Not many popular TV shows are inspired by the commentary on news articles.
Showtime yellow jacket was conceived in 2017 when its creators saw that the all-girls remake of Mr Flies currently roundly mocked on the internet, with many doubting that girls would turn out to be barbaric like the schoolgirl character from William Golding’s 1954 novel.
A new series — sort of a cross between the aforementioned book and the popular ABC show Is lost — tells the story of an all-girls high school soccer team from New Jersey whose plane crashes en route to their national championship, leaving the survivors stranded in the Ontario wilderness for 19 months.
Their slow descent into madness – hinted at in the pilot episode’s grisly first scene – suggests that not everyone will starve, but many will not make it out alive. With an ensemble cast of female stars, yellow jacket offers a refreshing look at what a women-led society looks like, and it’s probably not the utopia you’d expect.
For yellow jacket star Sophie Nélisse, who was born in Windsor, Ontario, the dark examination of femininity stories is part of the appeal. Nélisse plays Shauna, a shy teenager who is overshadowed by her charming best friend, Jackie.
“I love that it covers a darker side and a not-so-pretty side [of] women,” says Nélisse, who grew up in Montreal. “We always have to be put in a box where we’re pretty and we’re nice and kind, but we can also be kind of crooks, you know — and that’s okay, because we’re human. “
VIEW | The Canadian Yellowjackets star told CBC News about her starring role:
The show, which concluded its first season on Sunday, subverts stereotypical ideas about what women are capable of, as gender “falls to the side of the road” in a society where people have to do work equally in the name of survival, said Roxana Hadadi, a TV critic on the US pop culture site Vulture.
“I think the show does a really good job of countering the idea of, you know, ‘If all the women get together, then everything’s going to be okay,’ by showing us honestly how understated that argument is,” Hadadi said.
Split timeline shows 2 sides of femininity
Hadadi says part of the reason yellow jacket succeeds in this case because it is split into two timelines. In the wilderness, without the rigid social constructions of modern society, girls are just humans trying to survive.
When we go after them as adults, they have fallen in line with conventional ideas of how a woman should be, which they find unsatisfactory.
The first timeline, set in 1996, covers the year and a half the girls spend in the wilderness. Here, the show staggers between psychological mindbender and survivalist horror — we don’t know if the more far-fetched elements hint at supernatural powers or are symptomatic of the girls’ madness.
The second timeline takes place in 2021, when the 25th anniversary of the crash looms over the four survivors: Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), Taissa (Tawny Cypress), Natalie (Juliette Lewis) and Misty (Christina Ricci). Each of them has suppressed their dreary history and rebuilt their lives, with varying shades of success.
If anyone else comes out of the initial ordeal alive, we haven’t found him yet.
“We starved, scavenged and prayed for 19 months” — that’s the survivors’ official line, for anyone who asks. But they soon discover that they are being blackmailed by an unknown individual who threatens to tell the world what is really going on in the forest.
The women reluctantly reunite to protect the truth.
Enduring high school hierarchy
The show’s creators had a vision of five seasons, one that would probably end in a team save.
As brutal as the series has been set, yellow jacket equally committed to the interior life of his female ensemble, showing how the social hierarchy of high school itself is something to behold.
After an accident in the woods, it’s not hard to know which characters will cling to the pecking order (queen bee Jackie shrieks at the sight of a dead animal, for example) and who will happily abandon her (certified loner Misty, who is treated like a pest until she takes her out. Scout skills). The fact that the head coach’s teenage son was among the few male survivors also poses a problem.
But something had to replace the disrupted hierarchy, Hadadi said.
“It’s the kind of thing you see in Mr Flies: if the hierarchy is gone, then what new patterns or behaviors do you create for yourself to reestablish some sort of order?”
Fans of the show were encouraged by the tension of the question, and have taken to Reddit, Twitter, and TikTok to share it themselves theory about the storyline.
That the series has been broadcast using a weekly storytelling model – rather than a party format – has helped generate conversation, Hadadi said.
Q16:58Sophie Nélisse on the success of Yellowjackets — a survival drama set in the wilderness of Ontario
What we do know is that many of the yellow jacket girls have a dark side that is forced out by the hopelessness of their circumstances, which Nélisse compares to having a second personality.
“The only thing you know you have to deal with is who you really are and your values,” she says.
“I think Shauna is a little scared, almost, of this other person. It seems she doesn’t like this version of her, but it still needs to be revealed at some point.”
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