Wednesday – Innovating a once-popular cultural icon

Not simply inheriting the spirit of Addams Family, Wednesday has succeeded in reinventing this cultural icon in a school film.

Surpassing season 4 of the blockbuster Stranger Things, Wednesday has excelled in becoming the movie with the most views in a week in Netflix history. Combining the strong appeal of the Addams family cultural icon and the modern breath of the Gen Z generation, Wednesday has truly created a “seismic” in the series market.

So what exactly keeps audiences interested in a character as strange as Wednesday Addams?

The Addams family – an American cultural icon
Starting with cartoons appearing in The New Yorker in 1938, the brainchild of artist Charles Addams quickly became an American cultural icon with many adaptations in nearly every country. all media such as movies, TV series, musicals, novels and video games.

The popularity of the Addams family comes from many reasons, most of which lie in the general spirit of the whole brand. Looking at it in the simplest way, the Addams family is really just a normal family with two parents who love each other and love their children placed in a “dark” environment.

If we observe the relationship between these family members, the audience will notice that there exists healthy love between them that is rare in other cultural products. This further helps emphasize how the brand has turned the traditional “fish out of water” humor on its head.

As the Addams family’s children play with instruments of torture and caress a severed hand as a pet, the love and humanity of these characters suddenly becomes strange and alien. From there, the very oddness of the situation became the basis for the Addams family’s brand of humor.

Wednesday Addams – Reinventing an old cultural icon
Wednesday Addams is the eldest daughter in the Addams family. In previous versions, she was mainly used as an amusing character in one-liners, which did not receive much attention to build.

The choice to use Wednesday to become the main character for Netflix’s new TV series will not make sense at first glance. However, with a few small changes, Wednesday has become a protagonist who could not be more suitable for the renewal of an 84-year-old brand.

Going back to previous versions, Wednesday can be seen as the most mischievous and negative character in the whole family. A huge amount of knowledge about the world and her natural intelligence make Wednesday consider herself “better” than her family and peers. Therefore, she hardly cares, nor can she create any deep relationships with anyone.

Reading the descriptions above, perhaps anyone will have a bad view of the character. However, Wednesday’s core element is her belief that the things she does are completely normal, and that they are actually built on a kindness or more specifically protecting the weak.

Because of this, Wednesday in previous versions became a perfect character for a TV Series. She is already built with an interesting personality, sense of humor, skills and strengths. And most importantly, the character flaws (unable to build relationships) and the reasons for the audience to continue accompanying and “following” this character.

Continuing with this foundation, writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar made changes to the character to make her more suitable as a main character. Wednesday Addams, from a 13-year-old girl in previous versions, has now become a teenager and was sent to Evermore boarding school by her family after she was expelled from “normal” schools five times seven times.

Separating Wednesday Addams from her already extremely “iconic” family was a risky, but necessary step. Placing Wednesday in an environment where her personality became the element that made her a different person created the ideal conditions for this character to develop.

Wednesday – Teen drama model, but different
Tim Burton, the legendary director who created tons of icons of goth culture, directed the first 4 episodes of Wednesday. He did a great job in creating the “dark” world of Wednesday with his unique brand of creepy and dark images.

When receiving the script for the Wednesday series, Tim Burton immediately accepted. He commented that Wednesday’s story connected with the feelings he had when he was in school, and the way he viewed his parents and himself. “This gave the Addams family a new reality. This is truly an interesting combination.”

The combination that Tim Burton mentioned is the old but new “school movie” element brought into Wednesday. This is the point that makes TV series so popular currently.

The school film element mentioned here is a genre that is already famous and popular to the point of saturation. Critics often describe this genre as “the CW’s school drama,” a famous network in the US.

CW school dramas often have extremely similar ideas: At a school for students with supernatural abilities, a student discovers an unusual event and begins to investigate. On this journey, that character gradually gets acquainted with many other students and often develops emotional problems with one of them.

This is the main point of negative criticism about Wednesday. These comments say that Wednesday is actually only successful because this series with a boring plot is dressed up in the guise of the Addams family, one of the most famous brands in America.

However, if we look back at the Addams family’s brand, we see that Wednesday actually did a very good job in inheriting the main spirit of the whole brand: reversing the “fish out of water” situation.

Although he has always been considered a strange person even in a school full of “weird” people (people possessing supernatural powers), Wednesday has never seen this as a weakness that needs to be changed. On the contrary, she did not seem to care about this and continued to do what she liked.

“Just be confident in yourself and keep doing what you are passionate about,” is a message that many school films have tried to convey but failed. Unlike those films, Wednesday was built almost like a “Mary-Sue,” a female character who is extremely good at many things, an image that many viewers will probably want to aspire to.

A big part of building this Wednesday Addams image lies in Jenna Ortega’s excellent acting. She really broke out of her acting career at Disney and proved to the world her investment and ability to play this role.

Jenna Ortega’s performance made Wednesday more than simply the perfect Mary Sue. Instead, along with the two writers’ skillfully crafted dialogue, Jenna Ortega made viewers sympathize with this seemingly perfect character’s journey of learning how to build and appreciate conflicting relationships. around, a problem that can easily be connected to young audiences.

Contrary to what critics say, Wednesday is not a movie that has dragged the Addams family franchise down to an old school movie formula. Instead, Wednesday took the spirit of the franchise and thrust the world-hating character into a situation where she had to interact with humans.

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