"She always manages to seem both amused and joyless."
December 2, 2022 4:51 AM   Subscribe

How Wednesday Addams Birthed a Generation of Cynics Nearly 30 years ago, Christina Ricci’s version of the character reinforced millennials’ suspicion that “the bright side” is an illusion (Emily Alford for Longreads).
posted by box (22 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Ooh I'll have to read this later today. It's just occurred to me and now I'm curious. I would love to see the stats, maybe a venn diagram... of women who loved the Addams Family/Values as a kid, and kids who grew up to sell pyramid scheme leggings. Is there any overlap at all, I wonder?
posted by phunniemee at 5:17 AM on December 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

Her morbidity doesn’t stem from being a teenage girl — it stems from the fact that stuff sucks, knives are cool, and pretending that the first Thanksgiving was anything but one terrible chapter in an overall horrible story is the actual weird thing to do. Fantasizing about a lobotomy is a normal response to the last three years; believing that a $40 scented candle counts as self-care is not

Yes! Grounded-in-reality instead of just-a-phase is really the crux here, and it goes hand-in-hand with treating the concerns of teenage girls with respect rather than automatic scorn.

There's a piece from Slate about why critics are tepid on Wednesday while audiences seem to like it, and the author opines that it comes down to the cultural disregard for girls and women, which ... yeah.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:28 AM on December 2, 2022 [25 favorites]

The use of "I want a Lobotomy" as a casual joke, without acknowledging the extremely Problematic and Misogynistic roots of the procedure is a very sour note in an otherwise cool article.

And yes one of the most alluring aspects of the Film versions of Wednesday (as portrayed by C Ricci) was that people not liking her was never Her Problem, it was most defiantly Thier Problem.

I suspect - if the trailers are anything to go by - that the Tim Burton Netflix Adaptation is going to utterly miss that nuanced aspect.
posted by Faintdreams at 5:39 AM on December 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

I started the new series, and then stopped. I had no complaint about it.* It just wasn't for me, or rather, it wasn't for me anymore. I was absolutely that kind of girl, although it was a couple of years too early for me to have the Sarcastic Goth archetype to lean on. (Lydia Deetz was closest.) The part where she discovers her brother and then sets piranhas on the bullies -- that should be exactly what I like -- and it isn't not? It just seems like a tired old fantasy. But then, I am tired and old.

Back in the late '90s and '00s, all my friends loved Jhonen Vasquez comics. And they were a lot of fun to read! I pored over them, but I couldn't help feeling a terrible disconnect, as if I didn't like them enough. Same with Emily the Strange (except I never liked that at all). I felt that somebody was going to come along and proclaim me so not Goth. That's how the new show made me feel.

* All the Addamses are great. My favorite part was when they're all nauseated from Gomez and Morticia billing and cooing.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:06 AM on December 2, 2022 [3 favorites]

How does this essay not at least reference Daria? That is my only (mild) complaint.
posted by heyitsgogi at 6:15 AM on December 2, 2022 [34 favorites]

Lydia Dietz and Daria erasure accepted only because those belong to Men-X. Meillennials can have the leftovers.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:15 AM on December 2, 2022

Also, how does the essay not reference Melissa Hunter's Adult Wednesday Adams?
posted by judgement day at 7:02 AM on December 2, 2022 [28 favorites]

For those considering the new Netflix series, it gets much, much better and more nuanced once you get past the first “this is our weird school for wacky outcasts, I guess you don’t fit in here” schtick of the first episode.
posted by corey flood at 7:16 AM on December 2, 2022 [17 favorites]

'It would be cool if Wednesday gave The Cramps their Kate Bush moment.'
posted by box at 7:43 AM on December 2, 2022 [10 favorites]

For those considering the new Netflix series, it gets much, much better and more nuanced once you get past the first “this is our weird school for wacky outcasts, I guess you don’t fit in here” schtick of the first episode.

Good to know. I watched the first episode and thought was ok but wasn't that impressed, it was kinda derivative. Maybe I'll try more if it gets better. I think I'd been comparing too much to the early 90s films which I just recently watched and are so much better, especially the casting. Raul Julia was so much fun to watch in the old ones but this new Gomez is so boring, and seems a wasted opportunity.
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:51 AM on December 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

I both want to be Wednesday and to marry Wednesday.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:11 AM on December 2, 2022 [8 favorites]

Also, how does the essay not reference Melissa Hunter's Adult Wednesday Adams?

Her Wednesday is the best Wednesday.
posted by caddis at 8:40 AM on December 2, 2022 [11 favorites]

In fairness, the only way for someone to look more like the original Gomez Addams than Luis Guzman involves major surgery, and his not seizing every scene he's in here fits; he's a supporting character, and used sparingly.

The dance number was charming, as a head-nod to young Wednesday 1.0, as evidence that Wednesday 3.0 possesses her father's sense of style deep down, and as a subtle warning to all those around her -- if they think that she's a one-trick pony and they've got her figured out, think again. She's out of her element, but she'll conquer it on her terms, not theirs.

Halfway through and enjoying it so far.
posted by delfin at 9:34 AM on December 2, 2022 [4 favorites]

I liked the new Wednesday. It was good snarky bubblegum TV fun.
posted by srboisvert at 9:59 AM on December 2, 2022

Not sure if this is the right place for it, but…

I had been intrigued by the idea of a Wednesday Addams series, but one of the things that put me off this iteration was casting a man who has (allegedly) abused multiple partners in a supporting role really put me off. I know Ortega is 20 (not sure how old Puggsley is), but casting someone who has (again, allegedly) abused multiple women in the role of a favorite uncle gives this an unpleasant metacommentary on how cis het male family members can abuse outsider nieces and nephews, and how (speaking from experience here) quiet, sarcastic nieces use these tactics to set boundaries with the unsafe men in their families. I frequently used my teen cynicism to combat unwanted attention from adults in my family who were inappropriate and ignored my boundaries, so I know some of this is a me issue, but that particular casting choice grossed me out and took me out of the show.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:46 AM on December 2, 2022 [9 favorites]

Good essay but now I very much want to read Emily Alford's take on the new Netflix show.
posted by overglow at 11:39 AM on December 2, 2022

Daria seemed like a version of Wednesday.

Speaking of Ms. Addams, this is a fantastic Ramones-Addams mashup that watch every now and then. Especially since many of the audience and the band itself was dressed like this!
posted by indianbadger1 at 12:07 PM on December 2, 2022 [5 favorites]

April Luddgate was also a more reality-based Wednesday. It’s just occurred to me that April is the 4th month, and Wednesday is the 4th day (if you count Sunday as day 1, anyway) which is maybe an intentional nod?
posted by Jon Mitchell at 5:51 PM on December 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

Several episodes in. The story and many of the supporting characters are good. The Addams family members are all caricatures rather than fully fleshed out people. I like that Wednesday has a character arc where she is learning some important lessons. Previous iterations of Wednesday already knew those lessons - in part because her parents and other family members knew and modelled healthy self confidence (which the show seems to confuse with disregard of others, though also saying that friendship is healthy? It seems to be a bit confused on its message in that respect, at least so far). I’ll keep watching it, but the current Wednesday character is annoying. The fact that she does seem set up to learn and have that character growth arc is the one mitigating factor that keeps the annoyingness from overpowering the other positive aspects of the story. (For me.)
posted by eviemath at 6:54 PM on December 2, 2022 [2 favorites]

If you want to watch this show and also avoid Fred Armisen (who I assume is who the commenter above is talking about) he is in one episode only, the 7th I believe. It could be skipped.
posted by 41swans at 8:33 PM on December 2, 2022

Update: I finished the season. The character arc I was expecting did not actually occur, and I got bored of this version of Wednesday being totally self-centered by the end of the season. Quite an unfortunate change to the fundamental lovingness of the Addams family members in other iterations.
posted by eviemath at 12:17 PM on December 3, 2022

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