Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Why Wednesday Addams is a Comedy Icon

When it comes to girls and young women characters there appears to be an odd belief that there are few examples of them in comedy, specifically examples who could be held up as comedic role models. I seem to have some extra time on my hands right now and rather than rearrange my wardrobe I have decided to dedicate an essay each to the fictional girls and young women who deserve more recognition for their comedy.

It’s Thursday and once again I find myself writing about a little girl who doesn’t fit in and doesn’t intend to. Comedy ensues.

This week you voted for Wednesday Addams. Originally a character in a 1930’s comic strip in The New Yorker by Charles Addams, Wednesday Addams has been in papers, cartoons, TV series and film. But my first encounter with Wednesday Addams was in the films and my love for this creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky character on the big screen holds to this day.

It is my sincere belief that Christina Ricci was not born, but willed into existence by the Addams Family franchise to play Wednesday Addams. Not only is Ricci’s round visage reminiscent of those spooky porcelain dolls you swear are watching you, but her sober delivery and cold stare show that, at 11 years old, Ricci had a firm grasp of who Wednesday Addams was. It is a role a child (or adult for that matter) could be tempted to ham up, but Ricci’s stern portrayal stole the show. Clearly Ricci shared her character’s precocious streak.

As a comedy character in the films, Wednesday Addams is fascinating. Too weird, self-aware and comfortable with herself to be the straight man, Wednesday’s severity creates a comedy grey area as she leaves people with the distinct sensation she is laughing at them. Inside. She is simply one of those people who goes through life forever unruffled. It’s an attribute that causes the people around her to increasingly fuss and flounder, becoming more ridiculous. Their discomfort contrasted with Wednesday’s cool demeanour makes for great comedy.

Also, Wednesday Addams is the queen of deadpan. From asking a girl scout selling girl scout cookies who has slighted her if her cookies “are made with real girl scouts?” to answering the question: “what would you do if you met the right man, who worshipped and adored you, who’d do anything for you, who’d be your devoted slave, then what would you do?” with the devastating “I’d pity him” Wednesday makes Daria Morgendorffer sound like Brittany Taylor.

While I don’t necessarily think young girls grew up wishing their mother would let them play games called Is there a God? which involve electrocuting a sibling, I do think plenty of us lived vicariously through Wednesday every time she unsettled her foes with her dry wit. It’s no wonder every Halloween there’s a clutch of people out in long pigtails and black Peter Pan collared dresses. She truly is a comedy icon.

If you have a character you’d like to suggest for this, then tweet me @funnywomened

Read why Marmalade Atkins is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Tracy Beaker is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Daria Morgendorffer is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Anastasia Krupnik is a comedy icon here! 

Read why Helga Pataki is a comedy icon here! 

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