05 February 2023

Wednesday died on Saturday

Wednesday Addams fan illustration
example of fan art, artist unknown
© WallPapersDen.com

Lisa Loring, who played the original Wednesday Addams, died last weekend, the 28th of January. Since her 1964 series, Wednesday has been played by a number of actresses.

The Addams Family grew out of a series of 1938 cartoon panels and evolved ever since. Most recently, in the titular Wednesday, Jenna Ortega stars in the rôle in which she enters a private school where she plays detective to solve a murder. She’s good as the character and interacts well with her charming, scene-stealing werewolf roommate, Enid. Anything involving Tim Burton and Danny Elfman is bound to be interesting.

Fortunately, Wednesday’s parents barely appear on the screen, Part of the fun of the original series was the deep and abiding (and over-the-top) romance between Morticia and Gomez. Hardly so in the latest incarnation. The performances of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán fall colder and flatter than a collapsed gravestone. Reading between the pixels, the couple appeared ready to barf as they monotoned dry-rotted romance lines.

Yes, Jenna Ortega took two months of cello lessons to learn how to handle it. No, she does not play the popular excerpt in the film.

The series appears to nod at a few influences– Harry Potter, The Munsters, and The Exorcist, this last hinted at in a few strains of tubular bells. It’s on Netflix.

Wednesday Addams fan illustration
example of fan art, artist unknown
© WallPapersDen.com

That Other Wednesday

Thus far, I’ve spoken of official elements owned by MGM, Paramount, and the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, but clearly this recent release has been influenced by a lovely YouTube renegade, Adult Wednesday Addams starring Melissa Hunter. She crowd-funded it, seeking $5000 through IndieGoGo… and received $15,000, hardly a fetid pimple pop on the studio’s Uncle Fester.

And her skits are funny. Word spread about the little episodes. Adult Wednesday rights small wrongs. No injustice is too minute not to be taken seriously. Until one day…

A letter arrived from the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation: cease and desist. Thus landed a slap on the creative face.

On the one hand, Addams intellectual properties are owned by the foundation and studios. Further, they have the financial means to wear out almost any litigant: Those with the deepest pockets wins, and clearly Hunter doesn’t have deep pockets.

By some lights, Melissa and her little group appear on the side of the (dark) angels– the work is parody, clearly transformative, and appears in a smaller format. But fair use law remains exceedingly vague and only a judge could decide. She couldn’t afford to challenge the big guys on an iffy outcome.

But what an opportunity for the studios! Why not hire Melissa Hunter and her crew? Hit the ground running with an existing popular series with millions of views? Nah, that would be too sensible.

The big corporations issued take-down notices forbidding YouTube to publish Adult Wednesday Addams on her channel. Since then, episodes appear, disappear and reappear as stubborn fans post and repost.

Try these episodes while they’re still available. Tell me if you enjoyed the show.

Adult Wednesday Addams episodes
Season 1Season 2
S1E1 • The Apartment HuntS2E1 • Babysitting
S1E2 • Job InterviewS2E2 • Driver's Ed
S1E3 • Internet DateS2E3 • Wednesday v Catcallers
S1E4 • Dog WalkerS2E4 • The Haircut
S1E5 • One Night StandS2E5 • The Reality Star
S1E6 • Planned ParenthoodS2E6 • The Flea Market
____ • A Special MessageS2E7 • True Love Series Finale


  1. I absolutely loved Adult Wednesday Addams - and I was furious that the powers that be took it down. It was truly stupid, because (1) they were hilarious and well done: (2) they only increased interest in The Addams Family; (3) you're right- if they were going to do a Wednesday TV show, they should have used Melissa Hunter, because she was the best Wednesday ever. (Apologies to Lisa Loring, but she was too young to do some of the stuff Melissa did.)

    1. Well summarized, Eve. Melissa Hunter excelled because unlike other actresses, she built her out of love and admiration, not because of a paycheck. I'll bet her clips encouraged the studios to launch their Wednesday series.

      Some reviewers have called Hunter's version sadistic, but I disagree. While not for snowflakes, she's kind of an avenger. That's a major redeeming point.

  2. I can't help but recall what Rex Sout once said:

    "How would you feel if someone wanted to continue the Wolfe series after you laid aside your pen?"

    "I don't know whether vampirism or cannibalism is the better term for it. Not nice. They should roll their own."

    — Rex Stout, interviewed by biographer John J. McAleer

    And yet, after he died, his "estate" (read: heirs and their legal representation) authorized SEVENTEEN (and counting) "authorized" Wolfe novels, all penned by journalist Robert Goldsborough.

    This Wednesday is, as Leigh has made clear: a PARODY.

    Next they'll be cease-and-desisting SNL. Oh, wait, no they won't, because NBC can afford lawyers.

    However, if you wonder sometimes when a beloved series gets "updated" and "revamped" and "restarted" every few years, rest assured, it's all about the Almighty Dollar. Even if the revamp tanks (as most do), the corporation's ownership of the Intellectual Property (and its attendant copyright) gets extended, because it's "still in production."



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