Yellowjackets creators discuss “anti-Ted Lasso effect”

Yellowjackets creators suggest "anti-Ted Lasso effect" responsible for show's success

Christina Ricci as Misty in Yellowjackets; Jason Sudeikis in Ted Lasso
Screenshot: Showtime; AppleTV +

We could name about a dozen reasons that Yellowjackets became a hit (the genius onscreen pairing of Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci is just one of many), but co-creator Ashley Lyle has a sociological theory that just might hold water.

In a new interview with IndieWireLyle admits that she and her Yellowjackets collaborator Bart Nickerson “knew we had an uphill battle ahead of us just by pitching an original idea” in a very IP-heavy landscape. Not only that, but their pitch was “what would happen if the kids from Dazed And Confused became the Donner party, ”which cannot be an easy sell.

So what about that unlikely pitch resonating so deeply with fans? “I think it’s almost impossible to really parse why an audience is responding to something, but I do think that there might be something to the fact that it’s almost like an anti-Ted Lasso effect, ”Lyle suggests. “For a while during the pandemic, everyone just wanted to watch something nice, myself included. I was just binging The Great British Baking Show because I just wanted something pleasant in my life. ”

But “pleasant” may have overstayed its welcome as the pandemic years wore on. “There was something about coming towards the end of the lockdown stage of the quarantine and everybody hitting an exhaustion point — maybe people wanted an outlet for their discomfort with the world around them or for their anger or their feelings of dread,” Lyle continues..

“Maybe our show captures that, but at the same time, we were very, very careful. We always knew we wanted to make a show that was really dark, but we never wanted it to be bleak or grim. We always wanted it to be really fun at the same time. I personally suspect something about that combination of darkness and humor struck a chord in just how maybe sardonic people were feeling. But that is pure speculation, ”she concludes.

We’d like to think we live in a world where pleasant and “Dazed And Confused Donner party ”can co-exist, but could late-stage pandemic cynicism also explain the backlash to Ted Lasso‘s second season? In any case, if that’s what made Yellowjackets a success, we’ll take it.


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