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Finally, a Post-Apocalyptic Show That Explains How Everyone Stays Well-Groomed

Prime Video's Class of '07 shares the virtues of maintaining good hygiene in a global crisis.
  • Caitlin Stasey in Class of ’07
    Caitlin Stasey in Class of ’07

    If what we see in post-apocalyptic TV shows is to be believed, professional hair and makeup people must always be among the disaster-stricken population. Even as various characters are dealing with a plane crash or a zombie takeover or a mass infection, many of them manage to look great — amazing even — while doing so. There’s no running water, barely anything to eat, and no guaranteed shelter, but somehow every hair on their head is perfectly in place and maintaining personal hygiene doesn’t seem to be an issue at all. How does everyone look so hot when their lives are constantly on the line?

    In the last year, some shows have acknowledged the matter of personal hygiene by detailing how young people in post-apocalyptic or survivalist stories manage their periods on top of scavenging and fending for their lives. In The Last of Us, Ellie (Bella Ramsey) rejoices upon discovering tampons and her life is made even better when she gets her hands on a DivaCup. In Yellowjackets, the team creates a system for using and then cleaning cloth maxi pads in a boiling pot of water over a fire in the wilderness.

    Still, we’re left to suspend our disbelief for other matters of personal grooming. In Yellowjackets in particular, it seems unlikely that teen Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) white polo would stay so crisp and clean or that young Natalie’s (Sophie Thatcher) dark roots wouldn’t start to show more prominently as her bleached blond hair grows out. Even as men grow scruffier, women somehow maintain hairless legs and armpits while struggling to survive. There’s typically no explanation for how such maintenance is possible, even as hair and makeup people keep everyone’s skin dewy and layers fresh on screen. But an acerbic new comedy on Prime Video dedicates an entire episode to demystifying hygiene and upkeep in the end times.

    Created by Kacie Anning, Class of ’07 starts with a 10-year high school reunion at an all-girls school in Australia. While a gym full of women are reconnecting after a decade apart, a catastrophic weather event floods the land around them for as far as the eye can see. The class of now twentysomethings is left to turn the high school into a survival shelter while also dealing with traumas from their teenage years coming to the surface. It quickly becomes clear that the communal approach won’t work for this particular group — they need a stern leader to organize all survival efforts, and former mean girl Saskia (Caitlin Stasey) reactivates her “inner b*tch” to keep everyone in line and alive.

    By Episode 4, “Soul-Crushing-Cycle,” the series has jumped ahead to the 44th day post-flood. The high school apparently had a fleet of exercise bikes and generator batteries, and under Saskia’s rule, these bikes are set up to charge the batteries when cycled. They do essential things like keep on the lights, create heat, and power a radio sending out distress signals. But most importantly, they keep everyone’s hair straighteners and curling irons going. 

    “Having a neat head of hair is the equivalent of working from home and making your bed every day — it sets a standard,” Saskia tells the crew of exhausted women. Sure, she crosses a line when she takes food access away from those who refuse to keep themselves kempt, when that energy could be better spent keeping everyone alive. But even some of the women struggling in the survival spin class every morning see the benefits of figuring out a beauty regimen before anything else. What’s the point of being saved by a radio signal if everyone looks a mess when the rescue crew arrives?

    It’s one of the many ways that Class of ’07 plays the life-threatening stakes of shows like Yellowjackets for laughs. At first, Saskia doesn’t want to fall into her old patterns as the queen bee bully — in the 10 years since graduating, she’s gone through lots of therapy and dedicated her life to her non-profit that helps women in developing nations get access to menstrual products. But when she snaps back into her high school persona for the sake of survival, everyone else follows suit. Zoe (Emily Browning) welcomes the change — she’s no longer the adult woman who had a bird poop in her mouth on a reality dating show, she’s the teen who’s part of the popular group. But Laura (Rose Flanagan), who was so overlooked in high school that everyone in her class assumed she was dead, goes back to being ignored despite the fact that she is an electrical engineer who could have set up a power system that may not have required so many spin classes.

    Quickly forming cliques, resurfacing petty drama, and reinforcing old habits, like teasing goody-two-shoes Genevieve (Claire Lovering) about the time she pooped at school, become almost as important as survival. Just like in high school, keeping up with the trends set in place by the queen bee is priority number one. Getting the most popular girl in school’s approval felt like a matter of life and death when these women were teenagers, and now it quite literally is one. As regressive as Saskia’s appearance-forward reign may be, at least it finally gives us an explanation for how some people look so damn good while the world is ending around them.

    Class of ’07 is streaming on Prime Video. Join the conversation about the show in our forums.

    Brianna Wellen is a TV Reporter at Primetimer who became obsessed with television when her parents let her stay up late to watch E.R. 

    TOPICS: Class of ’07, Prime Video, The Last of Us, Yellowjackets, Caitlin Stasey