Yellowjackets Creators Suspect An 'Anti-Ted Lasso Effect' Contributed Towards The Show's Success

"Yellowjackets" and "Ted Lasso" have one crucial thing in common, if you can believe it: They bring on the feelings that viewers are longing to feel. For "Ted Lasso," it's joy and hope, for "Yellowjackets," it's darkness and mysterious dread. Co-creator Ashley Lyle revealed she is convinced that fans were interested in one because of the other, but not in the way you might think. 

"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," she explained in an interview with Indiewire. "For a while during the pandemic, everyone just wanted to watch something nice, myself included. I was just bingeing 'The Great British Baking Show' because I just wanted something pleasant in my life."

She added:

"There was something about coming toward 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. 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."

During the series' initial season 1 run, episodes averaged more than 5 million viewers across all platforms, and saw heavy support from the streaming audiences. Streaming numbers tend to represent a younger demographic, so it stands to reason longevity of viewership can be predicted from the impressive "Yellowjackets" streaming stats. The show went on to become Showtime's most-watched freshman series since the 2016 debut of "Billions."

Yellowjackets, Ted Lasso, and original programming

Whether you're in for some saccharine "Ted Lasso"-style sweetness or the biting realities of "Yellowjackets," producing original content that isn't tied to a previous intellectual property has been difficult for filmmakers and artists over the last few years. The "Yellowjackets" team went through the same struggles with their project.

"We knew we had an uphill battle ahead of us just by pitching an original idea," Lyle told Indiewire. "Things have changed a little bit in the past five years, but at the time, so many shows that were being bought were based on IP, whether it was a foreign format or a book or a movie."

She also noted that projects spotlighting teen girls can also be met with their fair-share of roadblocks. "We knew going in that probably the most problematic part of the pitch would be that it had a really strong focus on teenage girls," she added, continuing:

"That in the past has been, I think, very limiting in terms of where you can go with a pitch — in terms of what networks might be interested — and we just ignored it. We did try to explain this wasn't a YA show despite half of the cast being teenage women. We just had to take a leap of faith because it was just so endemic to the pitch itself that there was no getting around it."

However, it's clear that well-developed, thoughtful original ideas are still making their way through the cracks, and between "Yellowjackets" and "Ted Lasso," we have a ton of incredible examples.