‘Yellowstone’ Is TV’s WubbaNub For My Dad Soul

Yellowstone cole hauser
Paramount Network

To babies, the WubbaNub is everything.

For one, it’s habit-forming: a pacifier with a little stuffed animal hanging off the end, it somehow becomes a part of them. Its presence comforts, entertains, and lulls the child to sleep. Its absence throws the child into sleepless sorrow.

Any other pacifier just isn’t the same…

And in a strange way, that’s what Taylor Sheridan’s Yellowstone series means to me.

Yellowstone is a WubbaNub for my soul.

After a long day working, shuttling kids around, and trying to stay focused amidst the noise and distraction of modern life, I plop down on the couch with an adult beverage or three, dim the lights, and wait for that sweeping theme song.

And like a baby who’s finally locked onto their favorite binkie, I settle down. My heart rate slows. A smile creeps across my lips. Sometimes I fall asleep (also known as “resting my eyes” in dad circles). My soul is at peace when “Yellowstone” streams.

I don’t know what it is. A lot has been written about the show’s shortcomings. There’s its lack of critical accolades, outside of Kevin Costner’s Golden Globes win this year. It can be predictable and overly dramatic, like a cowboy soap opera. Some say Sheridan’s writing suffers from being spread too thin across the many Yellowstone spinoffs and side projects that seem to make up 95% of Paramount+ programming. The Taylor Sheridan Universe keeps growing.

And yet I still find myself rushing my kids into bed at night so I can finally lay back and take a few long drags on my Yellowstone WubbaNub.

Maybe it’s the comfort of those well-established, familiar characters. I know Beth will go off the rails, John will grunt in disapproval like only a dad can, Kayce will absorb another round of trauma, and Rip will hold it all together by smacking the shit out of somebody. My paci is so satisfying.

Maybe it’s the panoramic, drone shots of untouched wilderness and the dream of a simpler life in the country. Like in a bedtime story, the boys in the bunkhouse ride out into that wilderness and live out a life I’ll never have. But what if I did? I’ll rest my eyes for a minute and imagine it.

Maybe it’s the music, the best in the business.

Whatever it is, Yellowstone is my WubbaNub, and it serves an important purpose at the end of my nights. And I’m in trouble, because I’m only three episodes away from being caught up on Season 5. In a matter of days, I’m going to lose my WubbaNub. And with it, I might lose my mind.

Will another Taylor Sheridan show fill the void? Could 1883 or 1923 be my next WubbaNub? Will the characters and scenery and fantasy of those shows satisfy my need for escapism and dissipation at the end of the day?

Could I live my life without my precious, addictive, perfectly-vanilla, Yellowstone WubbaNub?

I don’t know, but I’m about to find out.

The second half of Season 5 can’t come fast enough.

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A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock