Is Joe Goldberg the modern-day Ted Bundy?

**Spoiler alert** If you haven’t watched Season One of Netflix’s thriller series, “You,” be warned that this article has some spoilers.
In the era of Netflix providing many programs surrounding the crime genre, we find the latest streaming phenomena in their takeover of Lifetime’s original series, “You.” The show explores life through the eyes of handsome book shop clerk, Joe Goldberg, prone to obsessing about the good-looking women of New York City. When he fixates on someone, he invades the tiniest crevices of their life, convincing himself that they are “The One.” Now all he has to do is to convince the women he meets that he is the One for them. In the following days, he stalks them, removes “inconvenient” people in their lives, and things only go downhill from there for the object of his affection.
It’s not difficult to see the similarities between Joe and America’s favorite serial killer, Ted Bundy. Both were intelligent young men living in large cities (Bundy started his spree in Seattle) who come across as the boy next door with dark, wavy hair and a warm smile. The women in their lives are never suspicious of their night-time activities and view them as successful people with lives of their own. Truly both Joe and Ted live in fantasy worlds, dreaming of their fantasy becoming reality. Joe just wants someone to love him unconditionally and he’ll do anything to ensure that happens. Ted desired the companionship of the perfect woman and dated various women throughout the time when his killing spree was hot and heavy. Even Joe’s narration reminds us of Ted’s confessions, down to the timbre and speech pattern of both men. One wonders if actor Penn Badgley actively tried to mimic Bundy in order to fully immerse himself into the mindset of the killer himself.

However, there are ways in which Ted and Joe differed. Despite having many girlfriends, some more serious than others, and friends in his life, Bundy was never able to fully connect with anyone. He admitted on more than one occasion that he didn’t understand how friendship worked and anyone in his life who considered him a friend admitted they didn’t actually know the man behind the mask. Joe, on the other hand, has a connection to Paco, a young neighbor who reminds him of himself. Though the connection may be tenuous and based on how Joe views the boy, Joe kills for Paco when he finds himself in a bind. I seriously doubt that Bundy would have been so inclined with anyone in his life if the act didn’t benefit himself. Another major difference between the two men is that Ted clearly enjoyed spending time with his victims and routinely washed their hair and applied makeup and nail polish post-mortem. Joe’s only interest in murder was to benefit the woman about which his interest revolved for the time-being.

Locked in his own cage.
Overall, it’s clear that there are similarities between Joe Goldberg and Ted Bundy, but their motives and ultimate goals were very different. For one, murder was everything. For the other, it was merely the means to an end. It awaits to be seen how Season 2 of “You” will evolve, but one thing is for sure, more comparisons to Ted are on the horizon and many of those things will evoke more memories of Ted Bundy.

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