We’ve already gotten a good look at Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in the upcoming Netflix series, Wednesday, but now Vanity Fair is bringing us a look at the whole family. Check out Catherine Zeta-Jones as Morticia, Luis Guzman as Gomez, Ortega as Wednesday, and Isaac Ordonez as Pugsley. These photos caused a bit of a furor online yesterday, because while CZJ looks great as Morticia, Luiz Guzman is not matching Raul Julia in many people’s minds. But they’re not trying to, they’re obviously going for a look more accurate to Charles Addams’ original cartoons. Series co-creator and producer Alfred Gough says his fellow producer Tim Burton “wanted the silhouette to look more like the Charles Addams cartoons, which is Gomez shorter than Morticia, versus the kind of suave Raul Julia version in the movie.”
Mission accomplished! Burton is directing half the episodes of the series, which is due later this fall, and while he has pretty much exhausted his creative goodwill with everyone, I am still hoping against hope that he does something interesting with the Addams family. Yes, Raul Julia is the debonair Gomez of my youth, but I also had print-outs of the Addams cartoons taped inside my locker at school. The core of Gomez and Morticia is that 1) they are ultimate couple goals, and 2) Gomez is a total wife guy. He doesn’t have to be classically handsome for those dynamics to work. I shall reserve judgment on our new doom parents until we actually see CZJ and Guzman in action together. If the vibes are good, that’s all that matters.
I am, however, cautious about this that question Gough poses for Wednesday, the titular character of the show: “How do you step out of the shadow of a mother as glamorous as Morticia?”
I’m not 100% convinced ANY version of Wednesday would care about this, because despite her ubiquitous black dress, Wednesday is kind of a tomboy. That alone puts her out of Morticia’s glam and cobwebby shadow. It actually prompted me to look up the writing staff, because pondering how a girl deals with a “glamorous” mother presumes it’s always a challenge and seems like a man’s idea of mother-daughter relationships, not necessarily a take coming from a feminine understanding of that dynamic. IMDb lists two women as credited writer/producers on the show, I hope there’s more, which sounds about right given Netflix’s tendency to run smaller writers’ rooms on their shows.
Which is not to say that teen girls and their mothers can’t be incredibly complicated. It can be! Depends on the mom, though. And one thing about all versions of Morticia, she’s a good mom. That’s the whole point of the Addams family, they’re spooky-kooky neighbors, but they’re actually a healthy family unit. Well, except for Wednesday constantly trying to kill Pugsley. But aside from that, I’m not sure I can be sold on a concept of Wednesday and Morticia that is contentious. The new trailer only shows a little bit of Morticia and Wednesday, and it seems more like a teenager being over her parents’ open displays of affection than anything to do with Morticia and Wednesday’s mother-daughter dynamic. We’ll still have to wait and see, I guess, but I am WAY more concerned about the take on Morticia and Wednesday being “girl resents pretty mom” than I am that Luis Guzman doesn’t look like Raul Julia.