English 1102: Television and Feminism

Dr. Casey Alane Wilson • Georgia Institute of Technology

Tag: #wynonnaearp

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.

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.

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

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)!

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.

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