Two Snaps for Wednesday: A Review

Hunter Vasey, Staff

Wednesday Addams is probably one of the most loved sitcom characters of all time, with her sarcastic remarks and dark quips. Making a show all about her seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. When dealing with such a popular character, it’s easy for original fans to get burned by subpar interpretations. Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ series is not one of these situations. 

The story follows Wednesday after getting expelled from her regular high school in New Jersey after getting deadly revenge on her little brother’s bullies. Out of options, her parents, Morticia and Gomez, decide to send her to their alma mater, Nevermore High. The school is touted as a place created entirely for “outcasts.” This includes more traditional monstrous students like werewolves and vampires, but some unique characters like snake-haired gorgons, psychics, and sirens that, of course, run the school choir.  

Although the show seems like it should be just another cringe-worthy teen drama, the mystery at the center is compelling and deliciously dark. It’s a great puzzle that’s wrapped in campy goodness, even just aesthetically the characters are great. 

By far my favorite part of the show had to be the casting. I’ve never seen a show where every character seems perfectly written, especially for the actor. I never thought that anyone could beat Angelica Huston’s iconic performance as Morticia in the movies, but Catherine Zeta-Jones brings her own unique twist to it. She’s much more passionate and creepy, pairing perfectly with Gomez. Another near-perfect casting is Luis Guzmán as Gomez. He’s a great balance of creepy and suave, making your skin crawl and being loveable at the same time. Rounding out the family is Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester. I’ve never seen a performance by him that wasn’t hilarious, and this is no exception. One of the more shocking castings was Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday in the live action movies, returning as a professor at Nevermore. 

Of course, I couldn’t possibly bring up the casting of this show without mentioning the amazing Jenna Ortega who plays the titular role. When the series was announced, many people online were skeptical, as rebooting classic characters has a history of butchering them or their stories. I think Ortega’s take on Wednesday is amazing and refreshing. It didn’t feel like she was pretending to be someone else’s Wednesday but a completely new interpretation of the character. After seeing her performance in the Scream remake earlier this year and now this, I can safely say she has amazing range and talent. There’s a scene from the show that recently went viral of Wednesday dancing at the Nevermore school dance, and it’s easy to see why. When you think of the character, dancing doesn’t exactly come to mind, but Ortega makes it feel real and organic. She even posted online about how she did research for the scene, watching clips of goths dancing at raves in the 80s. Yes, she choreographed her own dance scene. What further proof do you need to watch? 

The show definitely isn’t perfect. I have to admit, being a Tim Burton project, I’m forced to recall his comments in previous years about people of color not fitting his “vision.”  This show does seem markedly more diverse, with the titular character being Latina and the Addams family lineage being rewritten as immigrants from Mexico. Some fans did point out on Twitter that all of the villains at the beginning of the show are people of color, however, by about halfway through the show it becomes clear that these aren’t the true villains and that they are mostly just misunderstood, so I’m inclined to disagree with this statement. Also, the entire idea of a school of “outcasts” who are seen as dangerous because they’re different is pretty clearly a message about diversity and America’s current treatment of minorities and people of color, so who knows? Maybe Burton has turned a new leaf, or maybe he just wasn’t much involved in the story development. 

Overall, I think this show is a great watch for lots of different people. If you are a fan of the original Addams family or a fan of horror in general, give it a watch. If you like teen dramas or a good mystery, definitely tune in. Finally, if you just want something that’s fun, entertaining, and a little dark, sit down and enjoy your favorite teen sociopath.