By SERENITY PALMERIN
Note: This review contains some spoilers.
Tim Burton’s newest show “Wednesday” was released on Netflix on Nov. 23 and longtime fans are eager to see whether it is worth the watch. Tim Burton has not directed anything since the live-action remake of Dumbo in 2019. Not only has he come to direct “Wednesday” but he has brought his long-time partner Danny Elfman to help him produce the music for the show.
Together Burton and Elfman have done 17 films in 37 years. Some of their greatest hits include “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Edward Scissorhands,” “Alice in Wonderland, Beetlejuice,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The two talented artists have had bumps in the road regarding their relationship, with their disagreements affecting their projects in the past. However as they create more films together the more they strengthen their relationships and skills in filmmaking.
“Wednesday” gives a unique spin on the classic character Wednesday Addams from the original show “The Addams Family” created in 1964. Wednesday was expelled from her previous school and transferred to Nevermore Academy after assaulting a student who bullied her brother Pugsley. While she is at Nevermore, Wednesday struggles with making friends at her new school due to her detached personality and trust issues. She also struggles with the relationship she has with her family members, her mother Morticia Addams in particular.
When Wednesday first moves in she is welcomed by her new roommate Enid who is a werewolf without full control of her powers. The two have a striking contrast in their personalities, with Enid’s side of the room being bright and whimsical while Wednesday’s is dark and creepy. Originally, the two do not get along but they begin to bond during a school tournament where they must team up against a school bully. This jumpstarts a heavily one-sided friendship between the two, in which Wednesday cares for Enid but won’t admit it. Together they navigate through hardships and difficulties in their relationship and at Nevermore.
Unfortunately, Wednesday must navigate through much more than relationships and school bullies during her time at Nevermore. Wednesday is in her mother’s shadow as she struggles to meet up to Morticia’s legacy of excellence she left behind at the academy. Wednesday soon discovers that Morticia left behind a darker shadow with even darker secrets than Wednesday imagined. Secrets about her parent’s time at the academy and the dark history of the small town that she lives in. As she investigates these dark secrets she learns which of her friends she should trust, and which she should not.
“Wednesday” has queer representation and metaphors sprinkled throughout the show. Enid comes from a family of werewolves however she has yet to transform or “wolf out.” Her mother comes up with the plan to send her to conversion therapy for werewolves, which Enid heavily detested. Many fans saw this as a strong metaphor for repressed sexuality especially since the students at Nevermore are referred to as outcasts.
One of the characters named Eugene is overall a side character and the school’s beekeeper, however, he has more relevance later on in the show. Eugene has two moms who are mentioned and shown a couple of times throughout the series. They do not have much plot relevance but provide queer representation to the show overall.
Wednesday on Netflix credited with having an extremely diverse cast for the production of the show. (Just Jared Jr.)
Aside from queer representation “Wednesday” also provides representation for minorities. The show offers a very diverse cast with many of the main characters being minorities. The Addams themselves are a Hispanic family as depicted in the original 1964 series. The show does a great job of subtly showing Wednesday’s culture through her character. In the series, the Addams speak Spanish in short phrases to each other. They also bring up aspects of their culture such as how they celebrate Día de Los Muertos.
There are also metaphors for discrimination and the struggles of immigration sprinkled throughout “Wednesday.” Wednesday’s parents Morticia and Gomez Addams suffer discrimination at the hands of the town’s police chief and mayor often. The students at Nevermore all have some kind of power or are mythical creatures. The rest of the town looks down upon them and they are referred to as “outcasts.” It is a popular fan analysis that this is not just a metaphor for the repression of sexuality but a metaphor for discrimination that minorities face.
Wednesday honors the original Addams Family show through easter eggs and callbacks. (screenshot from PickPik)
During the entire duration of the first season of “Wednesday” , the series has many callbacks to the original Addams Family show and the movies. Possibly their biggest reference is the code to get into the secret society at Nevermore is to snap twice. Wednesday also hates pilgrims in the show and does not hide her feelings during a school field trip to the town’s history museum. This is a reference to the movie “Addams Family Values.” In this movie, there is a scene where Wednesday crashes her camp play with the true story of Thanksgiving dressed as Pocahontas in an act of defiance.
Many classic Addams family characters appear as a callback to the original, such as Thing, Lurch, and Fester Addams, who has been the most anticipated character to appear on “Wednesday.” These are just a few examples of the many clever callbacks Tim Burton and his team have devised to make sure the fans never forget the original Addams Family.
Netflix hosts Wednesday Addams-themed drag show and faces accusations of queer baiting its viewers. (photo of Netflix screen)
“Wednesday” is a well-thought-out show that has hundreds of hands continuing to work on it. But as many tv shows do, Tim Burton’s newest project is currently facing some criticism and accusations. The biggest accusation that Wednesday is facing is that the show queerbaits its viewers into watching the show.
This accusation stems from the fact that in many ways Wednesday is advertised to be a very queer show. In the show there are metaphors of sexuality regarding feeling outcast and forced to change yourself, Eugene has two moms, and Enid and Wednesday become exceptionally close.
Many fans anticipated Wednesday to be a queer character, especially a character with conflicted feelings concerning attraction. Jenna Ortega, the actress of Wednesday, insinuates in interviews and tweets that Enid and Wednesday are a fitting pair. But then Wednesday does not get together with Enid but ends up in a triangle between two boys.
Regardless of whether or not Wednesday is queer many fans thought that her being in a love triangle is very out of character and does not do the original Wednesday justice. Jenna Ortega stated that Wednesday is not a “boy crazy” character and that she didn’t want her to be in a love triangle.
Netflix hides replies to their tweets that suggest that Wednesday Addams is queer. (screenshot from Pop Crave)
Netflix especially is facing criticism for hosting a Wednesday-themed drag show in celebration of the show’s release when the only queer characters in the show are Eugene’s moms. Netflix also hid replies to their tweets when fans suggested that Wednesday may be queer. Many fans feel silenced by Netflix for having their replies hidden and that the show gives the illusion of being queer to get viewers and then silences fans when they say it’s not.
Another big criticism of the “Wednesday” show is the computed generated imagery, especially with the monsters that appear in the show. Many fans felt that the CGI was far from perfect, especially for a show that Tim Burton directed. The CGI is said to have been so poor that it makes it hard to be scared when watching the show. A big element of “Wednesday” is the horror so many fans were left heavily disappointed in this aspect of the show.
Tim Burton’s newest series “Wednesday” has been a heavily anticipated series since he and Danny Elfman have come back to create a show after three years of absence. “Wednesday” features many classic Addams Family characters and has many callbacks to the original series. It does a great job of representing minorities and other communities however there is debate on how well it represents the queer community.
“Wednesday” is meant to encapsulate the original Wednesday Addams and in many ways, the show succeeds without a second doubt. But the debates on the romantic aspect of her character and whether it does her character justice have been left unsolved. With the fanbase being divided over whether or not the show does Wednesday Addams justice, fans of the classic should watch it so they can decide the truth for themselves.
Featured image: Netflix releases the new show Wednesday which tells the story of the classic character Wednesday Addams. (screenshot from Trusted Reviews)