A few days before Thanksgiving 1993, in Addams family values Wednesday Addams decided to go off the script during her Thanksgiving pageant at summer camp. Now, 29 years later, a new generation can see her doing much the same in a mysterious and creepy new Netflix series. Wednesday.
The 1993 scene is by far the most memorable of the film: dressed as Pocahontas, Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams tells her playful pilgrim stage partner, “You have taken the land that is ours by right. In a few years, my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations. Your people will be wearing cardigans and drinking highballs.
She continues, “We will sell our bracelets on the side of the road. You will play golf and enjoy hot snacks. My people will experience pain and degradation. Your people will have shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. … And for all these reasons, I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground.”
Everything is on fire from there.
The new series attempts to bring that magic back with its third episode, “Friend or Sorrow”, in which Wednesday and her supernatural classmates from Nevermore Academy volunteer for “Propaganda Day”. An episode, like the series that contains it, often feels like something we’ve seen before. In the end, he bets on the big show when Wednesday blows up the white patriarchy by blowing up the colonist’s bronze memorial statue.
The annual holiday is apparently meant to ease tensions between the “outcasts” and “normals” who live in Jericho, founded by early settler Joseph Crackstone. Convinced that Craxstone is connected to a series of visions she’s been having—Addams is also a little clairvoyant this Wednesday—Wednesday takes a post at the historic amusement park Pilgrim’s World.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Wednesday’s executives at Ye Olde Fudgery, one of whom calls herself “OC” (“first colonist”), are less than pleased with her performance. As is its director, Larisa Weems of Gwendolyn Christie.
While handing out samples to a crowd of German tourists, Wednesday tells them (in German), “Enjoy your ‘authentic’ pilgrimage fudge, made from cocoa beans harvested by the oppressed indigenous people of the Amazon. All proceeds go to support this pathetic whitewashing of American history. Plus, fudge wasn’t invented for another 258 years. Are there takers?
And this was before she left, she had a vision on the ruins of the original Jericho meeting house, and she decided to set the whole place on fire.
The broad strokes of this vision? Wednesday has a 400-year-old ancestor, Goody Addams, who just escaped being burned alive in the town’s meetinghouse along with all the other “outcasts” that Craxstone managed to capture, including her mother. Goody looks exactly like Wednesday Jenna Ortega, but in a blonde wig.
“You stole the land,” Goody says to Craxstone as he prepares to lock it up. “You have killed innocents. You have robbed us of our peaceful spirit. You are a real monster – all of you.”
Crackstone answer? It’s about what you’d expect from a colonial witch hunter: “You abominations in the grip of the devil!” He says. “I will not stop until I have banished all the outcasts from this new world. Godless beings!” (Thin!)
Wednesday may not have been the biggest player in the original. The Addams Family series in which she is actually the younger sister. But the passage of time, a few adaptations, and most importantly, Christina Ricci’s sheer strength has turned the pigtailed weirdo into an outcast icon. At least that’s the idea behind the new Netflix series. One of her favorite hobbies in this new series is protecting the little guy – a nice quality, but also one that feels a bit serious for the campy Addams brand.
However, set fire to the new Crackstone Fountain? This is very important for the environment. Looking at the statue of Crackstone, the unveiling of which she is due to serenade to Fleetwood Mac on the cello, Wednesday grumbles, “I’ve never faced an adversary cast in bronze.”
cue one of Wednesdaymany carefully planned tricks. At first, everything seems to be going according to plan. Wednesday plays a song, a speech sounds… And then the Thing appears to set fire to a line of explosive powder leading straight to the monument. Wednesday takes the opportunity to switch to what the show calls “an intense arrangement of Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ — and that’s how generational revenge is served cold.