Netflix’s “Wednesday” gives “The Addams Family” a facelift with a modern twist

Tim Burton’s latest project imagines Wednesday as a teen with more complicated challenges than the classic films

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Photo courtesy of Netflix

“Wednesday” has been in the top-10 most watched shows on Netflix since its debut last month

Isabella Kensler, Arts & Culture Writer

The Addams Family meets teenage drama in Tim Burton’s newest spin off show “Wednesday,” premiered to Netflix on November 23 and is already soaring to the top of TV charts with 341.23M hours viewed in just one week of the series launch.

“Wednesday” follows the storyline of Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortgea, trying to find her place at Nevermore Boarding Academy after being expelled from her previous school. Nevermore is a school for the supernatural, or as townees would say freaks, such as sirens, psychics, gorgons, shapeshifters, werewolves, and all other seemingly misfits that conflict with the social norms of the neighboring town, Jericho. Citizens of Jericho were often referred to as ‘normies’ because of their perfect suburban lifestyles without having any superhuman ability. Along with the changes Wednesday is already facing due to the new environment, she is discovering her psychic powers, solving a monstrous murder and unveiling the hidden secrets of her parents’ past. Adding to the chaos Wednesday is dealing with, she gets caught up in a love triangle between a normie,  Tyler Galpin, played by Hunter Doohan, and a fellow psychic Xavier Thorpe, played by Percy White. 

Ortega represented her role with such dark mannerisms and perfected the eeriness of Wednesday’s character by deciding with Tim Burton that Wednesday does not blink, unless she is in an overwhelming moment that causes her to let her guard down and show a sense of emotion through blinking. 

According to Ortega, “[Tim Burton] likes when I tilt my chin down and look through my eyebrows.” 

Wednesday’s deadpanned expressions truly bring her character to life and allow a more thrilling connection between the viewers. 

“I really enjoyed watching ‘Wednesday’,” said sophomore Lana Gaskill. “I’ve always loved Tim Burton’s work and he definitely didn’t disappoint in this comedy horror series.”  

I agree with Lana; Tim Burton really did outdo himself in this one. 

The popularity of the show even created a Tik Tok trend where users would recreate Wednesday’s iconic “Goo Goo Muck” dance from the Raven Ball. Many influencers would cosplay as Wednesday herself or other characters that they idolized from the show. Some users would even use prosthetic makeup to create “Thing”- the dismembered hand of wisdom.  

Although the majority of the show’s audience is geared more towards young adults, there is a sense of nostalgia for older viewers as Christina Ricchi—the original Wednesday Addams in the 1991 film— guest stars as Marilyn Thornhill, the first ‘normie’ teacher at Nevermore. But does that lead to suspicion or is it just a coincidence? I guess, you’ll have to watch the series to uncover yet another mystery in the gothic and plot twisting show. 

Not only is the series climatic and fast paced, but the Latino heritage of the cast demonstrates an importance for representation of the culture. In society with an unfortunate amount of racism against Latino Americans, who are often seen as outcasts, the casting of the Addams family with actors from Puertican backgrounds “enriches their theme of being social outcasts who don’t quite fit in with American society” according to cbr.com. Latino representation is more important than ever and the cast is proud to be a part of the movement. I believe Ortega was perfectly casted in this series because she added such intricate dynamics to her character, while also expressing her own cultural identity in such a beautiful way. 

 “Wednesday is technically a Latina character and that’s never been represented,” Ortega stated. “For me, any time that I have an opportunity to represent my community, I want that to be seen.”

“Wednesday” is definitely a new favorite of mine. I love how every little detail came together to create an intricate masterpiece. I believe that the show took the original Addams Family to a chilling teenage drama that is more relatable to our society today, as Wednesday’s struggles to find her own identity allows many adolescents to find a sense of comfort in her, learning that it’s okay to be different. Wednesday is not afraid to be herself and does not care what others think of her and I think that her character is an important reminder that it’s okay to do what makes you happy rather than worrying about the opinions of others. 

Overall, “Wednesday” is worth the watch and if teenage romance and thrillers are what you’re into, I would definitely recommend streaming it because the suspense will leave you on the edge of your seat. Plus, there are only eight 45-minute episodes, so it’s perfect to get comfy and binge over a weekend. Personally, I watched the whole season on a rainy Sunday afternoon and was consistently anticipating the next episode. I was hooked from the beginning to the end.