English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Author: Ryan Kretzmer

Blue and Yellow: Wynonna Earp

This post I’d like to focus in on the color choices the show uses. Wynonna Earp primarily uses two colors for lighting: blue and yellow. Contrary to my previous reviews, Wynonna Earp actually makes successful use of these lighting choices, even if they are rudimentary. The different lighting makes the scenes feel different and adds a slight accent so the show does not constantly look the same. In addition, the two colors do not have a constant meaning, which I think is good. Instead, each scene is colored in a way that complements the scene. In addition to lighting, Wynonna Earp frequently uses to color as symbolism.

In Episode 10 we can see examples of Wynonna Earp successfully using color to match the scene. Early in the episode Wynonna tracks Dolls to find where he keeps going. This scene is outdoors during the night, and it is cast in a yellow glow. Yellow matches well because it makes the scene darker than a blue hue would. Also, streetlights typically have a yellow glow, which matches the kind of lighting a city during the night would have. Another prominent example of color use is when Wynonna first arrives in Lou’s convent. This scene is cast in a blue glow, which makes it seems as if Wynonna has entered a spiritual world. She even remarks that she thinks she has died. Overall the lighting of the show is limited in color, but effective.

The night scene is cast in yellow to add realistic context to the scene.

The scene following Wynonna’s entrance into the convent is also an excellent example of color usage. So far, everyone in the convent has been wearing white, but here Wynonna wears black. This color choice is simple, but it reinforces the fact that Wynonna does not belong and that she is there to kill Lou. This black color for Wynonna is a constant motif through the show and often serves to emphasize her rebellious attitude. Overall, although its color choices are basic Wynonna Earp uses them effectively to convey meaning or add context to a scene.

Wynonna is shown in black to separate her from the rest of the women at the convent

Trust in Wynonna Earp

The sixth episode of Wynonna Earp, Constant Cravings, focuses on a theme of trust, parallel to its main plot. The trust lessons center around Dolls and Waverly. The episode questions the trust we have placed in Dolls and gives newfound responsibility to Waverly.

Waverly’s plot begins when her Uncle Curtis leaves her a riddle to solve. When she does she finds a skull and learns her uncle has left her to assume his title as “Keeper of the Bones.” Waverly takes this title as a vote of confidence in her abilities. Later, when the Blacksmith bonds her to the bones, the Blacksmith remarks “You poor sweet girl, what was Curtis thinking?” This remark highlights how Waverly is an unlikely recipient of the title “Keeper of the Bones.” She is the weaker of the two Earps, so it is surprising that Uncle Curtis chose to place his trust in her. Here the show questions who we should place our trust in, and it recognizes there may be an unlikely hero if we look a little harder.

The Blacksmith comments on how Waverly does not seem like a character who should be given a dangerous responsibility.

Dolls’ plot in this episode revolves around the revelation that he is addicted to drugs, something he lies about and hides during the episode. This comes as a revelation to the viewer because previously Dolls has been a morally upright character. At the end of the episode it is also teased Dolls may not be entirely human, which questions the amount of trust Wynonna should have for him. Overall, this episode questions who should be trusted in the show. It takes the character least ready for responsibility and trusts her with a huge burden, and it also takes the most responsible character and reveals he has been hiding something huge. This can be seen as a commentary on one’s own trust in others. Perhaps our own trust is misplaced and we should reconsider who we rely on.

Wynonna Earp’s Sexualization

Wynonna Earp is a fairly sexualized show. The women are often dressed provocatively or portrayed in sexual positions. The show also relies heavily on sexual innuendos for humor. On the other hand, men are often not portrayed sexually, except when women are involved.

Wynonna Earp often uses sexual references as jokes as well as normal dialogue. These lines often come from men, who direct their comments towards Wynonna. A specific example comes from Episode 5 when Wynonna is speaking with Bobo. Bobo makes several sexually charged comments suchs as “It’s a shame to waste those beautiful tits of yours,” and

“I got some bullets I’d like to pump into you to.” In this case, the show is using the sexual comments to antagonize Bobo. In this use, the show is quite successful. I personally, see Bobo as a worse person after he makes those comments about Wynonna. To be honest, they are a little heavy-handed because practically everything he says to her is sexual harassment, but it is effective. In this was I believe the show is also making a larger commentary about sexual harassment, its prevalence in society, and how it’s a disgusting thing to do.

Bobo making a sexual comment towards Wynonna


Wynonna occasionally makes sexual jokes about herself as well. In episode 5, she references how her boobs would be more effective at breaking into a building than dynamite. I think it is important to emphasize that Wynonna usually makes these jokes to men. I personally think this is meant to give her power over them and make her seem independent. Later in episode 5, Wynonna finds that the guards of the building are women, so Doc Holliday seduces them instead. This is one of the few times men have been sexualized in the show which makes it seem like the show more easily sees women as sexual objects. I think there are two possible explanations for the sexualization of women over men. The first is that the men who sexualize women are seen as evil and women who sexualize themselves shows they are powerful. The second is that the show just wants to get cheap entertainment by portraying women sexually. I personally lean towards the former reason, but I see the argument for the second.

The reason I see the argument for the second, is that fact the show focuses on Wynonna’s butt, A LOT. She is always wearing tight jeans, and the amount the show shows her butt is quite excessive. On occasion the show will, find an excuse for Wynonna to change shirts on camera. Frequently, it is not really necessary, but they do it anyway. To me, this is overt sexualization for no other reason than to cater to that audience. I personally dislike it, and think they should take it out because it undermines Wynonna’s powerful attitude.

Wynonna Earp? More like Wynonna Sucks.

The writing in Wynonna Earp is mediocre at best, specifically the character writing. Not only are the characters all tropes, but they are also written in an incredibly boring manner. I will focus in on Episode 2 to give a closer look at how sucky the writing truly is.


I’d like to start first with Agent Dolls, a character so one-dimensional every conversation he has is the same. To be fair, it does not help he only interacts with one character, Wynonna, but he still fails at having any character traits other than serious. Dolls is ALWAYS talking about work and he ALWAYS sounds threatening. Most of the time he is talking to Wynonna, who is never serious, but even when he has a chance to talk to another character, he fails. When Officer Haught comes in to his makeshift office, he threatens her with death if she ever barges in again. Dolls is a simple character whose only motivation appears to be destroying the demons. Even when Dolls has a redeeming moment, saying he argued against the destruction of the town in New Mexico, the show does not explore it in any depth. Unfortunately for the show, Dolls is a totally weak character with no unique qualities.


Wynonna, the title character, is not written much better than Dolls. Admittedly, she does have more than one side. She has two sides. Wynonna’s first side is when she is speaking to Dolls. Here the show writes her as the exact opposite of him. When he is strict, she takes events with levity. Wynonna’s responses almost always consist of some wise-crack that usually fails to include any semblance of humor. I think the show is trying to portray her as a bad-ass that doesn’t take orders from authority, but instead she seems like an asshole. Dolls is usually trying to help, but Wynonna just makes a stupid joke. Wynonna’s second side is used when she is talking to her sister, Waverly. In these interactions Wynonna actually seems like a real human being. She speaks like a normal older sister would to her little sister, except she can’t resist cracking jokes. For some reason, the writers have Wynonna make wise-cracks while she is comforting her sister. Overall, Wynonna is a failure as the main character of the show. She has a flat personality and she fails to be even a little funny.

An example of Wynonna’s terrible one-liners

Selected Works Relating To Females in TV Journalism

Cann, David J., and Philip B. Mohr. “Journalist and Source Gender in Australian Television News.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 45, no. 1, 2001, pp. 162-174. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/227290751?accountid=11107.


Cann and Mohr discuss how the equality seemingly present in news stations of their day is really only surface level. They discuss how many stations have altered their hiring practices to become more equal, hiring equal proportions of male and female reporters, but in reality inequality is still rampant. Specifically, inequality still exists within the type of story male and female reporters are assigned. According to their study, male reporters receive gut wrenching, new stories whereas female reporters receive day-to-day news. The paper argues this is because men are seen as more capable than women. This peer-reviewed source is worth reading because it deeply explores inequalities in news stories using statistical analysis. It gives an in-depth analysis of an issue relating to my group’s topic which can help us frame own question and research. This source is also interesting to look at because it gives an international perspective.

Glascock, Jack. “Gender Roles on Prime-Time Network Television: Demographics and Behaviors.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 45, no. 4, 2001, pp. 656-669. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/227286652?accountid=11107.


In this peer-reviewed study Glascock compares the portrayal of women and men on television using a variety of factors. Glascock employs a detailed statistical analysis of the 1996 Fox TV season. He argues that television was trending towards more female characters, but males still outnumbered them especially behind the scenes. Glascock points out that having more females behind the scenes of shows would likely increase the number of female characters. In addition, it is pointed out that women are often portrayed in lower paying jobs, and they are also often dressed provocatively. This source is useful because it gives an incredibly detailed insight to gender dynamics on television in the late 90s. This can be used to compare television of that era to that of today. This paper can also be used because of its detailed discussion about how women worked behind the scenes on television. The gender dynamics of today can be easily compared to those of the later 90s.

Mudrick, Michael, and Carolyn A. Lin. “Looking on from the Sideline: Perceived Role Congruity of Women Sports Journalists.” Journal of Sports Media, vol. 12, no. 2, 2017, pp. 79-101. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/1966844219?accountid=11107.


In this study Mudrick and Lin discuss how people perceive female sports reporters. First, they introduce how few female sports reporters there are as well as the idea that people tend to shame women who do more “manly” activities. For example, a woman who plays rugby is seen as less of a woman due to her “masculine physique.” They go on to describe how women reporting on more “manly” sports are not seen as less trustworthy, but they are seen as an incongruity. Furthermore, they posit that more attractive women tend to foster a more loyal fanbase, especially on social media, than less attractive women. This study is useful because it shows how people see women on television, specifically in sports journalism roles. This is excellent for our study because it gives insight into the societal reasons so few women are involved with sports reporting and if they are they are likely reporting on “feminine” sports.

Perryman, N., & Theiss, S. (2014). “WEATHER GIRLS” ON THE BIG SCREEN: Stereotypes, sex appeal, and science. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 95(3), 347-356. Retrieved from http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.prx.library.gatech.edu/docview/1523900887?accountid=11107


Here Perryman argues that the portrayal of “weather girls” on television and in movies reflects the real life sexism women face in the field of meteorology. She argues “weather girls” are often sexualized and shown as airheads compared to their male counterparts. In addition, regardless if a female is more qualified, she is shown as inferior to her male colleagues. For example, a woman with a meteorology degree was not allowed to call herself a meteorologist because it made her male counterpart feel inferior. This source is useful because it directly relates to the topic my group wants to research. We want to learn about females in the media on television, and this source specifically targets female meteorologists. This source is also useful because it provides a huge amount of background information regarding female news broadcasters. It presents a history going all the way back to the very first one.


Weibel, David, Bartholomäus Wissmath, and Rudolf Groner. “How Gender and Age Affect Newscasters’ Credibility – an Investigation in Switzerland.” Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, vol. 52, no. 3, 2008, pp. 466. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/227289759?accountid=11107.


This source argues that newscasters’ credibility depends upon their gender. Specifically, the argument is that older female newscasters are not as trusted as older males. It also argues younger males and females are seen as equally credible by viewers. The paper posits this may be due to audience bias towards more attractive presenters. This source is useful because it offers a view into a new market of television. This source is from Europe, a place where up to 80% of newscasters are female. This is wholly the opposite of the United States. Thus, the two regions can be compared in relation to their portrayal of women on television. This source’s results must also be taken with a grain of salt. The source itself mentions the term “credibility” is not explicitly defined and thus the results from the subjects may be interpreted differently. Even with its flaws this source still provides good information.

Whipple, Thomas W., and Mary K. McManamon. “Implications of using Male and Female Voices in Commercials: An Exploratory Study.” Journal of Advertising, vol. 31, no. 2, 2002, pp. 79-91. ProQuest, http://prx.library.gatech.edu/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/236553752?accountid=11107.


This peer reviewed study seeks to find how people respond to commercials depending on if they use a male voice or a female voice. The paper defines the terms “spokesperson” and “announcer” in relation to commercials and then describes the instances in which people will respond best to a male or female announcer or spokesperson. The study also mentions how men vastly outnumber women in the number of voice overs they do for television. The final conclusion is that for most products a male or female can be used to effectively advertise. This source is useful because it discusses how people react to males versus females on television. This source also relates to the theme of newscasters because both newscasters and presenters in commercials are seen as figures of authority by the audience. This source is also useful because it contradicts the rest of my sources by saying people react similarly whether they hear a male or a female voice.

Wynonna Earp: The Bad, and The Ugly

Wynonna Earp does not put its best foot forward on the first episode, especially regarding the cinematography. If I could pick one word to define the cinematography of the show it would be “bland.” When it comes to how the show is shot and how it looks, Wynonna Earp does nothing to stand out from the crowd.

The way Wynonna Earp is shot is incredibly boring. This is illustrated best in how the show handles dialogue. There are, for the most part, two way the show shoots its dialogue. The first way is what I will call the “play method”. This is when dialogue is shown with a wide shot from the front which is basically what one would see if one was watching a play. This way of shooting dialogue is the most uninspired way possible. It’s how movies one hundred years ago were shot before people figured out how to movie. It’s also the same way High-schoolers do it for school projects. Plain and simple, the play method is incredibly lazy, even for TV standards.

The “play method” is dialogue shot as if the viewer were watching a play.

The second way the show shoots dialogue is the classic shot reverse shot. This is a film technique where the camera faces one direction towards a character and then the opposite direction towards another character. Most commonly, the character being filmed is the one speaking. In Wynonna Earp, whenever the dialogue is not the play method it is shot reverse shot, usually over the shoulder. With this method of shooting, Wynonna Earp succeeds in using an actual film technique. Congratulations! Unfortunately, this technique has become stale because it is so ubiquitous. However, that is not to say it cannot be innovated upon. For example, the Coen brothers are famous for filming the reaction of the character not speaking as the other character speaks. Unfortunately, once again Wynonna Earp makes no such innovations.

Shot reverse shot: One character is filmed from one direction and the second character is filmed from the opposite direction.

Overall, Wynonna Earp lacks any creativity when it comes to how the show is shot. None of the shots are original or even cool in any way. All the shots seem the same which is terrible for the show. It makes the show boring to look at, regardless of how interesting the dialogue is. Simply put, the look of the show is totally bland.

My very first blag :)

Hi, My name is Ryan Kretzmer. I am currently majoring in chemistry, but I think I want to switch to ChemE because it offers a more career based education. Of course, I hope to graduate in four years, in 2022, but that is always open to change. I have taken English 1101 here at Tech during the summer. It was a Serve Learn Sustain affiliated course which means it had a lot to do with sustainability. I really enjoyed the electronic forms of communication used in that class, for example the first week video and our poster assignment. I particularly enjoyed the poster because it forced me to combine all the modes of communication into one project. The poster was also a hassle because my writing tends to ramble on and lose focus. My first draft of the poster was essentially an essay on a wall, and it looked terrible. Fortunately, I was able to edit it down to be more concise. This semester, I hope to learn to skills to be concise on the fist try. I am also hoping to make my writing more focused on the topic at hand instead of going off on tangents.

Melanie Scrofano as Wyonna Earp

I have very little experience with television. The only shows I have watched recently are the two standards: The Office and Parks and Rec. Other than that I have seen Star Trek and Warehouse 13, both because my dad loves science fiction. I would call myself a TV-newbie, so I am looking forward to the new experience this class will be.

I have chosen to review Wyonna Earp, a show on the SYFY channel. Wyonna Earp follows the story of the ancestor of the famous Wyatt Earp as she battles creatures from hell called the revenants and other super natural creatures. I chose this show because I love science fiction and horror. I have seen a few episodes of Stranger Things, and I really enjoyed them. I think this show is in a similar vein, so I am looking forward to seeing it.

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