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For a long time, the influence of The Addams Family's Wednesday Addams has largely been most noticeable on Halloween. In fact, the character makes a perfect last-minute costume: just pair some braids and black clothes with some grim one-liners and voilà, you have the ghoulish family's only daughter.
But in this hellish Year of Our Lord 2020, Wednesday's pop culture icon status has been elevated in a way nobody anticipated. While her nihilist attitude may have seemed funny and overly macabre before, it now feels all-too-relatable. Who knew Wednesday Addams would be the oracle of truth that would encapsulate exactly how everyone has been feeling during this absolute trash fire period of our history?
In revisiting both the 1991 film The Addams Family and its 1993 sequel, Addams Family Values ahead of our R29MovieClub viewing of the former this week, it's never been more clear that Wednesday was ahead of her time. When everyone else is shiny and naïve, the pre-teen is telling it like it is — she knows where babies come from and won't be coddled by any shiny metaphors; she'll call out pretentious do-gooders on their own hypocrisy; she'll even stand up for Indigenous People's rights (maybe as an excuse to burn everything down, but still). Even though in many ways her penchant for the gruesome is over-the-top, her deadpan wit and realistic outlook on life makes everyone else, in fact, seem like a ridiculous caricature.
Wednesday's brother Pugsley is similarly conniving (though not as clever) and shares her taste for destruction, but isn't met with nearly the same shock and horror as those who encounter his sister. Wednesday subverts the expectation for young women to be angelically civil and unflinchingly positive. She doesn't care what anyone else thinks — she's quirky, weird, dark, and unapologetically herself.
It's tiring to try to see the good in everything. It's emotionally taxing. Especially in a time when a global pandemic is changing life as we know it, the country is being ravaged by natural disasters, racism and misogyny rule, and our leaders are flushing democracy down the toilet, just keeping the faith seems like a chore. Wednesday sees the worst in everything and has made peace with it: "You severely underestimate my apathy," she says in the 1991 film.
Just in time for the spooky season and, more generally, this — gestures broadly — Spooky Time, let Wednesday Addams be your ultimate, "I hate everything" mood.