Wynonna Earp finishes up season one on June 24, 2016 with what’s guaranteed to be a game-changing episode for the comic book-inspired series. With the action/comedy/drama/Western wrapping up its first season, showrunner Emily Andras joined Melanie Scrofano (‘Wynonna’) and Natalie Krill (‘Willa’) for a conference call to discuss the popular Syfy series which also stars Tim Rozon as Doc Holliday, Shamier Anderson as Agent Dolls, Dominique Provost-Chalkley as Waverly Earp, and Michael Eklund as Bobo Del Rey.
Can you talk about the Wynonna and Dolls kiss from a character’s perspective and an actor’s perspective?
Melanie Scrofano: “I just feel the whole season, I, Melanie, was going like, ‘When?’ Like, ‘It’s got to come, right? When is it coming? I know it’s coming.’ Otherwise, I don’t know how to tell stories. I was sort of really getting excited for it. And I think probably Wynonna would have been the same, like, ‘I think he wants to kiss me but maybe he doesn’t. Maybe I’m disgusting. Maybe he wants to kiss me now. No, not now. Cool.’ It was like a parallel journey of going, ‘Holy crap.’ And then in the moment that it happens, it’s just one of those things that didn’t feel forced. It just felt like, ‘Yes, this makes sense right now.’ It didn’t feel like popped in by formula. It just like, ‘Yes, this would make perfect sense right now given what’s going on.'”
Emily, you’ve described the series as your baby and that people might see it as ugly but you think it’s beautiful. How are you feeling now about the positive reception your baby has received?
Emily Andras: “I honestly…I know people say this all the time but I am completely blown away by the response. And, so delighted. I wanted people to like it. You know, you just want people to like it. You just want to make people feel something and then to enjoy it. But I feel like the fact that people have just fallen in love and really understood how talented this cast is and how once in a lifetime this cast is, has made me so happy. The fact that people are sometimes looking at it through a lens of it’s a really strong feminist show or it has really good representation or we’re trying to talk about themes that are kind of interesting even though it’s the demon cowgirl show, I think that little piece of it that people think it’s kind of – for lack of a better term – sometimes it’s smart is something I wouldn’t have even dared to let myself think. So it’s like we put glasses on the smushed baby face to make it look smart and people are like, ‘Hey, this is good.’ So I honestly could not be more thrilled. I feel like just completely delighted and proud. So proud. I’m so proud of these guys on the line. I just think they’re so exceptional and we were so lucky to have them.”
The dresses in the party scene were gorgeous. Is there a story behind the dress that you picked and when did Wynonna have time to shop?
Melanie Scrofano: “You know what? She traveled a lot before she came back to Purgatory. I think maybe she stole it. Emily, she stole it, right?”
Emily Andras: “This is amazing. Yes, this is amazing. Keep going.”
Melanie Scrofano: “She definitely stole it. But the story behind it is that Jennifer Haffenden our costume designer was incredible, and she came to my room with a bunch of beautiful options. There was just this red one that really stood out, but it had a really high neck actually and it was a bit looser. I think Emily may have asked for it to be slightly more revealing so I have you to blame.”
Emily Andras: “Plungy.”
Melanie Scrofano: “Yes, it was very plungy. I think we did five fittings where they just like suctioned me into it and basically I had to take it home because I couldn’t get it off. So, that’s the story behind my dress.”
Natalie Krill: “Jennifer came to my trailer and I tried on, I think, four or five dresses and I was like, ‘Yes, any of them.’ They were all stunning dresses. I could have easily been happy with any of them, but the blue one with the gold just seemed really to suit Willa and where she was at in that point in the story and a little bit darker, a little bit sexier.”
Emily Andras: “Yes, there was another one that looked beautiful on you. It was gorgeous. It was like couture.”
Natalie Krill: “It was beautiful. I wanted it. Nobody gave it to me.”
Melanie Scrofano: “I loved the navy. And I was wearing sweatpants that day on set, but you can just use your imagination.”
How would you describe Willa’s relationship with Bobo? Is it completely a Stockholm syndrome-type thing or do you think she actually has legitimate feelings?
Natalie Krill: “Well, Emily can help me out with this but I’ll say my perspective on it. I think that it starts out as a Stockholm syndrome-type of relationship, falling in love with your captor. But then I think as their relationship grows on, it actually kind of reverses dynamic and Bobo is more at the mercy of Willa towards the end of it, I would say. What do you think, Emily?”
Emily Andras: “Oh, yes, I think that’s perfect. I think she definitely is the power player by the end. It’s kind of a good question and I’m actually a little loath to commit. I think that’s one of the things that makes Willa such a delicious character and Natalie did such an amazing job portraying her. She remains a mystery. There are hints that when she was younger, she wasn’t necessarily the nicest kid. She was kind of a bully to Waverly. But at the same time, we’ve also seen that she was kind of, you know, subject to her own kind of psychological trials vis-à-vis her dad, who was training her to basically be a killer and he’s kind of a mean drunk. So it’s kind of a question we ask ourselves a lot about villains, is like, were they born or were they made?”
People say that your show sets an example as far as being able to treat your gay women with the respect that is not afforded them in some other shows, especially since the death toll for fictional queer women is up to 20 so far this year. How would you say that your show differentiates itself from other shows, because most shows use the excuse that it’s just the plot? What is your response to that and how does that influence your show?
Emily Andras: “Well, first of all, I would never speak to the thought process of another show or another showrunner or another writing room. I don’t know what excuse is given there. I just would never know. And as a showrunner, I always am careful to say there are a thousand, thousand things that go into any decision on a show, especially when you’re killing off a character.
I’m incredibly aware of the Bury Your Gays trope and was quite astonished at what happened in 2016 where we were basically losing lesbians left, right, and center. To be completely honest, it was pretty crazy. I’m hoping it was just a terrible, terrible coincidence and if nothing else, I think that there’s one good thing that came out of the destruction so to speak is that the Bury Your Gays trope really became front and center in the media. It became something that we were talking about as a group and that is a good way to start making change. One thing I’m really proud about and that I really want to emphasize is that our show was written in its entirety and shot before any of this went down. We’ve been finished since January 2015, so what may or may not have happened on other shows had no bearing on our shows. That being said, I’m lucky enough that I am a woman writing a genre who was involved with another show called Lost Girl which did amazing things with LGBT representation. We were really proud that we had a bisexual lead who ultimately ended up with her female love interest and that was really important to us. [We are] well-versed in the representation of the LGBT community on screen and also how passionate and dedicated and lovely that community is as fan base and how, dare I say, desperate to see themselves represented on screen in a way that feels fully fleshed out. They want to see themselves as three dimensional characters. They want to see them as different characters. Not every lesbian is the same. It’s the same way not every straight guy is the same, although sometimes it feels like it as far as portrayal on screen.
I just feel like that I am lucky enough or I know what I want and I what I really like is to write three-dimensional female characters. That is very much, I think, what makes Wynonna Earp work. We have a variety of women on the show from villains to straights, to lesbians, what have you, to cops, to sisters. I think if you are just writing a variety of women on the screen, no one woman has to represent all women. And part of that is just wanting to give satisfying storylines that don’t necessarily end in destruction, because of who they are or who they love. So yes, I’m very aware of the trope. I know it’s a trope that’s very dangerous and needs to be addressed on television so it’s something that I’m very conscious of when I’m writing. I hope more people are aware of it after this year. I really truly think you would have to be crazy not to know that this is something that we maybe should discuss and maybe do better at.”
As the season’s gone on it seems the people of the town really view Wynonna as the bad-ass of the sisters and the one who can really make the hard decisions. But Waverly really tends to make some really gutsy decisions, like when she was going up against the Stone Witch. Wynonna seems to take things to heart a lot more. Can you talk about her emotions as she’s going through what she’s been going through this entire season?
Melanie Scrofano: “Absolutely. I think first of all, Waverly…it’s that thing of, yes, you look at her and she looks a certain way but it’s like Emily says not every girl is one thing. Waverly looks like she would be sweet and meek and she’s f**king not; she’s bad ass. And that’s one of the things I love about the writing. Wynonna was never supposed to do this. She didn’t want this. So every day, every morning, she wakes up and has to go, ‘F**k, am I brave enough to do this today?’ And the answer has to be yes, buut that takes a toll. I think part of Wynonna’s strength and part of her weakness is the same thing, which is that she just doesn’t over think. She just sort of does things a bit blindly because I think if she thinks too much about it, it’ll topple her. So, she drinks and she makes jokes. She doesn’t really think hard about what it is that she has to do.
Waverly, on the other hand – and then Willa, when she comes back – they both are primed and ready. They’re like chomping at the bit and Wynonna is facing something that she has been working her whole life to not only avoid but to convince herself wasn’t real. I think this little lifetime she’s lived in this season it’s just heavy. It weighs heavily upon her for those reasons and just the fact that she is just a human who probably doesn’t get enough sleep and who just wants to be loved. You know, I don’t know. She’s just a girl, a woman, a person, a human who goes up against something she’s scared of and tries to win every day. And some days, she wins better. And some days, things knock her on her ass. And the fun in playing is to see her get back up.”
Emily, what was your favorite storyline or scene to write throughout the season?
Emily Andras: “I have so many and like I’m honestly that fan girl nerd when I’m writing one scene. I’m like, ‘Well, this is the best ever.’ I’m writing Doc Holiday and I’m like, ‘Well, this is the best.’ And then I’ll write the scene with Dolls and Wynonna kissing and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, well, this is my favorite.’ I have so many favorites and I have so many favorites that my writers have written for me. I am always almost more impressed when someone else kind of like delivers something that I’m like, ‘Oh, I just got chills.'”