This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter, The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
If you have 60 seconds to talk to Melanie Lynskey – the star of Yellow jacketsopen whistleblower about what Hollywood is really like for women, and beloved LGBT ally– How much of that time would you spend discussing 2000-era hard rock band Papa Roach?
The indelible (and perhaps infamous) group is permanently in the “Cringe Nostalgia” for those who spent their early teens wearing JNCO jeans with legs at the perimeter of overpass support piers and pretending to enjoy music that amounted to a cacophony ‘ part of the brain sewn in by construction noise and melodious screeches. (Just me?)
But during a drive-by encounter at Yellow jackets At the season 2 red carpet premiere Wednesday, Lynskey didn’t flinch at the mention of the band. Instead, her eyes actually lit up when she started nodding her head in a groovy motion, as if imagining hearing — and maybe even liking — the song “Last Resort.”
The first episode of the second season of Yellow jackets is available to stream now and will debut linearly on Showtime Sunday night. A portrait of friendship, survival and mild cannibalism, the horror thriller drama mystery series returns in great form. Watching the premiere, I gasped twice, once groaned in surprised disgust, whispered “Oh, that’s juicy…” after a revelation, and in response to one particularly grotesque moment, I reflexively blurted out, “Oh my god, no, no, no, no, absolutely not.”
“It really delivers on the more gruesome elements. It is shocking. I mean, the first few scripts I did, I audibly gasped a few times,” star Christina Ricci told me on the red carpet, which was actually — and appropriately — black. (The Daily Beast’s Obsessed produced the fan experience at the show’s world premiere in LA. Our little baby lights up, y’all!)
But the moment in the episode that got me the biggest reaction involved Papa Roach, in perhaps the most unexpected and hilarious musical needle drop in a TV episode I’ve seen in a while. I burst out laughing and started applauding. “It’s just so good,” said Lynskey, speaker of truth, purveyor of unimpeachable opinion and infinite wisdom.
That’s the only thing I’m going to spoil from the episode, and I promise it’s not a huge plot point — just a delightful one.
If you remember the end of Season 1 (and, for God’s sake and Antler Queens, stop reading if you haven’t), Shauna (Lynskey) has her affair with artist Adam (Peter Gadiot) hers Husband Jeff (Warren) reveals to Kole) – after she accidentally killed him. She and Jeff are now not so much in forgive-and-forget mode (Jeff had blackmailed the other Yellowjacket survivors) as in forgive-and-work-together-to-cover-up-this-murder-mode .
At first Jeff seems to be fine and even relieved. But then, after a series of unexpected turns in their search for evidence, he’s alone in his car. It seems we’re getting a glimpse of his true, raw feelings about the gravity of what’s going on in his life and marriage. We begin to wonder what moody, introspective ballad could accompany such an emotional moment, especially given this Yellow jackets‘ impeccable taste in music cues.
But no. “Cut my life into pieces,” the radio begins to blare. “This is my last resort.” It’s Papa Roach. Jeff isn’t going to stare out the window and think. He loses his shit, thrashes around his car, bangs on the dashboard and just lets go.
“We knew right away it was going to be this song” played in that scene, showrunner Jonathan Lisco told me. “We needed a way for him to quench all that anger. He’s obviously very cool trying to get over the fact that Shauna was having an affair, but we needed a very tight, intense way to show that he’s not okay. This song immediately came to mind because of its really intense, anthem-like quality.”
Perhaps more shocking than any moment in the Yellow jackets Premiere itself was how few people on the red carpet were familiar with the song. “It’s my favorite moment from the first episode, but I didn’t really know the song,” said Kevin Alves, who plays plane crash survivor Travis. “Now it’s on my playlist.”
Even Kole, who plays Jeff, had never heard of it. It was published in 2000, the same year he graduated from college. “So use your imagination how that got ripped from my memory,” he laughed. He estimated he listened to it about 50 times to figure out how he wanted to play the scene, which wasn’t exactly the most enjoyable experience of the time he was working on Yellow jackets this season: “I hate it. Terrible song. A perfect song for the scene. But oh, I can’t take it.”
The rest of the cast all had their own dream choices of which song from that era their characters should listen to during a cathartic rage/rock out moment similar to the one Jeff is having. Tawny Cypress (Adult Taissa) is a huge fan of Jane’s Addiction, but “I don’t know if Taissa would listen to that music,” she admitted. “So maybe a little en vogue.” Liv Hewson (Young Van) said: “I’m dying for a pin drop from Fiona Apple on the show. That’s my wish for a star.” Lauren Ambrose, who joins the cast this season as Adult Van, said “something out of Hole canon,” a response my colleague Coleman Spilde noted has to become an instant meme.
Lynskey almost made me spittake when she nonchalantly declared, “The only songs I feel [like rocking out to] are, for example, hip-hop songs or rap songs. Sometimes when I’m mad, I sing “I Don’t Fuck With You.” When I rang out in shock at the song’s title, she gave me a shy look. “I don’t know if I’m allowed to say that,” she said before offering that it’s from Big Sean. Helpful! I will stream it!
But when the subject of that piece is “things that caused me to have a wild whole-body reaction,” a la Papa Roach Needle Drop or Lynskey calmly uttering the words “I don’t fuck with you” while standing inches from away from my face, then I have to mention an answer from Ricci. She gave it up when I asked her how she felt being out in real life now after appearing on this traumatizing show.
I will paint the entire quote as a mural in my apartment. I will be creating a series of throw pillows with these words on them. I’ll print it on business cards and hand them out to strangers and passers-by, hoping to enlighten and brighten their day. Here it is:
“I always feel weird when I go outside. I don’t like wind. i don’t like the sun Wind makes me gag until I throw up. I prefer a controlled indoor environment.”
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