Hello, friends, and welcome to finale week’s second EarperView! Today we get to know Shelley Scarrow, AKA the genius who brought us one of the most moving and entertaining episodes of television I’ve ever seen, “Jolene.” I am continually impressed by her writing ability, and when I met her and the other writers at EH Con, I told them how cool it was that it felt like someone could see inside by brain.
But Shelley isn’t just a writer. She’s one of the funniest people I’ve seen on Twitter (so says the Angela Lansbury gif exchange we had last week), and she is always down to talk about yarn. I had my wife crochet a hat for the writer’s room mouse that I brought to EH Con, and I was embarrassingly excited to give it to her. She’s also extremely supportive of the people around her, including random bloggers and recappers who just feel lucky to be in her orbit. If you judge people by how they treat others, well, Shelley is the best of us.
After Lynn, of course.
Tell us a little bit about your non-Earper alter ego.
Just a small-town girl, living in a lonely world. I’m from farming stock in Southern Ontario, about an hour from Detroit. My background’s truly blue-collar, so I didn’t know ‘writer’ was a job, even though I’ve always been word- and story-obsessed and spent my entire childhood buried in books and plays. I knew ‘actress’ was a job, if not always practical, but my family was very supportive and let me go to theatre school. That’s where I very quickly discovered that I was NOT cut out for acting, but I learned a lot about reading scripts and writing and producing — also how to build corsets and weld. I still love all these things.
I’m married to another writer (don’t do this, it is a terrible idea) and we sorta alternate between writing jobs and looking after our sons. So sometimes I am full-time stay-at-home mom, and sometimes I’m on the crazy-demanding TV production treadmill for 80 or 100 hours a week. The contrast is dramatic but I don’t often get bored, and that’s a giant plus for me because I have the attention span of a Revenant.
(That was jokes about the ‘lonely world’ part. Who could be lonely when there’s all these Earpers around and I work in the FUNNEST WRITING ROOM ON EARTH?)
How did you come to write for Wynonna Earp?
The first professional writing job I got was on Degrassi. It was through that job that I met Brendon Yorke, and we worked together for several years. He’s so funny and a really great friend, and I met Emily through him, just at parties and all that. Then she got hired at Instant Star (starring: Tim Rozon!), which was produced by the same company. We did a season on that together and just became really close. After we left those shows, we would try to get each other on whatever we got hired on. Because a) it was fun and b) I think our brains play really well together. Being sympatico is big, intangible part of the job. I like to be on a show where I feel like I can read the showrunner’s mind at least 75% of the time – and be utterly shocked the other 25%, and that’s where I’m at with Emily.
I wrote a freelance script on the first season of Wynonna and I would tell anyone who would listen that it is the most fun I’ve ever had writing anything. When Emily asked me about Season 3, I said yes before she could even finish the sentence. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.
How does the Wynonna Earp fandom compare to any other shows you’ve worked on? Is it the same level of involvement, both on your part and on the fandom?
I think you guys have to know that there is NOTHING like Earpers. But I guess I have to answer anyway. 😉
During the early years of Degrassi, there was a bit of fan engagement but they were really only interested in the cast. The writers were just people who were messing up their favourite characters (and they would gladly tell us so at any opportunity.) I actually began to stay away from fan engagement and continued it on other shows, because lots of times the people who are posting just want to complain or mock. It really gets into my head, and it gets harder to write instead of easier. You feel restricted by the horrible things you can hear people saying about the words before they’re even written.
But this show, thanks be to Peacemaker, is the COMPLETE opposite, I feel like the fan excitement and love is fuel for the creative process, rather than a harsh brake on my creativity. I love to think about how we’re going to get people fired up/disbelieving/excited/turned on/throwing Cheetos at their screen every week.
What is your favorite fandom memory? What is your favorite con memory?
They’re the same. Definitely watching Episode 304 at EH Con this summer. As a TV writer, you so often get ZERO reaction back. But there I was, sitting in a hotel ballroom, coated in boob/flop sweat from doing the panel, with hundreds of INCREDIBLE fans. They were laughing and cheering and booing and so excited. And it was so exciting! We writers just kept punching each other in disbelief. I would love another opportunity to watch with fans. It was an unbelievable rush.
What is your favorite Wynonna Earp/Earper activity?
I love live-tweeting every Friday night! It’s like a huge party to look forward to, only you don’t necessarily have to put on pants. Plus I like to do themed snacks (nerdity-nerd-nerd-nerd.)
What has Wynonna Earp come to mean to you?
For Emily and Brendon and Noelle and Caitlin and Matt and Christin. For the bold stories we get to tell. For the amazing cast who makes Every.Single.Line.Better! I have no idea how they do that. For the dedicated producers and directors and crew who go WAY above and beyond for every episode.
And after ‘Jolene’ aired, I’ve been sent so much love from people who saw their own mental health struggles reflected, and I’ve felt tremendous waves of love for people who are still fighting their Jolenes. It’s been both scary and the most gratifying writing experience I can think of to share those very personal things.
Are there any pictures you’d like to share of your Wynonna Earp experience?
I was so hopped up and excited at EH Con that I forgot to take many! But here is Noelle and Emily drunk in an elevator and that sums a lot of it up.
And here are some photos from when I did the Fangirl Fun Run, which was a huge treat for a running AND Earping nerd.
Here are some pictures from the writing room, including my bulletin board, my work coffee mug, and a lineup of drinks I often have in front of me.
Sweet potato or Yukon Gold potato?
I was working on a show in Northern Ireland not that long ago. (NI is my ancestral homeland, though I’d never been before.) I ordered the vegetarian lunch from the catering truck, and then added some sides of whatever and sat down on the crew bus– and then realized that my plate had five different kinds of potato on it. Potato stew, mashed potato, potato salad, potato rolls, and (blush) maybe even a few chips.
And what I discovered is that this is the EXACT RIGHT AMOUNT OF POTATO. So – all the potato, all the time.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you Fandras?
Describe why Fandras is a thing in 7 words or less.
Contractually obligated to say it isn’t BUUUUTTTTT…
What is your favorite Earp sisters moment?
Well, it’s still to come! It’s in Episode 311, at the end of the first act, and you’ll know it when you see it. Wynonna pulls out a quote from her shitty dad, one that I heard a lot in my own childhood. The truck’s in the scene.
That was my favourite one to WRITE anyway. There are too many beautiful ones to pick from otherwise, though I am partial to the moments Waverly and Wynonna had with Alice in the Season II finale, when they were a fierce little all-female family for only the tiniest moment. It was so stuffed with emotion that I was really REALLY mad at Emily. In the best way.
How have you Earped your life?
I really like seeing all the clever stuff that fans make, and shopping Earpily is my second favourite Earper activity. My backpack is COVERED in pins, my office is full of beautiful stitches and other crafts from talented fans.
What’s the Earpiest thing you’ve ever done?
Freaked the fuck out when I met Dom and Kat. I was very sweaty and scattered and they were so huggy and nice and pretended not to notice that I was stammering like a loon.
What Revenant murder would Karen and/or Georgia choose to cover on MFM?
I think Karen would deep-dive into what is arguably ‘the original sin of Purgatory’ and do the whole murder of the Clootie boys at the hand of Wyatt Earp. I’ve always wanted to know more about the Clootie boys, especially now that we’ve seen Bulshar, and I think she’d dig up some cool shit on who they were.
I think Georgia would choose something more recent historically and ‘stickier’ dramatically. Maybe the barber with the blade who can be in the mirror, or Mama Olive? I feel like she always loves a good solid horror element?
What does each person in Purgatory choose to do when it’s their turn to pick craft night?
Okay. Now this is all I ever want to talk about.
Waverly is easy. She picks something new and exciting every single time. The one constant is that there is always a glittery or sparkly component. The projects are always elaborate and seasonally themed and nobody else ever finishes theirs. This month, she wants to do a hand-painted Halloween cookie jar. Hers would look like a wise owl with star-shaped purple sparkles in his eyes. Most everyone else’s would just have an obscene phrase painted on it. I think fate might get in the way of this plan. Somehow.
Wynonna, in contrast, keeps trying to convince everybody that layering shots beautifully counts as a craft. It doesn’t, but her nights are always really fun.
Doc is surprisingly cool – did you know that cowboys and sailors were both really interested in small handcrafts? Long nights of travel are conducive to making. He’s a decent hand at tooling leather, so he’s pulled that skill out when pressed to contribute to craft night. Jeremy still sometimes wears the personalized cuff he made at Doc’s night. Doc can whittle too (fastest hands in the west) and he’s keeping that skill in his back pocket in case somebody makes him do another night. He’s thinking about wooden spoons.
Nicole is the queen of the outdoorsy Scout-style craft and can whip up useful paracord bracelets in a flash, as well as campfire starters and lanyards. It’s efficient; she’s always got the right amount of supplies and clear instructions.
Jeremy’s love of science is very real, so he’s had everybody mixing up custom lip balms and scented bath bombs.
And Kate is actually very skillful with a needle due to her aristocratic Hungarian upbringing. If called upon, she can whip up a set of rose-embroidered dowry linens with your initials embroidered in each corner. She likes to add little obscene touches to keep them from being too pretty – a liver, or a corpse beetle in the corner.
Mama Earp’s turn involved everybody decorating bras with googly eyes and tassels and went from humiliating to raucous hilarity in less than five minutes.
Nedley’s granny taught him to crochet dishcloths during the summers he spent at her trailer, but nobody’s managed to pull this knowledge out of him yet.
Um. I could keep going but I’m not sure my speculation on Bobo’s ability to make beautiful hair wraps is interesting to anyone but me.
Um, I think you’re wrong, Shelley. I would love to hear about Bobo’s ability to do hair wraps, and I’d take it a step further and say I bet it came about because of his relationship with Willa.
Anyway, thank you so much, Shelley, for playing along! We as a fandom are so grateful to have you as a writer for this show we love so much.
Everyone else, I’ll see you back here on finale day with the last EarperView of the season!