Lifetime Knows 'You' (And Us) Very Well

In a perfect world, You‘s “Beck” would have met Gossip Girl’s Dan Humphrey, flirted over books and coffee, and definitely given Serena a run for her money. But, who wants perfect? Perfect is boring, right?

What Guinevere Beck (Elizabeth Lail), a poetry grad student working on her MFA, is left with is Joe (Penn Badgley) — a bookstore manager who is very much like Dan, except his bleak commentary on the world around him (and its disappointing inhabitants) doesn’t come with Dan’s iconic “XOXO” in its closing. Instead, what we get are two characters who just might be more similar to us than we anticipated, closer to the people we actually are, instead of who our Instagram and Snap Stories imagine us to be. 

Here are 5 reasons to love Lifetime’s adaptation of Caroline Kepnes’s novel of the same name, which debuted on Sunday. 

1. Beck: The Unique Rebel (Or Is She?)

Lifetime Knows 'You' (And Us) Very Well

Guinevere Beck — who simply goes by her last name “Beck” — is a reader and poet who seems tired of the people surrounding her. She reads literature and knows obscure writers. She writes poetry and can even profile bookstore shoppers in the same way Joe can. 

But, Beck’s different in the sense that she wants to be part of the world she criticizes. Beck wants the life she’s crafted for herself on social media. She wants other’s to believe she’s fine, when in fact, she’s barely scrapping by.

Beck refuses to present to the world everything that happens in the thin, white spaces between her Instagram photos — yet, that’s exactly what Joe sees and is drawn to. 

2. Joe: Prince Charming (Just With Serial Killer Tendencies)

Joe’s not wrong to think there’s a connection between him and Beck — because there is! And it’s only natural to Google people we’re interested in, right? To hop online and see if they’re on any of the same social platforms we’re on, to see if they just so happen to be “pet people,” or even if their astrological sign is compatible with our own. Right? 

Joe proves to us he’s a “good guy” when he gives the little boy who lives in his apartment building his only meatball sandwich. He does this after realizing the little boy has been shut out of his own apartment while his parents fight. Once Joe goes on to eat a PB&J, we can’t help but swoon! When he looks like Penn Badgley, I know most of us — if not all — could be very forgiving. 

But when Joe tries to consume everything he can about Beck and realizes there’s a lot about her that’s keeping her from being perfect — things he has the power to get rid of — we realize that’s the exact moment when it’s time for us to step back and catch our breath. 

3. The Underground Book Room 

Did I mention Joe has an underground room that only he has access to beneath the bookstore? Because he does.

The “Underground Book Room” is always set at 64 degrees and houses old collectibles and books set for repair. It’s also visually a cross between a Panic Room, and the stark white room that the majority of the first Saw movie took place in. Also, with the right amount of imagination and improvisation, some of the objects found in this room can definitely serve as torture devices.

When Joe finds out Beck’s boyfriend has been mistreating her and won’t leave her alone long enough to start dating him, all we can say is: Bye, Bye Benji

4. Princess Peach

Though we see very little of her this episode, we already know Beck’s rich best friend Peach (Shay Mitchell) is a force to be reckoned with!

Peach is the only friend in Beck’s girl group who can see right through her and get Beck to talk openly about her financial situation. While out celebrating a birthday for one of the girls of their “fab four,” Peach witnesses Beck give one of her friends a gift designed by Alexander McQueen! When Beck tries to claim this gift was bought on clearance, Peach stops her and says nothing authentically designed by McQueen has been on clearance since his death. Ouch!

Although Peach can provide Beck with tough love, we can’t wait to see what she really thinks of Joe. 

5. Hopeless Romantics (Just Like Us)

You reminds us that we fall for people based on what they present to the world. When Joe saves Beck’s life after she drunkenly falls onto the subway tracks, he’s suddenly more than a bookseller: He’s her hero. Beck doesn’t know that Joe stole her phone so he can stalk her more efficiently, but she holds on to this vision of Joe because it’s what she needs in her life at this moment. 

In the end, Joe and Beck are totally relatable: They’re hopeless romantics willing to do anything to find true love and compatibility.

And if we can learn anything from the first episode of You, it’s that — maybe — we all exist on a spectrum of extremes in terms of our “wants” and “desires.” We should also consider setting our social accounts to private or make conscious efforts to not document every little thing about ourselves. Things that might, I don’t know, make it easy for someone to gain a good sense of where we live.  

You can catch You on Lifetime Sundays at 9 p.m. 

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