Created by Charles Samule Addams, this spooky family has been entertaining audiences since 1938, first as a single panel cartoon in The New Yorker, and now recently in the Netflix Show Wednesday, the Addams family has been entertaining audiences for generations. With a family growing ever so close to the hundred year mark, it can make audiences wonder, what new things can this show bring to the legacy of the Addams? With a captivating story, fun characters, and twinge of nostalgia, I’d say Wednesday could bring new fans to the family.
A Girl only has one thing on her mind, Homicide
The show follows the titular character Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega). Wednesday, being the cold hearted sadist she is, put piranhas in the pool of her brother’s bullies. While this may make sense to some, the school, not appreciating attempted murder, expells her. Thanks to it not being the first time she’s been expelled from school, her parents enroll her in their old high school Nevermore, a school for “Outcasts”. Once she is at Nevermore she is propelled into a world of mystery following the death of one of her classmates.
The Dark of Night and her Roommate, a Rainbow
Wednesday, jack of all trades master of none — the only trade she’s awful at, socializing. While I enjoyed her cold shoulder as a kid, as a brooding 16 year old she’s borderline insufferable at times. She can and would manipulate every single person who has ever cared about her. Though she does acknowledge she has a toxic personality, which is probably why two guys like her at once. With her incredible intelligence, she can’t help but push people away. While the show is mainly a murder mystery, I couldn’t help but hope Wednesday started to let some people into her cold black heart.
How do you make a stereotypical teenage girl who probably uses “omg” and “tots” in her daily vocabulary likable? Have her be roommates with someone the complete opposite. Somehow their different forms of annoyance cancel each other to make them tolerable together. Enid’s (Emma Myers) fun, bubbly personality is a nice change of pace from the murder going on around her. While her room is bright and colorful Wednesday is a monochrome nightmare (complimentary). Also, because of her opposition to our main character, she’s one of the perfect characters to call out Wednesday. As Miss Thornhill said, “Part of the dorm experience is making friends with people that you normally wouldn’t connect with”.
Wednesday has a cast of acquaintances by the end of the season, though some developments felt less owned than others. For example Xavier (Percy Hynes White), the son of a famous psychic is a friendly face and artist who is treated poorly almost the entire show and he just takes it because, well, plot. Tyler (Hunter Doohan)…exists. He has some backstory, son of the sheriff, works at a coffee shop, mom is dead, name a trope he has it. He’s a pretty boy who likes Wednesday and he’s friends with some people who terrorize the “outcasts”. I don’t care about him. Other side characters were easier to care about like Principal Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie), who leaves the audience wondering if they should trust her or not. There’s Sheriff Donovan Galphin (Jamie McShane) who is just trying his best as sheriff. Then there’s Miss Thornhill (Christina Ricci) the “dorm mom” (she’s basically an RA) who I would forget about, Dr. Kinbott (Riki Lindhome), who is the most sane person in town, and my favorite character, Eugene (Moosa Mostafa), president and founder of the Nevermore Hummers. He doesn’t get that much screen time, but he has a heart of gold and Wednesday makes a comment that he reminds her of her brother. And Lastly Bianca (Joy Sunday), Wednesday's Rival, who, like a lot of the other characters could have been fleshed out more, but because it’s a mystery having a bunch of characters makes sense. Though Bianca has a subplot going on with her it wasn’t extremely delved into so hopefully she, and the other characters, get more fleshed out in the next season, if there is one.
Normal Night is what you [don’t] get
Surprisingly enough the story wasn’t hard to follow. Most of Wednesday's actions are triggered by leads on the murder. The story has twists and turns but not anything that the audience couldn’t have figured out themselves. Though the B-plot (which is connected to the rest of the story) with Gomez could have lasted a bit longer, it makes sense it was wrapped up in one episode. It was brought up in others, but since it wasn’t the main plot it would be in a “by the way this is also happening” presentation. Since the series hinted at least wanting a season two it can excuse many of the unresolved plot threads. Since Wednesday is impatient, cold, manipulative, and some other choice words, her unorthodox methods make sense in context. One of the most realistic things in this series is that Wednesday would be a writer in need of serious psychiatric help. Wednesday, nor her friends can catch a break, even in an episode which would have made a great filler in any other series.
Music, Costumes, and the Arts
Music can make or break a scene or movie, so I was delighted by some of the choices, from a cello cover of "Paint it Black" “played” by Wednesday, very fitting, to an orchestral arrangement of “Nothing else Matters” while Wednesday was monologuing.
The gothic music choices seem inline with Tim Burton. Most of the characters, in regards to make up, costumes, etc. just blend into the background. While the Addams family, mainly Wednesday and Pugsly, have a Tim Burton Chic makeup look, the rest of the school looks like normal teenagers. The only other characters who really stood out in how they looked were Bianca, who had piercing blue eyes, and Enid. Enid's room looks like a six year old girl's dream, with the pile of random stuffed animals adding a nice touch. Her outfits seem reminiscent of the 80s and her claws being painted rainbow (each claw is a different color), helped make her feel more real instead of just a preppy high schooler and also helped to exaggerate the difference between her and Wednesday.
No Good Show goes Unpunished
A mystery should keep you on your toes, on the edge of your seat and Wednesday does that, but nothing is perfect. Even though the show kept me entertained there was one main thing that bothered me: Wednesday, love or hate her, she needed to shut up. She may not think she’s better than everyone, but she also has no sense of boundaries. Granted, main characters don’t necessarily need to be good, nor do they need to be entirely likable. Thankfully she does become nicer by the end even though she is disrespectful to Xavier the entire series and he just keeps forgiving her, why? His forgiveness of Wednesday's actions makes slightly more sense than Enid’s but even then if she did that to any sane person that person would never be friends with her again. Or, at least, hold a grudge against them for the rest of their friendship. On top of that, Wednesday committed several crimes and broke several school rules in the time she was at Nevermore/Jericho throughout the season. The amount of chances she got would make a genie cry but multiple chances and forgiveness are a trademarks of the young adult genre.
Moving Towards the Darkness
Wednesday, somehow didn’t disappoint, but it may be more for people who are new fans of the Addams' than older fans. The series feels like a combination of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. The many mysteries of Hogwarts with the deaths in Percy Jackson, dealing with prophecies and chosen ones along with Wednesday being expelled from several schools in only a few years. And, while the characters are annoying at times, the story is pretty solid and no one is unbearable to the point the show is unwatchable. The show itself keeps you at the edge of your seat and makes it hard not to binge watch it and hopefully it’s not the last time audiences see Nevermore.
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