There are quite a few fans of the Lifetime-turned-Netflix series You who are infatuated with the main character Joe. This wouldn't raise too many eyebrows in a typical series, but Joe is a stalker obsessively following and manipulating the series' other lead Guinevere. When asked about fan interest in an objectively bad dude, showrunner Sera Gamble didn't flinch. She pointed out that almost all rom-com heroes engage in some sort of behavior that would read as creepy or overly obsessive in the real world.
Gamble told the Hollywood Reporter that the story takes a character like Lloyd Dobler from Say Anything and follows his extreme fixation on a woman to an endpoint.
"Essentially what [You author Caroline Kepnes]' done is taken the classic romantic hero and just peeled back the gloss and sheen and John Cusack with the boom box and she followed it to its logical conclusion. I mean, if you turn off the sappy music and turn on a David Fincher score, romantic comedies are stalker movies," she said.
It's true that context is everything. Being primed for the big romantic gesture turns the stunts in rom-coms from unsettling to endearing. If you want an example of how music can change tone, take a look at this recut theme for Diff'rent Strokes.
"He's chasing her through a fucking airport, chasing her on a freeway, watching her sleep because he feels protective," she continued. "Romantic comedy behavior in real life is criminal! And that was basically the starting place for the show."
Netflix has ordered another slate of You episodes, but a release date hasn't been announced.