Fangirl Friday! Wynonna Earp

Hey, peeps!

Some of you may know that I have a total geek/fangirl side. Yeah. I’m one of THOSE people who has a standing order at a comic shop, who just went to see Ghostbusters for the second time (don’t be shocked if I see it again this weekend along with Star Trek for the 2nd time), and who is obsessed with The 100 and Wynonna Earp.

Point being, I’m going to be talking a bit more about geeking here at Women and Words because feminist and queer rep isn’t just about books. Many of us don’t just read books. We participate in other forms of entertainment, including movies, fanfic, TV shows, and comics.

So this week, let’s talk Wynonna Earp.

I want to do this because I’m interested in the representation of women in all kinds of media, and queer rep in all kinds of media. And Wynonna’s got both covered.

If you haven’t discovered this series yet, HERE IS YOUR WAKE-UP CALL.

Imagine, if you will, if the love child of Jessica Jones and Deadpool went into a modern western saloon and got in a bar fight with a bunch of demons in human form but she bore the curse of Wyatt Earp, her great-granddad, and could wield Peacemaker, the only gun that puts these bad souls down. And I mean DOWN. As in, sucked back into hell.

Wynonna Earp (played by actress Melanie Scrofano)
Wynonna Earp (played by actress Melanie Scrofano)

That right there is Wynonna Earp. She returns to her hometown of Purgatory (yeah, it’s named that) and while there, it becomes clear that creepy stuff is afoot and she’s been tasked with taking down Revenants — all the demons (resurrected souls) great-granddaddy put down years ago. That’s the nature of the Earp curse. Every generation, there’s an Earp who can wield Peacemaker and this time around, it’s Wynonna (with caveats — you’ll have to watch to see).

She’ll need help, and she gets it from her younger (and utterly delightful) sister Waverly; Xavier Dolls, who runs with some weird division of the government called the Black Badges; and another fellow, Doc, whose history I’ll leave for you to discover. 😀

Waverly Earp (played by actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley)
Waverly Earp (played by actress Dominique Provost-Chalkley)

Throw in Officer Nicole Haught, a love interest for Waverly (Shipped and Canon’ed! #WayHaught), a variety of bad guys n’ gals, crazy action, snarky one-liners, and a slew of likable characters, and you have yourself An Earpfest.

Officer Nicole Haught (portrayed by actress Katherine Barrell)
Officer Nicole Haught (portrayed by actress Katherine Barrell)

Based on the IDW Comic of the same name, SyFy optioned it and the TV series was created by Emily Andras, the showrunner. Some of you may recognize that name; Andras held many roles with the series Lost Girl: writer, co-producer, showrunner, executive producer. So when news started circulating that Andras was behind Wynonna Earp, well, there was some hot interest. The first episode (“Purgatory”) of the first season launched April 1 of this year. And very quickly, it built up a core of very enthusiastic and very loyal fans.

So loyal, in fact, that it was probably fan action that got the show renewed for a second season, a decision that was just announced this past weekend at San Diego Comic Con.

Doc (right; portrayed by actor Tim Rozon) and Dolls (portrayed by actor Shamier Anderson) source
Doc (right; portrayed by actor Tim Rozon) and Dolls (portrayed by actor Shamier Anderson) source

I couldn’t be happier. Friends, I am a total fangirl of this show. I got sucked in immediately, and I’ll tell you why.

After the episode of The 100 that shall remain unnamed (which aired in early March of this year) in which the beloved character of Lexa died, and the huge outcry over the “dead lesbian trope,” I was pissed off and bummed about lesbian (and, frankly, queer rep in general) on TV.

I turned to Wynonna Earp, because I dig paranormal TV and I liked Lost Girl, and the Wynonna Earp comics are cool. So, I figured, why not? I could use a fun show in which to drown my sorrows.

And omg, people. I can’t even tell you how refreshing it was to have great writing and consistently strong female characters kicking ass and taking names and being supportive of each other and of the dudes around them. How much fun the entire cast seemed to be having, the snarky one-liners flying from Wynonna, the effective subplots and character arcs (with a few exceptions; a later discussion). And then…AND THEN! Officer Haught and the sweet, building flirtatiousness between her and Waverly — BALM for the queer rep soul.

Perhaps it was fate that scheduled the first episode of Wynonna Earp a month after the episode of The 100 that will not be spoken of. And perhaps it was a perfect storm of events, including that episode of The 100 and the ensuing conversation and wave of activism from fandom about the dead lesbian trope, that cemented the tight-knit fandom of Wynonna Earp (“Earpers,” for those not in the know).

I could talk about this all day, but the major points I want to make are these:

  • In this age of social media, when showrunners and actors are readily accessible to fandoms, amazing things can happen (and not-so-amazing). The age of accessibility, I think, may change how shows are written and approached. Witness the fallout from The 100.
  • LGBTQ fans take their fandoms and their shows seriously, and are often savvy watchers and cultural critics. It’s no accident that LGBTQ fandoms have created rich and vibrant fanfic sagas based on TV shows and characters. From one glance between two characters, a fanfic can be born. For LGBTQ people, who don’t get to see themselves represented much in media, fanfic provides a way for fandoms to expand even more. And among femslash and lesbian/bi fans who ship same-sex relationships between women, shows like The 100 are (were) incredibly important in terms of representation.
  • Fandoms can help drive social and cultural change. Pop culture and all its attendant threads and expressions are often vanguards for social shifts, as well as subversive safe spaces for those who are marginalized in whatever ways.
  • Wynonna Earp is, so far, a safe space for feminist ass-kicking and a developing lesbian relationship as well as for exploring Wynonna’s complicated feelings for both Doc and Dolls. It’s so great to find a paranormal series like this that explores relationships on many levels while injecting it with a lot of fun and mayhem.

A show like this feeds my writer side, my geek side, my fan side, my feminist and LGBTQ side. It’s a blast. So if you dig a little paranormal with your ass-kicking, this might be the show for you. If not, it just might convert you with the snappy dialogue and strong writing. Regardless, I know many of you are fangirls and boys (and fanbois) of one thing or another. What’s your guilty (or not so guilty) fandom pleasure? Let us know in the comments.

Happy Friday!

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18 thoughts on “Fangirl Friday! Wynonna Earp

  1. Omg yes! I’ve been talking up Wynonna Earp with friends and coworkers. I’m really glad it’s available on Amazon; it’s how I’ve watched a few shows lately as they air current episodes. What drew me in was the premise about a tough woman with a family curse. The characters, storylines, set, and chemistry between the whole cast, kept me glued to my screen week after week. It’s just a lot of fun! I’ve had the short theme song stuck in my head for weeks xD

    I remember an interview on AfterEllen (I think?) with the show creator and how she assured fans that Waverly and Officer Haight wouldn’t be killed off in season one. They were able to create drama without doing so. I can hardly wait for season two!

    ***If there is anyone reading this who hasn’t seen Ghostbusters, stay after the movie credits for a bonus teaser.

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    1. I really enjoy Wynonna Earp. Regarding the showrunner, hell, she has a good queer rep track record at Lost Girl. However, the season finale for Wynonna really makes me concerned about the future of #WayHaught. For those of you who have seen it, you know whereof I speak. We shall see…Season 2 only gets 10 episodes instead of 13, so the writing team is no doubt feverishly at work right now!

      EARPERS UNITE!

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      1. Having watched Lost Girl and paid attention to Emily’s interviews about the show, I’m not worried too much about WayHaught despite the season ending. I’m sure she’ll give them some drama and ups and downs, but since the love triangle appears to be between Wynonna and the boys, I’m less worried about WayHaught than I was Doccubus. I’m honestly more worried about the relationship between Wynonna and Waverly after the ending and the revelation that Waverly got because their relationship is so important to the show.

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  2. I also love wayhaught. This show is such fun. The 100 was and still is a fave of mine, because like Lost Girl and Wynonna Earp, it has strong women leading and being the heroes. When they did what they did to Lexa, it was heartbreaking, but so far Clarke has remained strong.

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  3. I have a love/hate relationship with The 100 these days. Seasons 1 and 2 were, I think, the strongest in terms of character development and exploring the nature of relationships between several of them. Having said that, the writing — even in my least favorite season (3) was good, though it was overall a terribly dark season and the way that Lexa’s death played out as well as Lincoln’s was just…wtf. In addition, the encampment that Pike wiped out, I felt, was unnecessary for the continuing development of that plot trajectory. The same effect/results, I think, could have played out with, say, 20 Grounders being massacred. At any rate, yes, I agree, The 100 does have strong women characters and one of the things I really like about that show is how it’s just taken for granted that women will be involved in power and fighting, and nobody blinks an eye. There’s never a comment from a male character about how a woman shouldn’t do X, Y, Z. From any of the cultural groups. There may be an exception with the Mountain Men–I don’t recall seeing any female guards/security officials among the Mountain Men during season 2.

    Regardless, I’ll be back for Season 4 of The 100 though I have to admit, I am a little tired of unrelenting darkness in my TV shows, which is why I’m sort of pulling away from Walking Dead and another reason, I think, that I so love Wynonna Earp. Sure, there are dark moments, but there are also wonderfully light moments, and good things happen in addition to the bad. Not so much in The 100. And now, with what’s in store for season 4, I don’t expect there to be much else but more of that unrelenting grimness and darkness. Ah, well. But the acting has been pretty good overall, and the writing strong, which only adds to the awesome of the strong female characters.

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  4. Everyone should watch Wynonna Earp. Not only is the show fantastic and awesome, but somehow even with all the drama in season 1 I still feel happy and excited watching each episode (and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched them thanks to Amazon). The cast is amazing not only on screen but off screen as well, Katherine Barrell (who plays the too gay to function Officer Nicole Haught) actually sat down and researchd the “bury your gay” trope when she started getting tweets about it. Dominique Provost-Chalkley (who plays the shotgun wielding brave little toaster Waverly Earp) is so sweet and adorable when she talks about her fans, especially the ones who have told how much her character and portrayal have touched and/or encouraged them. Melanie Scrofano (the ass kicking, whiskey drinking, doughnut eating, Peacemaker wielding Wynonna Earp) is funny on screen and off and loves her fans to the point of doing a t-shirt swap with fans for Comic-Con. The guys are awesome and hilarious and Emily Andras is just fabulous.

    WayHaught is so cute and adorable that I almost can’t believe they are on a TV show and not in a book.Their meet cute is right out of a rom com. But Nicole is not just Waverly’s love interest, she has scenes with all the cast without Waverly around. Her budding “bromance” with Wynonna is amazing and something I need more of.

    For those who have watched the show but may have missed this piece of info from the last couple of days, the WE folks have just launched a password locked tumblr account: http://theroadtopurgatory.tumblr.com/ (the password is a guessing game and I won’t give it away but you can send me a tweet if you want it) which is one of the best things I’ve ever seen a show officially do.

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  5. I really enjoyed your piece of writing. It definitely needed to be written, and I can do nothing but agree. The LGBTQ world needs a show like this, not necessarily for people like me on the cusp of middle age (we had Xena to play with after all), but for the youth out there who need something strong and positive to grasp hold of without being frightened their role model character is suddenly going to drop dead (I think another one may have gone in the Season finale of “Wentworth” last week!).Whilst it might be a little cheesy at times, I’m not concerned at all about WayHaught into the second season after reading an interview with Emily. I like her take on it and her hope that one day having gay or lesbian characters on screen won’t be a ‘thing’ that sucks in subgenre starved LGBTQ viewers, but a simple reality that some people are gay etc, no biggie. Clearly her writing reflects this. I’m looking forward to the second season.

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  6. Same here. But holy crap that finale in the first season! AHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! WTF!!!!!!! lol

    And regarding Xena — I…um…didn’t watch Xena. A few episodes here and there, but I wasn’t really a follower. I did understand the fanfic and fandom universes that Xena launched, and I totally give it mad props for that, but what’s so refreshing about Wynonna Earp is that there is a canon F/F relationship in it already. Xena never really canon’ed, though there were so many freaking teasers.

    If you watch Lost Girl, Emily Andras canons a lot of F/F relationships there, which was really cool to see though things didn’t work out for some in the end. 😦 Regardless, Andras is well aware of the power of a strong same-sex relationship in terms of fandom and representation, so I’m hoping the writer team will continue to explore WayHaught in Earp. I also really like that Wynonna’s got her own crap to deal with in terms of her weird love triangle, because here WayHaught seems to be the stronger relationship, with Waverly and Haught all-in, while Wynonna flounders around. Andras does relationship angst and crazy really well, so it’s fun to watch Wynonna’s issues in that regard, too.

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    1. I believe I saw full episodes on YouTube, not fantastic quality but watchable. Not sure how long they will be up, but looks like the edge of the screen has been cropped slightly so that may be how it’s being done.

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  7. Maybe for us nerds and geeks outside of US and sadly don’t have access to scyfi 😢, we will get a chance to see it legally by another means. I hope so!

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