The Addams family returns in Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’

On November 23, Netflix released its new show “Wednesday,” a long awaited spinoff about the eldest daughter of the Addams family and the mysteries surrounding her supernatural boarding school. Over the years, there has been a certain standard set for the spooky family, and it’s expected that their actors will be able to successfully portray them perfectly. Wednesday in particular has always been a fan favorite, known for being morbid and withdrawn, even by her family’s standards. Naturally, only the best will be able to accurately portray her character.

Wednesday Addams is by far one of the more fascinating and challenging roles to play in the series due to her expressionless face. In fact, throughout the whole series, Wednesday only truly smiles a total of two times: once after releasing a school of deadly piranhas on the swim team, and later when she receives a surprise visit from wacky Uncle Fester. But despite the limited range of her character, Jenna Ortega was able to flawlessly pull off the perfect Wednesday Addams, relying on her stance and body language to subtly convey the desired emotion. It was all of the little things that made the difference—the tension in her shoulders, a raised eyebrow, even a miniscule eye flick.

While the rest of Wednesday’s family is only present in snippets through the course of three episodes, the dynamic of the actors is simply immaculate. Mortcia and Gomez still possess the same passion and libido they had when they were teenagers, much to their children’s chagrin. Gomez is a doting father who adores his children, while Morticia acts as the stricter of the two. Her overall demeanor screams that she just wants to keep her wayward daughter and the rest of her chaotic family out of prison. Pugsley is quieter than the rest of his family, but there’s still no doubt that he’s an Addams, with his classic love for bombs and masochistic tendencies. Even Lurch gets a bit of personality thrown his way as we watch him grimace at Gomez and Morticia’s overly flirtatious behavior.

Throughout the years the fandom had unofficially confirmed that Wednesday is autistic, and this seems to be a theme that the directors of the new series leaned into. While watching Ortega’s performance, there were behaviors and habits that I, as an autistic person, quickly picked up on—switching between avoiding eye contact and prolonged eye contact, hyperfixation, sensory issues, lack of social cues and avoiding social interaction altogether. Watching Wednesday struggle to understand the intentions of her friends, and seeing their frustration with her seemingly emotional unavailability, was so relatable that it actually kind of hurt a bit, because of how real those types of situations can be—given that, unlike Wednesday, the rest of us aren’t dragging our friends into an investigation of a serial killer.

If I had to choose the weakest link in the series, I would have to pick the CGI. Whenever the mystery monster appears on screen, I can’t help but compare it to a larger version of Gollum from ‘The Hobbit,” and Enid’s dramatic werewolf transformation wasn’t anything to call home about. That being said, since the animation doesn’t play as large of a role in the story it doesn’t affect the show too much.

But never fear! Despite the new updates, the show doesn’t forgo its roots. Throughout the plot, some subtle and not so subtle bits are thrown in referencing the original show and movies before it. We still get mentions of Uncle Fester and Cousin IT, references to the Addams Family Reunion and even a clever incorporation of the double snap from the theme song into the story’s plot. Overall, this is a must-see as far as spin-offs go. It’s got swordplay, fights and multiple homicidal murderers. Just another normal day for an Addams.