Jun 29, 2022 • 1HR 15M

Passing the Bechdel Test

Yellowjackets, Episodes 1-6

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Richard Hanania
Connected to the Richard Hanania Substack. Discussions with Chris Nicholson on war, Rob Henderson on movies, TV shows, and culture, and more.
Episode details

I spoke to Rob Henderson about Yellowjackets, Season 1, Episodes 1-6. We’ll release a discussion of Episodes 7-10 in the coming weeks (UPDATE: see here). Usually we do an entire season of a show at once, but this time we thought it would be better to split things up. Those of you who haven’t watched the show but want to follow along can therefore go back, watch the first 6 episodes, listen to this conversation, and then come back and be caught up to the end of Season 1 when we release our next discussion.

As it turns out, like most men, Rob and I rarely watch shows centered around a female cast. The only two I can remember watching are Sex and the City and Girls. A story with a mostly female cast can for me be interesting anthropologically, as those two shows were, but is also usually not very relatable. Having what could be a male story with a female cast most of the time doesn’t work, and I note to Rob the problem here with trying to have a female character represent a male archetype. Still, I’ve found Yellowjackets compelling thus far for the reasons discussed.

I explain to Rob how I generally don’t like art that cuts back and forth between different periods of time and puts them on an equal plane. Human experience flows chronologically, memories are fragmented and faint, and the future is uncertain. Flashbacks or glimpses into what is going to happen years later should be a small part of any show at most. Moreover, this show in particular would be much better if it simply stuck with the aftermath of the 1996 crash and ignored the more boring 2021 storyline.

Near the end, we get into reasons for thinking that we are past the peak of wokeness in TV and movies. In that context, we discuss Better Call Saul, The Northman, Midway, The Summer I Turned Pretty, Top Gun, White Lotus, and the Sonic the Hedgehog movies.

You can watch the video of our conversation below.