Why Joe Fox From ‘You’ve Got Mail’ Is A Terrible Human Being And Is Probably Also A Sorcerer

The 1998 classic You’ve Got Mail directed by the late & oh so great Nora Ephron starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in their third collaboration. It tells the story of Kathleen Kelly (Ryan), a woman who wanders into an over-30 chat room on the day of her 30th birthday and goes by the username Shopgirl. There, Shopgirl meets NY152 who is a man named Joe Fox (Hanks), the man whose company is essentially destroying Kathleen’s livelihood. The film depicts the wondrous joys and immense struggles Kathleen endures as the legacy of her little Shop Around the Corner suffers a slow death until (SPOILER) she eventually must shut it all down.

‘You’ve Got Mail’ | Warner Bros.

You’ve Got Mail is easily one of my favourite romantic comedies of all-time. I like to refer to it as the “mashed potatoes of film.” Mashed potatoes are comfortable. Mashed potatoes make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Mashed potatoes are safe. If they are in my present surroundings, I will stop whatever I am doing and gobble that shit up. That said, there are serious issues in the movie I do not take likely. Mostly, Joe Fox. Joe fucking Fox.

‘You’ve Got Mail’ | Warner Bros.

Look, it is adorable how they both are in relationships and constantly fantasize about talking to each other. I love the fact that Joe eats all the caviar off the plate like a disgusting savage (more of that in the post) but the more times I watch the movie, and trust me there have been a ton of times, the more I wonder what the hell is up with this guy. Here are just a few reasons why Joe Fox is a fantastical jerk off.

I highly recommend watching this brilliant recut trailer of the film. All I’m saying is, it is never addressed who the Rooftop Killer was…

Joe Fox Does Not Appreciate Caviar

“That caviar is a garnish!” – Kathleen Kelly

When Kathleen realizes the “F-O-X” man that appeared in her store was really Joe Fox, the man whose company is running her out of business, she approaches him like a strong, independent woman would do. She questions why Joe would take all the salt-cured fish eggs that are meant for everyone else at this party, something a caring human being would question.

Joe’s response? By shoving more caviar onto his plate.

What a monster.

You never had a chance, caviar! | Warner Bros.

Joe Fox Teases People Waiting For Their True Loves

“… The man who is coming here tonight is completely unlike you.” – Kathleen

When Joe Fox finds Kathleen at the coffee shop, he knows she is Shopgirl. He knows she is waiting for NY152. He knows she is head over heels for this mysterious entity.

How do you think he treats this woman who believes she is meeting her soul mate? By making her second guess herself as to why he hadn’t showed up yet.

Oh the two women that wandered in aren’t him? Oh the strange man dressed like Henry VIII isn’t him either? Clearly he isn’t showing up, you are shit out of luck. Kathleen gives him a harsh reality check, the first she has ever given in her life, and he pouts and walks out… Telling anybody their legacy will be futile is kind of harsh though… I’m sure he will cry about it to his adorable dog.

Joe Fox Predicts A Man’s Exact Coffee Order

“Tall… Decaf… Cappuccino!” – Joe Fox

This isn’t really related to his awfulness, I just found it interesting how in a voice over by his Cyber self, he accurately predicted a complete stranger’s exact Starbucks coffee order from the size, caffeine level and type and this man happened to order right after Shopgirl/Kathleen orders her tall, skim caramel macchiato.

Joe Fox Makes It Virtually Impossible For Kathleen To Reject Him At The End Of The Movie

“Brinkley!” – Joe Fox

At the conclusion of the film, when Kathleen finally meets her NY152, she tearfully lets out a “I wanted it to be you.

Do you want to know why she is in tears? Kathleen is frightened for her life.

Hey, to all you stalkery humans who want your potential love interest to not immediately run away when they see you: meet up at Riverside Park, bring your adorable dog and have “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” playing while dozens of strangers are present. You know who will reject you if you do that? Nobody, that’s who.

If you rearrange the letters in that tearful declaration and listen to them backwards, she actually means “Please help me this man is going to kill me. FIGHT… FIGHT TO THE DEATH!

you've got mail dont cry shopgirl gif.gif
[Warner Bros.]

The Movie Really Is Fantastic Though

Despite Joe Fox’s occasional inability to connect with other human beings, You’ve Got Mail truly is a wonderful movie. There are colourful characters, nostalgia up the wazoo and Dave Chappelle shows up too! For like three seconds, he is great.

you've got mail women internet gif.gif
Also Steve Zahn… The Man, Myth & Legend | Warner Bros.

On A Scale Of 10-11, How Much Merit Does My Joe Fox Theory Have?

this is spinal tap these go to eleven gif.gif
‘This Is Spinal Tap’ | MGM


  1. I loved reading this, your Joe Fox theory is an 11 in my book.
    You know, Meg Ryan is a revelation in You’ve Got Mail and each and every time I watch it I discover some new aspect of her character. Kathleen Kelly is erudite, down to earth and has a wicked sense of humour. A lethal combination!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’re making a lot of sense! 🙂 I like this film, but I find the ending unbelievable. I don’t think you could still love someone who killed your business. Her business wasn’t just business, it was part of her family and her whole life! Her employees were her friends. He destroyed all of that, and I thought he was just a villain, plain and simple. 🙂 I really liked the parts of this film where Meg Ryan was in her shop, talking to Steve Zahn and Heather Burns. I thought they were all great characters. I think that’s a great idea – I would love to see a prequel because the three of them chatting and working in the little book shop was so great, and just left you wanting more 😀

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s