Wednesday, January 26

‘Wandavision’: superheroes and canned laughter | TV


Westview was a small, idyllic New Jersey town until its 3,892 neighbors disappeared without a trace. Since then, it has been a ghost town in which nothing and no one can enter. In fact, they can, but at the risk of also disappearing and perhaps never returning. The infinity of microwaves that the place gives off can only be decoded with an old television set because, surprise, what happens there is being televised. In fact, it’s a mutating sitcom – each episode belongs to a different decade – starring a pair of Avengers: Wanda Maximoff, also known as Scarlet Witch, and Vision, the metal guy.

This is the starting point, subject to deep swings, of the series Scarlet Witch and Vision (Wandavision in its original version), from Disney +. Turned into Marvel’s first cathodic cult classic, fiction, the work of the reckless Jac Schaeffer – screenwriter for other products of the Marvel film world, such as The black widow Y Captain Marvel-, says goodbye this Friday with the premiere of its ninth episode, having made it clear how another world of superheroes is possible. Do you remember the naive comic delusion from the Batman by Tim Burton? The absurd camp by Joel Schumacher on Batman y Robin? Add to it the spirit of a What if (What if… ) of author and a good dose of very intelligent metanarrative and they will come close to the result.

A What If From author? Cartoon Geniuses underground signed alternative numbers of Spiderman Y Hulk in which they allowed themselves to take Peter Parker or Bruce Banner to their terrain, that of, in the case of Peter Bagge, a decidedly absurd desperation that propelled the universe in another direction, the one that allowed to play with the possibilities of the character in the ridiculous daily. There were those guys with all that power always being late for their appointments and being a complete disaster. Or trying to get married. Or looking for a job because they were broke. The What If they have been, whether or not they were a guest author, a playground.

With that intention, Schaeffer raised the possibility of installing Wanda (a witch with psychic and telepathic powers) and Vision (an android with a certain humanity) in a comedy that would grow with its protagonists to be able to see the couple far from life situations or death – even sometimes on a planetary level – to instead see her, in her words, “preoccupied with something as common as serving a correct dinner to the boss.” This mutant comedy is a refuge —because the story talks about creating worlds within the world, shield worlds that protect us from what we don’t want to happen even if it has already happened—, that is, a new universe, and one that values ​​the domestic life, and opts for the complex internal battle against the simple instrumental warmongering of the genre.

But the thing does not stop here. Schaeffer turns the sitcom appeal into a delightful metanarrative tool with which he constructs a witty tribute to the ever-intelligent, but often reviled for popularity – like superhero comics themselves – canned laugh television of the late 1960s. years, copying formats especially suitable for nostalgic people. Even the tuning of The problems grow and is plagued with nods to classics of each era. For example, in the end, they seem to live like the Pritchett – protagonists of Modern Family– in the set of Desperate women, that is to say, in Wisteria Lane.

And she does all of this while edifying Wanda’s sad past, and exploring the fascinating acting possibilities of Elizabeth Olsen, who goes from flamboyant housewife of the 1950s to allegedly careless mother of the 1990s in two episodes, as well as promoting the creation of characters if not unforgettable yes in some mythical sense. And we’re not just talking about Agnes (a chameleon Kathryn Hahn) and the rest of her perfect neighbors, but even those that Schaeffer herself describes as “instrumental”, like Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), the astrophysicist who, in a triple mortal metanarrative , ends up being a fan of the series.

“The only way forward is to go back,” says the powerful witch Agatha Harkness at one point, and she might not just be talking about recovering Wanda’s past to explain how she has managed to build a world based on the comedies she saw from little girl with her parents and her brother when the world was already a horrible place, but she was not alone yet – the family, always the kryptonite of the superhero, what makes him vulnerable, because nothing would want more than nothing had happened. Perhaps he was talking about a return to the origins, taking advantage of cathodic seriality. A definitive commitment to the free and voracious and unapologetic spirit of comics – and series – from another time that were taken seriously not taking themselves seriously.


elpais.com

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