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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 12, 2024

What’s the hype about ‘Wednesday‘?

Jenna Ortega, star of “Wednesday“ (2022–) is pictured.

“Wednesday” (2022-) is a mystery-slash-comedy-slash-coming-of-age series. At least, that is what it is trying to be. The show begins with Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) pouring piranhas into her school swimming pool as an act of vengeance on behalf of her younger brother, Pugsley, who has been victimized by one of the water polo players. For this action, Wednesday is expelled, and she is promptly enrolled into her parents’ alma mater, Nevermore Academy, located in Jericho, Vt. 

But even at Nevermore Academy, a so-called haven for outcast students with a significant population of werewolves, sirens and vampires, Wednesday stands out. Her affinity for the macabre, disinterest in her peers and detest for authority find her at odds with the principal of Nevermore Academy, Larissa Weems (Gwendoline Christie), and her classmates, setting the stage for the boarding school drama that Wednesday will have to learn to endure.

However, the real trouble begins outside the walls of Nevermore Academy. Little does Wednesday know, the quaint town of Jericho is plagued by a violent monster that has been savagely mauling residents and Nevermore students. After a series of unsettling discoveries uncovered by her newly found psychic abilities, Wednesday takes it upon herself to seek out the culprit and bring an end to the killings.

But it is unclear who this show is trying to scare. The violence and the gore suggest that the show hopes to grip an older demographic, but the design of the monster — which can only be described as an oversized Gollum if it overstrained itself and got a hernia — is amusing at best. However, the main offenses of this show stem from its writing. With quips and jabs that are perplexing and juvenile (“I’m not interested in participating in tribal adolescent clichés”, “Well, then use it to fill your obviously bottomless pit of disdain.”), the characters feel like impersonations of adolescent types. Wednesday’s lines, “I enjoy funerals. I’ve been crashing them since I was old enough to read the obituary section,” and “[Sartre] was my first crush,” feel like a writer reaching over the seat to prod us in the shoulder and say, “Did you know Wednesday is goth? Just wanted to check, and let you know she’s goth.” Don’t worry, we know.

Much of the show explores Wednesday’s arduous process of integration into Nevermore’s student body, introducing characters such as her werewolf roommate, Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers), whose extraversion and affinity for color sets her up as the first of many social feuds that Wednesday will find herself in. The show also throws Wednesday between the affections of two boys, her Nevermore peer, Xavier Thorpe (Percy Hynes White), and a local boy, Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan), forming a lackluster love triangle that dominates much of the show’s airtime.

To be fair, the show has its successes. Most obviously is the casting of Ortega for the role. Her visible efforts to make something of her character’s restricting deadpan humor alongside the visual delights of the gothic boarding school make the show somewhat tolerable. But that is all. The twists and turns of the mystery fail to provoke any sense of deep-seated interest in the story as a whole.

“Wednesday”has been an explosive hit for the Netflix platform, exceeding 1 billion watch hours, and has already been renewed for a second season. But there is much left to be desired in “Wednesday.”Perhaps future seasons will amend the first’s shortcomings, but with half-baked characters and uncompelling dialogue held together only by audience nostalgia for the Addams Family, the merit that would warrant the show’s raving popularity appears to be the real mystery.

Summary Netflix puts a cliché teen drama spin on the Addams' only daughter.
2 Stars