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Review: Netflix’s Wednesday

By Valery Perez, December 18 2022

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers to Netflix’s Wednesday 

This November, Netflix graced us with Tim Burton’s latest macabre tale, Wednesday. We follow a teenage Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) on her journey through Nevermore Academy, a school for unique individuals and magical creatures outcast from regular society. This coming-of-age show attempts to explore themes of prejudice, the difficulties of navigating relationships and murder as Wednesday tries to find her place at Nevermore.

The show begins by throwing Wednesday headfirst into an exciting murder mystery begun by a classmate’s death and a prophecy. This hooks the viewer successfully, but the story quickly becomes saturated with subplots that don’t all have a clear purpose. Narrowly avoiding death consistently, discovering that her father may be guilty of murder, the prophecy, visions, ghosts, and an unidentified murderous monster are some of the many plot points we keep track of throughout the show. 

These subplots attempt to provide depth to characters or round out the lore for the main story but their main purpose ends up being misdirection. For example, you can always see Wednesday touch Tyler Galpin (Hunter Doohan) before getting visions about the monster’s next victim. This can be easy to miss as the viewer is distracted by an overwhelming fast-paced environment every time this occurs.

The show also focuses on a love triangle, my biggest point of critique in the entire series. The romance between the characters feels forced, as it is not in Wednesday’s character to feel or show emotion. Wednesday often goes to Tyler, lover number one, for help as a town local with knowledge of the surrounding areas. He confuses her glaring stare, direct dry words, and dismissiveness as affection. At one point he says “you keep giving me these signals” to which she replies “it’s not my fault I can’t interpret your emotional Morse code.” 

From the very beginning, Wednesday set her boundaries clearly, “I didn’t want to be rescued” she tells Xavier Thorpe (Percy Hynes White), lover number two. He had tackled her out of the way of a falling gargoyle, an action Wednesday condemned saying she would have been alright with such an “imaginative death.” Most interactions between them begin with Xavier following her around unprompted and end with Wednesday being too cold for his liking and making him angry.

“I’ve always been against the love triangle idea,” Ortega herself told ETalk. “As far as the boys went, I had to accept it — but honestly, I’m going to fight this love triangle thing so hard. Because I don’t think Wednesday would ever be in a love triangle.”

Ortega nails a modern rendition of Wednesday. The subtle expressions and quirks, extremely calculated mannerisms, and cold witty line delivery are what really bring the character to life. The main quirk that differentiates Wednesday from her peers is that she does not blink. Ortega confirmed on The Today Show that this was an intentional decision. This subtle quirk is impactful and makes her seem slightly off at all times, especially when surrounded by other classmates.

It makes the few times she shows emotion really impactful. We learn who and what Wednesday loves when she loses her cool after finding Thing stabbed in her bedroom, and when she grins with glee as she and her classmates are bathed in pig’s blood during a prank. The iconic dead stare elevates her performance and makes the viewers believe that she’s only interested in being entertained by the dark murderous plot line that has taken over her life. 

Overall, Ortega’s stellar performance is what really makes the show worth viewing. 

If you want a few hours of mindless entertainment and some new spooky kooky aesthetic inspiration for your Pinterest board, then you’re in luck. 


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