[Review] Jenna Ortega’s Wednesday portrays modern take on the Addams family

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Tribune News Service

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in “Wednesday.” Photo courtesy of Vlad Cioplea/Netflix/TNS.

Glory Lee, Senior Photo Editor, Social Media Editor, Event Coordinator

The new Netflix show, ‘Wednesday,’ was released on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The show, which is comprised of eight episodes each around 50 minutes in length, stars Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams. The series was directed by Tim Burton who is known for his unique and gothic themed films such as ‘BeetleJuice,’ ‘Corpse Bride,’ ‘Edward Scissorhands’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland.’

Ortega is a 20-year-old actress who had a role in several popular films and television shows including ‘Scream,’ ‘X,’ ‘Yes Day,’ ‘The Fallout’ and ‘You.’ She has started to take popularity in recent years, beautifully portraying her roles and capturing the emotions of the characters she plays.

Some other A-list actors in the cast of ‘Wednesday’ include Gwendoline Christie who plays the strict dean of Nevermore and Christina Ricci who guest stars as Marylin Thornhill, a botany teacher at Nevermore. Wednesday’s parents are also well known actors with her mother, Morticia Addams, being played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and her father, Gomez Lopez, being played by Luis Guzmán.

In ‘Wednesday,’ Ortega took a riveting and substantial take on the classic character, bringing a new perspective to the 1990s Wednesday Addams we all know and love. She amplified the character, giving more witty humor, dry sarcasm and social awkwardness than the original had. The original Wednesday Addams, played by Christina Ricci in 1991, portrayed Addams as a six-year-old girl who faced a fraudulent family member trying to swindle her parents out of money. Whereas this version centers solely on Wednesday’s teen life full of mystery, love, sarcasm and loneliness.

Netflix’s version of Wednesday expands on the character as a sixteen year old being sent away to Nevermore Academy, a prestigious school accepting of all outcasts. Home to witches, sirens, seers and werewolves, the school provides a safe space for these troubled adolescents struggling to make it in the real world.

Morticia and Gomez Addams, Wednesday’s parents, sent Wednesday away as a last and final resort to get her behavior in line. Nevermore is where Gomez and Morticia met and learned to control their powers and behaviors during their teen years. What they failed to realize when they sent Wednesday to Nevermore is that she would discover their past, solve a string of murders and fall into a love triangle all within a few months.

While most students in the show viewed Nevermore as a sanctuary, Wednesday sees the stone walls as a prison. Wednesday was sent there originally as a punishment for defending her brother from bullies by using unorthodox methods, like releasing starving piranhas into a pool of swimmers.

Wednesday’s complex character comes to life in Netflix’s new version, as viewers get to see why Wednesday acts the way she does and what makes her the way she is. Ortega captured Wednesday’s complex thoughts and feelings beautifully. What makes her so likable is that she herself knows that she can be unlikable.

Throughout the series, Wednesday is aware that she is toxic, unable to display her emotions, insensitive to others and is often unfiltered. There are moments in the show where viewers were able to experience the true loneliness she faces with her callous thoughts and feelings.

‘Wednesday’ brings a comedic plot full of mystery and supernatural elements that will keep you on your toes, it is a total must watch if you are a fan of teen supernatural romance. The show is filled with characters that have depth and display character development throughout the season.

While it would have been nice for some of the Nevermore students such as Bianca Barclay played by Joy Sunday, Yoko Tanaka played by Naomi J. Ogawa, Enid Sinclair played by Emma Myers, and Xavier Thorpe played by Percy Hynes White to have had more screen time, it is understandable that their lines are limited since this is only the first season and the primary purpose of the show was to establish Wednesday’s story.

Many are already thrilled to see what Ortega does next in her career. Her fans, most noticeable on Tiktok, Instagram and Twitter, highly anticipate almost every project she has been in. With Ortega’s incredible range, from playing doe eyed, stoic mellow toned Wednesday to emotionally traumatized characters, who can blame them.

As of right now Netflix has not confirmed a second season of ‘Wednesday,’ but rumors have surfaced from fellow actors and producers that Wednesday is not finished with her story.