Wynonna Earp Writer Matt Doyle on Bringing the Holidays to Purgatory

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

Being the new kid on the block is never easy, but thankfully when the block you’re moving to is the Season 3 writers’ room for Wynonna Earp, that transition can be pretty smooth. At least that’s what the experience was like for Junior Story Editor Matt Doyle, who previously worked on shows like Cracked and Kim’s Convenience, when he started work on the supernatural drama that airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space. The fact that Wynonna Earp showrunner Emily Andras fostered such a safe and supportive room was key for Doyle, a junior story editor on the show, especially in co-writing his first episode with Andras. Together, they are bringing the holidays to Purgatory in Friday’s “If We Make It Through December.”

In the Christmas-themed episode, Wynonna and the gang are on the hunt for a missing child and Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley) learns more about her missing father. Doyle recently shared some insights about his experience on Wynonna Earp Season 3, as well as previewed a few things that viewers can expect from this week’s episode. Staying true to fashion here at The TV Junkies, Doyle doesn’t give away any spoilers, but instead just a few teases to keep growing our excitement for what’s to come.

 

The TV Junkies: This is your first year working on Wynonna Earp. What was it like for you to join the show in Season 3 and how did everything go for you?

Matt Doyle: Joining a show in Season 3 is a huge advantage. In first season, you haven’t seen any of the actors or episodes or know what the audience responds to so you’re often just blindly hoping for the best and going with your gut. Thanks to the amazing work Emily, the writers, cast and production team did on the first two seasons, I came into a well-oiled machine. Super oily. I was a fan before I was a writer and in my job interview I basically just tried to get Emily to give me spoilers. Once I got the job, as one of two totally new people this season, along with Noelle Carbone, I brought a love of puns, while Noelle brought a disdain for puns.

TTVJ: What did you enjoy the most about being a part of the show for this season?

MD: In a writing room bitterly divided into factions, and as a member of Musical Theatre Cove, staring down the locker-stuffing goons of Sports Corner across the table was the greatest accomplishment. But the best part of this room, and a lot of this is due to Emily’s leadership, is how warm it is. And how hilarious. At the same time. You’d think those wouldn’t be mutually exclusive, but occasionally in a comedy-centric room when someone says something hilarious, everyone laughs, but you can feel the competitive vibe and clenched comedian fists under the table. Here, when someone says something super hilarious, everyone gets out of their chairs and congratulates them. Sports Corner dumps Gatorade on their head, and we quit for the day knowing that even if we’re stuck on a huge story point, we at least have a guaranteed huge laugh for the episode. This creates a supportive environment where you can feel free to say whatever pops into your head, but also free to be silent.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: This week’s episode is your first episode and you co-wrote it with Emily Andras. What was that experience like to work closely with her on this?

MD: If the Earperverse is a really great cocktail party, then Emily is the best person to show up with. I mean, she’s kinda hosting the thing. If I showed up to the party on my own, I’d end up fake-texting in the corner by the succulents so having her there at every stage, from pitch page, to outline, to script was a lifejacket preventing me from sinking in a sea of bad metaphors. But, while it’s co-written by Emily and me, like every other episode, it’s such a group effort that Brendon, Caitlin, Noelle and Shelley, and their brains, are to thank (or blame) as much as the two of us. We’re just a group of hard-working elves who are in it for the greater holiday-TV good. Plus, when I finally got to see the cuts, and see what the actors and crew did, it was not a letdown. It was a let-up.

TTVJ: You had to know that when Earpers heard “Holiday Episode” they were going to be super excited.

MD: It’s the greatest tinsel-covered safety net, because who doesn’t love a holiday episode? It’s automatic good cheer. Even if I wrote a holiday episode where I accidentally offed Wynonna, Doc, Waverly, Nicole, and Jeremy, leaving the next episode’s writer with a show that was just Nedley and Bobo running an antique shop and solving crimes, at the very least, people will be happy to have seen these characters dressed in festive onesies and sweaters. (One spoiler I can give you is that I did not do this.)

TTVJ: What did you do to prepare yourself for this? Any holiday favorites you rewatched?

MD: I googled “best Christmas TV episodes” to get some inspiration, and re-watched a ton. In addition to Charlie Brown Christmas, some great X-Files, Buffy, and U.S. Office episodes, one of my fave holiday episodes (and anything episodes, ever) is Lost’s “The Constant.” When Desmond finally gets through to Penny on the phone, and she’s next to a tree and the lights and presents and roaring fire, it’s just — well, the epitome of good holiday TV. This Wynonna episode might just be chock full of our characters doing similar holiday expressions of affection for each other. Maybe it’ll happen under some mistletoe, even

TTVJ: While I know you won’t be able to say much, what can you preview about Christmas time in Purgatory?

MD: I can’t say much or I’ll be on Earpers’ naughty list, but after a rough ride for the crew in this first half of the season, this gives them an opportunity to relax — for, maybe, 30 to 35 seconds. Also: fun hats, elf costumes, cranberry sauce and the re-emergence of ho ho horrible demon, Bulshar.

SYFY / Bell Media
SYFY / Bell Media

TTVJ: In last week’s episode, we saw Mama Earp’s true motivations for protecting Waverly come back into the fold. Can you preview at all what she and the Earp girls are facing with their relationship this week, as everyone now knows the truth?

MD: While it’s a pretty fragile time for the Earp clan, they definitely want, and deserve, a few moments of being a boring “regular” family celebrating a holiday together. It’s a chance to do something with their Mom that, thanks to that pesky Jolene demon (Did anyone see that episode? It’s goood!), they never got to do. Though, of course, Mama Earp’s definition of what a boring “regular” family holiday is is a little more backwoods. But this is Wynonna Earp: we’ll do the tradition but in a way that makes sense for these misfits.

TTVJ: Is there anything else I missed that you wanted to touch on about this week’s episode?

MD: Continuing this season’s tradition of wildly inappropriate dick jokes, this one has another fave.

 

Are you ready to spend the holidays in Purgatory? Sound off below!

Wynonna Earp airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on SYFY and Space Channel.

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