Sometimes when I watch a show, it pulls on a string of personal nostalgia, but I can’t properly say what the damn string is attached to. “Wynonna Earp” has been doing that to me for three solid years. Obviously, I’ve been thinking “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. It’s a lazy go-to, but it makes sense, right? Strong, quippy, female lead fights evil monsters with a small band of deputized friends of varying supernatural interest.
But, Wynonna feels nothing like Buffy. I often say out loud to my cat, “Hey, I should tell my Buffy loving friends to check out ‘Wynonna Earp’,” but then, I think they’d be disappointed. The shows obviously share a premise and a basic story structure, but Buffy is about growing up and, it does its thing in a wonderfully visceral, dare I say addictive, way. Wynonna is about being a grown up already, which has its own challenges. It’s just not quite the minefield a sixteen-year-old girl has to tap dance through. So, sadly, I can’t say “Wynonna Earp” will truly scratch the “Buffy” itch. It’s a great show. It’s just not Buffy 2.0.
Last night though, part way through the third episode of season 3, I realized what itch it does scratch. That would be the pesky rash left by the absence of “The Gilmore Girls” from my life.
Here’s a super brief summary of each show. Gilmore Girls presents Lorelai Gilmore, a daughter of wealth and privilege, whose parents openly admit to feeling some measure of warmth toward her, despite her numerous failings and over-sized head. At sixteen, she ran away from WASP paradise after becoming pregnant by the very special boy who annoyed her parents most. From there, with the help of her friends and winning smile, she worked her way to the top of the brutal world of Cozy Vermont Hotel Management, all while single moming it with her daughter, Rory, using a parenting technique foreign to her native culture called “love and support”. Rory becomes a quick witted, well-adjusted, likeable girl but is doomed to one day have sex with a wookie.
Wynonna Earp comes to us as the eldest daughter of the most prominent family of demon hunters in the small town of Purgatory. Unlike Lorelai Gilmore, she ran away from home at sixteen to escape her family while NOT pregnant. (She saves accidental pregnancy for her thirties!). Whether or not she conquers any aspect of the hospitality industry is unknown as of this writing. Let’s say she does. Anything can happen in ten years. In any case she returns to Purgatory as an adult, ready to face her destiny. There, she lives with one of her sisters, who just happens to be quick witted, well adjusted, likable and just young enough to maybe be the same age difference as Rory and Lorelai Gilmore. I don’t know how she is about wookies, though. I’m gonna assume she loves ‘em. Either way, Wynonna pursues a career in killing demons with her supernatural mega-pistol, Peacemaker, a family heirloom that suggests a great deal of compensation on the part of her great grand dad Wyatt. Her friends help, too.
Both characters spend much of their shows navigating a complex social web of a supporting cast; a mix of estranged family members, slow burn attractions, immortal gunslingers, self-declared town bards, dance instructors, secret agents, people who run cafes and/or bars, surrogate families of carefully chosen friends, and families that might well be the product of evil supernatural forces, and also, a little inbred in an “old money” kind of way.
See! The shows are practically indistinguishable.
The quick witted, quip-riddled dialog hits all the same beats, whether the subject is demons or whatever it is Lorelai talks about. Coffee? She likes coffee. Wynonna is more of a whiskey kinda woman, but she drinks it like it’s coffee. Lorelai and Wynonna both have the same trust/commitment issues that make me glad they are fictional. I would totally date either thinking, “Oh[DT1] , I can fix that by being all trustworthy and such”, and boy would I be wrong! (Like you don’t imagine dating fictional characters and having it go terribly, painfully wrong. Everyone does that! It’s why we have fiction!)
Both shows are built on the foundation of the complexities of family, the way Buffy is built on the pain of becoming someone who votes and pays taxes. Also, both are really sexy in a sweet kind of way that gives sex back some much-needed joy, if not innocence. Wookies not withstanding. Or…are they?
It could be each show is an alternate reality version of the same character. That’s how alike Wynonna and Lorelai are. In the Earpiverse, Lorelai isn’t the best loved adopted daughter of the friendly hamlet of Star’s Hollow, she’s the prodigal daughter of Purgatory in the Ghost River Triangle in…some state, wherever Wyatt Earp shot 77 people, who were really demons, so, it’s totally okay. It might be in Canada though, because it’s a Canadian show. There’s no way to know. Also, it’s all imaginary, so does it really matter?
Or, maybe Wynonna and Lorelai are just soul sisters in the same universe. If so, I want a two- part crossover that starts with Wynonna on vacation in a cozy hotel in Stars Hollow and ends with Lorelai, Peacemaker in hand, blowing a hole through a demon wookie in Purgatory.
So, my point is that if you like one of these shows, my guess is you’ll maybe like the other. Go have fun and be good. See ya next time.