Opinion: ‘You’ and ‘The Stranger’ depict obscene behavior, but provide important messages

The popular Netflix series have drawn criticism for showcasing stalkers. But the shows don’t celebrate the issue, they present realistic representations of it.


Angela Stansbery, Columnist

There are a lot of major topics that are often taken too lightly in our entertainment, even joked about or mocked. It’s like someone coincidentally running into their friend at the coffee shop and jokingly stating, “What, are you stalking me?”

Problems such as stalking feel so distant from everyday life that people often forget how real it is. They don’t take the potential of these situations seriously enough.

Shows such as You and The Stranger consistently generate buzz online. Both shows feature stalkers as main characters and drivers of the plot. Many viewers bring attention to the harmful effects of shows that sensationalize stalking and have attractive actors filling such roles.

But the creepiness is the point.

While these shows do have the potential to provoke public interest at the expense of certain accuracies, shows such as You are also beneficial. These shows make people more aware of their surroundings and can make them realize real dangers.

Watching shows that depict stalking can make viewers more aware of the severity of such situations. Scenes are intense and often violent, which shows how dangerous similar situations would unfold in real life. It is important that stories such as these are told, because otherwise, stalking and similar situations would feel too distant for comprehension by those unaffected.

Viewers can see how harmful and real such situations can be.

These shows make people more aware of their surroundings and can make them realize real dangers.

Shows that depict stalking may be overdramatized but they also bring such situations to the forefront of the viewers’ minds. Certain scenes are portrayed in these shows that mimic everyday life for the victim. As they go about their business, they are entirely unaware that someone is lurking nearby. These moments can encourage viewers to be more aware of their surroundings.

These types of shows can make people wonder if something similar has ever happened to them and they just didn’t notice. Now they will know to check their own surroundings whether they think it’s necessary or not because of the shows’ realistic depictions.

One can imagine what it’s like to be in the situations shown. These shows are beneficial because they can teach people to pay attention.

While certain scenes may be overdone or overdramatized, it doesn’t take away from the learning experience that they bring. The impact may be even more beneficial when the scenes are overdramatized. This can scare the audience, and scared people tend to be more aware of their surroundings at any given time.

It also has the potential to instill a fear of stalking that can feel real to viewers in a way simply thinking about it can’t. These scenes present the weight of serious issues that people would otherwise feel disconnected from.

Therefore, shows such as You and The Stranger should not be shunned. They may have the potential to make the stalkers look good or attractive, but the shows don’t entirely miss the point.

The shows are beneficial for people to watch because they make people more aware of serious situations such as stalking. They can teach viewers how real these situations are and convey that they shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.