So I burned through the first (and only to date) season of Wynona Earp on Netflix. Confession: I have a weakness for CW-like shows that feature the supernatural and superheroes (err, like, um, Supernatural - yeah, that's on the nose...and Arrow, Flash, etc.) along with a great deal of teenage-young adult cultural drama for 'flavor.' I mostly tolerate the silly who-is-sleeping-with-who, who-is-keeping-an-awful/great-secret-from-who, who-is-all-angsty-over-their-unrequited-passion-love-for-who-because-star-crossed-reasons stuff that CW and shows like it feature - a lot of which hearkens back to the 'original' of these - Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville, for which I imagine the pitch was "Dawson's Creek meets X-Files + Superman." Wynona Earp is basically a Buffy/Supernatural rip-off - indeed, I expect it was pitched as "Buffy with a Jessica Jones overlay meets Supernatural." Here is the basic description from wiki:
"Wynonna Earp, the outcast great-great-granddaughter of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, battles demons and other supernatural beings that inhabit her hometown, Purgatory. With her unique abilities, her ancestor's 16-inch barrel special "Peacemaker" revolver, and a close circle of allies, she is the only one that can bring the paranormal evil to justice."
All that throat clearing is to say - I watch a lot of these shows, so I'm a bit more tuned in to what counts for cultural politics for young people than I might otherwise be. My assessment: we're screwed. And by "we" I mean everybody - there is no logic or rationality to the cultural politics of Millennials. The moral universe of the show is so confused, contradictory, and self-refuting, you simply have to suspend all disbelief to buy into the narrative. If I were to describe it, I would characterize it as tribal, identity politics with an overlay of a distorted echo of progressive-sexual revolution principles - so distorted they have lost all meaning.
And I'm not talking about jarring moments like where the Hollywood Left script writers throw in an anti-gun line from the main character, a twenty-something whose entire raison d'etre is shooting a magic gun at demons (and humans, when necessary), and whose companions each and all access a full arsenal of weapons in every episode - including an episode where they fend off a military strike team at their ranch with fully automatic weapons. There's more shooting in this show than the 80's era A-Team - and unlike that show, these characters hit/kill who they are aiming for.
No, I'm talking about the overt anti-male sexism melded with sexual libertinism, melded with progressive identity politics - it's a salad bowl of liberal and libertine tropes sprinkled with angry feminism, and it makes. no. sense. Not - I think this stuff is stupid (I do). Not - I have a problem with sexual libertinism as an ethic (I do). It doesn't make sense. In fact, the show tells you it doesn't make sense with how it tries to make it work.
Let me give you an example (SPOLIERS AHEAD: FAIR WARNING). So Wynona Earp is supposed to be a nere-do-well. She did a lot of destructive things as a young teenager before she left Purgatory, so much so that, when she shows up for her uncle's funeral, her aunt gives her money for an immediate plane ticket back to Greece - IOW, get gone. Great - antihero with issues - makes the "reject the call" part of the heroes journey more believable (and we get exactly that in the first episode - hey, it's a trope for a reason). But then the show spends episode after episode painting her community (read fly-over country, red, small town America) as a bunch of corrupt, evil jerks who mistreated her. For example, the judge that sent her to juvenile detention is an evil and sadistic human who is in league with the demons. It's so on the nose, that the season finale involves all of the townspeople being drugged by the demon baddie to 'go crazy - literally make them froth at the mouth' - and told that if they 'get' Wynona he'll give them the antidote. And that's exactly what they do - in scene after scene of people hating on Wynona. But they're drugged to be crazy - except that they all stop and listen to a speech from the sheriff scolding them for being an 'angry mob' and blames them for having 'made' Wynona - which for some reason they listen to. Wait, so are they driven mad by the drug or not? Cause they let Wynona go, all standing there quietly - this is just the biggest example of why trying to 'have your cake and eat it too' in you cultural message just ends up in a contradicting narrative mess.
Why do they (the writers) do this? It's not to drive the narrative or to induce artificial drama - how I would normally excuse incomprehensible plot developments. It's because the SJW writers want to send a message to red America - those delinquent kids that they imagine the horrible small town bigots hate on -- are your fault. You just didn't understand them. Indeed, if Wynona is the victim of society, then is she responsible for all that bad stuff she did? The show's structure is designed to give Wynona a redemptive arc as she makes the decision, with moral agency, to overcome the 'chains' of her past and become the hero she is meant to be. But because the writers want to message, they completely undercut the logic and structure of their own show.
But where this contradiction was most on display is in the relationship arc of Wynona's younger sister, Waverly (lot of Ws because of course). When we meet her younger sister in the first episode, Wynona has seduced her younger sister's boyfriend (not realizing that her sister is dating the guy, since she's been gone for years) - only to physically attack him and pump him for information. Whereupon, Waverly bursts in with a shotgun and fires at the 'harlot' who was trying to steal her man. This is where the anti-male sexism is completely indulged. The boyfriend, Champ, is an idiot, and cowardly, and immoral, and a complete dick to Waverly (constantly plying her for sex when he isn't saying something incredibly stupid). Waverly admits a couple of episodes in that she is merely using him for his body. This is all to set up the arc of her character dumping this 'man' and accepting her 'true' self in a lesbian relationship with the deputy sheriff, Nicole Haught (pronounced, yes, "hot'...sigh). The writers want us to root for Waverly making this transition - because it is supposed to mean Waverly has overcome her self-imposed limitations on who she can be and what she can do. And that's what happens - she eventually dumps Champ after yet another episode of Champ being the dumbest - worst- most- ridiculous stereotypical bad boyfriend ever. And eventually Waverly takes up with Nicole. We are treated in the finale to Champ apparently making a homophobic attack on Nicole and Waverly (motivated by the 'crazy' drug). And if you don't think they aren't using Champ as a stand in for 'all guys' or at least 'all guys not from the coasts' in anti-male quip after anti-male quip, then you haven't been paying attention.
But here is why this is NOT the triumphal sexual revolution story arc the writers want to tell and believed they were telling. The writers want us to believe that Waverly was trapped in a relationship with Champ - trapped like her sister ultimately decided not to be (by leaving) - trapped by the small town (hi there, Red America) values and narrow gender roles of her upbringing. But they also want Waverly to be a smart, sexy, independent, sassy, not-taking-any-guff off anyone, no-nonsense, character - FROM THE START. This doesn't make Waverly look like a caterpillar undergoing her transition to a butterfly, and the freedom and self-confidence that comes with it. This makes Waverly look like a TERRIBLE person. She used Champ for his body - because that's all she could possibly have been using Champ for. She even admits it. Champ is so ridiculous, you are incapable of believing Waverly would EVER have been in a relationship with him - and that makes her a user. But the show wants us to celebrate it. Here's the problem. Flip the gender roles and take out the lesbian story line, and we have a guy using a moron for sex, ignoring all of her immoral and stupid beliefs and behavior, and then dumping her as soon as something better came along. Is that a hero? Is that a butterfly? No - that would be the bad guy.
And of course, there are no female characters like Champ in the series. Because this is nothing but male-hating sexism disguised as LGBT triumphalism. And in so doing - the writers tell a dumb, bad story. Think how much more dramatic self-discovery story it would have been if Champ had been a decent guy - and Nicole wasn't super hot, and super compassionate, and super nice, and dear lord, who writes this stuff??? THEN it's a story of self-realization. Or perhaps Champ was abusive and dominant - but then Waverly couldn't be the Mary Sue they want her to be. You can tell a good story, or you can SJW, feminist message. This show tries to do both, and it's a mess (I didn't even discuss the episode with the two gay demons who were cursed because of their forbidden love - oh yeah, they went there). And by the way, I didn't realize lesbians became lesbians because they become 'woke' to the fact that males are stupid, immoral, and icky. That's what happens here, and in the show's need to throw in anti-male quips, that's the story they tell. Really 'progressive' of you, there, Hollywood Left.
Let me also say - despite all that, I mostly enjoyed it. It's pretty over-the-top, but that's exactly what I like. I want my bad guys to be menacing and, well, evil, without collapsing into self-parody, and I think they mostly accomplished that. The twist at the end of the season was telegraphed and not well-developed (the arc is over three episodes, from character introduction to conclusion, so the character transformation is so jarring, and obvious, I don't know how you could miss it). But the acting, I thought, was pretty good. The hero's journey here is pretty well done, and the fight choreography and special effects were good. So it isn't as if I'm bashing a show I hated.
No, the problem was that the moral universe and structure of the show was such that it interfered with the confused, contradictory, and hypocritical SJW, fourth wave feminist messaging the Hollywood writers built into the dialogue and character arcs. And that made it a mess. The first commandment of TV is to show-don't-tell. But ultimately, what the writers showed and what they tried to tell through the dialogue was a terrible, confused mess. But hey, it has attractive people doing a lot of ass-kicking, so I do recommend it.