Latest Netflix Bingewatch: YOU

netflix you

I’m sure by now you have probably heard about Netflix’s new show YOU, which was released on the platform at the end of December. Truth be told, I read an article about it a few month ago, and I was waiting for Netflix to upload it, because I was really curious about it.

CONTAINS MILD SPOILERS

TRIGGER WARNINGS: Abuse, Violence, Substance abuse, Death and more

The plot:

Basically, YOU is told from the perspective of Joe, your typical bookstore manager who has a meet cute with a customer and develops a crush on her. Except Joe is a psychopath. He starts stalking her, stating he “will do anything to protect her”. And when he says anything, he really means her. That includes breaking in, stealing her phone, and obviously, killing people because why not.

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Thoughts:

I got to say, as obsessed as I am with social media, it’s always a little bit scary to see shows such as YOU. But as scary as the portrayal of twitter, facebook and the likes of it can be in YOU, that portrayal is also very accurate: they really open the door to anything. Some people do think like Joe, and it’s kind of scary. (i.e. “Oh she told me her name and her instagram profile is public which means she wants to fuck me, obviously” Please can you not? But I know some people’s minds work like that. So again: Can you not?) And the whole checking-one-out-on-social-media thing is only the slightest part of Joe’s mastermind plan to get Guenivere Beck to be his girlfriend. That plan also involves following and stalking her pretty much everywhere she goes, stealing her phone, killing her ex, breaking into her place, stealing her underwear and other personal belongings, reading pretty much all of her texts, more following her, and more killing. Oh and eventually framing her thereapist for a murder you committed.

And yes, Beck was not necessarily a good person. She did some not so good things, like cheating. She was messed up in her own ways, but aren’t we all? That doesn’t mean she deserved any of that. And I’ve seen some people saying that the characters in this show are not likeable (which I’m going to object immediately because first of all, Ethan and Blythe are absolutely adorable, and second of all, how can you not like Paco? Or Karen for that matter?), but that’s not really the point of the story. It’s a show through the POV of a psychopath, who wears the face of an angel – kudos to Penn Badgley for such a fantastic performance. Even his name is kind of boring: Joe, that’s such a plain, random name for such a psychopath. But that only makes it more interesting: the psychopath is the person you least expect to be.

YOU was such a fascinating show. It did make me uncomfortable sometimes, but I kept wanting to know more. It’s so creepy and interesting, partly because it’s told through the POV of a psychopath who keeps justifying himself, and partly because if it were not for how intense and stalkerish and murderous he was, that is, if we actually didn’t get his own point of view, his story with Beck was actually pretty cute in the beginning. But what’s even more disturbing is that I couldn’t help but empathy with him sometimes: he had a terrible childhood, and was trying his best to help the kid neighbour not have a terrible childhood for example. For the most part, he was a bad person who also happened to do good things, and that just shows how complex the human psyche can be. And here comes the other disturbing aspect: if you kill bad people, can’t you just say they deserved it and move on with your life? I’m not saying all the people who were killed by Joe where bad people, but come on, did anyone like Benji? That guy was a human trashbag. Did he deserve to die like this though? No he didn’t, and yet I was so sure that this was how he would die, and it was kind of satisying! (It’s fine, it’s just a show, I’m not a psychopath okay).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this show portrays a psychopath and a murderer, but attempts at the same time to make the viewers empathy with him, while showing the events through his own perspective, and it is so utterly, disturbingly fascinating.

Joe Goldberg is a terrible person. But he is also fascinating. His mind functions in the scariest ways and yet it makes me curious. So overall, I would definitely recommend this show if you don’t mind the abuse and violence, and are fascinated by morally complex characters. And bonus: all the scenes set in the bookstore. They couldn’t have picked a setting more perfect than this one.


netflix you books

Book recommendations:

I could not write this article without including book recommendations. First of all, you have to know that this show is based on the book You by Caroline Kepnes, which also has a sequel called Hidden Bodies. I haven’t read either of those but I’m definitely planning on doing so, because obviously I really enjoyed the show, and I’m also curious as to how such a perspective would turn out through a written POV.

And while we are talking about books, I also wanted to recommend the YA novel Stolen by Lucy Christopher, which takes place in the middle of the desert in Australia, and follows the relationship between a teenage girl and the man who kidnapped her. It is a surprising novel which deals with Stockholm Syndrom and I found it absolutely fascinating. It gives off a vibe similar to the one in YOU, and if you liked the show then I would definitely recommend you check it out!

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Latest Netflix Bingewatch: The Hookup Plan 💘

I think I haven’t written a blog post about a TV show in quite some time, so it was time to fix that — especially since I haven’t been reading a lot this past few months/weeks. Lately I’m trying to watch TV shows that aren’t American/British. It all started a few (2?) years ago when I watched German show Ku’damm 56, and then a little bit later, DARK. Wait, that’s not entirely true considering I used to watch Korean dramas all the time, and the fact that one of my all time favourite shows, In Time With You, is Taiwanese. *insert flashback to the good old days when I used to get about zero hours of sleep because of kdrama*

Anyway. More recently, I watched Netflix’s Spanish show Elite, and started Cable Girls (I still have to give La Casa del Papel a go). That’s when I realised I didn’t really watch French shows, which, as a French person and TV series affictionada (is that even a word?), is ludicrous. That’s when I started watching the fantastic show Call My Agent! (Dix pour Cent) — I have yet to watch the last two episodes, and let me tell you this show is brilliant.

So when I saw that Netflix had added a new French show called The Hookup Plan (or “Plan Coeur” in French), I decided to give it a go. I did not think I would binge watch it in one evening, but I sure did…

The plot:

Elsa is turning thirty, she has a mediocre job at the mayor’s office in Paris, and is still not over her ex boyfriend who cheated on her two years before. She is living on her dad’s couch, and has been ever since the breakup. After a night of one too many drinks, her two best friends decide to take matters in hand, and book her a male escort for two dates. The idea was to boost Elsa’s confidence, and help her finally get over her ex. But they seem to have forgotten that their best friend is a hopeless romantic…

My thoughts:

This was a quick watch (8 episodes of 25 minutes) and made me want for more. Elsa is an extremely relatable character. She’s not very confident, and not so sure what to do with her life, and I could totally see myself in her. Overall, the show was really sweet & lovely. It can be a bit cliché, especially through the female characters, but I didn’t really mind — though I do acknowledge the fact the Charlotte, for example, is a huge cliché, but at the same time I really loved her as a character, and she reminded me of some of my friends! The plot is mostly predictable, but is it really that bad?

The show tried to be diverse, and it does raise the question of some topics that are underrepresented in the media, such as prostitution, while at the same time trying not to romanticise it — there is at some point an interesting comparison to Pretty Woman.

It also manages to capture the spirit of Paris and the people who live there in my opinion, and I really loved that aspect! It’s a refreshing show, sans prétention, but also sweet and heartwarming. If you’re into this kind of thing, then I’d definitely recommend it!

For now it’s unsure whether there will be a second season or not but considering the ending I really hope there will be. I don’t watch that many romantic comedies, but this one definitely did the trick for me.

Here’s the trailer, if you’re curious!

Let’s Talk About Outlander

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Many moons ago, I started watching Outlander. At some point in the process, I decided that I should read the book first as well, since it was based on a book, and a quite popular one at that. As of now, I have seen the first season of the show, and haven’t pursued it in ages – I don’t know if I ever will. And as of last weekend, I have finally finished reading the first book in the series. Just like the show, I don’t know if I will continue. Let me explain.

Disclaimer:

Overall I’m going to address aspects of the story that I found in both the book and the TV Show (first book and first season, since it’s all I’ve read/seen). If there are aspects specific to one or the other, I’ll just mention it!

And before I delve into things, I met Diana Gabaldon at the Paris book fair this year and it was a crazy experience because I still can’t believe I had in front of me this woman who had written so much, and who was so successful. And of course I was so impressed I barely manage to say anything.

Warning: Contains spoilers

Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE the concept of this story. I am a huge fan of time-travel, and it’s usually a genre that always works for me whether in books or TV Shows. And that aspect of the story really did work for me. I’m also a huge fan of both Scotland in general, and its history in particular, so again, I really liked that aspect of the story. I also think it’s rather well-written, and I really like the narration.

I personally listened to the audiobook for the most part, and it was narrated by Davina Porter who is an absolutely brilliant narrator, so that definitely added something to the story. I discovered her when I listened to The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, and now I simply want to have all my audiobooks narrated by her. She really brings something to the characters and the plot, it’s like she adds a dash of her personal magic and I LOVE IT.

hearts

But anyway, back to the story. For the most part, I felt like the characters were likeable. We feel bad for Frank, even if we don’t see him that much. We are scared for Claire, we empathy, and maybe we fall in love with Jaimie at the same time she does. She is smart and brave at the same time, and honestly the story would fall apart without her. She is one of the most strong-willed characters I have ever seen, and some part of me definitely wants to know what happens to her after book 1. But is it worth all the rape and abuse? I think not. And thus I transition to the things I found problematic.

⚠️ SO many TRIGGER WARNINGS for rape and abuse ⚠️

Yes, Jaimie seems very loveable at first, and very good looking on screen I’m not going to deny that. But there are several occasions, if I remember correctly, where he forces sex on Claire, and I am so not here for it. But that’s not even all. There is, about half-way through the story, this scene I will never forget, where Jaimie decides he needs to punish Claire for… I don’t even remember, but the idea is, if he doesn’t do it, his Scot buddies are going to make fun of him, so not only does he give her a beating – so much so that she can’t even sit down on the next day – but then he tells her that she’s going to enjoy it, like, please stop. What the hell went through your mind while writing this passage, Diana, I’m not sure I even want to know. But one thing I know is that I can’t forgive it. Every time I see/hear someone fangirl over Jaimie I just think of that passage and it stops me right where I am. It just killed the buzz for me.

Now, I know that Jaimie went through a lot. He is also very understanding towards Claire most of the time, like when she talks to him about Frank, and particularly when she explains how she ended up in Scotland in the first place. He barely escaped being executed, almost witnessed his sister’s rape, and saves Claire on countless times. BUT DOES THIS FORGIVE THE FACT THAT HE ABUSED HER? I THINK NOT. And yes I know, this was another time. Fair enough, though the idea of having a historical fiction book that doesn’t feature rape is something I can still fathom thank you very much. Yet, having rape or abuse featured in a book is something that I can handle (see Pillars of the Earth for example, which is one of my favourite books) as long as it is an issue that is discussed and portrayed as a bad thing. I know that may sound childish but the fact that it was 18th century Scotland doesn’t excuse his actions. What I really can’t forgive is the fact that this whole rape + beating thing is completely brushed over and romanticized. Just because Jaimie is a pretty face. Maybe Frank was boring, but at least he didn’t beat up his wife when she did something he disapproved of.

And behold, I’m not even done with the problematic stuff, because as you may or may not have noticed, I haven’t even mentioned Captain Randall yet. Some may say he is a villain you love to hate… That’s absolutely not the case for me, but, you know, feel free to like him if you do. It’s not even that I don’t like him (though I really don’t). That is not even the thing I hate the most about it, what really struck me is how dirty he was done. Hey, let’s write a villain for Outlander. First, he will have the face of Claire’s husband and be his ancestor. That is totally awesome in terms of the plot I have to say. But ooh… Claire met her husband’s ancestor! And he tried to rape her! I was already out at that point, but this was only the beginning. Not only is this something that comes up at several points in the story – oh we need a plot twist, let’s have Randall have to rape Claire, portray it as a total damsel in distress scene and have Jaimie rescue her at the risk of his own life – but then we have the great (almost) finale of the book where PLOT TWIST Randall wants to have sex with Jaimie. And not only does he physically abuse and torture him, he then blackmails him to have sex without resisting, and all in the meantime talks about his wife whom he also attempted to rape, and then he also cuts him, brands him with his personal seal, tells him he loves him and tries to have him say it back?

i can't even

I need to stop talking about this, because it’s getting me too worked up. But in case you didn’t get my point it was: why did you make such a horrible character and have to make him queer? That was pointless, and not the representation I’m here for.

So anyway, aside from these few points that definitely disturned me to say the least, I have to say that Outlander as a fascinating world build-up that combines time-traveling and strong ladies (Claire obviously, but also Gillie Duncan, Jaimie’s sister who is a total badass, and many of the ladies from castle Leoch), something that I definitely appreciate. And I can’t deny the fact that I am totally in awe at Diana Gabaldon for writing such a big chunky book with a restless plot, but for then taking it to the next level with many sequels. And I will probably never read those sequels, but I can’t help but wonder, and there’s no denying the fact that I am amazed by this universe.

Life and Reading Update

I will supposedly be presenting my thesis in about a month, and then be finished with my studies, so life is a bit crazy right now, in between my few classes left, yoga classes, my job, strikes everywhere in Paris right now, and of course the whole studying thing!

I still managed to read some books in April, here’s a wrap up video:

Books I read in April:

Marie Curie by Demi ★★★★☆
Marie Curie: The Radium Fairy by Chantal Montellier and Renaud Hyunh ★★★★☆
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante ★★★☆☆
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare ★★★★☆
Beloved 
by Toni Morrison ★★★★☆
Wires and Nerve vol.2 by Marrissa Meyer ★★★★★
Wonder Woman vol.5: Flesh by Brian Azzarello ★★★★☆
Carrie Fisher Biography by Chris Dicker ★★★☆☆

Books I’m currently reading:

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
My Brilliant Friend #2 by Elena Ferrante


In case you weren’t aware, my favourite TV show aka The 100 is back with its fifth season, and here’s a video of my thoughts and feelings on episode 2!

Thanks for watching!