Jenna Ortega has had a huge year. She’s a Gen Z Final Girl—Scream VI opens this week—she broke out as the new Wednesday Addams—and she’s so good that even people who don’t like the show, like me, fully support her as Wednesday—she stole the show with Aubrey Plaza, she’s hosting SNL this weekend, and she’s making waves for comments she made about Wednesday during an appearance on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast. I liked Jenna Ortega well enough, but then I heard what she had to say about her experience filming Wednesday, and now I like Jenna Ortega A LOT, and she has good taste. As in, she, too, thinks Wednesday kind of sucks.
Everyone’s hung up on the part where she says she “became almost unprofessional, in a sense, where I just started changing lines”, but I, an intellectual, am stuck on the part where she says, “On Wednesday, there was not a scene in that show that I went home and was like, ‘OK, that should be fine.’”
Girl knew the show is bad while she was making it! The TASTE on this twenty-year-old fresh-faced baby! Her “unprofessional” act of changing lines was done in defense of Wednesday, and it sounds like she not only disliked the love triangle subplot—she’s right, it was dumb and bad—but she killed cheesy dialogue that would make Wednesday sound too much like a typical teen girl, and not enough like a macabre Goth icon. But having Wednesday gush over her prom dress isn’t even the worst idea Ortega reveals in the interview.
We already knew from earlier Wednesday press that Ortega choreographed the now iconic dance scene on her own (and shot that scene with COVID, not cool), now we ALSO know she nixed a flash mob scene. A prom flash mob? Is this She’s All That? No! It’s Wednesday Addams and if she saw a flash mob, she would set everyone ablaze! There’s a time and a place for a prom flash mob, but it’s not anywhere near Wednesday Addams, who is supposed to be an antidote to the kind of story and characters that would participate in a prom flash mob. Ortega’s instinct was right, that would have been a dealbreaker for the show and revamped character had it been included.
Also, the clash between Wednesday’s characterization and the narrative demand for a protagonist to have an emotional arc would be solved by returning Wednesday to the suburban milieu originally intended for the Addams family. Her morbidity and deadpan delivery don’t read as mean when she’s juxtaposed against actual Mean Teens.
What I am learning, besides that Jenna Ortega is a woman of taste and refinement, is that everyone in charge of Wednesday misunderstood the assignment, including Tim Burton, and Jenna Ortega is the only one with Correct Wednesday Opinions.