The first season of "Wednesday" was a massive hit for Netflix, but that doesn't mean it was perfect. The show about young Wednesday Addams (Jenna Ortega) made a whole lot of baffling choices, from turning a beloved dark family sitcom into a teen murder mystery to imbuing the character -- a beloved pop cultural fixture for unapologetic goth girls everywhere -- with an apparent secret yearning for normalcy. Both those choices were disheartening and strange, but neither compared to the series' most egregious mistake, which involved an exceedingly bland love triangle with Wednesday stuck in the middle.
Much of season 1's runtime involved Wednesday looking either visibly annoyed or, in rarer cases, secretly a little bit happy when two boys from school repeatedly tried to date her. The plot was confounding from the start for longtime "Addams Family" fans, as Wednesday has historically often been portrayed as a confident lone wolf type who doesn't really get hung up on the idea of romantic love. Christina Ricci's version of the character, a cult hero at this point, never once longed to be anything but her dangerously different self, so it was frustratingly out-of-character to see this version of Wednesday pining for normalcy in the form of a dating life.
Plus, the guys in question were simply generic. There was Tyler (Hunter Doohan), a barista and classmate who turned out to be a monster called a Hyde, and Xavier (Percy Hynes White), a boy with artistic magical powers who was briefly framed for the murders at Nevermore.
That Bad Love Triangle Is Dead As A Doornail
With respect to both of these actors, who did the best they could with the material they were given, I definitely had to look up Tyler and Xavier's names just now because the characters are that level of forgettable. Thankfully, though, series star and newly promoted producer Ortega has heard fans' feedback and confirmed to Variety in a recent Actors on Actors panel that the love triangle will officially be no more when the show returns for a second season.
"We're ditching any romantic love interest for Wednesday, which is really great," she told the outlet. Instead, she says, "We've decided we want to lean into the horror aspect of the show a little bit more." That's exciting too; the show briefly demonstrated its ability to dip into horror last season with a bloody finale and a fun bit involving piranhas, but very rarely tapped into the darker side of its source material. Speaking to Elle Fanning for the Actors on Actors panel, Ortega implied that the show might look less self-serious when it returns too: "Because it is so lighthearted, and a show like this with vampires and werewolves and superpowers, you don't want to take yourself too seriously."
This is all pretty exciting to hear. Rarely has a new show ever been given the chance to deeply course-correct -- and its star been able to candidly outline those course corrections -- in the way "Wednesday" has. After striking gold with a first season that became TikTok famous despite middling reviews, the team behind the series could've simply come back with more of the same. It's promising that they apparently chose to listen to fans, critics, and Ortega instead.
Ortega Feels A Responsibility To The Character
Ortega says her role as producer this season feels like a "natural progression" of her time on the show in season 1, where she previously noted that she rewrote some of her character's lines and even choreographed Wednesday's excellent dance sequence. "We had already been throwing out so many ideas," Ortega shared, "and I'm somebody who's very hands-on. I want to know what's going on." In season 1, in addition to the script punch-ups, that hands-on work involved learning cello, fencing, canoeing, and German for scenes that demonstrated Wednesday's multitude of talents.
According to Ortega, her intensive involvement in the creative process had a lot to do with the singular reputation the character created by cartoonist Charles Addams has. "With a character like Wednesday, who is so beloved and such a legend, I just really didn't want to get her wrong," she noted. "So I try to have as many conversations as possible." She describes meeting with the series writers as well as executive producer Tim Burton in an environment that "was naturally already very collaborative," and deciding as a group what made the most sense for the show and her character.
Wednesday Season 2 Is Worth Getting Excited About
There's no word yet on when the series will return for season 2, but Ortega says there have already been plenty of chats about what's to come. "In preparation for a second season, we wanted to get ahead of the curve and make sure that we could start the conversations earlier," she says at the Variety discussion. And while she may not be revisiting that godforsaken love triangle anytime soon, there are definitely aspects of the new season she's excited about. "I'm just so curious," she says. "I want to see the outfits, new characters that are coming in, scripts, and they were gracious enough to let me put the producer hat on."
Every time Ortega makes headlines for speaking out about aspects of her time on "Wednesday," whether it's pushing back against lines that go against Wednesday's rebellious spirit or getting real about her apparently grueling and emotionally exhausting schedule, there are always responses from social media commenters indicating that she's ungrateful or out of line. Not only do I think that's not true, but I think that the conversations she's started are genuinely heartening to see in an industry that has long since mistreated its young women stars and branded them as difficult for standing up for themselves.
In this case, her vocal feedback made a difference in the best way possible. Fans agreed with it, and apparently so did the team behind the show, as she's now been given more control over the production moving forward. Season 1 of "Wednesday" might not have been entirely my cup of tea, but with Ortega confidently helping to shape the character, I'm eager to see what's new at Nevermore in season 2.