22 Of the Queerest Moments In 'Yellowjackets' So Far
Showtime’s Yellowjackets is quickly shaping up to be the dark teen girl-centric take on Lost we didn’t know we so desperately needed. Flashing back between a girls’ soccer team (the Yellowjackets) crash-landing in the wilderness and how the survivors are coping 25 years later after being rescued, the show so far is steeped in mystery, trauma, survivor’s guilt, and the bonds of female friendship.
And it is very, very queer.
Not only is there canon queerness, but the show itself has an overwhelmingly queer vibe. The kind that makes you confident a character or couple wasn’t thrown in to hit a quota, but that the story is just has queerness deep down in its DNA.
So while the explicitly queer moments are there, and an excellent example in and of themselves as to how easy it is to weave LGBTQ+ characters into your story, let’s take a moment to examine the ways the show is super queer outside of those.
WARNING: This contains spoilers up through season two, episode four.
The theme song
The Yellowjackets theme song is like True Blood had a gay 90s grunge baby with a hardcore YA dystopian novel collection back home. In other words, it sets the tone perfectly.
The intro to Shauna and Jackie’s friendship
As of episode six, it’s not explicitly clear whether Shauna (played by Sophie Nélisse as a teen and Melanie Lynskey as an adult) is meant to be seen as having a crush on her best friend Jackie (Ella Purnell), but it’s one of those things where if it were a hetero friendship, there would be no question about it.
So when their introduction is Shauna waiting to pick up Jackie from school as Jackie’s boyfriend, Jeff, sneaks out the window, it’s hard to miss the way Shauna looks pretty devastated about it. Interpreting that to be about Jeff (more on him shortly) is understandable, but the whole scene is shot in a way that lingers on the glances between the two girls that makes you feel like you’re falling head first into a Supercorp situation all over again.
Shauna marrying Jeff
By the end of the pilot, teen Shauna and teen Jeff are hooking up behind Jackie’s back — and it’s clearly not the first time. It’s also clear that it’s not about Shauna actually wanting to be with him. And when we find out that the two actually got married once Shauna and the other survivors were rescued, the fact that their marriage is so painfully devoid of emotion really makes viewers question the “why” of their relationship.
Nat's whole vibe
While Shauna’s sexuality still feels like an open question, Natalie (played by Sophie Thatcher as a teen and Juliette Lewis as an adult) seems to be written and played as straight. But she’s got that leather jacket, chaotic rebel badass vibe that is often a sure sign that we’re about to get a token lesbian. The fact that she’s actually straight is almost refreshing, especially since we still get a queer vibe from her either way. And boy is she a hot mess as both versions of herself.
The lake scene
A little while after the girls crash, they decide to leave the plane debris and go look for a lake. Once they find it, the scene of them all splashing around through the water reminds us that though they may have been thrown into a terrible situation, these are still teen girls, trying to live their young lives and have a good time.
The early moments at the lake give us a glimpse at the growing tension between Shauna and Jackie, who tries to make Shauna jealous by giving her attention to a different friend on the team, but it also gives us our first introduction to teen Taissa’s (Jasmin Savoy Brown) furtive queerness. Taissa doesn’t seem to be out to her teammates yet, but the way she looks at Van (Liv Hewson) makes it obvious she already knows that she’s into the ladies.
The power couple
By the time she’s an adult, Taissa (now played by Tawny Cypress) has clearly worked through her sexuality and has built a family with wife Simone (Rukiya Bernard) and their son Sammy (Aiden Stoxx). Their life isn’t perfect, but the conflict comes from the same sorts of challenges a heterosexual couple with a seemingly troubled child would face. As Taissa runs for political office, her sexuality is of course relevant, but doesn’t overshadow the other issues going on in her personal or professional life — we aren’t having homophobia lazily shoved down our throats when there are other, more interesting options for conflict available.
This is meant to point out the queer vibes of the show more than the explicit queerness, but the positive representation offered by this couple without falling into the trap of being boring or too perfect is worth pointing out.
All of the clothing
Half of this show is set in the '90s and is about a girls soccer team. I think that speaks for itself.
The 'Rizzoli & Isles' reference
Rizzoli & Isles/TNT
Rizzoli & Isles may never have jumped into the realm of the canonically queer, but it toed the line so closely that it’s definitely got a permanent place in the queerbaiting hall of fame. As such, Natalie casually name-dropping the titular characters (“I hate to break it to you, but we’re not Rizzoli and Isles. I don’t need you.”) while telling off perpetual odd girl out Misty is automatically pretty gay.
Misty (played by Sammi Hanratty as a teen and Christina Ricci as an adult) does a whole lot of sabotaging throughout both timelines. The show has crept slowly from making us feel kind of bad for her to realizing that the girls have good reason to be wary of this one, no matter the age. The biggest hint to this was when teen Misty realized that being in the wilderness meant that the other girls finally needed, and therefore might appreciate, her due to her triage skills and calm in the face of catastrophe. So when she alone discovered the black box and smashed it to pieces, ensuring no one would know where they crashed, it made a demented sort of sense for her character. She echoes this decision repeatedly throughout the early episodes, secretly causing damage to make people rely on her.
And while Misty herself seems to be pretty straight, there is something chaotically queer about taking such extreme measures to try to make a place for yourself in people’s lives rather than simply talk about your feelings and problem solve like a well-adjusted human being, especially as a teen. But unfortunately for Misty, she doesn’t seem to have grown out of this as an adult.
Taissa’s political opponents trying to “out” her
Adult Taissa may be out and proud, but she’s got plenty of other secrets — namely, whatever went down in the wilderness for the months the girls were lost. Some murder and cannibalism, to start, although we’re still light on the details. And the way everyone in her political orbit seems set on uncovering those secrets is reminiscent of the way closeted public figures could be targeted for their own secrets — especially considering the hints we’ve gotten that Taissa herself may be struggling to keep her secrets in. And once again, this version is the much more interesting choice.
Queer women love the occult. Everything from tarot to crystals to straight up seances, there’s just something about it that resonates. Maybe it’s the secrets, or maybe it’s the way witches were persecuted. Maybe it’s just diving headfirst into everything we were raised not to involve ourselves in all at once. Regardless, when the girls decided to hold a seance to try to communicate with ghosts in the spooky cabin they found, that fell directly into queer vibes.
That Daria reference
Another queer culture reference came in the form of Lynksey’s Shauna yelling at her teenage daughter that “the people who matter recognize Daria,” after said daughter disparaged her would-be Halloween costume. Sure, it’s also a ‘90s reference, and the single instance of LGBTQ+ rep in the show is pretty negative, but it’s another one of those characters that queer girls latched onto all the same, so we’re claiming this one.
Taissa and Van kissing
Okay, this is another one that is explicitly queer, but Taissa and Van sneaking out to the lake while everyone’s asleep to get naked and kiss and trace words on each others’ backs is so great it’s worth mentioning all the same. It’s unclear what happens to them, and to Van, but getting us invested in their secret rendezvous at the same time as we get invested with adult Taissa’s attempts to keep her family together is cruel and wonderful. It’s as queer as it gets.
Taissa cutting her hair
While short haircuts are, of course, historically readily linked to queer women, it’s the dramatic act of Taissa emotionally chopping off her own hair in a mirror in the wilderness that really sells this moment as extra gay. Who doesn’t love a hyper-dramatic hair cutting scene?
Laura Lee trying to fly a whole plane
The brazen confidence Laura Lee (Jane Widdop) showed in deciding she was qualified to fly a dead man’s plane out of the wilderness after reading a manual about it has some kind of queer vibes to it. Maybe not as queer as all her scenes with Lottie (Courtney Eaton), but still good — until it wasn’t. RIP, Laura Lee.
Nobody throws a post-high school faux homecoming quite like the LGBTQ+ community, but the Yellowjackets team gave us a run for our money with their Doomcoming. Actually, it seems like a safe bet that knockoff doomcomings are totally going to become a thing any day now if they haven’t already. Although hopefully without the accidental hallucinogens in the stew.
Lottie is really upping her spooky vibes this season, harping on the pagan rituals and whatnot in the wilderness, and running a full-fledged cult disguised as a "wellness retreat" of some sort as Simone Kessell takes over the fan favorite role in the present. You know who else likes dark, dramatical rituals, twinning, and fleeing to the woods under the guise of mental health? Lesbians. The cult portion of Lottie's dual journey also gets a major bonus for the brooding sapphic vibes Nicole Maines is bringing to the floor.
Crystal asking Misty to harmonize
It seems like teen Misty may have a new friend in Crystal (Nuha Jes Izman) this season, although the girl definitely seems a little sketch every now and again. But the moment where they first bond and Crystal offers to teach Misty how to sing so that they can harmonize makes you believe we could get the deranged wilderness version of that Pitch Perfect shower scene at any moment.
Ben's internal fantasy world
Yes, Ben (Steven Krueger) is canonically gay, and the presumed combination of memories/fantasy world he spends most of his time drifting off to show him with his boyfriend (François Arnaud), but the mere act of rejecting a miserable reality in favor of an untouchable dream world is in and of itself so in line with a closeted queer experience.
Misty screaming "I'm fine!"
Misty’s decision to give Shauna the gift of performance for her baby shower is already toeing the line, but her flare for the dramatic gets an extra kick when she reaches the point in her Steel Magnolias monologue that just has her screeching “I’m fine! I’m fine! I’m fine!” Sally Field may have originally popularized this moment in the film, but who amongst us hasn’t unwittingly reenacted it on far too many occasions? Oh God!
The theme song update for season two
Episode four of season two saw a shift in Yellowjackets’ intro, not only bringing the adult versions of the characters into the opening, but having the song itself covered by ‘90s queen Alanis Morissette. Gayyyy.