I remember watching Ellen DeGeneres come out on her show. I remember reading AfterEllen.com when it was such a small site you could read every article posted on it just by checking in once a week. I’ve eagerly followed almost any show with a lesbian character who entered a romantic relationship including All My Children and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Most of the time I read fanfiction because that is one of the only forms of media I could find that depicted queer lady relationships with the same nuance and ad nauseam dedication as their straight counterparts.
The point I’m trying to make is it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to mainstream depiction of gay women. And that is why I’m confident in saying Nicole Haught’s relationship with Waverly Earp on Wynonna Earp is one of the greatest same sex romances I’ve seen in my lifetime. I love it so much it’s hard for me to write about it because it means so much to me. When I think of Wayhaught I get the warm fuzzies. I wonder if it’s the same feeling other women feel when they watch Titanic or The Notebook. It’s an unabashed appreciation for seeing a romance I both admire and can see aspects of my own experience and desires in. That’s something LGBTQ viewers are so rarely afforded it’s shocking when we do actually see it.
Emily Andras knew after Lost Girl there was a fanbase of queer women desperate to see themselves in mainstream television. Wynonna Earp is a supernatural Western which makes it a hard sell to general audiences – but it’s depiction of a reluctant woman destined to be the chosen one to fight forces of darkness found a foothold with former Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. Andras had already been interested in adding a gay relationship to Wynonna Earp, yet she was still shocked by how positively received Nicole and Waverly’s first meet cute was.
In that scene you can see all the trappings of what make them such an amazing couple: a great chemistry, playfulness, and an obvious sexual tension.
Did I mention Nicole’s last name is phonetically pronounced as “hot?”
These two are clearly into one another. And the process from first meeting to first kiss is not muddled with angst and endless self-doubt but instead more flirtatious banter and obvious interest that is often hilariously miscommunicated.
They are given tons of scenes together which allows their relationship to flourish and develop in ways most LGBTQ relationships in media are never given opportunity to. In this regard their relationship becomes more than just two women being together. We see Nicole get involved with the supernatural curse gripping the town grow while Waverly is slowly pushed to discover if she is even an Earp to begin with (and who she would be if she isn’t). Season one culminates with Waverly getting infected with some kind of evil entity unbeknownst to everyone else except the viewer. This is when I lost hope. Remember, Waverly has just basically come to terms with being in a romantic relationship with another woman. Her ex-boyfriend is still around. I knew it was inevitable for an evil version of her to hook up with a guy to hurt Nicole and cause a rift in their relationship. I could practically write the tired screenplay myself. It would involve double entendres and Nicole as a lesbian being defined by her insecurity around being left for a man. A tired song played out by a worn instrument.
But much to my relief none of this happened.
I couldn’t believe it. It’s legitimately shocking to see this one storyline avoided. As much as I appreciate Andras for Lost Girl after seeing some of the cheap shots that show took I was shocked when she didn’t go for an easy storyline. Waverly and Nicole hit a series of rough patches in season two but none of them involved Waverly wavering in her sexuality (that pun was coming this whole time so just let it wash over you). Instead they resolve the evil Waverly storyline and the couple gets one but two delightfully sexy love scenes. There are fights and a reveal that Nicole has a wife she is separated from. Waverly drunkenly kisses another girl while upset with Nicole. All these things avoid them sleeping with men or dying. The bar is still that low for lesbian characters on television shows. But their relationship is raising that bar by avoiding the typical stories.
With season three coming later this year I can only hope Andras stays true to the positive storyline she was created. We talk about something sweet, sexy, authentic, and innovative when it comes to Wayhaught. We talk about better media representation. We talk about the chance for a happy ending and lots of loving moments along the way to that happy ending. We talk about hope.