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'Wynonna Earp' Will Forever Be a Gamechanger for Queer Women on TV

Waverly and Nicole in "Wynonna Earp"

As a queer woman, a lot of the media I see with people like me in it is slow and dramatic. A lot of it is made by straight men. A lot of it takes place a hundred years in the past, with longing glances, secret romances, and, all too often, dead lesbians by the end.

Emily Andras said screw all of that when she created Wynonna Earp, the beloved Syfy fantasy-western that just announced it’s current 4th season would be its last. Syfy will air the last six episodes of the series starting on March 5, with the finale airing April 9. The show could continue if it’s picked up by another distributor, but as of now, no more filming is planned.

Wynonna Earp is about the descendant of famed Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp, who has a magical gun and is tasked with using it to rid the world of evil. She has a little sister, Waverly, who in the show, falls for Nicole Haught, a local lesbian cop. The two quickly became a fan-favorite ship, not just for the chemistry the two characters and actresses have, but for the way their relationship on the show is both fun, and directly filmed through a lesbian gaze.

Andras loves to bring queer women camp to her shows. Before Wynonna, she served as showrunner of Lost Girl, a Syfy show about a bisexual succubus. And with Wynonna Earp, she honed that sapphic camp style to a razor sharp edge.

Queer women are tired of seeing men make art about us, and Wynonna Earp served as a remedy to that. Instead of fetishizing queer women, the show celebrates us, and is sexy in the ways that we think things are sexy, not in the ways that straight men do.

The series has plenty of iconic queer scenes. Early in their relationship, Waverly puts on her old cheerleader uniform and dances for a stunned Nicole. This latest season, after Waverly and Nicole were reunited, they had a stunningly hot lesbian sex scene that was one of the best I’ve ever seen on TV. Andras really knows how to feed her fans.

One of the most pervasive tropes in queer media, especially about queer women, is the Bury Your Gays trope, where LGBTQ+ characters are introduced and then killed off (see: The 100, The Haunting of Bly Manor, and Game of Thrones). Andras directly challenged that trope throughout Wynonna Earp, creating her own trope, that of the Unkillable Gay.

In one episode of the show, Officer Nicole Haught, a lesbian cop who is in a relationship with Waverly Earp, the little sister of the title character, is shot and it seems for a second that she was another one of the hundreds of dead lesbians on film. But then she pops up, showing she was wearing a bulletproof vest, offering a direct rebuke to the tired old trope.

Both actresses in WayHaught (the ship name for Waverly and Nicole), Kat Burrell, and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, felt so comfortable on set, on the show, and in the fandom, that they were able to come out as queer themselves.

“I am SO damn PROUD of this show, this community, this family and the life-changing  journey that has been 4 beautiful seasons of Wynonna Earp. We cannot wait to share the rest of season 4 with you!!! It’s filled with pure, top shelf magic” Barrell said on Twitter.

“We will always be family,” Provost-Chalkley added on Instagram, “Every single one of us that has been touched by this adventure, connected. I can’t wait for us to share the second half of Season 4, together, and celebrate this unforgettable journey. Thank you dear Waverly. Thank you Wynonna Earp Family. Thank you Universe. Whatever happens from here, I am filled with deep gratitude for this gift of a lifetime.”

Andras said that the show ending was, “Bittersweet. Extremely emotional... A bit speechless which is big for me. Proud & sad.” She added that “few people ever get to do or have something like this. And we did with all of you. Whatever happens next, it has been my honour.”

That’s the thing that makes Andras and the show so special, she made it for her queer fans, but also, with those fans. Throughout the series’ run, Andras constantly would talk about how the fandom made the show possible, and never was that more true than when the show was renewed for a fourth season after a fan outcry when it was initially going to be cancelled after three seasons.

Wynonna Earp made queer women feel sexy, and feel seen. It made us feel like we can tell whatever kind of stories we want to. Thank you to Emily Andras, Kat Barrell, Dominique Provost-Chalkley, and the whole cast and crew for giving us a place where we didn’t just see ourselves, we saw ourselves alive, in love, and thriving.

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