Note: Only minor spoilers ahead.
In the new season of You, Joe—the bookish (and murderous) antihero, played by Gossip Girl’s Penn Badgley—decamps to Los Angeles and assumes a new identity as “Will,” and in the process, much fun is made of the city. Usually send-ups of LA are pretty vapid, but this one is pretty spot-on—one episode even includes a checklist of seven things you need to see before you can be considered a real Angeleno. As a Los Angeles transplant myself, I have a few things to say about the list and about the show’s depiction of the City of Angels itself (beyond the fact that it deserves props for never calling LA the City of Angels, because real people don’t say that...and I vow never to say it again).
The story arc of the series mimics the experience of anyone moving to LA: dismissive contempt at first, then gradual acceptance as a slow and steady drip, drip, drip of pleasurable elements works its magic into your life. The apt description makes sense when you consider that showrunner Sera Gamble lives in LA and is an unabashed East Side booster (that’s the nabe where the drama is set), and author Caroline Kepnes (she wrote Hidden Bodies, the thriller that You’s second season riffs on) penned a lot of the story while sitting outside at a café in Franklin Village, where she still lives. Long story short: This is all of our stories about Los Angeles, getting to know it and basically needing to make fun of it because we know it’s the best ever.