It's just arrived on Netflix the series signed by the most gothic director ever, Tim Burton, who managed to keep his promise: that is, to turn a dark and creepy teenager named Wednesday, into an amazing investigator of the nightmare, charismatic and unwitting champion of all the Outcasts of the world. So, a chilling and record-breaking series, which has just begun its ascent, also thanks to the brilliant performance of the new rising star Jenna Ortega, who plays Wednesday Addams.
Wednesday has arrived and she has none for anyone. Sarcastic and macabre as few can be, the 16-year-old and first-born of the most popular gothic series ever, the Addams family, finally gets all the applause for the uniqueness and extravagance she represents, through:
For instance, with her perceptive and sharp linguistic irreverence; or with her extreme toughness and stubbornness; and above all with a remarkable sense of horror that sets her apart from the rest of her peers. Moreover, Wednesday is a singular girl, who eccentrically loves everything about the color black, and who frames her Rigor mortis complexion, making her decidedly unique.
In addition to Wednesday, there are the other members of the Addams family of the same name, who come under scrutiny during the new series, and whom we are pleased to briefly mention here, such as:
The beautiful and never dishevelled Morticia, the boisterous and passionate Gomez, the unhinged and brilliant Uncle Fester, the perennially complex and Wednesday's (Wednesday) younger brother Pugsley and of course hand or 'Thing', (see the hilarious video shot in the streets of New York here), who is the Addams family's all rounder, whose mind resides in the infallible and miraculous use of his incredible five fingers, accomplishing several impossible missions, as Wednesday's loyal squire in the spin-off series.
Seeing a character like Wednesday again on the screen, so vintage and avant-garde because she goes against the mainstream at the same time, we can only admire her exploits and dedicate to her with all our (decaying!) hearts the well-deserved throne of queen for:
All those, who are in life classified as outcasts, misfits or rather Outcasts and Outsiders, and who have not yet found their place, because they are not accepted by the so-called 'normal' community. Here is where Wednesday's arrival, with this well-timed series, seems to prove to be the decisive answer to all the prayers for revenge of the millions of Outcasts (misfits/outcasts) in the world.
So arm yourselves with popcorn and a strong liver to discover and better understand the psychological traits of Wednesday, a character with strong colors, who has already conquered record numbers in just one week of views (341 million), beating even Stranger Things, the cult series par excellence of today's youth.
The themes of the teenage anti-paladin, who sees the world through a raven black porthole, like her hair, really fascinates everyone and also wins over the critics. One can see that Tim Burton is definitely inspired for this sui generis story, coming back in a big way, thanks to the sublime interpretative tribute of his protagonist, Jenna Ortega, or who we will now just call Wednesday Addams.
But let's understand more in this in-depth look:
what are the reasons why this series is enjoying so much;
In trying to propose a psychological identikit, in full Wednesday style, to understand what lies behind her gloomy and motionless gaze, and whether there is any possibility of evolution in her purely sinister essence and akin to the Gothic world.
A black sheep that solves problems
"Believe nothing of what you see and only half of what you hear".
Edgar Allan Poe
In the inscription affixed under the statue of the well-known English Gothic writer, inside the Nevermore Academy school, where the young protagonist Wednesday, (played by the super-bright Jenna Ortega) is 'supposed' to attend, is one of the first clues of a detective story with raven black shades, to which the shrewd and stubborn Wednesday, investigator of the apparently budding nightmare, (considering her chronological age of 16), lends herself to understand the causes. Her pronounced lucidity, the absence of hesitation or hint of any emotional fragility or fear, are her first noticeable peculiarities.
She is the first (and not by chance) to sniff out the fear and mystery surrounding the school, with a tendency towards the horrid and sadistic, which at times makes both the spectator and several characters in the series turn pale; she is thus catapulted into a series of misadventures in full Sherlock Holmes style, never (or almost never) succumbing to the innumerable obstacles she encounters on her way to the truth. Hence, the one glaring common denominator uniting the two genres could be summed up in the timeless motto:
'The truth at all costs, ... and we will also say ... as soon as possible, if possible'.
Unloved from the start by anyone, Wednesday is a real river in flood, overwhelming and overwhelming everyone with her uncanny and charismatic beauty, her dialectical extravagance
and pronounced intellectual mastery, always making her make choices 'outside the rules', and sometimes mistaken paths, but in perpetually pursuing one and only one belief: 'intuition, which will lead her to the final, profound and very sinister truth.
Without revealing the ending of this gripping Netflix horror/gothic/thriller/teens, which is enthralling the whole world, we can find in Wednesday a fitting example of a true black sheep or social misfit, in that she is:
a source of trouble everywhere, who never realize the objective consequences of her actions; for many she is certainly (only) mentally unbalanced, obsessively pursuing her own and only mantra, namely to "stay true to herself, always and in any case"; for others, on the other hand, she is the only way to get the resolution to the series of nefarious murders within her school, which surprises with several twists and turns.
Faithful to herself (Always)
Picking up on an iconic phrase from the most beautiful sci-fi film Star Wars, in which Darth Vader says referring to his newfound son Luke Skywalker that 'The force flows mightily in him', we could say that this would also apply to the character of Wednesday Addams, if we did not consider the context and the psychotic tendency of the protagonist, totally indisposed towards others to rely emotionally, if not on herself, and unquestionably relying only on her own strength.
A strength, hers, that unquestionably derives from her many abilities, and an evident obsessive manic disorder that borders on the psychiatric field, but which makes her stronger than her peers. A strength that also hides, however, a great limitation that concerns her, namely:
Wednesday has no idea how to behave in front of the emotional manifestations of others, who instead show affection, gratitude and attraction towards him.
During discussions, he always remains silent, never uttering an 'excuse' or 'thank you'. We do not fully understand what he is really thinking and this is another mystery that who knows if it will be revealed in the future of the series?
The attribute of strength, in her case, translates into 'autonomy of action' and a 'total independence' from others and from the rules dictated by a corrupt and faux-good society when needed, and which Wednesday herself does not wish to accept. Her 'personal' moral integrity naturally drives her to choose without too much qualms not to (almost) ever come to terms with anyone and not to favor anyone in particular.
Thus, Wednesday, with her iron rectitude, reminds us (thought wisely or astutely by her Director Tim Burton) of a precious gift that is akin to all human beings, and that is, as Ralph Waldo Emerson also points out, the following:
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to change you, is the greatest of achievements".
And Wednesday knows what does it means really....
A dark magnetism at the origin of everything
After discussing some of the obvious traits of the main character in question and interpreting the actions, putting ourselves as much as possible in Wednesday's shoes, you may ask yourself at this point, are we biased or not? Are we in favor of someone who would rather hang out with murderers, get tortured and dig graves, instead of going out with friends and living an almost normal adolescence, between Smartphones and fashionable shoes?
Obviously, the answer is maybe. Excluding certain almost unavoidable conditions, such as:
The type of eating and drinking, the dramatically nihilistic view of the world around her, the aggressive impulsiveness and boundless, self-conscious obsession with the macabre no-limits, Wednesday is undeniably charismatic if not intriguing, so much so that she becomes a real living magnet, for those around her.
And it's not only because of that falsely angelic face hiding under a fringe designed ad hoc by the make-up artists (perhaps to freshen up the original, decidedly demodé image, but perfectly worn by the most famous Wednesday ever, i.e. Cristina Ricci, also present in a minor, but fundamental role) or because of that super-accurate look, in which some hints of white sometimes emerge, such as the famous white collegiate collar, the striped jumper as a deportee or the punk shoes with high wedges.
It must be said that throughout the eight episodes of the current Spin Off, both potential friends and foes are not indifferent to the highly magnetic presence, on which Director Tim Burton himself, together with the two creators of Smallville, have focused the series. The tale of adolescent dramas, is thus crossed in a masterly manner by a perennially dark and never cloying atmosphere, in which the disruptive magnetism of Wednesday Addams, involves everyone, re-proposing a theme already much appreciated in the sphere of other Teen stories, among all:
In Stranger Things, the 'Duffer Brothers' creators give each character a certain centrality in the unfolding of the story, which is decisive for its success and in which each of them, in turn, becomes the protagonist, just like the real protagonist (see Eleven /Wednesday).
Entering the psychotic mind of a potential future criminal clearly disorients all her interlocutors and so do the viewers who follow her from the very beginning, but as her personality gradually takes shape, new and unexpected facets emerge that make her different, if not even: accepted, respected, followed, and finally loved for who she really is, underlining another decisive aspect of the mini-series, namely that "nobody is perfect" (fortunately) and that anyone can become a hero or a different kind of leader.
Speaking of the skill of the young actress, Jenna Ortega, who convinces immediately at the first terrifying glance she directs at the camera, it is actually the numbers that speak, since in just 10 days since the Netflix program, in addition to the record viewing figures, Jenna has already gained more than 23 million Followers on Instagram.
Nothing to say, then. Except that a star has certainly been born.
Unconscious, counter-cultural hero
"The rebel poet, the lone hero, is an individual without followers: he does not drag the masses to the streets, he does not provoke revolutions. But he does prepare them."
Oriana Fallaci (Italian Writer and Journalist)
In the deepest darkness in which the mind of Wednesday Addams resides, (with Tim Burton's) lies a false figure of apparent physical frailty, who terribly loves all that is black, that reeks of putrefaction and of which 'normal people' are obviously disgusted.
The upside-down world, in which the extravagant Wednesday lives, actually underlines the character of true genius: consisting of the undaunted if not flanking perseverance in seeking out the whole truth, which is also a distinguishable trait in the best writers, journalists and investigators.
Total disregard for the emotions of others, is only one of Wednesday's less purposeful aspects; total indifference can however also be perceived as an advantage, if one considers the intellectual honesty that represents it, when:
never tries to please or seek support and compliments;
always choosing to follow 'her own voice', at the risk of finding herself in bad situations, (which make her happy instead)
In always seeking strong emotions, many even politically incorrect, often crossing the line of the outrageous and terrifying, one denotes a certain gradual and 'subtle' consideration of human values, of which she is not a part, without ever judging the other side or complaining.
If anyone were to hear us, they would surely take us for fools, but I believe that the potential of an ideal leader and unwitting heroine is all gathered in the same figure, portrayed by Tim Burton, to probably also highlight another aspect, which is worth claiming here, namely:
that good and evil can be hidden behind each one. It is up to us, the use and purpose we make of such forces, and where we direct them. And even if we choose alternative paths, (mind you, not extreme ones, though) what counts to get there is to always follow ourselves and our own essence. Ignoring what others say sometimes serves the purpose of going back to listening to one's own voice.
To the quirky peculiarities, known from the early days of the first series in the 1960s, and then becoming a film in the 1990s with the iconic Cristina Ricci (whose resemblance to the new Wednesday also remains creepy) and the unforgettable Angela Houston as Morticia, the coolest series of the moment is a must-see.
To find any flaw or limitation in the series, brilliantly conducted by Tim Burton and practically 'perfect', is very difficult; but if we are to venture into a complete understanding of the series, there are two particular facts that should be briefly raised here:
That Tim Burton has turned a dark and psychotic character into the unwitting and hopefully not probable new role model for today's youth; even if the intention is to always separate fiction from reality, the strong sinister turn taken by Wednesday, may push some very fragile teenagers to emulate his violent actions. So, a bad model for ethics on life and death, trust and respect for others on the one hand, clashing with resourcefulness, free will and unquestioned genius, as a true source of inspiration for many, on the other. In any case, Wednesday, is the most hilarious series ever, in which the roles of good guy and bad guy are reversed; while dressing in black, has never been as trendy as it is now. In fact, it's a real marketplace on the net, with fake braids and dark make-up (see Vanity Fair's Tutorial) without forgetting that Wednesday's mask is one of the most loved and used masks for Halloween. That dark allure, so trendy now, can even be found in Bauli's latest Christmas Ad, in which an Emo-style 16-year-old girl named Bianca (which is the same name as Mermaid, Wednesday's schoolmate and initial enemy), who is not in tune with her family during the Christmas holidays, receives a gothic-themed pandoro as a surprise from her little brother, thus making her smile.
Once again, a revamped version of the famous original series from the 1960s is back, but in the end it is still the same story. Apart from Tim Burton's masterpiece, who, as a genius sui generis, has already created a real case worldwide with Wednesday, thanks also to his characteristic of not blinking, it is also true that telling totally new stories has become a real challenge. In fact, the world of entertainment, and Cinema among all, is experiencing its worst years from a creative point of view, in which the conspicuous recycling of old films presented in the cunning formula of the Remake or Sequel/Prequel of the most famous ones, if on the one hand they conquer the new generations, on the other they make the average spectator more confused than before when he leaves the theatre; since quotes and references to places and people are often taken from other films, as are scenes that are even filmed on the same set as earlier ones (see the village in Back to the Future, which is the one in Wednesday). Returning and bringing back to life again, old masterpieces, can certainly work, as in this specific case, but brand new stories are urgently needed, to make viewers still dream in search of new emotions to share.
Her' life lessons you don't expect
"The great lesson in life is to never be afraid of anyone or anything."
Her unquestionable independence and authoritarianism, despicable at times, but functional to the results of solving the mystery of Nevermore Academy and the series itself, make her so unique and so lovable, that she is already thinking of the next season coming out with Wednesday2, which is sure to be another wild success.
But what Tim Burton has managed from his deepest, murkiest and most magical realm at the same time, is to have included small but important life lessons, which apply to everyone, without distinction, such as:
That Wednesday too, in order to succeed, needs a team to support her;
That Wednesday herself, has her experiences like all teenagers, and cannot exclude herself from her first date, her first kiss or even her first embrace, learning or striving from the inside to understand at least a fragment of a world totally unknown to her. That of feelings.
That Wednesday is not afraid of anything or anyone like playing the violin late at night, along with digging graves or dancing superbly as a crazed zombie;
That the unpredictability of the path that is marked out for everyone by so-called 'destiny', catches even her unprepared at certain moments; that the shrewdness and daring irreverence of her moves, collides directly with something greater and inexplicable, to which she will have to come to a minimum compromise;
That the family, extravagant as it may be, is still hers, to which she must return and come to terms, accepting and listening to everyone's reasons, respecting and trusting each member who represents her, and who can teach her something she does not yet know.
Whatever your personal story may be in the end, what we really like as a concrete life lesson from the series is certainly that: "In everyone, one's own uniqueness can emerge.' The important thing is 'to learn to listen to your inner voice and follow your intuition'. And then with pride to be able to say: "I am as I am and will be forever."
Therefore, we will say: 'Long live (or long die) to Wednesday'.. Looking forward to new programming on Netflix soon.