Spoilers ahead. Wednesday is all about lessons. Both the Netflix series, and the titular main character, are ripe with learnings, but because this isn’t some after-school special on PBS, the lessons are a lot more subtle — or more in-your-face, depending on how you look at them. Instead of a PSA about the dangers and harms of bullying, the first episode of the series opens with Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) unleashing two bags of piranhas in the school pool during the water polo team’s practice. It’s punishment for tormenting her brother Pugsley, something only she’s allowed to do. In lieu of a lesson on accepting others, the series — adapted from the original Addams Family comic and executive produced by Tim Burton, who also directed half of the season’s eight episodes — populates our screens with a school full of “misfits” at Nevermore Academy, spotlighting the wolves, sirens, and Gorgons as more than outsiders, and the center of the story. And to help Wednesday warm her frigid, black heart and learn the true meaning of friendship — there’s Enid Sinclair (Emma Myers).
Enid is the multi-coloured antithesis to Wednesday. While Wednesday is stoic and cynical, Enid is giggly and upbeat. Wednesday sees social media as “a soul-sucking void of meaningless affirmation,” but Enid runs her own Perez Hilton-style gossip blog, shops at stores unironically called “Hawte Kewture,” and knits matching snoods for herself and Wednesday. And, she’s also dying to become BFFs with Wednesday, whether or not Wednesday wants to. She’s in many ways, “cringey” in her earnestness (although Wednesday would never dare use that word), but she also gives viewers permission to not only like what they like (regardless of how “cringe” it may be), but highlights that those wants and desires are valid.
For Emma Myers, who plays Enid, a character like Enid is important to have, especially in such a tonally dark show like Wednesday, specifically because the series is meant to highlight and showcase a variety of types of people. “If you just had one sort of [person] in the show, not many people are going to be able to relate to it,” she tells Refinery29. “So I really like that she’s kind of a comic relief; she's very bright and bubbly, and I like the contrast between her and Wednesday.”
While many viewers may not be able to directly relate to *every* aspect of Enid, like the fact that she’s actually a wolf, her optimism is a great foil to our antagonistic protagonist — like when she invites one of the local townspeople to the winter dance — regardless of whether or not it works out for her in the end. She’s trusting, and it’s this difference between the two characters, and eventually friends, that draws them to each other.
“Opposites attract,” Myers says. “They can both teach each other very important lessons.” Despite her outwardly bubbly and confident personality, Enid is insecure about her inability to fully “wolf out” like her family and peers (she can only manage to grow sharp stiletto nails). “It's hard to be patient with herself and stand up for herself and not take anything from anybody,” Myers says. But after meeting Wednesday, we see this change. It’s subtle at first. She asks out the guy she likes and eventually stands up to her mom, who wants to send her to the equivalent of a wolf-conversion therapy camp. As Enid tells her mom: “If I’m meant to wolf out then I’ll do it on my own timeline and not yours. I just hope that one day you’ll finally accept me for who I am.”
As for what Enid teaches Wednesday? That becomes clear towards the end of the first season, when the pair have a particularly tense confrontation in their dorm room. On the hunt to find out who — or what — is terrorising the residents of Jericho, Wednesday drags Enid and her love interest Tyler to an old abandoned house. They’re all attacked, and although Enid is physically unharmed, she comes to a stark realisation: Regardless of how much she tries to make Wednesday her friend and show that she cares, Wednesday doesn’t really think of other people. “You will use anyone to get what you want, even if it puts them in danger,” she tells Wednesday. “You want to be alone, Wednesday? Be alone.”
“To be honest, [Wednesday] wasn't the best of friends to Enid,” Myers says. “Wednesday basically just uses people for her own interests, and I think [Wednesday] really needed that [callout] … You need people in your life to kind of keep you in check.” And to help you open up, which is what Wednesday does — albeit as slowly as a crypt door — by the end of the series. In episode 7, after the friends and roomies make up, Wednesday tells Enid she no longer has to divide their room with duct tape to mark off their separate sides. Is it Wednesday mellowing out, Enid muses? No, “more like evolving,” Wednesday replies.
“Enid just wants to show Wednesday that she can feel emotions and still be a cool, strong person,” Myers says. Which is a lesson everyone can learn from.
Wednesday is now streaming on Netflix.