I have been consistently angry for about five years. Angry over politics. Homophobia. Quarantine. The number of times I have to hear my dad complain about gas prices. The inaccurate delivery estimate that Dominos gives every time I order a well-done extra cheese pepperoni pizza and a Diet Coke. Angry about a lot.
I’ve meditated and medicated, gone to therapy, and yet, the only salve that soothes my rage is Yellowstone. Yes, Yellowstone—the Republican-adjacent show your parents make you watch when you’re home for Christmas. Specifically, I’m talking about the Beth Dutton monologue that happens each episode. I call it Beth Dutton Transference. I come to you now, five seasons into Yellowstone, because I think you might benefit from Beth Dutton Transference (BDT), too.
I don’t think the revolutionary benefits of BDT hit me until toward the end of last season, when I found myself quoting Beth (played by Kelly Reilly) in my day-to-day life. I started noticing a lightness in my spirit at the conclusion of Sunday nights, after each episode—the opposite of the Sunday Scaries, if you will. In the moment, one of the character’s unhinged monologues, full of sheer fury, unleashes a dopamine rush. Then there’s the actual transference: when you’re lying in bed, thinking about deploying the same speech against your enemies, and you experience catharsis. And later, when you least expect it, you’ll have this arsenal of snark to tap into for casual deployment. Stay with me.
Take Sunday night’s episode (Season 5, Episode 3), for example, when Beth travels to Salt Lake City to meet with her past employer, Schwartz and Meyer, a bank she worked at before she was nearly blown up on the job (Yellowstone is not for the faint of heart). She, per usual, is seeking revenge on the development company trying to build an airport on her family’s ranch, so she enlists the help of a lesser enemy to take them down.
Much like me, Beth is constantly expending bursts of rage; but unlike most of us, she says whatever she wants. At the episode’s 37-minute mark, she launches into one of her signature monologues, lighting a cigarette in a conference room and then pressuring a grown ass man to join her, saying, “Come on, Rob. I’ve seen you do coke off a stripper’s stomach.” She then launches into a full rant, throwing out numbers and figures before settling on a killer line: “I am the rattlesnake, but you’re not who I’m going to bite.” She gets up, puts her cigarette out in a piece of art, then says, “It’s been a fucking blast doing business with you.” When she gets home to her husband, she pours a drink to celebrate and says, “I really fucked someone over today, and it felt great.”
I have no idea what the business of it all meant, but it gave me the happy shivers. You know that rush of blood you get when you’re watching someone do what you’ve wanted to do your whole life? Like skydiving or punching Richard Spencer in the face on camera? That. Now, I find myself quoting Beth’s best barbs in mixed company—quotables like, “Not for all the tea in China, pencil dick,” which Beth said to a man at the bar trying to sleep with her; or, “I beat his head in with an eight-pound ashtray. New boyfriend, big ass ashtray,” which is the advice Beth gives a woman suffering abuse. That these Beth monologues are almost exclusively delivered to men who need to be told to sit down makes no small impact.
I practice BDT often, imagining myself giving the same speech to an editor, or the rude guy at the grocery store, or perhaps Ted Cruz—people who deserve the rage. And then I feel a sense of deep relief, which isn’t imaginary. Obviously, I’m not here trying to endorse murder or trivialize abuse; that is neither a legal nor practical way to address a problem. Beth’s monologues are full of vitriol, just as they’re wildly inappropriate for deployment in the real world. This is a mental exercise. And I say we embrace the anger.
Last night, Beth’s monologue to the people of Schwartz and Meyer was bigger. She was out to get revenge for being manipulated and nearly killed by her competition. She wouldn’t get it in a physical way, but in the financial way that would hurt them deeper than her fists ever could. Beth’s enemies aren’t ours, but the impetus is the same, and I love that for us.
If I, a white male homosexual, am feeling rage, then I am certain that everyone else must be seething on a day-to-day basis. Yellowstone has been my reminder that being pissed off is good and OK, but you have to find a place to put it. And for an hour a week, I can offload that rage onto someone else. Someone far more brazen than I’ll ever be allowed to be. And with better hair, no less.
So I empower you. Come to Yellowstone and exercise your right to BDT. As Beth’s rage grows, let her carry the anger that causes us to nearly bite our tongues in half. She is unlike any character on television. She is Succession’s Shiv Roy, with none of the guardrails. The Crown’s Princess Margaret, if she said “fuck” way more often and got in the occasional fist fight. Let Beth Dutton’s weekly monologue be the one time in your week that you can rely on someone else to be the reckless, truly untethered version of yourself that you wish you could be in certain moments.
Justin Kirkland is a Brooklyn-based writer who covers culture, food, and the South. His work has appeared in NYLON, Esquire, and USA Today.