My love for Wednesday surprises no one. Yet…it should.
For all its neu-retro gothic vibe, the Netflix series—like its source material—isn’t grim or dark. Not really. While its humor might be, but the superb writing, the lovely cinematography, and the primary plot are all…
Dun dun dun!
A cozy mystery.
(Specifically, it’s a para-cozy: paranormal cozy.)
Nothing against cozy mysteries. They’re just not my usual jam. (Full disclosure, I know that if I really wanted to make bank as a writer, I should be writing cozies. I just can’t bring myself to dress up as yet-another Mrs. Doubtfire cum detective just for the money. Maybe someday I’ll give up and publish the ones I’ve written. But not today.)
Yes, Wednesday (the show) does a few things that even edgy para-cozies normally eschew: blood on the page, gallows humor, and enough teenage angst to kill even self-proclaimed Hufflepuffs. However! I think the show nails all of the other cozy requirements, conventions, and obligations well enough that the audience gave her a pass on her transgressions.
Here are five (plus one) examples:
- An obligatory pet: Thing
- A craft/hobby/pursuit used to solve the crime: mystery novelist
- A craft/hobby/pursuit for its own sake: cello
- An admirable hero/ine: Wednesday tells the bleak truth—and you laugh.
- Family and relationships are demonstrated to be of the highest value. (Watching Wednesday act more like Morticia every episode despite her valiant attempts to do the opposite was half the entertainment.)
- The crime is solved through community lore and relationships, not sleuthing.
There are plenty more ways, but it’s past my bedtime. Heh.
If you still don’t believe me, strip away the allergy to color and the broody teenage mien and the deadpan flat affect from Wednesday and underneath you’ll find Ms. Marple or any of Agatha Christie’s many other admirable heroines.
Here’s to (hoping for) another dark and cozy season of Wednesday!
While you’re waiting, consider a darker (free) read, Death Descends.