Long black dress, smokey eye makeup, decadent but gorgeous… The Gothic style goes viral once again. Netflix's drama, Wednesday, a spin-off series based on a well-established internet property, The Addams Family has re-entered pop culture.
In 1932, The Addams Family first appeared in a comic strip in The New Yorker, as an eccentric and dark aristocratic family. The 1991 version of The Addams Family and the 1993 version of Addams Family Values made the Addams Family a household name.
Continuing the story-telling about this special family, Wednesday, released on Netflix in 2022 does not meet fans’ expectations.
OG fans took their opinions to Reddit by pointing out that the characters in Wednesday are “OCC”, out of character. “Nothing like the real Addams family.”
Fans abroad reached a similar conclusion commenting on Douban, “Wednesday’s character is fragmented and terrible”. But why don’t OG fans buy into the new show? Let’s first rehash why viewers fell in love with them in the first place.
Living in an old, gloomy, corrupt castle, the Addams family has a bodyless hand as a pet, plays with various weapons, and dresses in black and white. The whole family is fascinated with blood, death, and corpses. Which in most cases may deter people from watching, but as you continue on you begin to see the family for what they are: lovable and warm. The parents are the sweetest couple in the world as they kiss each other and express their love often. The siblings try to murder each other as their daily entertainment but protect each other when real danger erupts.
The Addams family does not fit into the usual depiction of kindness, but, is benign and lovable on the inside. Its deviant appearance and inner kindness serve as a satire and mockery of the secular. Everyone can relate to being misunderstood or not being accepted. The Addams family depicts their courage, which inspires fans to live alike; Being a “freak” can have a positive connotation and still provide you the ability to live a happy life. In short, the strength of being yourself is the core of the Gothic spirit, and that is why fans love The Addams Family and the Gothic elements portrayed.
On the contrary, the valuable Gothic spirit that fans adore disappears in the new series, Wednesday. The new drama concentrates on a monster murder case, with Wednesday, the daughter of Addams’ family, as the protagonist to uncover the truth of the murder. The Addams Family is no longer presented as a family as a whole, the rest of the family members are more likely to serve as Wednesday's foil to highlight her intelligence and specialties. The new series depicts Monica Addams as a controlling and dominant mother who gets angry easily and does not understand her children. Wednesday is put in a position where she has to face danger and solve the crimes without help from her family, which contradicts the Addams family’s character of understanding and loving each other.
The audience only saw a very conventional American TV drama plot, instead of a Gothic-style drama. Wednesday starts with being alone and not being understood and ends with finding the truth and gaining friends. Contradicting the original storyline and depicting a stereotypical drama show of today.
Gothic characters should have consistent qualities because they are sober and know their choice. Wednesday's choice to escape confusion, when faced with her roommate's enthusiasm, is the opposite of goth. Wednesday, with her Gothic spirit, will never change herself to meet others’ expectations. Twisting characters’ personalities to meet the current trend of television themes, Wednesday is more like a typical American youth drama with visually Gothic elements.
For viewers who like the Gothic spirit, Netflix’s drama series, Wednesday, which tells the conventional American-style story under the guise of Gothic style is undoubtedly a deception. When a culture exists only in a superficial form and the ideas expressed by the core are replaced, the culture will no longer be the same as before. In short, when answering the question: did Netflix screw up The Addams Family, the answer is: Yes.