‘Wednesday’ Review: Jenna Ortega Was Born to Play This Character

Lead Photo: Wednesday. (L to R) Thing, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in episode 104 of Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
Wednesday. (L to R) Thing, Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in episode 104 of Wednesday. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022
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Netflix’s Wednesday is both very much what we expected, and a surprising direction for our favorite outcast, but in a good way.

Christina Ricci – who is ironically, part of this show – once delivered such an iconic performance of the famous character, that it was hard to imagine someone else stepping into Wednesday’s shoes. But Jenna Ortega’s turn as the character doesn’t feel like a redo or a copy. Instead, it feels like what Wednesday Addams was always supposed to be.

The thing that makes The Addams Family stand out is very simple: they’re outcasts. And even though they are way more different than any of us, there was always something very hopeful about the idea that they could find their own place, despite that. If they could, we could. The idea still holds in 2022, with one crucial difference: Wednesday Addams understands that it isn’t on her to change to please others. Instead, the people who are worth it, the ones that matter, will love you for who you are.

Wednesday delivers that message, a hell of a lot of fun, and more than one standout performance. None, however, shines brighter than Ortega, who seems to have been born to be the definitive version of Wednesday Addams for a new generation. There’s never a sense that she’s acting like this character, instead, Ortega is the character, and the cast around her seems to feed off her conviction and settle into their roles organically. Nevermore Academy is a real place, with real people, and they’re just inviting us to pop in for a visit.

But Netflix’s Wednesday isn’t just remarkable because of this, it’s remarkable because at its core this feels like the Latine story we were always meant to get. Representation is something our communities have not just had to fight for, but something that was diluted even when it was right in front of us. Not so in this version, which unapologetically makes the Addams family part of our community, in a way that makes it even more relatable. 

The twists, the new characters, and the return of a Christina Ricci that is once again magical, this time as a different character, are all icing on the cake. It’s good on its own and outstanding as a complement to a show with clear ideas and an even clearer direction. The idea behind the Addams family might feel universal, but the show still had some huge expectations to contend with, and at every turn, the show doesn’t just meet them or exceeds them, it shatters them. Whoever you thought Wednesday Addams was, she’s not just that. She’s so much more.

Netflix’s Wednesday is spooky brilliance, with its own particular twists that make it stand apart, a cast that never fails to hold your attention, and a message that, despite the vibes, or perhaps because of them, leaves you feeling like the world Wednesday inhabits is one you want to be part of.

Wednesday season one premieres November 23, 2022 on Netflix.