English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Cindy Wang

Reflections of an addict

At the end of every show binge, I like to look back and reflect on my consumer experience as a whole. When I started Wynonna Earp, I expected to be entertained with the supernatural wild west genre mixture and Canadian wilderness backdrop. After binging the entire show, its safe to say that the show is so much more. For starters, it is so refreshing to watch a show, and something as stereotypically masculine as demon hunting, that sets a perfect and realistic standard of gender representation on television. Never have I ever watched a show where not only was there one strong female protagonist, half the cast was made up of wonderful female characters, each with their own abilities and unique personalities.


Unlike many shows that involve cowboy hats or supernatural entities, the writers of Wynonna Earp also do a great job of keeping the storyline interesting. Although the main characters remain the same throughout the seasons, some characters do leave and other interesting ones are introduced in a way that fits with the storyline. For example, season one was focused more on introducing the town of Purgatory and explaining the backstory of Wynonna and her family and why they were cursed to eliminate demons. However, when the second season rolled around, the focus shifted to a centralized story about the awakening of a century old demon and how the town was changing as a result. Because the general genre often has problems engaging viewers, I am definitely impressed by how well Wynonna Earp kept my attention.


Finally, I really loved the combination of actors, storylines, and humor that the show provided. Each of the characters were well played and had important roles in influencing the storyline. Each storyline was engaging, but everything is always tied to a bigger picture issue. The show may have been about killing demons, but the writers sure knew how to add some dry humor and crack the audience up.

Wynonna before making a tough decision


Overall, I really enjoyed my experience watching Wynonna Earp, and I could not be more excited for the next season to be up on Netflix!

Pregnancy – a call to empowerment

Whiskey Lullaby, the sixth episode of the second season of Wynonna Earp, is a complex and messy affair. The little town of Purgatory, where all the demon revenant affairs have been occurring for more than a century, has been put under a sleeping spell for a very long time, enough time for our pregnant protagonist Wynonna to start showing. This is the result of the Widows’ magic, as they are trying to buy enough time to find and reopen a portal that Wynonna closed. As Wynonna Earp is more of a lighthearted, story telling, demon butt kicking show as opposed to one with an obvious social commentary, the argument of the episode is not immediately eminent. After a bit of pondering, I honestly feel like the show is arguing that strong women exist and being petty is sad in this episode. Wynonna just discovers that she is pregnant, and with the time that is stolen she is forced to fight a sorcerer and two witch wives while strongly showing (and the actress was actually really pregnant with her own baby while filming!). Later in the episode, one of the possible fathers of Wynonna’s child shoots and kills the sorcerer, who while is a demon, is also a harmless old man. He does that out of rage against Wynonna, and the writers show him as a heartless and jealous mess to convey the idea that it would be dumb to do petty things.

Nun reporting the murder of a priest at the hands of the widows.


Although the show is, once again, not a social commentary as much as it is a fantasy show about fighting demons, the underlying theme is undeniably a charge for feminism. With a female show writer, female lead actress, and a diverse cast, Wynonna Earp is one of the most empowering shows for gender equality on air right now. By adding a pregnancy storyline, the show once again tackles the scenarios that haven’t been represented on television before because of the lack of female fighter protagonists. With this, it is clear that Wynonna Earp is calling for society to embrace females as heroes.

Shoot to kill (demons)

Wynonna Earp is by no means a cinematically impressive show – never have I ever watched it and actively thought that the shots were stunning or greatly transitioned. However, through looking carefully, it should be noted that it is presented much better than people give it credit for, allowing the viewer to watch the show with some level of satisfaction.

The show is shot mainly in short to medium length takes, alternating between close ups of character dialogues, sometimes with all characters involved in one shot and other times switching singular face shots between the characters in the conversation, and long distance shots, which can involved a shot of the characters with their dialogue as a voiceover (those typically are very short) or nature focused shots of the Calgary wilderness. And of course, as an action/supernatural/western show, Wynonna Earp includes its fair share of impressive strut shots, with demons blowing up or nature themed scenery in the background. By including a variation of shots, Wynonna Earp is able to really present their genre as a supernatural western, with the fancy fighting and disgusting demons, as well as give the viewers in depth perspectives on the relationships between the characters outside of the action.

No one thinks of happy, bright colors when they think of demon hunting, and the cinematographers of Wynonna Earp agree. Most of the lighting throughout the show comes in dark, blue – yellow – gray hues as opposed white or pink. The writers are great at manipulating or associating colors with individual characters. For example, Waverly Earp, the bubbly sweet younger sister of Wynonna, tends to be in vivid colors while Doc, the gun slinging immortal, tends to be in dark, underworld themed apparel. This use of color greatly adds to the ambiance of the show and often times sets the occasion for the viewers.

Action shot after killing a demon

The episode I am referencing for this blog post, Season 2 Episode 1: Steel Bars and Stone Walls, is not statistically different in cinematography or direction than any other episode. No one is at fault for this, but rather, Wynonna Earp does its best to conform to its genre, and I commend it for that.

This writing has sure got me dancing, alright

“I Hope You Dance” is the season 2 finale of Wynonna Earp. A culmination of all the events that happened in the episodes before it, “I Hope You Dance” ties together the pregnancy of Wynonna, the resurrection of the demon, and the cult of Bulshar in one epic, jam packed session. Written by Emily Andras, as almost every episode of Wynonna Earp has been so far, the finale is a great mixture of suspense and humor. Andras is listed as a creator, showrunner, and executive producer for Wynonna Earp, a show originally airing on Syfy. Along with Wynonna Earp, she is also credited with writing works on Lost Girl, Killjoys, and Instant Star.

The dialogue structure of this episode is very straight forwards, with no frills or voiceovers. While some may find that repetitive, I think it is a perfect match for the tone and style of the episode. Not only the writing, but also the delivery makes the dialogue seem both realistic, despite the unrealistic nature of the subject, and witty. There really is no silence or allusions to outside things, given that the entire production of Wynonna Earp is very much in a universe bubble in itself. While some may find the lack of dialogue diversity to be bland, I remain a big fan just because of how the minimalist style fits perfectly with every other aspect of the show. What stands out most to me about the writing is how it manages to be humorous and clever, with witty replies and subtle humor over the somber backdrop and intense natures of the happenings of the show. With that, I conclude my praise for the writing in the season 2 finale “I Hope You Dance”.

But before I sign off, I have to leave you with some notable quotes that made me cry (and concerned my roommate):

“Stand down you shit strumpets. I mean it. And you. That is a women’s coat.”
“Oh, look, sister. An Earpitizer for both of us.”
“Bulshar? Bullshit, whatever his name is.”
“Can I name the baby? It feels like its name is Phil.”

The birth of baby Alice (not Phil)!

The pickins’ are plenty

Truth be told, the gender spread in Wynonna Earp is one of the best of the (minimal) spread television shows I’ve ever viewed. There is a fairly even mix of both genders being represented, not only through the roles of supporting characters but also as real plotline guiders. Obviously, the show is centered around a bad-ass, demon kicking female gunslinger who goes on to have a baby while getting down and dirty, so most would not assume a lack of diversity in the first place. However, while it is centered around a female character, Wynonna Earp balances out gender representation very well through its diverse character list.

Like stated before, Wynonna Earp (also the name of the main character) is the focus of the show. Unlike many shows with female leads that has a supporting cast of all male characters, there are plenty of other notable women who play crucial roles. One of them is Wynonna’s younger sister, Waverly. Waverly plays an innocent bartender who is far more capable than she first comes off as. Not only is she an expert in demon history, she also stands up against evil for her love and fixes the timeline to take Wynonna back into the present. Other notable female characters include Nicole Haught, Waverly’s love interest and a deputy sheriff who risks her life helping the team fight demons despite being completely unrelated to the issue, the Stone Witch, an ancient force who reeks havoc on the who town to resurrect her husband, and a quite few others. The show is very concise and doesn’t have any sloppy characters who are just there for show, so I think it is safe to say that everyone contributes to the direction of the plotline. In television shows that don’t necessarily have a focus on gender equality, it is easy to see how diverse characters would be written in only to have no impact on the show. Wynonna Earp is clearly not like that at all.

The show has fairly diverse representation when it comes to race and sexuality. There are multiple same-sex couples on the show, as well as Hispanic and South Asia representation, although the racial representation could certainly be improved. While watching the show, I did not feel like any minority representation stuck out specifically, which is a great sign because it means that they were treated and represented like normal people. There is no conflict beyond the humans versus demons fight, and to me, that shows the complete inclusivity that the show strives to represent.

Cast of Wynonna Earp and writer Emily Andras. Plenty of female characters!

A short introduction to a long year

Hey guys! Welcome to the first of a series of experimental blog posts! My name is Cindy Wang. I am an environmental engineer hailing from Fairfax, Virginia, a suburb of D.C. My anticipated year of graduation is 2022, but fingers crossed on how that goes!

English 1102: Television and Feminism with Dr. Wilson is my first and last English course to take at Georgia Tech. In high school, I had the privilege of taking AP Language and Culture and AP Literature. In the first, I acquired some rhetorical analysis, compare and contrast, and persuasion skills. In the latter, we mainly focused on reading comprehension and analysis of passages and poems. My favorite areas of communication are probably visual and nonverbal. As someone who is a bit of a movie addict, I pay lots of attention to the visual effects that are put into videos and photos. Nonverbal communication interests me because I love the psychology behind emotional expression. Sometimes, one look or a slight hand gesture can give away how someone is feeling or suppressing their true thoughts. On the flip side, I am not a huge fan of electronic communication. Ironically, as someone going to a technology school, I am not a big fan of computers or reading things online just because it’s a bit distracting to have the interwebs at an arm’s length. Additionally, there is something about the smell of fresh printed paper that beats a bright screen any day. Because of my distaste, I tend to avoid electronic communication and even now, I’ve found that contemplating tweets has been the hardest part of this class for me. I hope that I can improve all parts of my communication skills, but especially explore the electronic side as I have virtually no experience in online posting.

Before catching a severe case of senioritis last year, I really never watched television. I never had cable growing up nor was my family subscribed to any streaming service. Aside from being a loyal Pawn Stars viewer, I really watched an average of one show a year, pirated online of course. However, I found lots of time second semester of senior year to waste time, and I caught up on all the shows my friends recommended to me. Nowadays, I watch Netflix but only for this class.

The TV show I have chosen to review this semester is Wynonna Earp. The main reason why I have chosen to review it is because it was filmed in Calgary, Alberta, which is the same province of Canada that I am from. The story is about a demon hunter whose purpose is to purge her town of supernatural entities. From the summary, I feel Westworld vibes mixed with what I imagine Supernatural is like, which sounds like an interesting mix. I can’t wait to be surprised by what I see!

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