Why Must All Teens and Their Parents Watch the Wednesday Series?
As soon as the series came out in 2022 it became an instant hit. It was particularly loved by children. We are of course talking about Wednesday. The dance of the main character went viral on the Internet, and teenagers were discussing the plot of the series during their breaks with lots of enthusiasm. The series did turn out to be good, however, what is the actual secret of its success and why is it beneficial for both teenagers and their parents to watch it? Let’s dig into this with a psychologist.
- Wednesday: The Most Popular Series of 2022
- Psychological Breakdown of the Series and the Plot (Warning: Spoilers!)
- The Wednesday Family Will Demonstrate How to go Through the Teenage Phase
- The Family of Enid Sinclair: What Harm can an Authoritative Parent Do to a Child?
- The Family of Bianca Barclay: How Children Become the Victims of Parental Blackmail
- The Family of Xavier Thorpe: Why the Child is in Need of Their Parents’ Attention
- The Family of Tyler Galpin: Why Children Get Involved with the Bad Crowd or Fall Under Some Bad Influence
- The Nevermore Academy as a Demonstration of the Relationship Between Teenage Peers
- The Psychologist’s Impressions of the Series
Wednesday: The Most Popular Series of 2022
Wednesday premiered on November 23, 2022, on the Netflix streaming service. Considering the fact that the popularity of this service has lately experienced a sharp fall, the hype for this new series could be considered a real success: in the first week, the series scored 341.2 million hours of views, almost catching up with the absolute hit, The Squid Game, which had 571 million hours of views. The world-famous director Tim Burton was at the helm of the series, and the creators of the series Alfred Gough and Miles Millar (authors of the equally popular Smallville series) played an important role, too.
The series has instantly gathered a fan base, and social media turned the Wednesday dance from the fourth episode into a new trend that millions of people picked up on TikTok.
The main role of Wednesday Addam was played by a very charismatic actress Jenna Ortega. Her ability to convey subtle emotions with a blank expression is amazing. The cast also includes well-known actors, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones (Morticia Addams), Gwendoline Christie (Director at the Nevermore Academy), and Christina Ricci (botany teacher at the Nevermore Academy).
Special thanks to the screenwriters and authors of the dialogues! A very pleasant dark humor, which doesn’t have any vulgarity, and it rather uplifts the mood, whereas the investigative part makes you binge-watch the series by quickly moving from episode to episode.
If you haven’t watched the series yet, I highly recommend it as a show for the entertainment of the whole family. We will discuss the psychological side of the issue a little later.
What’s the Plot? (Without Spoilers)
The basis of the plot is quite simple: a difficult teenager, an intellectually developed loner, is sent to a boarding school in hopes that her behavior would be improved. However, it turns out that strange things are happening at the school, and that the main character is the chosen one. Only she is able to solve all the riddles and defeat the villain. During the investigation, she will make friends and discover traitors, as a result, she will learn to interact with society and, possibly, stay for further studies.
Who is Wednesday Addams?
Wednesday Adams is the only daughter in the notorious Addams family. The characters first appeared as an unknown grim family in a 1938 comic book.
The Addams family was a satire of the ideal American family: insanely loving spouses, daughter and son, doing the right thing and always being clean and tidy. However, the family’s dark humor quickly won the love of the audience, and the characters got their first TV project in 1964.
At the moment, 6 series, 5 films, and 6 computer games have been created about the Addams. The Addams Family also appears in episodes of other popular films, for example, in the animated cartoon series named The new cases of Scooby-Doo.
Wednesday, a girl with black braids, has won the audience’s love right from the first days. The absence of obvious emotions, love with notes of hypertrophied sadism for her younger brother (those who had brothers or sisters understand what it is about) and this combination in a child is very vivid and it attracts lots of attention.
Psychological Breakdown of the Series and the Plot (Warning: Spoilers!)
Let’s dive into the psychological world of The Addams Family and the Wednesday series. Is this family healthy or is there something wrong with them?
The series reflects the psychology of adolescence and of the child-parent relationship. One of the episodes is almost entirely devoted to parent’s day at the Academy, on which moms and dads come to visit the students.
The Wednesday Family Will Demonstrate How to go Through the Teenage Phase
The mother, Morticia, and the dad, Gomez, are madly in love with each other. They take care of their children, instill good values in them and rejoice at their achievements. Yes, the values in this family may seem strange, but nevertheless, the Addams have love, family traditions, and mutual assistance (even if they do not talk about it openly).
Despite the demonstrative coldness, it is clear that each family member feels protected within the family and that their boundaries are not violated, they are rather encouraged. For example, all birthday and other holiday gifts mentioned in the film are in line with Wednesday’s specific hobbies (such as a dissection kit or the corpse of a squirrel). This is a small but revealing detail, stating that the family knows, remembers, and, most importantly, accepts everything that their daughter is fond of, within reasonable limits, of course.
The ideal family is comprised of understanding, acceptance and support
Wednesday is shown to us in the very first minutes of the show. She takes revenge on school hooligans that have offended her brother, as to her, “only she can offend him.” So, when Pugsley comes to the Academy to visit his sister, he says that he misses her.
Wednesday knows each member of her family well and understands what each of them is capable or incapable of. The appearance of Uncle Fester in the series also shows us the Addams as a very close-knit family. Wednesday helps him hide, while Fester helps her investigate. All this is considered to be something normal, so when Wednesday anticipates Fester’s desire to eat bees from the hive twice, it puts a sweet smile on the face of the relatives, they are clearly on the same page with their daughter!
Perhaps the Adams family has an unhealthy attraction (by our standards) to everything otherworldly and criminal, and they constantly hint at sadism and death. Nevertheless, at the same time, they demonstrate a healthy relationship with each other, filled with understanding, support, and acceptance. Wednesday is well-rounded, independent, and self-confident. You would surely agree that not all children can boast of such personal qualities.
Since only the Addams have got such dark values, it is difficult for them to become part of society, however, given the fact that the family was originally created as a caricature of society, all the “features” that were given to them, do not characterize the family as abnormal. It is for the dark humor and satire that we fell in love with this Gothic family.
Thing as an ally and a parental control tool
Some special attention should be devoted to an unusual assistant and family member called Thing. It is a living right hand that the Addams family leaves at the Academy to secretly watch over Wednesday. However, all secrets reveal themselves at the end of the day. So, in order to continue watching over Wednesday, Thing pledges allegiance to his young ward. This way, parental control turns into an ally and a colleague of the young detective.
The reason why Morticia and Gomez decide to leave “parental control” is clear: they are worried about Wednesday. They hope that Thing will help the girl in difficult times. That is exactly what we see throughout the series. Thing constantly turns out to be at the right time in the right place, whilst keeping to the girl’s instructions and managing to obtain the necessary information. However, such fruitful cooperation becomes possible only after Wednesday finds out about the “spy” and agrees to cooperate on her own terms.
Modern parents also try to control their children by using parental control apps, however, if there is no agreement with the child, all attempts to monitor children’s activity will inevitably fail.
Competition with the mother and the correct way of going through the teenage phase
A separate storyline is dedicated to Wednesday’s relationship with her mother, Morticia. Morticia Addams is the star of the Academy, a straight A-star student, as they would say. Apparently, Morticia competed with many Nevermore students—-we can gather it from her dialogues with the headmistress of the Academy, with whom they studied together, as these are filled with bold hints and elegant quarrels about the past.
Wednesday does not want to repeat the glory of her mother, she is disgusted by the manifestations of her parents’ feelings for each other and denies any social interactions. Most likely, she is afraid that she will not be able to compete with her mother on an equal footing, hence such a strong denial of her opportunities in a competitive, social and love life. Indeed, in reality, Wednesday is a smart, educated, athletic, insightful, and attractive girl, with her own strong personality. Despite its difficult nature, she manages to get two admirers and several friends and even manages to win her rival over to her side, in the very first days of her being at the school. This means that it is not difficult for her to achieve the success of her mother, however, it is important for her to emancipate herself and to show herself that she is not “like that”.
We have to give the right credit to Morticia for never belittling her daughter’s abilities throughout the entire movie. The mother constantly demonstrates a supportive stance. She sincerely wishes success to her daughter and recognizes the differences that they both have. Their superpowers, although similar, have different driving forces. Morticia admits that she will not be able to teach her daughter how to cope with visions and so Wednesday will have to look for another mentor.
It’s very brave to recognize the limits of your competence and not slip into the position of “mom knows best.”
We can observe one of the most important stages in the formation of the personality of a teenager, here. Ultimately, parents recognize Wednesday’s right to adulthood. The girl finally realizes that her parents accept her unusual personality.
We can see the natural development and evolution process of a parent-child relationship here. Wednesday is not only capable of independent living, but can also help her parents using her unique knowledge and skills on her initiative.
Why did the parents send their difficult child to a boarding school instead of helping their child on their own?
Why is such a wonderful family sending Wednesday to Nevermore instead of creating a closer bond with their daughter? Firstly, they believe that the daughter will cope with any situation on her own. She will find a way to adapt and survive, or she can run away. Her parents give her the opportunity to see teenagers like her, to look at them from the outside, and to become independent.
Secondly, Wednesday does not depend on anyone’s opinion and demands freedom. Nevermore, despite its closed approach, provides her with an opportunity to demonstrate her level of maturity.
Thirdly, the parents have themselves gone through Nevermore and know that only there Wednesday can be herself to the fullest. Therefore, in this situation, sending her to this school was a wise decision.
The Family of Enid Sinclair: What Harm can an Authoritative Parent Do to a Child?
During the series, we get to know other teenagers who are also going through difficult times. For example, Wednesday’s neighbor, Enid, is about to become a full-fledged werewolf. However, all she can do is grow wolf claws.
Enid is very worried that she will never fully become a member of the pack, will not be able to find a mate, and will remain unknown. At the same time, this girl is an activist and the spotlight of the group. She gives the impression of a “proper” teenager. Her room is represented by a combination of all of the colors of the rainbow with a maximum degree of cuteness. She is the complete opposite of Wednesday. In fact, Enid is in a much worse situation if we look at her from the perspective of her relationship with her parents.
Enid’s mother is presented as cold and manipulative. She deliberately puts an emphasis on a problematic subject for her daughter, over and over again. It is important for her that the girl becomes a werewolf as soon as possible. The mother doesn’t care about Enid’s feelings; for her, it is much more important what other people say. She constantly manipulates her daughter through resentment.
The silent, pliant father of the family particularly stands out against the backdrop of an authoritative mother. He loves his daughter, however, he decides to adopt a neutral position. As a result, Enid is forced to fight her mother’s authoritarianism and defend her boundaries all on her own.
The further development of relationships in this family is still unclear, however, I can assume that the conversion is not the only thing that worries Enid’s mother. Most likely, even when Enid learns to turn into a beast, there will be a new area of life that the mother would want to control, for example, choosing a partner or a career path. With this approach, Enid will have to endure a serious battle for the right to be an adult. Coming back to Wednesday, I could say that despite all the bleakness, their family members accept each other for who they are.
The Family of Bianca Barclay: How Children Become the Victims of Parental Blackmail
Bianca is an independent and self-confident girl. She is ambitious and demanding. Being a siren, Bianca can convince anyone of whatever she wants to convey. The girl’s huge fear of not being loved stems from this. All her demonstrative self-confidence is used to hide inner feelings, and the fear of being misunderstood and not needed forces her to build friendships and love relationships based on manipulation.
Interestingly, Bianca’s mother also does not give her daughter the opportunity to fulfill herself, demanding to join the sirens and use her abilities for fraudulent actions. When Bianca refuses, her mother begins to threaten and blackmail her.
How often do parents resort to this method? “You will go to study where I say, or you will no longer set foot here!” I don’t want to spoil much, so I won’t talk about blackmail within this family. Watch the series and pay special attention to this parent-child relationship—this is how you shouldn’t behave with your child.
Most likely, Bianca did not form adequate basic trust in the world because of her manipulative mother. This makes it difficult for her to build trusting relationships, so she is very defensive. It is easier for Bianca to look cold and independent in order to hide her subtle mental state. This creates a sharp contrast with Wednesday, who does not show emotions because she considers them useless, as she never had to fight for love and understanding. Bianca chooses to hide them so that no one hurts her.
The Family of Xavier Thorpe: Why the Child is in Need of Their Parents’ Attention
Xavier is a student of Nevermore, whose talent is the ability to revive drawings, as well as to see prophetic dreams. He knew Wednesday as a child. Xavier appears to us as a lonely romantic, seeking understanding and acceptance. He breaks up with Bianca because he is afraid of being manipulated. He tries to help Wednesday and, despite the fact that she pushes him away over and over again, he continues moving toward her.
We do not see his parents, but we hear about them in dialogues very often. The father of Xavier is a world-famous dreamer, he studies this phenomenon and he is a kind of the star of the supernatural world. It looks like Xavier spent a lot of time alone, because of which he grew up very quickly and he now wants to become part of a group, to feel like he belongs and he is needed.
Xavier constantly blames his father for saying that his son is a “disgrace to the family.” Even when Xavier turns out to be the prime suspect, none of the parents appear in the frame. Xavier does not receive proper support from the family. This is very sad, because he suffers from loneliness, doubts his abilities, and, apparently, he finds himself in a very depressed state.
The Family of Tyler Galpin: Why Children Get Involved with the Bad Crowd or Fall Under Some Bad Influence
Tyler is initially presented as a very positive character. He is open to communication, ready to help, understands people well, remembers their preferences, and tries to fulfill their wishes. Not much is revealed about his family.
Tyler’s father is the city’s sheriff. He loves his son and so he tries to protect him in every possible way. The family has clearly got some secrets regarding Tyler’s mother, and all the attempts of the young man to find out the details or just to spend time together with his father, end up with nothing, as the father aims to get away from the subject of the conversation. Such behavior usually leads to the fact that it is difficult for a child to trust a parent, thus such children can easily fall under bad influence.
The Nevermore Academy as a Demonstration of the Relationship Between Teenage Peers
The screenwriters were able to create a typical high school, with a strong supernatural touch. Children are split into groups according to interests and similar traits (vampires, gorgons, sirens, etc.), being divided into leaders and outsiders, however, everyone feels they are “not like that”, although they are all initially “outcasts”.
The dynamics of friendship among the characters are interesting. Initially, Wednesday is perceived as a curiosity. She is treated with interest and wariness. Bianca feels rivalry with her, Enid tries to find a common language, because they have to live in the same room, whilst Xavier displays sympathy. Interestingly, the seemingly cold and indifferent Wednesday becomes seen as attractive to many students at school. Perhaps the whole point is that she has got a healthy level of self-esteem and does not care what others think of her. She got the right to be herself from her parents and to enjoy it.
It turns out along the way that just having some mere self-confidence is not enough. In order to create a truly strong friendship, you need a well-developed emotional intelligence, manifested in the ability to track your emotions and understand others. It is a skill Wednesday learns in the process.
The Psychologist’s Impressions of the Series
The series is very binge-worthy, especially if you aren’t aiming to search for the shortcomings of the plot or the script, as if we dig deeper, we could find them in any film. The series has got some great dark humor, a beautiful image, an interesting presentation, and some great acting. A little bit of horror, detective, comedy, and drama, all in the right proportions, making it nice to watch, allowing us to fully feel the character development. Yes, their personalities are sketched with just a few strokes, however, it is still done very brightly and tastefully.
The main thing is that the series presents real teenage life, despite all the mysticism. Children try to build relationships, circumvent prohibitions, reveal their sympathy, and correct their own mistakes.
Interestingly, the Wednesday family, despite initially looking too gloomy and noir, turns out to be the most adequate and balanced. That is why the main character is capable of solving riddles, she has independent thinking skills, and she is well-rounded, despite all of her particularities.
Yes, the world is exaggerated, however, it is because of these exaggerations that we are given the opportunity to see our lives under a magnifying glass.
In my opinion, this is a very kind film, despite the dark humor and horror elements. Who is this series for? Teenagers? Undoubtedly! Parents? Surely! For spending time together? Great idea! Of course, everyone will see something of their own in it, however, this is another reason to talk and discuss what different people think about it.
What can this movie teach the parents?
- Accept the child by taking their personal traits and interests into account.
- Keep track of what are your decisions and what are the decisions of your child, and whether the teenager needs the same as you do.
- Secrets within the family are not the best idea, as according to the proverb, all secrets inevitably reveal themselves sooner or later.
- No treasures of the world can replace the presence of the parents in the life of their child.
- Do not compare the child with yourself; they are unique and they must choose their own path.
- Try to speak directly and avoid manipulation. Blackmail, threats and tears are a bad method of education, and one day they are likely to turn against you.
- Do not be afraid to hand over the child’s responsibility for their own life. They will cope. Most importantly, you would have to support them and believe in them.
As for teenagers, the series allows everyone to find themselves in a life situation close to them and, perhaps, draw conclusions for their future behavior. Here are some examples of this:
- Talk about what is happening to you and why. This is very well illustrated by the example of Enith, who fell in love with a gorgon classmate, and since both did not really explain the reasons behind their actions, they almost missed out on the opportunity to be together.
- Find a balance between “being yourself” and “being in society.” Wednesday tried to “be herself” so hard that she almost ended up alone.
- Think before you do. Wednesday stubbornly searched for answers to her questions, not thinking about the consequences for herself and her friends, thus letting the innocent parties suffer.
- Independent living is not only rights and opportunities, it is also a responsibility. Bianca ran away from her family, from their pressure and manipulation. She now has to face her problems on her own.
- The first impression is deceptive. No spoilers here—watch the show!
So, to sum up, in our opinion, the Wednesday series didn’t become popular for no reason. It is filled with a good atmosphere, it is quite logical, and most importantly, full of life. Watch it with the whole family and enjoy this pleasant activity followed by an engaging discussion!
The picture on the front page: Wednesday series by Tim Burton, 2022
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