Yellowstone is stupid.
Like: really, really stupid. Like, soap opera stupid. Like, stupid enough that it makes ‘Dallas’ resemble Shakespeare.
Also: Yellowstone is stupid for its politics. Which are deeply, unashamedly conservative.
Now, before y’all fire off (yet more) hate mail to my editors, and (yet more) hate tweets to me, I plead this in my defence: y’all wanted me to stop picking on People’s Party Pierre, so I’m doing that.
I’m going to pick on Yellowstone instead.
Among conservatives, Yellowstone isn’t just a hokey TV show about cowboys and horses and the Wild West. To them, it is The Way The World Should Be. To them, Yellowstone is the perfect antidote to the Deep State, woke folk, and liberal coastal elites.
To them, Yellowstone is a love letter to lonely conservatives, who long for the return of their spray-tanned messiah, presently flushing the nuclear codes down one of the 1,000 toilets at Mar-A-Lago.
Consider the evidence.
Screeching around the Montana countryside in a suspiciously-clean, tank-sized Limited Dodge Ram 1500 Hemi, perennial cowboy actor Kevin Costner plays John Dutton III with two (2) facial expressions: pained and more pained.
Here are the people he and his psychopathic children fight with:
• Native Americans, who would like the land back that was stolen from them, please and thank you.
• Over-educated, effete environmental protestors, who the Duttons get arrested, only to have their leader sprung from the slammer so John can have sex with her.
• The Government of the United States, which (as noted) above, is run by Deep State apparatchiks, bent on enslaving the God-fearing Duttons with jack-booted metaphoric stormtroopers.
• The aforementioned coastal elites, typically from California, who want to build golf courses and hotels, and thereby cut into the Dutton’s bottom line.
Indians, environmentalists, bureaucrats, liberals: those are the people with whom the Duttons do battle, every week – often with real guns, and sometimes trips to a euphemistic “train station” somewhere in Wyoming, where their assorted enemies are knocked off and then tossed off a cliff. If that doesn’t sound like a conservative wet dream to you, you haven’t been paying attention.
But pay attention to Yellowstone folks do, week in and week out. They can’t tear their eyes away, as idiotic as the plotlines may be. It is one of the most popular shows on TV, with as many as ten million Americans watching it every Sunday night. (In Canada, there is a higher viewer demand for Yellowstone than 99.7 per cent of any other TV dramas.)
Why? Well, sure, it harkens back to simpler time, when men were men, and women resembled the pneumatic Beth Dutton (who may be a sociopath but who always obeys her Dad).
But the main audience for Yellowstone, I suspect, is conservatives. As no less than the New York Times offered in a 1,600-word think piece this week, “Liberals aren’t watching Yellowstone for cultural reasons, and conservatives love it for ideological ones.”
Because Yellowstone is ideological, and it is conservative. But don’t get me wrong, effete liberal coastal elite I may be: I grew up in Calgary, totally surrounded by conservatives. If I didn’t make peace with them, I would be even more lonesome than I am now. I generally like conservatives: unlike we progressives, they actually have a set of beliefs.
And, now, they have their own show, presided over by Kevin Costner and his two (2) facial expressions. It’s dumb and dumber, it’s stupid, but everyone (not just conservatives) watches it.
Case in point: me. I confess I will probably watch it again, when it returns with season five in mid-November.
So who’s stupid now, Warren?
[Kinsella is in a punk rock band called Shit From Hell. That tells you all you need to know.]