I heard the murmurings about Tim Burton’s Addams Family dark academia adaption, Wednesday, and I had to binge-watch ASAP.
You see, I remember watching The Addams Family on the floor of two different trailers, my grandfather’s when I went to visit my Aunt Sharon or Wicky’s, an elderly man who lived near my grandfather in the trailer park. My mom used to help James Wicks as he grew older. My mom and dad had lived in the trailer between my grandfather and Wicky when my they first got married.
I adored Wednesday and grew up to idolize John Astin as Gomez and later as Buddy on Night Court. I lost my mind when “Gomez” turned up on my current favorite show in the later part of the 1980s. To see a 2015 interview of John, click here. John Astin is still one of my greatest heroes on-screen. He even discusses working with cartoonist Charles Addams. If you haven’t seen the original Addams Family cartoons, I encourage you to check them out. Here’s a book that traces the history of the iconic Addams Family.
When The Teenager was four, our entire family dressed as The Addams Family for Halloween. She was Wednesday, her father was Gomez and I, of course, was French-speaking Morticia. The Teenager had a headless doll, I carried a deflowered rose, and we even had a silicone replica of my hand we cast as Thing and took turns carrying.
We purchased the original black-and-white television program on DVD. I loved the first movie of Addams Family reboots, especially Christina Ricci as Wednesday asking the Girl Scout played by the actress Mercedes McNab who was also Harmony on Buffy and Angel. Ricci returns as a house mother and horticulture teacher in the new Wednesday series on Netflix, though I did not recognize her.
I have very mixed feelings about this show, and the Teenager tells me I am not the intended viewer so that might be some of the problem. To lessen the pressure to rate this program with a definitive reaction, I’m going to present my reactions in pro/cons list.
WHAT I LIKED:
- WEDNESDAY. The casting of Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams could not have been more perfect. Her acting surpassed my every expectation.
- The costumes. Especially Wednesday. According to Variety, Colleen Atwood (who has impressive credentials) did the work– and wow did the costumes from the school uniforms to the styling of the individual characters pop against the setting.
- Pugsley. Played by Isaac Ordonez, Pugsley did an excellent job of fading into the background yet adding to the comic relief and the family dynamic all at the same time. Ordonez played Pugsley (originally Pubert in the original cartoons, a name that couldn’t be used on 1950s television) with just the right blend of seriousness and subtle “camp.”
- The Writing. In general, the dialogue pleased me. The character interactions were top knotch.
- The Addams Family Hearse. At first, I thought it was a Rolls-Royce, but then I had to smile when I realized what it was.
- The Cello. It was just cool.
- The Poe-themed boarding school. A boarding school for monsters just should have an Edgar Allen Poe theme.
- Enid. She’s adorable.
- The overt theme of unconditional inclusion.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE:
- MORTICIA AND GOMEZ. Catherine Zeta-Jones seemed flat as Morticia. She was okay. Luis Guzman does a superb job with the role he is given as Gomez. His acting– perfect. But this Gomez is not charming. This Gomez has rotten teeth and a weeble-wobble shape and reminds me more of the Penguin from Batman.
- NO FRENCH. Morticia does not speak French.
- Four houses of monsters. Like a direct rip-off of Harry Potter, the occult boarding school of Nevermore has four houses (werewolves, vampires, gorgons and sirens) and then those who don’t fit in one of those groups. I’m not impressed with this social construct. I personally wouldn’t have groups of monsters and would focus instead on the individuals. And the fact that we have werewolves, vampires, gorgons and sirens just seems random. And I can only think that the only reason there wasn’t a group of witches is because of… you guessed it… the success of Harry Potter (which I still believe is a rip-off of one of my favorite childhood books, The Worst Witch).
- Wednesday appears to be a psychopath. The Addams are certainly counter-cultural, but a scene toward the end of the first season dips into torture. And not the kind people consented to.
- The plot. The story itself was meh. The familiar tropes played out in the anticipated way.
2 thoughts on “Random Review of the Day: Netflix’s Wednesday”
I am so disappointed that the family photo didn’t reappear. It was great.
Did you know that Wednesday doesn’t blink.
I’d like to find it