Wandavision: The Mind-Twisting TV show that doesn’t follow the cookie-cutter superhero story formula

An Escape from Reality 

In today’s unexpected era of self-isolation, where time doesn’t feel real, where our lives have been flip-turned upside down, it’s almost natural to want a complete escape from reality. 

Wandavision, the first installment of the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, helps viewers achieve being immersed into another world – not just literally, but within the actual story itself. The show portrays the title characters, Wanda Maximoff and Vision, doing exactly that – living in a false reality where everything is swimmingly perfect – or so it seems.

WandaVision' Episode 9 Review — Ending Spoilers: 'The Series Finale' |  IndieWire

Television shows and movies that incorporate fantasy and dream elements have always been a staple part of our childhood. Take, Sharkboy and Lavagirl, for example, a popular Disney Original movie depicting a young boy, Max, escaping to a colorful galactic superhero fantasy after being bullied by classmates. 

Throughout our years, we’ve turned to riveting, entertaining TV to cope with our problems, as quickly binging seasons of our favorite show allows us to, for a moment, forget about the real world. Even if it’s temporary, and through a small screen, putting ourselves into the shoes of our favorite character and fantasizing about having their life is highly effective.

In this series, we finally get some backstory on the Avenger, Wanda Maximoff, the titular character of Wandavision (and also, is canonically a part of Gen Z!). MCU fans and casual watchers alike learn about how Wanda adored classic TV sitcoms along the likes of I Love Lucy, The Addams Family, and Malcolm in the Middle in her childhood. She then continued to watch them throughout her adolescence to cope with her grief and trauma, and later on the sitcoms established a budding bond and planted the seeds of the romantic relationship between Wanda and Vision. 

So after the events of Endgame, when Wanda is overwhelmed with a massive amount of grief from losing Vision, she crafts an entirely new reality by unleashing the full potential of her powers, turning the suburban town of Westview into her own personal sitcom fantasy.

Being a generation that constantly takes risks, it’s easy to see why we’re gravitated towards the show. Let’s be honest, Marvel movies and superhero movies in general were getting quite predictable, and we’ve pretty much binged every 6-season teen drama there is on Netflix. But Disney+ follows a show model similar to cable television, releasing episodes on a week-by-week basis – giving fans time to theorize and fantasize to their heart’s extent. 

That’s just the thing – the magic of the show doesn’t just stop at the 30 minute time stamp (and of course, how can we forget the century long end credits?) As soon as viewers see that irritating “Please stand by” shot, they run to Twitter and Tiktok to see what other people are saying. Given that the show has blown up and plays a huge part in this year’s pop culture, thousands of Internet users foster community and bonding through theories, reactions, and an emotional attachment to the show itself. As we’re constantly lacking human interaction and connection, Wandavision is exactly what we needed during a time like this. 

With season one including a nine-part series, each one follows a different decade of time. Along with this, we see nods to the sitcoms featured from those decades. Episode one is set in 1950s suburbia, with a classic “dinner with the boss” featured in sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy” and “Leave It To Beaver”. Episode two pulls a 60s twist, with the introduction theme a parody of “Bewitched”. In episode three, a 1970s themed-episode airs a “Brady Bunch” theme and groovy clothes. With the respective break for episode four, featuring Captain Marvel’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris)- episode five kicks off with a “Full House” and “Family Ties” influenced view. And episode six gives us a very 2000s “Malcolm In The Middle”  perspective- breaking away from the perfect family lifestyle and into a more realistic, relatable one. With only two more episodes to go till the finale, episode seven recalls the previous events and tells it in proper breaking the fourth wall style. Influences are shown from hits from the early 2000s to 2010s, such as “Modern Family” and “The Office”, shows some viewers are more familiar with.

Monica Rambeau's powers in WandaVision, explained by Captain Marvel comics  - Polygon

But possibly the stars of the show are outside the town of Westview. We see a grown Monica Rambeau following in her mother’s footsteps as a director at S.W.O.R.D, Antman’s Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) as the campy but no less intelligent FBI agent, and Thor’s Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), as a astrophysicist with the comic relief to absurdity.

Wandavision breaks barriers with its creatively styled show- something other studios have been trying to accomplish for years. Who would have thought to put two Avengers in a 1950s sitcom?

The series is inventive and imaginative, cleverly crafted and brilliant in more ways than one. It breaks the fourth wall, pays homage to decades of iconic television that have ultimately shaped what the silver screen is today, and allows all different generations to cope with our current reality by immersing ourselves in groundbreaking television. 

(And of course, it gave us the bop of the century with Agatha’s villain introductory song.)

We all know superhero movies. Action-packed with lots of explosions and buildings blowing up all over the place- but what happens when you replace that all-too-familiar format with a timeless sitcom?

Wandavision does just this. Taking place just three-weeks after the events of Marvel’s Avengers:Endgame, Wandavision stars Elizabeth Olson as “Wanda Maximoff” and Paul Bettany as “The Vision” to capture a new take on superhero film. It showcases the couple in a mundane suburban lifestyle- trying to fit in the town of Westview and form a new life while entering new decades and television homilies. But things aren’t always what they seem…

 With season one including a nine-part series, each one follows a different decade of time. Along with this, we see nods to the sitcoms featured from those decades. Episode one is set in 1950s suburbia, with a classic “dinner with the boss” featured in sitcoms such as “I Love Lucy” and “Leave It To Beaver”. Episode two pulls a 60s twist, with the introduction theme a parody of “Bewitched”. In episode three, a 1970s themed-episode airs a “Brady Bunch” theme and groovy clothes. With the respective break for episode four, featuring Captain Marvel’s Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris)- episode five kicks off with a “Full House” and “Family Ties” influenced view. And episode six gives us a very 2000s “Malcolm In The Middle”  perspective- breaking away from the perfect family lifestyle and into a more realistic, relatable one. With only two more episodes to go till the finale, episode seven recalls the previous events and tells it in proper breaking the fourth wall style. Influences are shown from hits from the early 2000s to 2010s, such as “Modern Family” and “The Office”, shows some viewers are more familiar with. 

The thing with superhero movies and television programs is that they all seem to follow the same format. With creative liberties in some films, including showcasing the villains showcase- Wandavision’s individuality coincides with its fair share of guessing and conspiring. It gives viewers a break from normality, and provides a show that’s timeless for anyone to watch. Several fan-theories have been passed around social media sites such as Twitter and Tiktok, including speculating the villain as Mephisto and possible appearances of the fan-favorite Blue Marvel. 

But possibly the stars of the show are outside the town of Westview. We see a grown Monica Rambeau following in her mother’s footsteps as a director at S.W.O.R.D, Antman’s Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) as the campy but no less intelligent FBI agent, and Thor’s Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), as a astrophysicist with the comic relief to absurdity.

Wandavision breaks barriers with its creatively styled show- something other studios have been trying to accomplish for years. Who would have thought to put two Avengers in a 1950s sitcom?


SOURCES:

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20210114-wandavision-marvels-most-intriguing-show-in-years

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/wandavision-review-less-than-a-modern-marvel-11610661606

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/617710/


Lauren Goulette

Lauren Goulette is a 15-year old high school sophomore from the Minneapolis area. She is passionate about writing poetry, painting, and doing all kinds of creative things. By using her voice, she intends on spreading information through poetry and creative writing.

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