This winter, in the midst of the latest and most turbocharged proliferation of the novel coronavirus, two television series briefly, blissfully took our minds off the fact that our elected federal government is telling us to Google things during an unprecedented global crisis. Yellowjackets, which recently concluded its first season, follows a group of teenage soccer players who crash-land in the wilderness and turn on one another in ways both social and primal. Search Party, in its final season, transformed into an apeshit, nonstop demonstration of the “Yes, and” improv principle, freewheeling from sharp, noirish millennial satire into postapocalyptic zombie masterpiece. Both shows were perfectly deployed in our current political moment as they seemed to suggest that, yes, things are bad, but they could always be worse — we could be eating each other.
Most significant, though, both shows featured fledgling and eventually thriving cults led by young women with good hair and questionable mental fitness. Search Party’s Dory (Alia Shawkat) leads a group of dim influencers into an imagined future where happiness is available in pill form; Yellowjackets’ Lottie (Courtney Eaton) leads a handful of her fellow crash survivors into a mystical forest-worshipping situation that, as the finale’s last seconds demonstrate, turns into something much more formal and kidnapping-related 25 years later. In the interest of giving you a small break from the calamitous present, we’ve created a fun quiz to help you figure out which cult you may be a member of: Dory’s, Lottie’s, or American late-stage capitalism as it further devolves amid the chaos of the novel coronavirus.
Where are you on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at the moment?
(B) Basic physiological needs
(C) Safety needs
Where are you literally?
(A) Trapped in a hype house (on purpose) making up dances
(B) Staring at the burned-out husk of a tree filled with foraged objects and piling snow
(C) In a four-hour line for a COVID test at a recently shut-down Chase bank
What are you wearing?
(A) A monochromatic outfit with a matching chemical burn mark
(B) The decaying flesh of a wild beast
(C) Bike shorts and no bra
What was your last meal?
(A) Jelly beans
(B) My friend
(C) Some random bread
How far away is the end of the world?
(A) A few days
(B) Roughly 30 years from now
(C) It is here
What are you doing in your free time?
(A) Pouring acid on my head to let my leader know I respect her
(B) Assembling a dark pagan altar to let the forest know I respect her
(C) Tweeting something polite but stern to Jen Psaki’s verified government account to make a difference
What is your core belief?
(A) I deserve to be transcendently happy above all else
(B) Forest is watching me
(C) Che Diaz is watching me
What would you do if you had a van?
(A) Throw people into it
(B) Throw people into it (also my name is Van)
(C) Throw people into it
Are you dating anyone right now?
(A) I am learning to love myself!
(B) I am kneeling in the snow in a sundress in front of a tree trunk, wearing a shaved-down bone as a necklace. But yes, I am dating.
(C) I am learning to love … myself
Do you have an escape vehicle in case things go sideways, and if so, what is it?
(A) Old-school bus rigged to blow up, procured by detectives responding to a spontaneous hostage crisis
(B) Old plane just blew up, figuring it out from here
(C) We will all live again in Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse
Mostly A’s, Dory’s Cult: You believe in the pursuit of happiness above all else, and you’ll do anything to find it: mutilate yourself, pop pills invented four seconds ago, engage in hostage scenarios, fake your own death, partake in awkward orgies, and go full zombie for the cause. Go chemically burn your forehead in the shade of your choosing — then prepare for it to be eaten off shortly thereafter. You rule, babe!
Mostly B’s, Lottie’s Cult: You know what you want (to survive winter), and nobody can stop you, queen! You will need: one animal (preferably bear or human) heart, one freaky doll, one dog head, a nice candle, a willingness to betray your loved ones, and a belief system expansive enough to include haunted woods that have their own agenda. If you survive that part and stick around long enough, you will eventually get to stalk and blackmail people, then throw them into anonymous vans.
Mostly C’s, America’s Cult: You are living in the richest country in the world, and you earned it, honey. You probably have COVID. You do not have free health care, and you will have to stand in line for four hours, either in the freezing cold or surrounded by other people on all sides. You have to test to get out of quarantine, but there are no tests available. Actually, fine, you don’t have to test, but if you do happen to test and you test positive, stay in quarantine. But why the fuck did you test? Now you have to miss work and are solely responsible for the stock market looking weird and scaring billionaires. If it has been five days and you are still symptomatic but you didn’t test, you can go to work, just wear a mask. We won’t provide you with one, but cloth is fine; it barely protects you, but the idea is what counts. Just remember to love yourself, stay positive, and vote!!!