5 Reasons why Joe Goldberg is Penn Badgley’s Best Role (& 5 Reasons It Will Always Be Dan Humphrey)

Penn Badgley has soared back into the spotlight after putting on a masterful performance as the charming serial killer/stalker Joe Goldberg in You. From the unnerving stares to the creepy and unsettling stalking and planning, every episode of You in the first two seasons has garnered positive reviews.

For fans of Badgley, we know that Joe isn’t the first iconic character he has played, as he once played the infamous Dan Humphrey aka Gossip Girl in the hit show Gossip Girl. Playing both roles beautifully and both characters seemingly opposites of each other which one is better? Here are five reasons Dan Humphrey is the best and another five reasons why it’s Joe Goldberg.

10 Dan – He’s Not A Serial Killer

Dan Humphrey wasn’t the best or nicest guy as we saw in his character progression throughout the series, but he never even got close to wanting to kill. Dan started as a quiet but quick-witted teen from the wrong side of New York before he got dragged into the socialite life after dating Serena Van Der Woodsen.

He may have lied to everyone and he may have done some pretty dishonest things but Joe has him beat in crazy and unstable.

9 Joe – A Lot Smarter/More Resourceful

Joe became the subject of many true crime fans due to his ability to stalk, murder, and cover up his crimes with ease and resourcefulness. In the first season of You, Joe manages to successfully kill and cover up his murders until Beck found his secret stash and threatened to out him as a stalker.

Unluckily for Beck, she never made it to the police and was instead killed and made famous posthumously due to her book being published thanks to Joe.

In season 2, we see more of the same, as Joe manages to evade suspicions and makes his way to LA, where he steals an identity, kills more people and gets away with it.


8 Dan – Better Career

From the very beginning, Dan was said to be a very talented writer. He even had a book published and became successful at his friend’s and family’s expense.

When he was Gossip Girl, he managed to obtain a huge following all while maintaining his identity a secret. Overall, his potential looks a lot more bright than Joe’s as a humbled bookstore clerk.

7 Joe – Less Complicated Love Life

Believe it or not, Joe actually had a somewhat simple love life, despite all the murdering and stalking he had to do to get with Beck and then Love. Throughout the series, Joe was painted as an old-fashioned type of guy, providing and protecting his girl, at all costs.

He took that belief a little too seriously but was able to successfully get the girl(s) he wanted and even managed to court a fellow psychotic killer in Love.

Although Dan ended up with Serena Van Der Woodsen, there were a lot of girls in between and there were a lot of complications along the way.

6 Dan – Better Love Interest

Beck and Love are beautiful and passionate women, but they cannot compare to Serena Van Der Woodsen, one of the most sought out girls in the entire series.

Serena had a complicated life, struggling to keep up appearance when all eyes were on her and she was friends with an equally popular and powerful Blair Waldorf (who Dan also had a fling with).

Overall Serena was a kindhearted soul who stayed down to earth despite her celebrity status in the Upper East Side.

5 Joe – More Exciting Life

Joe went the entire first season stalking Beck and killing those he deemed were unworthy of her. Every episode was a new challenge for Joe, whether he had people on his tail or his past coming back to haunt him. Either way, for us viewers, it was a much more exciting life for Joe than Dan.

In season 2, Joe moves to LA after an ex threatens to out him for what he is and he finds his new prey, Love. Like Beck, he stalked and killed whoever he felt was unworthy of her attention and by the end of the season we learn Love is just as crazy as Joe, a match made in hell.

4 Dan – Family

From the very beginning of Gossip Girl, we are introduced to Dan’s cool and hip father Rufus and his troubled little sister Jenny, who have a pretty functional family life, despite Jenny’s problems with drugs and Dan’s secret life as Gossip Girl.

Joe on the other hand never had a good family life, living with an alcoholic and irresponsible mother and an abusive father. It’s no wonder Joe turned out the way he did but it’s still no excuse for his actions

3 Joe –  More Romantic

Before you call us out for romanticizing murderous stalkers, hear us out. Joe may have been twisted and psychotic, but he meant well the whole time. Throughout the series, we see Joe as a real gentleman, helping his loved ones and even befriending and helping fellow neighbors. Joe is hyper-aware and knows his actions are bad but sees them as his only way to make peace with the ones he loves.

Dan had some trouble being romantic. He was awkward, a little shy and once he gained popularity he became arrogant and hard to work with. He never really had a sense of romance as Joe did.

2 Dan – More Successful Life

Like mentioned before, Dan went on to become a successful author and at the end of the series, he ends up marrying the queen of the Upper East Side. We like to imagine Dan most likely went on to publish more books and Serena most likely found success in her career as a designer. Maybe even some kids and happy family life.

Joe, on the other hand, has to evade capture and is forced to move to LA at the end of season 1. Towards the end of season 2, we find out Joe gets Love pregnant and they go on to live a quiet suburban life where Joe finds his next victim.

Although the end of season 2 left it open for a third season, it’s safe to say Joe will never quite be cured of his need to be a serial killer.

1 Joe – Better Storylines

Dan had a pretty exciting life, being caught up in the drama that came with hanging out with the New York elite. However, his life is nothing like Joe’s where just about every episode has a jaw-dropping moment.

Joe likes to keep viewers on their toes, constantly questioning and justifying his means, leaving us to wonder if Joe is either crazy or unto something.

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Sebastian Orellana (165 Articles Published)

A writer of all things awesome. Hufflepuff, Taurus, INFP, Amateur photographer, professional adventurer. Let’s talk about your favorite movies or comics.

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