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Home LATEST NEWS Netflix's 'Wednesday' Series Revives the Anti-Thanksgiving Legacy of 'The Addams Family Values'

Netflix’s ‘Wednesday’ Series Revives the Anti-Thanksgiving Legacy of ‘The Addams Family Values’

Days before Thanksgiving Day 1993, in Addams Family Values, Wednesday Addams decided to go off script during her summer camp Thanksgiving contest. Now, 29 years later, a new generation can watch her do much the same thing in Netflix’s spooky and mysterious new series, Wednesday.

The 1993 scene is by far the most memorable in the film: Dressed as Pocahontas, Christina Ricci’s Wednesday Addams tells her bubbly pilgrim scene partner: “You have taken over the land that is rightfully ours. Years from now, my people will be forced to live in trailers on reservations. Your people will wear cardigans and drink highballs.

She continues: “We will sell our bracelets at the roadside. You will play golf and enjoy hot snacks. My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick turns. 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 catches fire from there.

The new series attempts to recapture that magic in its third episode, “Friend or Woe,” which finds Wednesday and his supernatural classmates from Nevermore Academy volunteering for “Outreach Day.” The episode, like the series that contains it, often feels like something we’ve seen before. In the end, it’s a bet on the extravaganza, when Wednesday blows up the white patriarchy by blowing up a commemorative bronze statue of a settler.

The annual party is apparently designed to ease tensions between the “outcasts” and the “normals”, who live in Jericho, founded by early settlers Joseph Crackstone. Convinced that Crackstone is connected to a series of visions she’s been having—this Wednesday Addams is also a bit of a clairvoyant—on Wednesday she takes a position at the historic Pilgrim World amusement park.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Wednesday supervisors at the Ye Olde Fudgery, one of whom goes by the name “OC” (“original settler”), are less than pleased with his performance. Neither is his director, Gwendoline Christie’s Larissa Weems.

Handing out samples to a crowd of German tourists, Miércoles tells them (in German): “Enjoy your ‘authentic’ pilgrim candy made from cocoa beans purchased by oppressed indigenous peoples of the Amazon. All proceeds go to defending this pathetic whitewashing of American history. So fudge wasn’t invented for another 258 years. No tenant?

And that’s before she wanders off, has a vision in the ruins of the original Jericho meeting house, and decides to set the whole place on fire.

The general outlines of that vision? Wednesday has a 400-year-old ancestor, Goody Addams, who just escaped being burned alive in the town meeting house with all the other “outcasts” Crackstone managed to round up, including his mother. Goody looks like Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday, but with a blonde wig.

“You’ve stolen the land,” Goody tells Crackstone as he prepares to lock her up. “You’ve slaughtered the innocent. You have stolen our peaceful spirit. You are the real monster, all of you.”

Crackstone’s response? It’s about what you’d expect from a colonial witch hunter: “You are abominations in the devil’s claws!” Hey says. “I will not stop until I have removed all the outcasts from this new world. Godless creatures!” (subtle!)

Wednesday might not have been the most important player in the original addams family series, in which she is actually the younger sister. But the passage of time, a handful of adaptations, and most importantly, the sheer power of Christina Ricci have transformed the braided weirdo into an icon for the outcast. At least, that’s certainly the idea the new Netflix series seems to be based on. One of her favorite pastimes on this new show is defending the little guy, a nice quality, but also one that seems a bit serious for the cutesy Addams brand.

Set fire to the new Crackstone fountain though? That’s very on-brand for Wednesday. Looking at a Crackstone statue whose unveiling is due to serenade with a Fleetwood Mac song on cello, Wednesday complains, “I’ve never faced an adversary cast in bronze.”

Cue one of WednesdayThere are many elaborately planned ruses. At first, it seems that everything is going according to plan. Wednesday plays the song, there’s a speech… And then the Thing shows up to ignite a line of explosive powder that leads directly to the monument. Wednesday seizes the opportunity to switch to what the show calls “an intense arrangement of Vivaldi’s ‘Winter,’ and so intergenerational revenge is served cold.

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