Netflix recently premiered the first volume of the fourth season of its fan-favourite series You. Created by Sera Gamble and Greg Berlanti, the show sees Penn Badgley in the lead as the psychotic sociopath Joe Goldberg whose penchant for women, books, panties and murder is honestly terrifying. However, Badgley’s effortlessly eerie acting chops have garnered him a massive fan following since the inception of the show as he portrays an obsessive man who pursues his love interest, partaking in pretty gruesome and grisly violence in order to “protect” the ones he “loves”.
In the fourth season, Goldberg leaves America behind and takes a little “European holiday”. He pretends to be a professor in London, but the sins of his past catch up with him as he finds himself being stalked by an unknown killer while assimilating into a group of wealthy and obnoxious British elites.
While the fourth season is equally pulpy and fascinating, it has way fewer sex scenes than its previous seasons. While Badgley was seen romancing all his love interests in pretty intense and steamy scenes (and pleasuring himself in the first season), he appears in two rare sex scenes in the fourth with his newest romantic interest, a standoffish brunette with a razor-sharp tongue, Kate. He is often seen rebuffing her advances and forcing himself to be immune to her charms. There is a distinct reason why the showrunners made these conscious creative decisions.
Badgley no longer wants to be typecast into the romantic lead yet again. Before he played the lovesick, psychotic Joe Goldberg in the Netflix show, Dan Humphrey was his claim to fame in Gossip Girl where he was Serena van Der Woodson’s boyfriend.
According to Esquire, Badgley admittedy has not spoken about this publicly but he made it quite clear to Gamble who took his request into consideration. Although the actor is aware of the kind of expectations audience have from his role as the disarmingly charming serial killer, he said, “You know, you can’t take this aspect out of the DNA of the concept, so, ‘How much less can you make it?’ was my question to them.” He recalls asking Gamble, “Can I just do no more intimacy scenes?”
Gamble was very open to the idea. “She didn’t even bat an eye,” said he. “She was really glad that I was honest—and she was sort of, I want to say, almost, like, empowered. She had a really positive response,” the actor added, recalling how the creator of the show felt his request was “reasonable and practical”.
Another reason why he refused to partake in too many steamy scenes is his marriage. A happily married man and a father to two kids, Badgley is over the idea of exploiting himself for the gains of a show. To balance his personal life and his career, the actor has thus struck a deal.
Commenting on marriage, he said, “Fidelity in every relationship—especially in a marriage—is important to me.” Joe Goldberg could definitely take some notes. Read our review for the fourth season here.
Stay tuned for the second volume of You season four to premiere on March 9th, 2023.