New Netflix show does The Addams Family justice

New Netflix show does The Addams Family justice

Netflix’s new Addams family spin off, “Wednesday,” is making waves among the binge-watching community. Directed by Tim Burton and starring Jenna Ortega, the series comprises eight episodes and follows Wednesday Addams, the oldest daughter of the Addams family. Her affinity for all things dark, gory and deadly make her one of the most iconic characters of today. 

The series began with a sequence of Wednesday finding her younger brother, Pugsley, tied up inside of a locker. He refuses to tell Wednesday who was bullying him, but once she touched him, she received a vision of the swim team harming her little brother. The next shot is her walking down the hallway toward the pool, two bags full of piranhas in tow. She seeks justice against the bullies by releasing the piranhas into the pool, hurting multiple men on the swim team. Obviously, this is grounds for expulsion from her school, so her parents send her to Nevermore—a boarding school for outcasts, where Wednesday’s parents had both attended. Most of her classmates have special powers, whether they are sirens, werewolves, vampires, etc. Wednesday is originally very pessimistic about attending the school and tries to run away at any possible chance. However, she eventually learns that the environment is much more stimulating than she originally anticipated. A mysterious beast is killing people in the woods, and Wednesday becomes obsessed with solving the case. 

Overall, the show was very entertaining. Ortega did a phenomenal job with her interpretation of Wednesday’s character. She made choices in her acting that were incredibly becoming of the character, such as rarely blinking. Most of the cast performed very well. However, Christina Ricci deserves extra praise for her role as Mrs. Thornhill. Ricci portrayed Wednesday in the 1991 movie following the Addams family, and again in “Addams Family Values.” She brought a sense of nostalgia to the screen, bridging a gap between old and new. 

My main complaint with the new Wednesday rendition is her cold and spiteful relationship with her parents. Of course, Wednesday is 16, rather than the young girl she was once portrayed as. Obviously, this comes with a new set of challenges, including parental tension. However, a huge part of the original Addams family is that despite their macabre personalities, they love each other. They may love the darker things in life, but they respected, valued and cared for each other above all. In Netflix’s version, Wednesday hates her mother. She makes fun of Morticia for being a housewife, she is cold with her parents and insistent that she cannot trust them. It ruined a bit of the magic that the original show once had, and while I see the vision, I just don’t think it worked. The closeness of the family is what makes it more interesting, but the rift between parents and child honestly just feels too sad in a show where a million traumatic things happen in every episode. 

Compared to other teen shows, the romantic relationships in “Wednesday” aren’t as crucial to the storyline. However, the fact that they included a love triangle at all was slightly irritating. Both of the men were awful for her. Tyler was so annoying. He pursued Wednesday over and over, accusing her of leading him on and sending mixed signals, when in reality, she asked for his help and he accepted. Although she did take advantage of his kindness, most of the time, she was very clear and honest about her intentions. Xavier was just weird. He was always lurking. Given that one of the most important things about Wednesday and her story is that she doesn’t feel many emotions and that she has to learn how to allow friendship into her isolated life, she takes comfort in her loneliness and doesn’t believe she needs anybody’s help with anything. The value of friendship that she gains is enough. Wednesday doesn’t really have any chemistry with either of the boys. A romantic relationship would further complicate Wednesday’s already complicated feelings toward others. 

All in all, the show’s acting, production, setting and characters were all nostalgic of the original show, while incorporating new elements that appealed to younger audiences. While some of the choices may have been questionable, the show was very well done and deserves the praise it has been receiving.