‘Yellowjackets’ is the internet’s favorite anti-internet show

Nostalgia, they say, comes in waves, each collapsing as a new generation learns how their parents lived. In the 1990s, the narrator of Radiohead’s song “The Bends” proclaimed, albeit sardonically, “I wish it was the 60s”. Over time, pop culture was awash with a yearning for the 80s – an era that perhaps saw its final crescendo with the debut of stranger things in 2016. Now, in 2022, it seems like a lot of people — or at least those who make movies and TV — long for those days when Radiohead themselves first dominated the airwaves.

This turnover, the phenomenon of people resurrecting the culture of the past every few years, is best described as a cycle of nostalgia. The problem is that there is no true measure of how often these revolutions occur. Things, thanks to shows like Mad Men, also had an air of 60s sentimentality, for example. Adam Gopnik, write for the new yorker, called it the “40-year golden rule,” but sometimes the culture spins much faster than that. It’s enough to have children on TikTok breathe new life into dusk to bring back the 2000s. Or, in the case of Showtime’s mystery/horror/coming of age drama yellow jackets, a deeply melancholy appreciation of those flannel-clad days before social media and smartphones took over teenage life.

Let’s be clear: yellow jackets is not a hazy, rosy vision of youth. It’s about a New Jersey high school girl’s soccer team who find themselves stranded in the wilderness of Canada following a plane crash on their way to a national championship in 1996. Some of them (the show is deliberately vague on the number) return to civilization. . But there are hints, many of them, that very bad things have happened in these woods, up to and including sick rituals. lord of the flies shenanigans and maybe-probably cannibalism. Like Lost, it jumps back in time, cutting between the girls’ childhood and the present, sprinkling unsolved mysteries worthy of a Reddit thread throughout. But unlike Lost, its appeal seems rooted in a desire to return to those golden days before the Internet, while reminding that they were not so happy at all.


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It is difficult to determine exactly when, but at some point in the past few weeks, yellow jackets has grown from a quiet phenomenon to a cultural force. Example: there is now a BuzzFeed Quiz designed to tell you which football team member you are. Much of the show’s popularity can be attributed to stellar reviews, great word-of-mouth, and the fact that viewers had more time during the holiday season to catch up, and Omicron kept a lot of that home and watching.

But there’s something else, something even more basic in its appeal: it’s a mystery full of the kinds of symbolism, clues, and easter eggs the internet likes to devour and speculate on. There are Reddit Threads (many), news articles, and more Twitter chatter than you can shake a stick at. queen of the woods at, and in this time of Covid-19 surge in the dead of winter, it’s hard not to go down a rabbit hole online trying to decode it all. Last night’s Season 1 finale only gave fans more cannibal disaster content to chew on.

This is all somewhat ironic, because one of the things that attracts yellow jackets is that it’s so lo-fi. American teenagers in 1996 barely had AOL, and none of them had smartphones. They listened to Snow’s “Informer” because that was what was on the radio and watched while you were sleeping on VHS because there was no Netflix. This does not mean that everyone watching yellow jackets wants to return to a more primitive, pre-Internet era, but there is something appealing about living in this world – for the Gen Xers and Millennials who grew up in it, and for younger generations curious about its contours.

It is also a story that has almost at have taken place in a previous decade. If the Yellowjackets were now a high school girls football team, they would probably all be TikTokers or near-famous microinfluencers. Their disappearance would be the subject of hours of research online, as would the show itself. The reason the crash survivors (so far known to the public) — Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Misty (Christina Ricci) and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) — were able to keep a profile somewhat low after their return to civilization is probably due to the fact that it occurred before the era of Don’t fuck with catslike the watchdogs of Facebook, before Serial turned everyone into a budding detective. Not only does half of the show take place in the wilderness with little to no technology, but its modern segments feature heroines who largely avoid it, with the possible exception of Misty, who is now a bonafide herself. crime addict. (Having Lewis, Ricci and Lynskey — three staples of ’90s indie cinema who built their careers just before the era of celebrity blogging culture and managed to survive its wrath — playing their adult roles remains the best joke. from the Serie.)

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