I stopped watching the first episode of Wednesday half way through. (I tried to go to the end, I promise, I even stopped then resumed it). But I want to take this opportunity to tell you what I really liked about Barry Sonnenfeld's The Addams Family.
First of all, sure: it's a difficult type of story to navigate. It's tricky for a screenwriter. When following a family where everything is upside down, where good is bad, where up is down, and where all the values are reversed, it may be difficult for the viewer to identify with the characters. If they love sadness and failure so much, what is their motivation to overcome the obstacles put by the film on their path?
I thought Sonnenfeld's version had struck a good balance. But also: he managed to completely turn the tide.
Without losing the spirit of the original series, the film had brilliantly portrayed what many psychologists, sociologists and even Zen masters would describe as the perfect family.
Yes, I promise. If you don't believe me, I encourage you to review the film from this angle. I could not list all their virtues but here are a few of them from the top of my head:
It is a united family where several generations live under the same roof; the parents are in love and constantly profess their attachment in public; they are cultured, live among books and speak several languages; they follow their passion without judging others and without worrying about what people think of them; they openly discuss death and cultivate a true relationship with their ancestors to derive part of their identity; they love to laugh, party and they dance extremely well; the education of their children is built around play, dialogue and trust; despite their wealth, their culture is never based on money or possession; and despite everything that sets them appart, they are never afraid of strangers and are extremely inclusive, including with those who are not like them and judge them harshly.
And when their world crumbles around them, they stick together with dignity.
That was the strength and the irony of the film: the real model was the Addams family. Not the Perfect Family judging the rest of the world on their way to church. (But some of them find some redemption thanks to the Addams.)
I didn't expect the same in the Netflix version, of course. But I feel they missed the mark. They took what was secondary in the film to make it the heart of the series. And I don't feel that it works.
Of course, everyone will tell me that the best part is in the end of the first episode which I did not see. Or in the following episodes that I will not watch. But don't worry: I saw Wednesday's dance on the internet. So I didn't miss it all.