Dobler vs. Dahmer a.k.a. Gossip Girl vs. YOU

by - 12:48 PM

Warner Brothers / Netflix

Like most Netflix fans, I couldn't help but notice their new holiday offering "YOU" starring none other than Gossip Girl lovable sociopath Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley)... but having heard nothing about the series - I had to investigate. A Lifetime series that was neglected by pretty much everyone was giving a second life thanks to some smart acquisition folks at Netflix - and I couldn't wait to watch. An American psychological thriller that turns the genre of rom-com on it's head by exposing the ugly truth of one of HIMYM (How I Met Your Mother)'s BEST theories ever? Yes please! 

The Dobler-Dahmer Theory is one of my favorite, and easily most referenced HIMYM-isms...

"If both people are into each other, then a big romantic gesture works: like Lloyd Dobler, holding up the boom box outside Diane Court's window in Say Anything. But if one person isn't into the other, the same gesture comes off serial-killer crazy: or {Jeffrey} Dahmer"  

Having spent far too much of my life reading hundreds of rom-coms scripts, paranormal romance books, and sappy love-strung pitches - It's actually a fun exercise to play the Dobler vs. Dahmer game. With just a slight twist in P.O.V. there's so many "big moments" that beg the question of romantic or straight up creepy?

So after being disappointed (like many many fans) with the lackluster finale of G.G. where literally not one question of "Seriously? Sociopath Dan Humphrey much?" was asked - YOU felt like the much needed follow-up to that show.

And it delivered on EVERY front. From the blah as all holy hell Becks (Serena), the society princess Peach (Blair), the bumbling idiot wealthy playboy Benji (Nate) & the mysterious unrequited ex fling Candace (Vanessa) - they had everyone covered.


Watch the show. It's honestly so worth it. Get over some of the stupid questions like "who the F doesn't have curtains in their first floor New York apartment with giant windows." and then we can talk about my favorite question posed by Guinevere Beck...

In the very last episode, as she's plotting her escape - she FINALLY writes. Something pretty substantial.

"You used to wrap yourself in fairy tales like a blanket. But it was the cold you loved. Sharp shivers as you uncovered the corpses of Bluebeard's wives. Sweeter goosebumps as Prince Charming slid one glass slipper over your little toes. A perfect fit. But by the schoolyard, real Princesses floated by you on fall winds. You saw the gulf between you and the rich girls, and vowed to stop believing in fairy tales. But the stories were in you deep as poison. If Prince Charming was real - he could save you. You needed to be saved from the unfairness of everything. When would he come? The answer was a cruel shrug in a hundred fleeting moments. The sneer on Stevie Smith's face when he called you a fat cow. Uncle Jeff's hand squeezing your ass in the Thanksgiving kitchen. The accusation in your father's eyes when you told him what happened. From every boy masquerading as a man that you let into your body, your heart, you learned you didn't have whatever magic turns as beast into a Prince. You surrounded yourself with the girls you'd always resented hoping to share their power, and you hated yourself and that diminished you even more." 

"And then, right when you thought you might just disappear - he saw you. And you knew somewhere deep it was too good to be true, but you let yourself be swept. Because he was the first strong enough to lift you. Now in his castle you understand, Prince Charming and Bluebird are the same man and you don't get a happy ending unless you love both of him."  

"Didn't you want this? To be loved? Didn't you want him to crown you?"

"Didn't you ask for it?"

NOW. The obvious response in our society, especially now is - No. Of course you didn't ask for it, because who in their right mind would ask for something like this? And of course it's not your fault - because the victim is always blameless. But this is a very poignant and sharp reminder that in every story there are always multiple points of view. Hearsay vs. fact. Twisted motivations that ride an incredibly fine line between love and insanity. Two different worlds.

Let's set aside the murders. Because yes - that's something universally agreed on as bad.

But the steps Joe takes to win over Becks - studying her, knowing her through her social media and online persona, using that to stage meet cute after meet cute - it's not far off from the start of many great love stories.

Look at Dirty John - you wonder, HOW COULD SHE NOT SEE IT? What about Fyre Festival? The trainwreck that everyone says they saw coming - yet no one did anything about? We want to live the fantasy. We want to live the dream. And when it works out, it's because we obviously are blessed and live charmed lives. And when it doesn't - it's always everyone else's fault.

It makes for a dangerous society, one where people choose to ignore the signs, and then recourse to playing the victim... and I truly appreciate that in this one monologue, Becks sums it up perfectly. Where do we fall on the blame game when we knew something didn't seem quite right, but quietly tuck it away in favor of the easy route?

And again. In this particular case... sorry Dan Humphrey - you still a murderous cray cray - but the point was put out there and for that I appreciate it.

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