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The History of the Addams Family and Netflix's Wednesday — a Fresh Take on a Beloved Character

Pop Culture

February 23, 2023

Wednesday, the new TV show revolving around Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family, has made its way into one of the most spoken of shows towards the end of 2022. Released in November 2022, the show rapidly gained attention and clips, edits, and reviews of the show were all over Instagram and Twitter. While Wednesday is a more modern take on the Addams Family, they have appeared in the media several times before this.

Who is the Addams Family?

The Addams Family is a fictional family known for its dark, gothic theme and mysterious aura. It's a satirical take on ideal, post-war American aristocrats: a bizarre nuclear family with old money that are not bothered by societal distaste or rejection of their ways. The nuclear family members include Morticia and Gomez Addams, their two children, Pugsley and Wednesday, and extended members like Uncle Fester and Grandmama.

A Timeline of the Addams Family

The Addams Family goes back to 1938, when they were first introduced in the form of cartoons in the New York Times by creator Charles Addams. Born in 1912, Charles was inspired by the appearance of his own hometown, Westfield, with its Victorian-style architecture and archaic graveyards. He then conceptualized the Addams Family comics, in which they lived in a large gothic house.

As the cartoons got popular, David Levy, a TV producer, approached him and offered to create a TV series for the Addams Family. This series appeared in 1964 with two seasons, which ended in 1966.

The Family then saw two reboots in the form of movies: The Addams Family (1991) and Addams Family Values (1993).

They also saw their first animated appearance in 1972 in Scooby Doo.

This brings us to Wednesday, the most recent iteration of the Addams Family, focusing on Wednesday Addams.

Wednesday: A Summary and Review (Spoilers Ahead!)

Excellently portrayed by Jenna Ortega, the show follows Wednesday's story as she's sent to Nevermore Academy, an institution for outcasts, after she encountered and caused problems in regular high schools. She appears to not fit in at Nevermore as well, and her roommate Enid is the complete opposite of Wednesday: she loves pop music and color, is affectionate and has a bubbly personality. Wednesday, on the other hand, is quiet, mysterious and sarcastic.

Her aesthetic is gothic, with black as a dominant color in her clothes and objects around her. She's dark and intense and does not like to socialise.

Despite their differences, I really enjoyed the dynamic between Enid and Wednesday. Wednesday had her own subtle ways of her friendship with Enid, such as participating in the Poe Cup boat race as a part of Enid's team and even wearing a cat costume, something that you wouldn't expect Wednesday to agree to. While Wednesday seems cold and calculating, as the show progresses, we see a more human side of her as she displays more emotions, like when she kisses Tyler, when Thing gets stabbed and when Uncle Fester shows up.

The storyline focuses on Wednesday's psychic abilities. It involves a prophecy where a two-pigtailed girl, much like Wednesday, appears to be fighting Joseph Crackstone, one of the antagonists of the show. Crackstone's soul had been trapped by Goody Addams, Wednesday's descendant, who visits her in her psychic images and helps her navigate this ability. The prophecy ends up being fulfilled when Crackstone's soul is released and, after a gruesome series of events, Wednesday stabs him and kills him for good.

I really enjoyed the fact that the romantic aspect of Wednesday's relationships did not overpower the actual storyline. Everything was well balanced, even when there were multiple storylines going on regarding different characters, it did not take away from Wednesday's plot, nor did it not give the other stories space to shine. The way the suspense about the "monster" who had been attacking people was also held for as long as possible without stretching it out to the point where you'd lose interest in the show was well done.

Wednesday has been shown as a powerful, independent girl, which is a depiction I enjoyed, and the way her character developed to make her eventually trust other people in her life, such as Enid, as well as a better relationship with her mother, Morticia. A point of criticism that people have pointed out is that the other members of the Addams Family have not been highlighted in the show, but I don't find this to be a problem, because the entire point of the show is to have Wednesday as a main character and see how events unfold from her perspective.

What to Expect from Season 2

The show has officially been renewed for season 2 and viewers are beyond excited, myself included. I'm looking forward to seeing Enid and Wednesday's relationship blossom even more, what happens between Percy, who Wednesday falsely accused of the murders, and Wednesday, the new principal of Nevermore Academy and a resolution to the cliffhanger that season 1 ended on.

Overall, the show really delivered in terms of the mysterious theme that it boasts. As a watcher, it keeps you on your toes, leaves you asking millions of questions and answers them at the right time.

Sapna Kappal
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Sapna is a third-year student from India majoring in psychology with a literature minor. She enjoys discussing and writing about music, film, travel, language, and diversity and aspires to further study and do research in the field of language and intercultural communication.

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