A wonderful or worrisome adaptation of Wednesday Addams?



By Megan Mesikapp, Editor-In-Chief

From the catchy days of the week song to halloween costumes, the Addams family have been in the eyes of pop culture since the 1960s. But now one pigtailed family member is stealing the spotlight. 

The Netflix original “Wednesday” focuses on Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) in an eight episode series brought to life by the creative vision of Tim Burton. The show follows Wednesday enrolling in Nevermore Academy, an institution for “outcasts, freaks and monsters,” after being kicked out of her previous school. Wednesday’s parents, Morticia Addams (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez Addams (Luis Guzman), alumni of the academy themselves, are thrilled at Wednesday’s acceptance into the school. 

On the other hand, Wednesday’s excitement levels are nowhere near her parents — if anything they’re six-feet under ground. But after the discovery of a monster and a murder in the nearby forest, Wednesday’s curiosity in the academy is finally piqued.

Ortega plays a wonderful portrayal of Wednesday, with a unique spin on the character. In an interview with Teen Vogue, she discussed the meticulous nature of Burton. Ortega described that Burton had “really liked” the Kubrick stare, when a person’s head is tilted down and they appear  to be “looking through the eyebrows.” Burton also had a spin on Wednesday’s classic braided hairstyle. Burton wanted her hair to be distinguished from all the other Wednesdays, so Ortega had her hair cut to have fringe bangs.

It is safe to say that Ortega’s acting and portrayal of Wednesday definitely elevated the show, and without her it may have fallen flat. 

There were some plot holes with character development, leaving questions unanswered surrounding the lives of supporting characters like Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers) and Bianca Barclay (Joy Sunday). And while some plot holes were eventually revisited the timing was inconvenient. The show also had some B-rated acting at times, with cringe-worthy dialogue. I think it was also interesting how they tried to get characters to use modern day slang and technology, referencing social media platforms such as “Tik Tok, Instagram and Snapchat.” Yes, the time period is modern-day, but the show felt more dated and the references did not seem fitting. 

The murders in the show were undeniably gruesome, with an obscene amount of bloody and gory scenes. Although the violent nature of the show is established from the opening scene where Wednesday puts piranhas in the pool of her brother’s bullies, soon followed by bright red water and tearful screams.

Wednesday is no stranger to violence though and seemingly takes pleasure in morbid activities, which is a given considering the nature of the Addams family. This explains why Wednesday is so interested in the murders surrounding Nevermore Academy. 

Even though she had been asked to quit the case multiple times by both the town sheriff and Nevermore’s principal, Wednesday’s ambition and determination is consistent throughout the entire show. These qualities may lead her to make overzealous accusations at times, as well as alienate her friends, but it creates significant plot twists.

Despite the murder mystery the show is centered around, there was also refreshing aspects of “normie” activities. The academy hosts a prom, has secret societies and has characters negotiating relationships. The show is centered around intense topics like death, but these events granted light-heartedness to the show. 

Personally, I think critics of the show are overthinkers. The show follows the structure of a classic murder mystery with a younger cast. The show is certainly entertaining and engaging. I finished it in a whole day, and I believe it is the suspense, which direction Wednesday will take the plot next and the emotional growth she has that makes the show so bingeable. Wednesday is fiercely loyal throughout the entire show, and seeing her grow to be more vulnerable to her friends is heartwarming to see. 

The Addams family are meant to be kooky, quirky and different. They are supposed to stand out. That was the original purpose of the show — to see how a horrifically hilarious family would fit in a normal town. Wednesday continues to negotiate those trials throughout her journey, which will certainly continue, after a cliffhanger ending to this first season, in a likely second season.