It's getting pretty hard to root for anyone on American Horror Story: Cult. What started as a more black-and-white scenario of killer clowns targeting innocent people has devolved into a twisted narrative in which no one can really be trusted.
But still, I hold a soft spot in my heart for Winter Anderson, the goth-y Hillary-Clinton-enthusiast-turned-killer portrayed by Billie Lourd. From the very first episode, when we see her sweetly sharing her story of feminist awakening by Lena Dunham retweet, all while playing dangerous late night pinky swear games with her cult-leader brother, I was hooked. With her knee socks, black platform shoes, Victorian collars, and sullen sarcasm, she gave off distinctly Wednesday Addams vibes. And I don't know about you, but I love Wednesday Addams.
The comparison is surely no accident — take Winter's initials, for example: W.A. Ryan Murphy is famous for slipping pop culture references into his work, like The Black Dahlia cameo in AHS: Murder House, or Stevie Nicks' performance in AHS:Coven.
I grew up in the 1990s, when the role was synonymous with Christina Ricci. But before she was a popular Halloween costume circa 1996, Wednesday Addams was a cartoon, created in 1938 by Charles Addams as the daughter figure in The Addams Family, published in The New Yorker. The macabre family was then the subject of a TV show in 1964, with several movie reboots thereafter.
Based on the proverb," "Wednesday's child is full of woe," what makes the character particularly interesting is that she goes against everything a little girl should be. Rather than pink, she wears black. She rarely smiles, save for when she's watching her brother Pugsley guillotine her Marie-Antoinette doll or practicing her crossbow. She plays with spiders, not kittens. And yes, it's all somewhat psychotic, but it's also freeing; a respite from the constant barrage of pop culture depicting perfect, unattainable ideals of womanhood.
So, despite Winter Anderson's evident shortcomings (she is a killer, after all) , I welcome her as an adult Wednesday Addams stand-in. Strange times call for strange heroes.