Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Wednesday - Mysterious and Spooky

Ugh I needed this. 

Right as everything started growing lights and every speaker started spewing songs with sleigh bells, a black hole of hope lead me through this dreary bright holiday season- and it was lovely. 

The Addams are back. 

New Take

For the uninitiated, The Addams Family franchise reaches back to the first TV series in 1964, where it was a satire on the nuclear family. The show portrayed the Addams as being odd, participating in then unusual practices of tending poisonous plants, keeping insects as house pets, participating in yoga, and training with martial weapons. The joke wasn't that they were weird, but that they were weird and happy about it, able to live in society as strange but harmless weirdos and not care what others thought. 

Fast forward to 1991 where they family is revived with two films, which modernizes the family. Here not only is the family weird but there's an air of slight danger to them, making jokes about bodies being in the house and hinting that murder might be on the table somewhere. This darker Addams family is the version most people are now familiar with, as it solidified Christina Ricci as the daughter Wednesday, Anjelica Huston as the mother Morticia and Christopher Lloyd as Uncle Fester. 

2019 saw another revision of the Addams in a cartoon movie, once again modernized for the current age. Here they introduced more magic elements like crystal balls, but toned down the murders for a younger audience. Despite it getting mediocre reception a sequel was made which was received with less than positive reviews. 

Okay now we come to Netflix's Wednesday and we need to ask: What are we bringing to the table this time. 

Tim Burton. We're bringing Tim Burton. 


Addams High

Wednesday follows the titular Wednesday Addams as she navigates her new school, Nevermore High (Think of a mix of Monster High and Riverdale). Where we've seen the Addams clan vs the regular world, here Wednesday has to confront the rest of the weird world and learn to find her place in it, all while getting tangled up in a murder mystery worthy of her hero Edgar Allen Poe. 

Wednesday herself is recharacterized as a sort of goth Daria, being an anti-social writer with a penchant for threatening her fellow classmates with violence. Even among the other outcasts she's seen as an outsider because instead of fellowshipping with those that don't fit into the mainstream she chooses to alienate them as well. 

The Daria comparison isn't just for the sarcasm and writing affection, it's with how the show Daria is set up as well. Without spoiling let's just say that despite herself Wednesday finds herself to be wrong, that maybe she does value others more than even she thinks. 

The sarcastic unhappy girl archetype is the voice we need to look at our modern world and call it out on the nonsense that it is. It started with Christina Ricci's Wednesday in 1991, moved onto Daria, then onto the Teen Titans Raven in the good iteration of the series, and now it's back to Wednesday here. We need someone who is willing to call us out on our vapid society, even if we don't change as much as the characters would want us to. 

Death, Violence and Black

Wednesday, unlike its recent family friendly predecessors, is definitely more for adults than for kids. While the blood and guts is not even as close as it could've been (They're are werewolves and yet nobody is disemboweled How disappointing...) and the show has no gratuitous sex or nude scenes. Despite the subject matter and genre the show leans more towards the 1991 films, which is a welcome change from most recent horror shows which I can only recommend to my most gore addicted friends and family. Wednesday is a fun and safe adventure into the darkness without needing to call your bishop about later. 


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