'You' Season 3's setting may have you wondering if Madre Linda is a real place.

We Need To Talk About The Suburban Hellscape In You Season 3

No one *actually* wants to live in Madre Linda, right?


The third season of You looks a lot different from the first two, and a big reason for that is the series’ dramatic change in setting. While Joe Goldberg was easily able to stalk whoever he wanted in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, it’s not quite so easy for him in a small suburban town where everybody knows everybody’s business. The unsettling faux-sweetness of Joe and Love’s new home feels so true to life, you’re probably wondering whether Madre Linda from You Season 3 is a real place. Here’s the deal on the twisted suburban setting.

While many cities and small towns in California have Spanish names, Madre Linda is not actually one of them. The suburban enclave in Northern California was invented for the show, as a fictional stand-in for gossipy, wealthy American suburbia in general — specifically on the West Coast, where health foods and athleisure run rampant. The town’s fictional name may also be a tiny wink at a major theme of the season. In Spanish, “madre linda” means “pretty mother,” a possible nod to the impossible expectations placed on Love to be the perfect mother from her newfound circle of friends, namely “momfluencer” Sherry Conrad.

Warning: Light spoilers for You Season 3 follow. Ironically, the ugly side of motherhood is what really comes to the forefront in Madre Linda, both in terms of Love’s murderous habits and her own incredibly strained relationship with her mother, Dottie. Oh, and we can’t forget Joe’s mommy issues, which are highlighted throughout Season 3.

Although the third season is loosely based on author Caroline Kepnes’ third book in her You novel series, titled You Love Me, the setting is a bit different. In the book, Joe indeed moves to a quieter small town, but that town is Bainbridge Island, Washington — which is a place that actually exists, by the way. The other huge change is that Joe is single at the start of the third book, having left Love and his baby Forty behind due to threats from the Quinn family. In the show, however, Joe and Love are building a family in suburbia together.

So, no, you can’t pay a visit to Madre Linda IRL, but honestly, maybe that’s a good thing. It doesn’t seem like the best place to be.

You Season 3 is streaming on Netflix now.