary reality is, it’s not that hard to find out where someone lives, what they like, and who their friends and family are. If you need to know about a potential date, just open your laptop, search their name, and see a library of information open up. It is on this destabilising fact that You’s Joe Goldberg ruminates time and time again.

You is a show that helps portray the ease and simplicity of online stalking, and Joe Goldberg quite frankly does a fantastic job at showing it. Of course, this can be done by absolutely anyone, so it makes us wonder: is You based on a true story?  

Phew! No need to worry. You isn’t based on a true story but is based on a series of fictional novels under the same name by Caroline Kepnes, which was initially published back in 2014. It follows Guinevere Beck who we all know meets Joe in a bookstore, and of course, we all know what happens next as season one is heavily based on the first novel.  

When asked about Joe’s redemption, You actor Penn Badgley told PopBuzz, “There’s no redemption for someone who is behaving that way. I think the only redemption is in death.” 

“Again, Joe is not a real person. And I, as an actor portraying him—and as a person who really struggled along the way to understand whether or not it was even responsible to be doing this, and portraying him in the way that I did—to me, I’m not interested in Joe’s redemption. I’m interested in our redemption,” he added.  

Goldberg becomes obsessed with Beck and utilises social media to learn about her interests, likes, dislikes, and more notably, track her each and every move. The menacing man is always close by, especially when his presence is convenient, particularly when Beck falls onto the train tracks and he’s able to save the day.  

When talking about Goldberg’s character, You creator Sera Gamble told Shondaland, “Our entire idea of epic romance is problematic. For the story to be exciting, the guy must cross a lot of lines that should not happen in real life. Nobody should be chasing anyone at an airport or standing outside of a girl’s window, but that seems romantic in movies.”  

“That’s why we were so attracted to bringing this book to screen. I’m not saying, “Rom-coms don’t work on me, and you should know better”; I just know that they’re problematic,” Gamble added.  

Thankfully, You isn’t based on a true story, but it’s probably likely that people have experienced similar things out there in the real world. In actuality, Joe’s stalking antics can easily be imitated by someone else just as crazy as him. It’s probably for the best for you to assume You is based on a real-life story, just so you’re more inclined to look over your shoulder a few times or even change your privacy settings.