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(COLUMN) Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper – Watching ‘Wednesday’ on Netflix

Kate Rice


“They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky…” 

And they’ve been around forever. Springing from a cartoon in 1938, this “altogether ooky” Addams Family has graced screens small and large for years. 

The latest storyline, Netflix’s Wednesday, focuses on the broodiest of the bunch — and definitely my favorite. I loved the character of Wednesday Addams in the ’90s flicks (fabulously played by Christina Ricci), and I really, really love Jenna Ortega’s portrayal of this deadpan darling. Oh — and that famous theme-song finger-snap? Still very much a thing!

When Wednesday’s expelled from high school for unleashing piranhas on the swim team fellas who were bullying Pugsley (a sister’s gotta do what a sister’s gotta do, right?), she ends up (unhappily) at Nevermore Academy, a private school for outcasts of all sorts (vampires, werewolves, sirens, etc.). Also psychics, whose powers manifest in diverse ways. Wednesday falls into this category, experiencing visions both past and future.  

Nevermore’s also where her parents (brought to life by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Lois Guzman. Morticia and Gomez are still as passionate about family — and each other — as ever) met. It’s a place where she feels she’ll always be in their shadow. At first, she’s rigidly resentful. But soon, she discovers there’s mystery, mayhem and monsters. What’s not to love about that? With Thing (the disembodied hand whose dangling digits are enlivened by the brilliant Victor Dorobantu) along for the ride, Wednesday’s determined to uncover the truth about the strange goings-on that have riddled Nevermore and the surrounding small town of Jericho for years.

Also along for the ride? Roomie Enid (Emma Myers), who is everything Goth Girl Wednesday is not. A cheerful, sunny, unicorn- and pastel colors–loving werewolf who has yet to fully “wolf out.” (For Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, she casts an early-years Willow Rosenberg vibe). And yet, Enid and Wednesday work. Well, sort of. Here’s a typical exchange early in their relationship…

Enid Sinclair: Ms. Thornhill’s just ordered pizza. Want to take a stab at being social?

Wednesday Addams: I do like stabbing. The social part, not so much.

There are also boys, of course. “Normie” Tyler (Hunter Doohan) who, despite Wednesday’s complete lack of romantic understanding, pursues her anyway. Enigmatic Xavier (Percy Hines White), whose psychic abilities are manifested through his art. And, though he’s never a “romantic” interest, adorable nerd Eugene (Moosa Mostafa) who loves and lives for bees. 

Wednesday showcases several other colorful characters as well, both students and adults. Christina Ricci plays Marilyn Thornhill, a “normie” who works at Nevermore and befriends (or attempts to, anyway) Wednesday. Riki Lindhome (of Garfunkel and Oates fame) does a turn as Therapist Valerie Kinbott. And Gwendoline Christie is Nevermore’s sketchy Principal Weems.  

One of my favorite things about Wednesday, the show and the character, is that she’s unapologetically herself. That, and her dogged sense of getting to the truth no matter what reminds me of another one of my heroes, Veronica Mars. She’s smart, independent, and literally dances to her own tune. Check out this glorious Rave’N dance scene to The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck”…

Enid sums it up perfectly with this line: 

“Most people spend their lives pretending to give zero effs, and you literally never had an eff to give.”

Damn straight. 

For such a dark and chilly character, you’ll be surprised at how warm and fuzzy this show’ll make you feel (sorry, Wednesday). Stream all eight episodes of Wednesday on Netflix.