'Wednesday' Seems To Miss The Entire Point Of The Addams Family
Despite the ominous warning that is the abject madness of Riverdale, yet another old-timey pop-culture icon is being refashioned into a Netflix-friendly, youth-oriented mystery series; Wednesday, directed by Tim Burton, tells the story of Wednesday Addams, who leaves her famous family behind to attend a new boarding school – which, judging from the recently-released trailer, is seemingly just Hogwarts for goth kids.
Which … kind of ruins the entire point of The Addams Family? Obviously, we’ll reserve judgment until the series comes out, but historically, the joke of The Addams Family is that they are utterly unique, macabre weirdos who inexplicably exist within an otherwise ordinary, conformist society. In the original comics by Charles Addams, the joke often boiled down to a typical slice of Americana that became delightfully grotesque when filtered through the Addams Family’s sensibilities, whether it was freaking out a babysitter –
Or preparing to pour boiling oil on their Christmas caroling neighbors –
And this was never better expressed than in the ‘90s movies, like in Addams Family Values, where Wednesday and Pugsley are forced to attend a disquietingly wholesome summer camp.
But here, it feels like they’ve taken the Harry Potter template and applied it to Addams’ characters, making their weirdness into a kind of secret subculture shared by others beyond this one family, as evidenced by the boarding school “Nevermore,” which is similarly an over-the-top gothic Burton creation wholly divorced from reality. While Burton obviously excels at telling stories about communities of eccentrics in cartoonish realms, the joke of The Addams Family has always been that they exist in our world, not … whatever universe Beetlejuice takes place in.
You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter!