Every time there is a series centred upon a classic ‘heartless’ protagonist, I’ve wondered how much is left to explore in that niche. Everything gets old eventually, isn’t it. One day the world had to get tired of heartless characters that actually need therapy but are living super interesting lives and having people fall head over heels in love with them instead.
Turns out, there’s a long way to go for them before we grow tired yet. ‘Wednesday’ came in and slapped the realization on my face because turns out, there is hardly anything better than the classic ‘anti-hero becomes a full fledged hero’ storyline.
What a glorious creation this one is. Wednesday, the little devil of a woe’s child is an arrogant, self centered and spooky kid forced into a school where she hopes she’ll be suspended from within no time. Because aparently no school is ever built well enough to hold her. That doesn’t happen of course, and she’s soon at the centre of all things mysterious at the Nevermore Academy for outcasts.
You’ve most likely watched the series already so I’m not talking about the story here; we all know it’s as indulging as a story gets. It has everything a mystery-horror series can ask for and more. But what makes it extra special is the extra mile that the writers and directors have gone in embracing the unconventional ways in which characters behave. Yes, it is an adaptation of the old movie and series of the same plot, but there are some extremely quirky elements in the show – and they’re all unapologetically incorporated and we have accepted them.
There’s this thing. ‘Thing’ is hands down (well, surely) the most creative familiar ever created in a supernatural show. He’s a pet like no other because he’s a hand. Literally, a hand upto the wrist that walks with fingers, has its own brain, has a beating heart, can see, can hear and can function as intelligently as Wednesday herself. Logic lies about 200 miles away from the show but hey, we’re not complaining. Thing is adorable and we’d all love to have him as a familiar ourselves.
[Here’s an interesting article about Thing, where the actor who plays it explains it]
Of course, thing belongs to this insanely quirky family so he just about fits. Gomez Addams and Morticia Addams, Wednesday’s father and mother are works of art themselves. Even after so many years, the two are madly in love with each other to the point of constantly making out with each other in front of their children. The misfit of the couple makes them an even more appealing duo, and of course they have history – one that unfolds in Wednesday’s life during her stay at Nevermore.
The quirkiness peaks out with the revelation of how Gomez raised Wednesday. There’s a sequence where Wednesday explains what made her what she is- and it is her father. He raised her to be the most goth of all and allowed her to enjoy herself at the darkest corners of her heart. She got so comfortable there that the brighter corners were soon cast in shadow but she is the most epic personality I’ve ever come across. She’s dark, but not evil. It’s a difficult character to write because there are too many thin lines that the writers must tread through; it’s unbelievable how well they’ve done it.
Lastly, what’s also interesting is how the town of Jerico is considerably calm and accepting of the Nevermore Academy that is located somewhere on its outskirts. They seem to know the existence of supernatural elements there, they’re even scared of it but no one really makes a big deal of it. I mean, supernatural schools are usually created as well hidden from humans but Nevermore is right within the human community. With some financial agreements with the Mayor of the town, the Principal of Nevermore manages cordial relationships with Jerico; but that would simply never happen. We all know anything remotely supernatural known to man would end up in hi tech labs with wires sending messages to and from all parts of its body. Not here though. There’s a like-never-before co-existence scenario without the shock element.
In all, Wednesday embraces the anti-hero concept generously and delivers some of the most iconic characters that will live on through Halloween costumes for generations for sure. Tim Burton really has worked some magic here. So many shows on OTT are released everyday, standing out and becoming a global success takes this level of creative exploration. Wednesday breaks some rules and stays true to some other – like the colourful best friend, a seeming villain who becomes a friend and some misdirect to throw us off – and aces the game.