Class of ’07 Is the Perfect Appetizer to Pregame Yellowjackets Season 2

A group of women who went to high school together end up stranded in the wilderness, must consider cannibalism in order to survive, are eventually pushed to the edge and throw an end-of-the-world bacchanal where all hell breaks lose, all the while scored by a soundtrack that alternates between great songs of a certain era and a score of women vocalizing hauntingly. Sound familiar?

This is not Yellowjackets but rather Class of ’07, an eight-episode apocalypse-comedy series out of Australia available on Prime Video. I admittedly hesitate to compare it to Yellowjackets as its tonally and structurally vastly different. While I’d call both horror-comedy, Yellowjackets is heavier on the former, while Class of ’07 is heavier on the latter. In fact, Class of ’07 is absurdist in its approach to a survival story, a loud, gross, goofy, fun, and often surprising show that isn’t trying to be as serious or scary as Yellowjackets and yet still finds little pockets of compelling and deep character- and relationship-driven storytelling. Yes, it’s very different than Yellowjackets. And it manages to stand on its own quite well. But I’m interested in those surface-level commonalities they share, both because I think it’s interesting to consider how little tweaks of tone and scope can shift a familiar premise and because I want more people to watch Class of ’07 so that it might get a second season and am hoping a Yellowjackets comp will do the trick.

Class of ’07 kicks off with a ten-year high school class reunion at an all-girls Catholic private school. Many of these women haven’t seen each other for years and immediately have to confront old expectations and assumptions about them as well as conflicts that never had much closure. That’s all awkward and uncomfortable enough, but things get much more dire with a catastrophic environmental disaster leads to a massive flood that turns their school property into an isolated island detached from any humanity that might have survived the flood. The women now don’t have to merely reckon with their pasts but also find a way to survive together, despite only really knowing each other’s teenage selves.

So, in a way, the narrative structure is like a reverse Yellowjackets. Instead of adult women reconciling with their shared past trauma of being teens who survived against impossible odds and alternating between those present day stories and their stranded past, Class of ’07 instead sees adult women stranded in the present, with little pops of flashback into their past, when they were surviving a different beast entirely: high school.

While very much an ensemble cast, our point of entry into the group is Zoe (Emily Browning), who has been off the grid for a while following an embarrassing stint on a Bachelor-like reality program. She spends much of the season attempting to reconnect with and get answers from her once-bff Amelia (Megan Smart) who left school abruptly for reasons unbeknownst to Zoe.

Even though they’re all adults now, the drama and conflict that festers between these women is of the high school variety. It’s like the intensity of the apocalypse (which they all start referring to as the “pocko”) suddenly makes them all revert to their teenage selves — some of them quite unwillingly. My favorite arc of the season belongs to reformed bully Saskia (queer actress Caitlin Stasey!), who is forced to return to her mean girl ways by Amelia who thinks the group needs a tough leader in order to survive. By returning to her past self, Saskia has to give up a lot of herself, and the more we learn about her past, the more she’s complicated beyond just your textbook queen bee stocktype. It’s fascinating to watch these adult characters return to old dynamics, old patterns. Stasey gives a great comedic and dramatic performance as Saskia, who brings out some of the most extreme feelings in most of the girls, acting almost like a mirror to the past.

Flashbacks are employed expertly and very minimally. Most of the time, they’re just quick, almost montage-like cuts to mostly wordless moments between younger versions of the characters. They’re done so well that they don’t really need dialogue to both narratively contextualize and also conjure emotion. Repetition of certain sequences evokes even more substance and feeling.

As far as queerness goes, only one character — Tegan (played by queer hip hop artist BVT) — makes explicit reference to being queer and only does so in one quick line in the backhalf of the season. Tegan’s arc is mostly centered on her everlasting friendship with Megan and how it has been fueled by alcohol and drugs. There are not technically overtly queer storylines in the sense of coming outs or romances, but it’s hard not to feel like Class of ’07 is deeply queer in its bones, especially because of the queer folks in its cast. In addition to BVT and Caitlin Stasey (who I loved as a queerleader in All Cheerleaders Die), there’s also queer content creator Emma Horn, whose character Renee I could easily see being queer. While many of the show’s themes regarding reconciling the differences between who you used to be and who you’ve become can of course be relatable to all sorts of people, there is something queer about these tensions and about the intense bond between some of these girls in their youths and their eventual undoings — as cataclysmic as an apocalyptic tidal wave. There’s actually almost no consideration of men at all on the show. The homosocial environment of all-girls school ends up replicated by the dysfunctional commune they create to survive. The sense I get is that basically any of these characters could eventually make their queerness known and it would track.

Class of ’07 feels a bit like a mashup between Pen15 (absurdist comedy and adult actors embodying teenage behaviors), Yellowjackets (“pocko” vibes, a dual timeline, and yes cannibalism), and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (finding humor in strange places and characters reckoning with their painful pasts). There are literal end-of-the-world stakes, but it’s also riotously funny — and gross. Like, so very gross. And I mean that as a compliment! Class of ’07 sure does not shy away from the grotesque bodily realities of living without proper food, plumbing, or consistent electricity. But even amid all the shit, piss, puke, blood, dirt, grime, and over-the-top humor, Class of ’07 consistently finds grounding in real stories about friendship, growing up, power, trauma, and guilt. Many times, I found myself laughing hard at a joke and then suddenly choked by something devastating and real. That tonal whiplash works well on a show like this. At one point, the women literally read letters written by their teen selves to their future selves, and there’s so much meat to each of their reactions.

The nature of Class of ’07‘s absurdist comedic tone makes it so that you never have to get too hung up on the logistics of their survival. The series does come up with a playful explanation as to why the girls keep wearing makeup and doing their hair. Without having to focus on some of these more plot-based details though, it frees the narrative up to instead have all of the mystery and uncertainty live within its relationship dynamics. Finally learning why Amelia left school is a gut punch, because it’s a gut punch for Zoe. And Class of ’07 doesn’t make these kinds of interpersonal conflicts and backstories too neat either. Zoe is, frankly, an annoying protagonist, but the writers know she is. When she acts selfishly or immaturely, other characters call her out on it. Saskia’s history of abuse at the hands of a male teacher at their school doesn’t turn into some overly simplified “hurt people hurt people” storyline. It explains some of her behavior but not all of it. She was mean. She tortured other girls and not just after her own personal torment. None of the characters nor their relationships slot into easy categories, and everyone’s flaws are explored but never downplayed.

(Honestly, the biggest lingering question I have is why Zoe went on the reality dating show, because it doesn’t really track with anything we learn about the character and ultimately feels like someone just wanted to open the series with a Bachelor parody, and I suppose that’s fine, it’s nothing to get too nit-picky about, but Bachelor/Bachelorette parodies are so common these days — even in literature! — that it stands out when it’s not done particularly well. Read Patricia Wants To Cuddle or How To Be Eaten for more effective comedy on this front.)

The show is very watchable in one or two sittings, and it’s the perfect way to pregame Yellowjackets season two, which premieres on Friday. Class of ’07 makes it explicit that surviving high school sometimes feels just as brutal and chaotic as surviving a disaster event.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 860 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. To me the primary relationship in the show exists between Amelia, Zoe, and Saskia, almost forming a love triangle. It’s made all the more apparent by those two lines spoken in episode five.

    The full series poster.

    And then they boil it down to the love triangle.

    • agree!!!! i didn’t wanna get tooooo much into some of the specific relationship dynamics on the show because I think it’s genuinely part of the thrill to watch them play out, but yes to all of this!! i really hope we get a second season!

  2. I’m currently watching this and am really surprised by how much I’m enjoying it! I feel like it’s exactly as you described – similar to yellowjackets, but much goofier and overall a little lighter, while still indulging serious challenges of the human condition.

    • yes! i feel like it was asking a lot of the same questions about survival, confronting your past, etc. but in a much more playful way. they’re ultimately doing super different things but are fun to consider in conversation!

  3. I would actually compare this show to The Wilds rather than Yellowjackets. It has a different tone but it’s actually got very similar plot lines (some exact same)… I’ll reply with examples in case anyone is avoiding spoilers for either shows.

    Really enjoyed the show. At first I was like wtf did I just watch?? lol But it was so enjoyable and it so fun to see an all female cast. I’m hoping it will get picked up for another season and we’ll get a wlw storyline.

    • Similar plot lines of the Class of 07 and The Wilds.

      Both all female casts stranded on an island.
      Both were about the trauma of teens
      Both had characters dealing with sexual abuse from an older sexual predator
      Both had a character loose a body part (obviously Co07 was presented funnier and only a toe but both were still shocking to see)
      Both had a “food poisoning” episode and oddly enough both were in episode six
      Both had characters dealing with depression and mental illness
      Both had a bit about an electric toothbrush
      Both binged all their food supplies in a celebration which made life more difficult for them
      Both had characters who came back from the dead
      Both had Chi Nguyen who played Megan in Co07 and Jeanette/Lihn in TW
      Both had Australian productions (filmed s2 in Aus) and actresses
      Both had the first season ending with a twist with the introduction of a group of unknown men/boys… except Co07 handled this twist WAY better than TW. The boys twist on TW was quite literally a buzzkill for the show.

      Obviously they had very different tones and overall arcs, but I couldn’t help but think of TW while watching and miss the girls from The Wilds.

  4. I liked it a lot! I agree that Emma Horn’s character could definitely be queer; I noticed that in the scene where they’re first showing off their outfits for the end-of-life party, she’s wearing a Rainbow Pride peace sign pin and socks.

    I loved the ending. For a split second I was worried about the show taking focus away from the girls’ relationships with each other in season two, but… nah. Haha!

  5. I can’t help compare this to The Wilds in construct and actual storyline parallels…and after watching I would have preferred Amazon continue The Wilds Season 3 (sans boys, of course.)

  6. I loved this show, and honestly Caitlin Stasey is a star! The way she switched between “the bitch” and the… “not bitch” was not only kind of scary but also very compelling. I enjoyed pretty much all the performances but Caitlin, Megan Smart’s vulnerability and Emily Browning’s comedic timing really made the show for me. And I’m so glad to find out Tegan (BVT) and Renee (Emma Horn) are queer in real life!! Autostraddle never disappoints.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!