Iconic sitcoms honored in WandaVision


Photo used with permission from AntMan3001/Creative Commons

The Vision bursts through a wall as part of promo for his first appearance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Movies later, his title role in the new show WandaVision has forced his character into the center stage.

Anna Reznick, Staff Writer

WandaVision pays tribute to nearly a century of television through a time traveling sitcom set in a town where the simple white-picket fences are not what they seem. 

On principle, the announcement of the show caught me off guard. After all, the last time Vision was present in the Marvel Cinematic Universe he had been brutally “killed” off by Thanos in a quest to acquire all six infinity stones. His counterpart, Wanda, was last seen at the funeral of Tony Stark, mourning with fellow Avengers Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes (who, “coincidentally,” have their own show arriving March 19). Thus, when a trailer dropped with the two seemingly a happy couple in a fun, sitcom-themed show, I had questions. However, in true Marvel fashion, it quickly became apparent that the laugh tracks and family dinners allude to something far darker. 

Stepping away from the classic bad guy versus good guy trope resulted in a cinematic change. Gone were the wide shots of the main character and the villain crashing into each other. In their place, short scenes that jumped from your average sitcom shots to tight, harsh clips that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. The zooming shots coupled with mysterious music and strange dialogue made the scenes feel more at home in a horror movie than a supposed sitcom.

Director Matt Shakman must have powers akin to Wanda’s to pull off such a complex show that has left viewers begging for a sequel.”

The unease of the scenes were incredibly effective and had me on the edge of my seat wishing I could reach through the screen to pull my favorite characters away. Then, just as the tension between characters felt unbearable, the show would cut back to a casual dinner or joking conversation. The quick transitions made these odd scenes even more noticeable and contributed significantly to the overall tension build. In a show based around the unraveling of a seemingly normal town, this build-up was crucial. 

While the building apprehension made the later episodes worth all of the initial confusion, it made the earlier episodes slightly less interesting. The basis of the show follows the formula that more would be revealed each episode, so the viewer would not get the full explanation until the final episode. This unique style leaves room for cliffhangers and fan theories, making the experience feel more like unpacking a mystery than actually watching a show. 

Given the structure of the series, each episode took place in a different decade and the specific mannerisms of the actors had to be accurate to the time period. In order to reflect the time setting, the show utilized costume changes and body language to achieve authenticity. While simple adjustments in clothes or mannerisms may seem inconsequential, they contributed heavily to the seamless transition between time periods.  

Director Matt Shakman must have powers akin to Wanda’s to pull off such a complex show that has left viewers begging for a sequel. Regardless of a potential second season WandaVision’s stylistic filming and integration of well-known shows of the past created a brilliant show unlike any other I’ve seen. Wandavision is, without a doubt, Wanda-ful.