'Wandavision' Inadvertently Anticipated How We Watch TV Today
A lot has been written about how Marvel's Wandavision takes the MCU in a new direction, dropping us into a mysterious old-timey sitcom universe instead of one in which spandex-clad heroes beat the crap out of killer robots and evil purple musclemen. Perhaps the most surprising part of the show is just how faithfully Wandavision recreates classic shows, specifically The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched.
Clearly, one of the show's biggest influences is the 1998 comedy Pleasantville (they even share a prop designer), which found Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire trapped in a Leave it to Beaver-like hellscape. But Pleasantville very unsubtly compared the squeaky clean racism and misogyny of classic TV to straight-up Nazism, ultimately telling a story about bigotry and civil rights with an all-white cast -- which seems kind of weird in retrospect.
Wandavision, on the other hand, is earnestly paying tribute to the artistry of these shows, not writing them off as pure evil. The folks behind Wandavision went to great lengths to earn its authentic vibes; the director met with Dick Van Dyke before filming, episodes were shot in front of a live studio audience (who all had to sign NDAs), and the crew even dressed in period clothing while using vintage lenses and lighting.
All of which reinforces the feeling that, for whatever reason, this TV universe is comforting Wanda. While we don't know exactly what's going on yet, the internet's rampant theorizing division is in full swing, and a lot of fans think that the Nick at Nite-verse Wanda is stuck inside is one of her own creation following Vision's death (possibly inspired by a famous comic storyline). And although Wandavision began filming back in 2019, the show seems to have stumbled into a prescient commentary on how we're all watching TV right now.
During the pandemic, TV viewership rose for the first time in a decade. Many of us are coping with anxiety, and the isolation of lockdowns, by binging TV like our lives depended on consuming the wacky antics of Queen Elizabeth. And more often than not, people sought comfort in nostalgic favorites like The Office. Regardless of what ultimately happens on the show, Wandavision's story about escaping the real world's horrors in a familiar TV landscape will likely have a resonance no one making it could have ever anticipated.
Top Image: Disney