By: Kevin McDonnell
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Listen up ladies, gentlemen, and every pronoun in between, it’s time to have a heart to heart (for those of you interested in men) about your attraction to serial killers.
By “attraction” I don’t mean the binge watcher in all of us insatiably drawn to the docuseries, documentaries and dramatizations of true crime, all of which we have fallen victim to at some point, spending hours on end glued to the TV waiting anxiously to see when and if they’ll ever catch the killer. No, when I say “attraction” I mean those of us who have not only fallen to the allure of true crime but for the killers themselves; killers like the infamous Ted Bundy.
It seems as if almost overnight and in quick succession, Netflix subscribers became enamored with their new original series “You.” The series features a young man by the name of Joe Goldberg, a sort of socially awkward book shop owner played by Penn Badgley. Fans of the show Gossip Girl might remember this actor as Dan Humphrey and the demeanor of both characters are eerily similar. Without giving anything away, “You” shows how Joe uses the disarming nature of his character coupled with charisma to manipulate those around him in pursuit of Candace Stone. This is not dissimilar to the same methods Ted Bundy employed to lure his victims: a combination of charm and attractiveness.
At first, I thought it was just another set of evening Twitter posts. The usual late night ramblings. A “thirst” tweet thrown in among a feed decked with memes and a copious amount of #ThomasBurns as students celebrated their snow days in bliss.
However, as the popularity of “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” and “You” grew even larger, it became abundantly clear that this was no isolated incident.
Don’t get me wrong, I certainly understand the appeal. Attractive young men in both cases saying all the right things, romantic even at some points. And with Zac Efron signed on to play Ted Bundy in the movie adaptation of the series, it only reinforces the pull of these characters. We should be careful though to romanticize these men. At the end of the day, their attractiveness, especially in Bundy’s case, is what makes them dangerous. If nothing else it reminds us that as much as we may avoid toxicity we still find ourselves drawn to it.
Maybe as humans we will always be drawn to the things that are bad for us. There’s no one saying that “fangirling” is bad, but just remember there are plenty of men out there, some may even be more handsome. And the best part? Most of them are not stalkers or serial killers.