When Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended in 2003, many thought we would never see such a show on television again. After all, blending horror, comedy, science-fiction, queer themes, and feminism together in a single show is a tall order to fill. Thankfully, television fans were blessed with Wynonna Earp.
Created by Beau Smith and currently published by IDW Publishing, Wynonna Earp began as a comic and was later turned into a series. The show follows Wyatt Earp‘s descendants, Wynonna and Waverly, as they hunt for revenants — the resurrected demon souls of outlaws killed by their grandfather — in the town of Purgatory.
Taking a page from the Buffy handbook, the show has successfully built a strong, queer, feminist fandom. Luckily for fans, the hit series, which is on its third season on SYFY, has already been renewed for a fourth.
No Queerbaiting Here
One of the show’s major highlights is Waverly Earp’s budding relationship with Purgatory officer Nicole Haught. It even led to the hashtag #WayHaught. There is a need to see healthy relationships on screen, and theirs satisfies that need. The way the show builds up tension, portrays the chemistry between the two characters, and subverts typical queer relationship tropes has turned #WayHaught into a cultural phenomenon.
Waverly and Nicole met by pure happenstance. Waverly was a bartender at Shorty’s when Nicole entered in full uniform (because who can deny a woman in uniform). From their first conversation, viewers could feel the immediate sexual tension between them.
But Waverly had a boyfriend, which initially made their meeting seem like another case of queerbaiting — but we were dead wrong. From their first meeting in Season 1 until now, writer and showrunner Emily Andras gave queer television fans something they’ve been longing for — two human characters who’ve built a relationship on love and trust, and nothing more.
Proper Representation Matters
From the very beginning, Emily Andras knew the impact the couple would have on viewers, and she was ready for the challenge. “From their first encounter, we just gave them more and more to do, and the audience ate it up and fell in love with them. I like the idea that the canon romance of the show isn’t necessarily the lead, especially a lead that isn’t necessarily defined by romance,” Andras said.
Even more amazing, the show, unlike many others, isn’t afraid to show Waverly and Nicole engaging in PDA.
Their relationship is reminiscent of those we see in our everyday lives. (Well, aside from the demon killing and Waverly being possessed by one.) Viewers can project themselves onto these two characters who love each other deeply. This is why proper representation of LGBTQ couples is so important. It’s something this show does right, and it keeps fans invested and hooked.
You Don’t Have to “Bury Your Gays”
We also love how the show keeps common tropes at bay. It’s in its third season, and it’s almost revolutionary that both women are still alive. Many on-screen LGBTQ relationships end with the “bury your gays” trope. Queer relationships on television almost never have a happy ending and, usually, end with one or both characters being killed off.
Think Willow and Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Tara was killed by a stray bullet intended for Buffy in Season 6 of the show, which sent Willow into a rage. Similarly, in the show The 100, Lexa is also killed by a gunshot wound, leaving her partner Clarke behind.
Treat your characters with respect and the fandom will thank you tenfold. Earpers love these characters. Actresses Katherine Barrell and Dominique Provost-Chalkley are big hits on the convention circuit, especially at queer-centric events like Clexacon. Fans come from all over the world to see these actresses talk about their favorite moments on set and what’s next for their characters.
#WayHaught Will “Need Each Other More Than Ever”
The Wynonna Earp panel at SDCC assured fans that #WayHaught is here to stay. Their relationship is only going to grow stronger over time, and, most importantly, there are no signs of anyone dying. Now, that’s good news.
“WayHaught are about a year into their adorable courtship, so the honeymoon period is over — though lord knows their chemistry isn’t!” Emily Andras told TVLine. “They’re at a very genuine, honest, trusting place with one another, but they also feel more ‘real.’ They’ll need each other more than ever this season as Waverly circles ever closer to the identity of her real father — and Nicole’s disturbing past becomes present.”
That’s exciting news for fans who watched the #WayHaught relationship struggle in Season 2.
The first episode of Season 3 aired on July 20th. From the looks of it, the show is off to a dope start.