Is there a wrong way to rub one out? If you’re television star Penn Badgley, who plays the murderous masturbator Joe Goldberg on Netflix’s satirical thriller, You, there is. Speaking to the Podcrushed podcast (via Variety), Badgley said that he gets noted to death about his on-camera stroke style, which his directors think he needs to be “less creepy.”
Of course, we’re talking about a blood-thirsty killer whose narcissistic ramblings make up the show’s perspective, relying on the viewer to infer that what’s happening is sick, sad, and wrong. Nevertheless, Badgley, who plays a monster known for, among other things, trapping women in a big glass box and pissing in jars and leaving them around his victims’ homes, says that obviously, that’s “the fucking point.” Still, directors would like his masturbating outside of some unsuspecting woman’s window to be slightly less creepy.
“Every time I’ve done a masturbation scene, I’ve always gotten the note to make it less creepy,” Badgley said. “They say like, ‘Close your eyes or go faster or go slower.’ I’m like, ‘What? This man is fucking murdering people, and he’s masturbating in the street. You’re saying I’m making it creepy? How is it I’m the one making it creepy?’”
“I just remember I wouldn’t close my eyes and the director came up to me. He was like ‘Buddy, I think you gotta close your eyes.’”
As Badgley put it, being creepy is the point. But the show is a bit more complicated, shifting tones regularly while maintaining a comfortable atmosphere for comedy, suspense, and romance. The actor explains that You examines “toxicity in sexual culture while also trying to be sexy,” which same.
“You read it. It’s actually kind of funny or it’s creepy but it serves the story. And then you discover in front of a crew of people with a camera on your face, knowing that, in all likelihood, millions of people are going to see this, you’re simulating masturbation.”
We get it. The last thing you want is for millions of people tuning in to be entertained thinking you crank like a creep.