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Wednesday (2022-)

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(As I have not yet finished watching the series (and, in all likelihood, won't), this post is not at all meant to be read as a review or a deep analysis of the content. I am merely sharing my own reflections and extending an invitation to anyone who is willing to engage philosophically in regards to understanding the series and its mainstream appeal.) 

The 8-part TV-series, Wednesday, has recently made headway in the world of entertainment. The series has received glowing reviews from all over the place, and its rating on IMDb currently sits at a whopping 8.3/10. Although the particular genre is not up my alley (I haven't even watched Harry Potter, guys), I decided that I would give it a shot nonetheless. After having delayed it over and over again, I finally watched episode one earlier tonight. 

As I'm sitting here trying to communicate my thoughts in a coherent way, I find that I struggle to come up with anything concrete to say about the plot, and I think this is because of a few reasons, one being the fact that I was left with this bitter taste in my mouth because of what I perceive as the forced politicization sprinkled throughout the script (a pattern I notice in many modern movies and shows). This is the crux of the thread, so allow me to elaborate. Slight spoilers ahead, so beware. 

Although I for some reason do take pleasure in watching a character like Wednesday Addams on the screen, it didn't fail to elude me that the following sentiments were all expressed by her at some point within the very first episode: chivalry is a part of the evil "patriarchy", the Founding Fathers deserve no reverence because their legacy is genocide, public schools are underfunded, being a wife and/or housewife should not be the pursuit of an independent woman. Now, it isn't just that I disagree with the aforementioned views, but that they were simply not necessary for her to express in the context of building up her character to the audience. I will continue. All throughout the episode, Wednesday is presented to the audience as being able to dominate everyone in her midst through sheer intensity of character. However, there is one glaring exception, namely during the scene in which she receives a cut above her eye having been on the losing side of a sword-fighting dual against a fellow student at Nevermore. The student? A...black female. Sorry, but in this context I can only assume that is some kind of intentional symbolism. Anyway, yes, I'm aware that these are all very scattered points, and that you should not judge a whole series based on what amounts to trivial non-essentials, but nonetheless, they all remained in my mind as I was watching. Eventually, I just felt such discomfort that I simply had to turn it off, close down Netflix, and do something else with my time. 

Although the supernatural element still doesn't strike me as all that appealing, I think I would've kept on watching had the social justice agenda not been so overt. I wonder if any of you struggle with this as well whenever you consume entertainment and if there are any positive ways of dealing with it so that one avoids feeling alienated or depressed.

Has anyone watched the series? If so, what are your thoughts on it? What is the theme? Philosophically speaking, does it say anything about Western culture that a series like Wednesday has successfully risen to the top so rapidly? Let's discuss it. 

Edited by RationalEgoist
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1 hour ago, RationalEgoist said:

chivalry is a part of the evil "patriarchy"

I took the statements that Wednesday made about "patriarchy" as more like eye rolling sarcasm and morbid humor that makes people uncomfortable. She never really took it seriously. 

1 hour ago, RationalEgoist said:

the Founding Fathers deserve no reverence because their legacy is genocide

Well, no, that was about a character who literally was genocidal. The people who were executed or killed were only described as outcasts, they weren't even given an ethnicity. 

1 hour ago, RationalEgoist said:

being a wife and/or housewife should not be the pursuit of an independent woman

Thematically that was barely even there, except maybe when she rebelled against her mom, a housewife. Wednesday (a teenager who is bound to make many mistakes) learned how to better accept other people pursuing different values than she would. She grew to like Enid a lot, for instance.

1 hour ago, RationalEgoist said:

The student? A...black female. Sorry, but in this context I can only assume that is some kind of intentional symbolism.

You are reading into it. I forget her name, but if it was inconsistent with her character or abilities, that would make sense what you say. But she is pretty damn good at everything she does, with the elitist attitude. The conflict here could have been written better, making it clear what this does to Wednesday's character arc, but it certainly doesn't fit in with "token black woman". Part of it was to portray Wednesday as an outcast among outcasts.

1 hour ago, RationalEgoist said:

Philosophically speaking, does it say anything about Western culture that a series like Wednesday has successfully risen to the top so rapidly?

I think it does a good job at getting at themes of individuality and figuring out problems rationally and carefully, all without the usual or overbearing notions of "I love my collective ethnic identity!" Or "I want to do what I can to fit in!" 

Whatever you might say about the execution of the plot or characterization, a big focus is on individuality, and as we would expect if individuality is involved in a genuine way, that goes alongside honesty, productivity (Wednesday does things with intention and mentions things like writing for one hour every day), things like that.

Edited by Eiuol
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As a preface, I grant that since you have watched more of the series than I have, I could be mistaken about my interpretations. 

18 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I took the statements that Wednesday made about "patriarchy" as more like eye rolling sarcasm and morbid humor that makes people uncomfortable. She never really took it seriously. 

You did? I thought that the clarity and forcefulness with which Wednesday delivered her sentences implied genuine seriousness. Now, she is nihilistic as a whole, which is another reason why I argue that dropping these nuggets of social justice ideology into the script can come across as forced. 

19 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Well, no, that was about a character who literally was genocidal. The people who were executed or killed were only described as outcasts, they weren't even given an ethnicity.

Hm, I wonder if we're referring to the same scene here. I'm referring to the scene where the "pilgrims" walk up to Wednesday and she looks at a flyer/pamphlet from a theme park. You could be right, perhaps the meaning escaped me completely. 

21 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

Thematically that was barely even there, except maybe when she rebelled against her mom, a housewife. Wednesday (a teenager who is bound to make many mistakes) learned how to better accept other people pursuing different values than she would. She grew to like Enid a lot, for instance.

I didn't claim that I was isolating essentials here. I can see how you could justify it out of a sense of independence/rebelliousness, this would fall in line with Wednesday's character. But whenever something corresponds to social justice ideology so well, I do get suspicious about the intentions of the writers. 

24 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

You are reading into it. I forget her name, but if it was inconsistent with her character or abilities, that would make sense what you say. But she is pretty damn good at everything she does, with the elitist attitude. The conflict here could have been written better, making it clear what this does to Wednesday's character arc, but it certainly doesn't fit in with "token black woman". Part of it was to portray Wednesday as an outcast among outcasts.

Sure. But, then again, I could just flip this on its head and ask why they would specifically cast a black woman for this role. I haven't seen the rest of the series, perhaps Wednesday gets to enact her revenge later on in the storyline. "No good deed goes unpunished"...

27 minutes ago, Eiuol said:

I think it does a good job at getting at themes of individuality and figuring out problems rationally and carefully, all without the usual or overbearing notions of "I love my collective ethnic identity!" Or "I want to do what I can to fit in!" 

That's interesting. As I said, I was actually somewhat fond of Wednesday's character. In particular her independence, her ingenuity, her awkward bluntness, and the overall mystique emanating from her. I also recognize her destructive streak. In the therapy session, she literally said that "kill or be killed" is a summary of her personal philosophy. In other words, the world is a zero sum game, and the interests of men clash. Chaos over the predictability of reason. 

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On 1/6/2023 at 11:43 PM, RationalEgoist said:

Now, she is nihilistic as a whole, which is another reason why I argue that dropping these nuggets of social justice ideology into the script can come across as forced. 

I wouldn't call her nihilistic, just pessimistic of anything. But I think if you watch it long enough, Wednesday develops in a way that she is being portrayed as a teenager that makes mistakes. I would agree that mentioning the word "patriarchy" kind of detracts from her real point, rolling her eyes at having to be social about things she doesn't care about. Your concern about social justice ideology could make sense, but whatever poorly written one-liners there might be, I think we can judge the overall theme as emphasizing first-hand thinking and doing your own thing. 

As far as the pilgrims though, I took that more like seeing them as collectivist and racist religionists who want to burn witches at the stake. Which they really were. If anything, it's good that the main villain isn't some generic white guy with no psychological motive behind his actions. He sees other people who don't try to belong to the collective as bad, although this is a little bit derivative from Harry Potter where Voldemort hated anyone who wasn't a pureblood and anyone who didn't desire to be a pureblood. Then again, that trope has been around longer than that even. 

By the way, you might like the show Sabrina more. Similar themes, and arguably executed better. 

On 1/6/2023 at 11:43 PM, RationalEgoist said:

In other words, the world is a zero sum game, and the interests of men clash. Chaos over the predictability of reason. 

Oh, I don't think her view is that chaos overtakes reason. She is meticulous about her reasoning all the time, but a premise that she can't trust anyone and she has to out-reason everyone else. 

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