Long before he was attracting problematic thirst as bookstore manager/serial killer Joe Goldberg on You, Penn Badgley was Gossip Girl’s “Lonely Boy,” — a..ka, literature-loving, Upper East Side-eschewing Dan Humphrey. While Gossip Girl propelled him to eternally-recognizable stardom, Badgley admitted that he didn’t always appreciate the series that made him a household name.
“We should always appreciate the audience's intelligence," Badgley told the outlet. "This is what I probably didn't do well in Gossip Girl. In Gossip Girl, I was far too judgmental of everything that was happening, because I was young."
Badgley's somewhat complicated relationship with Gossip Girl has been long documented. In 2012, he told Vulture he was very much over people comparing him to Dan.
"[Dan is] not real. He's a tool on a show with soap-operatic arcs and he needs to be a judgmental douche bag sometimes. I get that. I don't hate anybody for that. But it sucks when people call me 'Dan' and think that I'm him."
Two years later, Badgley tweeted this:
"Lol shit we are *reclining* on New York City," Badgley wrote in response to a Gossip Girl poster in which the cast is placed in front of a Manhattan skyline. "I'm posted up like its a futon. Talk about an image of white privilege."
Now that Badgley's working on a new series (he's currently filming season 2 of You), he's a lot more thoughtful about what the whole thing means.
"I feel like I’m learning something new about You every day, to be honest," he told GQ. "Part of that is a testament to the show. And part of it is: If you’re actually thinking about something, and if something is a conversation, rather than just calling it a conversation, it’s ongoing."
Reflection is always a good thing!