In the first season of Yellow jackets, by far the funniest moment suddenly emerged from a moment of suspense. As Shauna tearfully confesses to her husband Jeff that she did not, in fact, go to a book club, but rather cheated on him with Adam, a man she recently met, Jeff (Warren Kole) replies incredulously and logically, “What?! Isn’t there a book club?”
It is a good example of the delicate tonal balances in Yellow jackets, and part of what makes the show so good; in the middle of an emotional scene, with both actors crying or on the verge of tears, there’s a line (and line delivery) so perfect it forces you to laugh out loud.
And Jeff is at it again in Season 2, just one episode in.
(Ed. remark: Spoilers ahead for the premiere of Yellow jackets season 2.)
Just over halfway through the episode, Jeff and Shauna team up to destroy the many, many paintings and drawings Adam had in his studio of hers. They start having sex in the studio, and later Jeff sits alone in his car in the garage, thinking deeply about the experience. Suddenly he turns the radio on full blast and Papa Roach’s “Cut My Life Into Pieces” blares into the car. He starts nodding his head, banging the steering wheel to the beat, before exploding into the kind of Papa Roach solo drumming you only do when no one’s looking.
It can be hard to drop a needle on the nose, especially one that is so recognizable, but Kole sells it and goes all out with his facial expressions (sticking his lips out in what can only be called “serious rocker duck”) . face”) as he plays up the hilarity of seeing a grown man rock out to Papa Roach in 2023. It’s the episode’s funniest moment, right next to Misty angrily shouting at Elijah Wood’s
There are two other moments of Jeff hilarity in the Season 2 premiere: right after the Papa Roach scene, Jeff and Shauna burn some of Adam’s things. They neglect good fire safety, as the barbecue they have set up is directly under a tree, which of course immediately catches fire.
But later, during an awkward family dinner where Jeff and Shauna are still in their post-makeup sex glow, Jeff starts the father’s most paternal jokes: “What did the bun say to the hot dog?” What did it say? We’d all like to know, because Jeff never found the punchline. Classic Jeff.
Jeff could have been a difficult character to make sympathetic, as a pseudo-idiot husband who is occasionally at odds with a main character. It would be easy for Jeff to be like many other TV husbands: an afterthought, a punchline, or just an obstacle to their partner’s (and often the show’s) goals.
But Warren Kole’s golden retriever-esque performance and the ways Jeff supports Shauna help elevate the character from a source of punchlines to a crucial part of a large ensemble. He is the Goofus of the Gallant ladies, the Scooby of this Mystery Gang. All credit to Jeff, our doofus warrior Yellow jackets.