“Wednesday” is Woefully, Yet Wonderfully, Bad

Wednesday+has+already+acquired+a+cult+following+in+the+short+time+since+its+release%2C+but+it+may+not+be+fully+deserved.+%28Courtesy+of+Instagram%29

“Wednesday” has already acquired a cult following in the short time since its release, but it may not be fully deserved. (Courtesy of Instagram)

Nicole Braun, Opinion Editor

“Wednesday,” Netflix’s latest foray into the realm of slightly-supernatural teen drama, is completely forgettable, yet still worth your time if you’re willing to embark on a weird little journey and endure some cringey dialogue.

Since it was announced that part of the series would be directed by Tim Burton, viewers had hopes that the Netflix series would be another artful creation of his that would honor and continue the creative legacy of “Addams Family” media. However, despite the significant credibility that Burton’s direction lends to the series, it is a corny, predictable show that lacks the metaphorical magic of the source material because of its inclusion of supernatural elements. Not everything has to be supernatural — just let the Addams family be a bunch of weirdos without any superpowers. Thing excluded, though.

Much of the show felt like a parody of the supernatural teen dramas that we have been inundated with since the massive success of the first season of “Stranger Things,” which aired in 2016. And it all feels very contrived, very unlike the source material which always felt fun and surprising and genuinely interesting. Instead of a creepy and kooky show, we have a boring main character pulled in different directions by two dull love interests and who says things like “I don’t bury hatchets, I sharpen them,” which quite frankly made me want to bury a hatchet in my head. With every “quirky” quip from its protagonist and extensive band of side characters, it felt as though the writers were begging the audience to believe in the self-awareness of their characters, as if knowing that the cringe-inducing dialogue was on purpose would lessen its impact.

In this regard, “Wednesday” is a lot like “Riverdale,” just with a bigger budget and better source material. (I am almost embarrassed to write that because it reveals that I know enough about “Riverdale” to make that comparison). That’s not to say that I didn’t love “Wednesday” (or “Riverdale,” for that matter — don’t come for me), but going into the viewing experience I was holding it to the high standards of Burton’s other work as well as the cultural significance of the original “Addams Family” material. And while the series definitely fell short of those expectations, it isn’t a bad show. It’s just different from what viewers were led to expect. 

The few aspects of the show that I think are genuinely enjoyable are Gwendoline Christie, in one of her major appearances since she (literally) slayed as Brienne on “Game of Thrones,” Fred Armisen as Uncle Fester, the role he was undoubtedly born to play, and Wednesday’s instantly meme-able dance midway through the series. Though this scene is certainly awkward in its own light, that’s the beauty of it. For those brief moments, “Wednesday” sheds its ironic and knowing tone, and it actually highlights Wednesday the character; she isn’t an outcast with something to prove and a chip on her shoulder, she’s just a bizarre teenage girl. This is when the series is at its best.

If “Wednesday” didn’t have Burton’s name in the credits or interesting and beloved source material to draw from, it would have easily gotten lost in Netflix’s ever-growing collection of shows about silly, sleuthing teens. “Wednesday” is by no means a perfect nor high-quality show, and I think in order to best enjoy it you almost have to detach it from other installments in the Addams family media collection.

Does “Wednesday” deserve a cult following? No. But does it deserve an occult following? Maybe. Will I be watching season two? Yeah.