I decided long ago not to write comprehensively about television the way I attempt to do with books and movies. In part because when do you write (episode? season? entire show? —what if I don’t finish?), in part because I don’t watch a lot of tv, in part because tv viewing can be incidental in a way sitting down with a book cannot be, in part because I just don’t take television as seriously, etc etc etc.
This does mean I haven’t written about show I could say much about (Ted Lasso, Tales from the Loop, Mrs Maisel, Severance) but it also means that when I do actually watch tv (not that often, alas) I don’t feel any pressure (which means I didn’t have to talk about how terrible Loot was). It remains meaningless in a way I’ve lost with books and movies. Don’t get me wrong—I LIKE writing about all books and movies—but I am more intentional there.
I love Charles Addams and his kooky creations and I love most of the first half of Tim Burton’s career, but if it weren’t for a couple “surprised” reviews of Wednesday, I would have assumed he was just falling deeper in the hole of cliche he’s been digging the last twenty years.
But here’s where the fact that it’s television works in its favor.
So by request of the 13yrold and the peer pressure he feels, we have now watched the first four episodes of Wednesday and I am loving it. The world has entered my dreams every single night since we started. I love the aesthetics and the sets and the acting.
But I realized recently that I probably would not like it if it were a movie. The show does go against some of my perceived rules for the Addams Family universe and it does engage, lightly, in some of my pet peeves re stories about teenagers. It takes some shortcuts with characterization and it can be sloppy with geography and this and that and th’other things—stuff I would likely complain about and would ruin the Time Burton movie called Wednesday but which roll off me like water since it’s “just” television.
I’m not sure what the moral for me is here. I mean—we all need some candy in our diet, so I don’t feel like I need to up my tv game. I watch so little compared to most people and I’ve been disappointed by pretty much every Marvel show so I’m still capable of being snobby (perhaps the end of Wednesday will ruin it the same way the ends of WandaVision, Loki, etc, lessened those shows for me).
Maybe it’s just that the Addams Family is so deeply nostalgic for me that I can forgive minor failures as long as the whole rings true for me. I dunno.
But I’m loving it and I hope that continues.
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