How ‘Yellowjackets’ change TV’s relationship with Reddit


If internet communities delimited themselves with farm signs, Yellowjackets Reddit has chosen theirs. It’s in the style of the black and neon-colored poster “In this house we believe”, but with a twist that recognizes some of the subreddit’s most common theories:


Welcome to Yellowjackets subreddit, the busiest (sorry) and bloodiest corner of the internet watching TV. In this house we think (also): Jackie is a time traveler; Lottie is the pit girl and antlers; Jackie survived the desert and married Travis; Tai killed Travis; the wolf attack never happened; and Shauna eats her baby. Or on the other hand, we might think: Jackie is the pit girl; Lottie has supernatural powers; Misty killed Travis; and Adam is Shauna’s son. You understand the idea.

Yellowjackets, which concludes its opening season on Sunday, serves horror in both innocent and brutal forms; Rash amputations of legs, spits and wolf attacks are equated with extramarital affairs and teenage love triangles. The show’s premise, 90s nostalgia and impeccable casting present a breathtaking mix of memorability and mystery. It’s a show that sticks with you, which is why thousands of viewers have been attracted to gather around the digital campfire to share their most inappropriate hypotheses and rave about their favorite characters. Clear down the desert on the already 25,000-plus-members forum, spend some time scrolling, and your grasp of reality may begin to feel as flimsy as a teenage girl with nothing in her system but homemade wine, psychobilin, and insects. There are posts ranging from “cannibalism to vegetarianism pipeline lol” to “butterfly symbolism” to “you have a little pit girl stuck in your teeth.” There are marked face masks and Yellowjackets-themed tarot card artwork.

At first glance, it seems that the show asks only one overarching question: How did a close-knit football team for high school girls go from ordinary teenage savage to ritually hunting, killing and possibly eating their teammates? (“They Got Hungry” justifies the consumption, but probably not the ritual.) But between the double timelines and a possible supernatural inflection, the show actually presents dozens of unanswered questions. And with that comes an exponential number of possible answers and a profound consequence of “civil detectivesReady to analyze – including those directly involved in the show.

“Honestly, I’ll totally whisper I admit I’ve been there,” says co-creator Ashley Lyle. “Because it’s fun for us. It’s so fun to see everyone’s theories. ”

Lyle co-created the show with her husband, Bart Nickerson; the couple are big true crime fans, says Lyle, and easily identify with the appeal of the “citizen detective” work that so many fans are currently doing. The show’s ability to spawn a host of hypotheses was “almost a nod to our own inclinations to some degree,” she says.

“I think if I could tell the sub-editors something, then it’s like, we are them, and they are us to some degree,” she says. “And there are just so many like-minded people in our writing team and in our cast. I think that’s why everyone really engages in it.”

Courtney Eaton, who plays Lottie, admitted to trolling subreddit and pointed out the discussions that analyzed her character’s antipsychotic medication. Melanie Lynskey, today’s Shauna, said she is “read your Adam theories, and just so you all know, there is one that virtually no one has mentioned yet. ” (She also noted that the same issues have infiltrated her group texts.) Jane Widdop, who plays Laura Lee, reposted an embroidery of the creepy stick figure girl. Teenager Taissa, Jasmin Savoy Brown, went so far as to warn that “no matter what your theories are about the show and all the story lines, they are all wrong.”

There was no official conversation about how much the cast would or would not address Internet speculation, Lyle says. And different cast members had different preferences for how much they wanted to know about the season. Lynskey, for example, sought as much information as possible about her character to “create the emotional context for her performance,” Lyle says. The adult Taissa, Tawny Cypress, only wanted to know as much as her character knew – and ended up getting unintentional spoilers from hair and makeup. Late in production, the crew remained noticeably engaged in the plot line; Lyle remembers the show’s screenwriter chasing her for spoilers and throwing out her own suspicions. In retrospect, these were the first hints that Lyle and Nickerson were in the process of the next big mystery on small screens – a potential sequel to Lost or The remains.

“I definitely think we strived to make a show that was engaging enough to justify a place in the audience’s lives, a little beyond the hour it’s on.” says Nickerson. “I do not know if I dared to hope or dream that it would be so big. … I mean, just the amazing art that people make – the meme generation is just so amazing and fun and ingenious. “

Online fan dissection of a drama’s twists is not new; that Westworld and Game of Thrones subreddits has 1 million and 2.9 million members, respectively. But until recently, shows and their Reddit communities have been in conflict. At times, predictions and theories were so off-the-wall (and fun to analyze) that the real plot lines ended up fading in comparison. Other times, creators were forced to adjust episodes after Reddit found out the twists and turns long before the actual revelation. Some shows have directly swept with their fandoms: “We love to fuck with Reddit as much as possible,” joked Westworld cocreator Jonathan Nolan in 2018. Only within the last year or so have showrunners begun to accept that Reddit sleuthing is inevitable if the audience gets a mystery box. By playing with their fans, Yellowjackets has taken it a step further.

The recordings were completely finished at the time of the premiere, says Lyle, eliminating any chance of “meta-comments” in the show about online theories. The nods to potential theory communities – an episode contains a clip of one Yellowjackets Reddit – and the cast embrace of subreddit was also not developed in the hope of starting an online community. It was very organic, says Lyle. “We’re all just genuinely fascinated and entertained.”

The result is a multifaceted viewing experience and playful engagement that Nickerson compares to a jazz solo. “Hopefully there is something about this show – even if it’s exploring things that are so kind of dark and trying to explore traumas – that there is something amplified and playful about it in a way that tends to invite this kind of legend. commitment, “he says. The actors’ involvement in the theorizing creates a sense of breaking something beyond the fourth wall, he says.” It’s like breaking the eighth wall in the fifth dimension. “

To prevent the community from becoming too unwieldy, the site relies on five subreddit moderators to weed out repetitive theses and prevent inadvertent spoilers. (The show is not officially aired until 10pm Eastern on Sundays, but can be streamed on the Showtime Anytime app from midnight ET, creating a mystery when it comes to blocking episode revelations.)

William Townsend, 28, joined subreddit after the third episode. He is aware of the dangers of online speculation – “I was burned by a lot of theories that came up to see WandaVision at Disney + last year. So now I’m relaxing with some of the more bizarre theories, ”he says – and is now one of the moderators. “The community is definitely very passionate about the show,” he says. “You can see that in many of the posts that come up, many of the theories from the normal to some of the more bizarre theories that you come across in everyday life.”

His personal favorite theory: Jackie is still alive. His least favorite: Shauna eats her baby in the desert. (“Eating the baby just seems too dark, even for Showtime,” he says. “That does not mean that some of the things we have seen in the show are not already dark, but it will just take it to a whole. no other level. ‘) And he has seen everything you could possibly imagine in terms of Adam, Shauna’s (now deceased) lover.

“That character had absolutely the most theories thrown around him, almost to the point where I was a little happy to see the character die out,” he says. “But it’s good to see that enthusiasm.”

Determining Adam’s potential significance is a compelling task, and a fitting example of how subplots in the show can flourish into full-blown speculation. Is he simply a stranger whose random appearance in Shauna’s life creates an emotional arc around Shauna’s marriage? Or does his connection to the Yellowjacket go deeper?

“There was one that was very entertaining for both of us, which was: People really dived deep into the bumper sticker on Adam’s truck in a way that I found very unexpected, and it was very creative,” says Lyle. Some conclusions from the posts about the sticker – a multicolored COEXIST with a unique design in “O” – are that Jackie went into adulthood and now Adam… or maybe Adam is a PI working with Lottie’s family to seek revenge on the living survivors.

“There have been a few that I really hadn’t anticipated. And in particular, there have been a few details that people have given a lot of meaning to in ways that were a little surprising to us,” Lyle says.

Statistically, if there are 10 predictions, at least nine will be wrong, Lyle says. But she notes that many of them have proven to be correct, and there is “at least one person on Reddit who has come close to the ball field on almost everything,” she says. “Our hope is that people have fun enough just with the incredibly creative theory generation that is going on that even though they ultimately do not turn out right, they are still having a good time.”

Meanwhile, there are about 48 hours more for subreddit to continue designing final bingo cards and posting book club memes. As long as there is one episode left, there is still work to be done for the civil detectives. Townsend and the moderators are ready for a tumultuous weekend, and given the show’s confirmed second season, months of speculation after the finale. “Just wait until it has been sent,” one Redditor assured another, lamenting that this is “the longest week ever.” “The wait for season 2 is going to be just as brutal as surviving the desert itself!”

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