Gossip Girl boyfriend Dan Humphrey forever altered people's perceptions about guys who were into writing, but actor Penn Badgley has messed with fans' minds even more thanks to his role as Joe Goldberg in the recent thriller series You. After moving from Lifetime to Netflix, You has captured a fresh audience, but Joe's behavior as an obsessive stalker feels way too familiar to some viewers. These tweets about Gossip Girl and You prove that the creepy Joe is practically Gossip Girl blogger Dan all grown up, and Serena van der Woodsen is definitely lucky to have escaped this fate.
Although Dan and Serena (Blake Lively) married in Gossip Girl's 2012 series finale, their wedding led to the mind-blowing reveal of Dan as the anonymous Gossip Girl, who published stories spreading rumors about the teen elite of the Upper East Side. Driven by his long-running infatuation with Serena, Dan created this online identity to gain an influence in New York society, which scarily parallels his You character's actions. When Serena learned Dan's truth at the end of the series, she interpreted his blogging as a love letter to their entire friend group rather than a sign of a threatening person. Oh, honey.
Based on a novel by Caroline Kepnes, the first season of You introduced Badgley as Joe Goldberg, a New York bookstore manager who begins to follow a woman he spots in his store one day. He stalks her and her friends throughout the series, reminding viewers of everything a healthy, functional relationship shouldn't involve. After airing on Lifetime in the fall of 2018, the show's new home on Netflix means that more people have now discovered it after missing its original run. Fans' main takeaway following these binge sessions is definitely the startling similarity between Joe and Dan. Something tells me Gossip Girl would be pleased about all of the attention the comparisons are currently getting on Twitter.
Joking about everything from Joe being a divorced Dan to Dan still stalking women on the Upper East Side, most You viewers appear to understand the show's message about not letting a person's romantic appeal distract you from their mental state or treatment of you. On his own Twitter page, Badgley has even responded to posts romanticizing Joe, only further clarifying what's wrong with finding You's leading man attractive.
Badgley has also been extremely vocal about his dislike of Joe in interviews, telling Vulture:
I don’t like Joe. I don’t like the guy. A lot of actors like saying, Don’t judge a character, you might fall in love with him! Not me. It took every ounce of my capacity to do my job. I’m so lucky I had the trust of the women around me, and the women writing and directing the show, to help me understand why I was doing it. I’m going to continue to rely on those women. Because I feel a certain amount of detachment from the character because of my dislike of him. I don’t feel like Joe.
Although you might feel like you've hit your quota of Badgley in disturbing roles, he'll be back as Joe in You's upcoming second season. Here's hoping that the writers include a sneaky reference to Dan Humphrey to fuel this identity crisis.
Season 2 of You is expected to premiere on Netflix in late 2019.