‘Wednesday’ Review: Where Wednesday Went Wrong

After almost three decades of not seeing her on the big screen, the beloved Wednesday Addams is back. Many viewers first fell head over heels by the young girl’s deadpan one-liners and emotionless personality in Christina Ricci’s portrayal of Wednesday in the 1991 version of “The Addams Family.” The uncanny character is played by actress Jenna Ortega, who has been in many notable films and TV shows such as “Scream” and “Jane The Virgin.” The eight episode series revolves around a teenage Wednesday Addams navigating her way through her new school, Nevermore Academy, a school full of outcasts like herself. Wednesday constantly finds herself in troublesome situations during her stay, such as witnessing various gruesome deaths and even being accused of committing crimes. Ultimately, the girl attempts to find the creature who’s really behind the eerie murders in the town of Jericho. 

Wednesday Addams is known for her mysterious and dark persona; Ortega’s version of Wednesday is no different. Directed by Tim Burton, the show captures the essence of what it is to be an Addams, exceedingly morbid. The show still incorporates the dark and grotesque cinematic theme that can be seen in many of Burton’s other works such as “Corpse Bride” and “Edward Scissorhands.” The filmmaker’s recent project sets a gloomy and depressing mood through the use of dark colors and lighting which really makes it feel like a Burton production. He also uses a lot of chilling music such as “The End…?” and “La Llorona” to set a creepier tone. Overall, these elements feed into what Burton’s style is best known for, nightmarish yet intriguing.

It has been revealed that the comedy horror has accumulated over 1.02 billion hours viewed in its first month of its initial release, surpassing the iconic fourth season of “Stranger Things.” To no surprise, the show was a hit, the spinoff included many talented actors such as Jenna Ortega, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and even brought back Addams Family alum, Christina Ricci who plays Marilyn Thornhill, a ‘normie’ teacher at Nevermore Academy. However, as wonderful as the cast is, the show’s script could’ve used some work. For a show labeled as a ‘comedy series,’ the only thing comical about this show was how terrible the writing was. The corny dialogue and desperate attempt to appeal to teenagers really made it hard to watch. It seems like a show aimed for teens but written by a 40 year old who’s out of touch with what being a teenager is like. Quotes like “this kitty’s got claws and I’m not afraid to use them” and “I usually serve revenge with a side of pain,” made it hard to bear with. 

Some characters in the show however, were a breath of fresh air. After Wednesday is obligated to move in with her new roomate Enid, the two build an unlikely bond as Enid is preppy and vibrant, whereas Wednesday is reserved and mysterious. The girls do not get along at first because of their differences, however since they are forced to live under the same roof, they eventually warm up to each other. Xavier Thorpe, played by Percy Hynes White, plays one of Wednesday’s love interests. The young man insists on pursuing her, but barista Tyler Galphin unintentionally gets in the way. He too is infatuated by Wednesday. Truthfully, there was no chemistry between Wednesday and the boys. Wednesday made it obvious that the only thing she was interested in was figuring out who was responsible for all of the murders. It was crystal clear that Wednesday used them to further her investigation, yet both guys were shocked when they found out she didn’t want a relationship with them. It was a tad aggravating seeing these guys fall for her tricks repeatedly. They would give her a hand, confess their love, then find out they’d been used. Then moments later, the same thing would occur with the other boy. The audience gets it. She doesn’t like any of them, so let’s move on with the story. The show would have been interesting enough as it is, if it didn’t focus so much on these redundant heterosexual couples every 10 minutes.

In episode five, “You Reap What You Woe,” Gomez and Morticia Addams make a recurring appearance at Nevermore Academy for “Parent’s Weekend.” Angered by the lack of trust from her parents, Wednesday is displeased to see them rather than excited. It’s completely understandable that a 16-year old wouldn’t be jumping with joy to see her parents, but everytime Morticia and Gomez appeared on screen, the room would be filled with tension. The reason many people fell in love with “The Addams Family” was because of the wonderful yet unusual relationship they had with each other. They would bond over scaring children and idolize violence which was hilarious to watch. In “Wednesday” however, the only time Wednesday and her parents would socialize would be when they’d argue with each other. For example, when Morticia suggested her daughter try out for fencing, the young girl accused her of trying to morph her into a mini version of herself rather than thank her for the suggestion. Additionally, when Morticia tried to bond with her, Wednesday would try to push her away. The show completely neglected what made the Addams family so beloved. 

“Wednesday” is an unpredictable show with many plot twists which gives viewers a variety of emotions from contentment to horror.  The audience is constantly hooked because nobody expects what could happen next as there’s a lot of betrayal and tension between the characters. However, the show contains more flaws than it does strengths. Even though it broke Netflix’s record for most viewed English-Language series, the show will never live up to Barry Sonnenfeld’s legendary, highly-rated horror fantasy “The Addams Family.”