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Minds in the Media: What’s So Interesting About Oddball Wednesday Adams?


The mind in the media
An ongoing series discussing mental health and psychological issues in popular movies and television

Eater alert! This article contains major spoilers for the first season of the Wednesday series, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Netflix’s Addams Family adaptation on wednesdaywhich centered on the moody pig-tailed character Wednesday Adams in his teenage years, became a big hit.

The story centers on Wednesday Adams (Zena Ortega) as she enrolls in Nevermore Academy, a so-called “school for outsiders,” whose student bodies include werewolves, vampires, sirens, psychics, gorgons, and all sorts of other teenagers with strange characteristics and powers.

Although this is the kind of school where Wednesday should fit in perfectly—and even where her parents Morticia (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Gomez (Luiz Guzman) met—when she first matriculates, Wednesday is determined to be one of the outcasts.

Yet, as time goes on, and as the school becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a deadly monster in the woods near it, Wednesday begins to form alliances and even *gasp* make friends.

Despite her penchant for solitude and her lack of concern about fitting in, Wednesday has garnered a lot of fans in the real world. But why is Wednesday different from his fellow outcasts, and what is it about him that is so appealing to so many viewers?

This article will examine possible psychological explanations for what makes Wednesday different before focusing on why his strangeness makes him interesting and even admirable.

Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Sorrow: What Makes Wednesday Addams Different?

In the first episode of the series, Wednesday is introduced as she walks through the halls of the high school she attended before Nevermore. Students stare and move out of the way as he goes, and it’s clear that he has no friends and is unlikely to have any.

So when he finds his younger brother Pugsley (Isaac Ordonez) stuck in a locker, he decides to teach the boys—who bullied him—a lesson by throwing piranhas into the pool during their swim team practice.

It’s an extreme act, even for a member of the Addams Family, a pop culture mainstay we’ve all come to associate implicitly with. Between the act itself and Wednesday’s lack of remorse for it, it would be easy to diagnose him with multiple personality disorders, and as a fictional character, Wednesday’s relationship is greatly elevated.

However, as the show goes on and Wednesday’s picture deepens, it provides enough insight into her to offer several possible explanations for her choices and seemingly social actions.

introversion

Wednesday’s preference for solitude and her comfort with being alone all point to her being an introvert. “An introvert is someone who gets the energy to stay away from people,” explains clinical psychologist David Tzal, SYD. That said, everyone wants to be around people and connect with others every once in a while. Even Wednesday can be seen periodically enjoying the company of others, even if he hides quickly.

As Tzall notes, human tolerance for social interaction falls on one stage of a spectrum. “That means you’ll find people on both ends of the spectrum,” observes Tzall. “Some people will not like to be around (certain) people or like to be alone and… there’s nothing wrong with that if they at least have people in their lives that they reach out to or it’s not disruptive to them. (If) it does not harm their life or their function, it is perfectly healthy and appropriate.”

Wednesday, with her strong independence and enjoyment of activities such as playing the cello and writing, can be seen as an introvert who simply prefers to be alone most of the time.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Still, Wednesday’s rejection of others goes beyond an introverted preference for alone time. Psychiatrist Sam Zand, DO, said he appears to be suffering from unresolved post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stemming from experiences of abuse by his peers.

The series makes it clear that while Wednesday comes from a loving family, she was bullied by other children from an early age. In one particularly disturbing scene, Wednesday recalls a childhood incident in which a group of boys cornered her when they ran over her beloved pet scorpion on their bicycles.

When Wednesday brings up the story to explain why she no longer cries, it points to a formative trauma that would contribute to teenage Wednesday’s PTSD. It’s an “extra example, a Tim Burton example, of what kids go through,” Zand explains. “Wednesday’s bullying taught her very clearly that she can’t trust society and that the world is a bad place.”

Tzall agrees, sharing, “…having developmental trauma or having social trauma, being hurt consistently, really limits the world and your options. So we start to have a narrower and narrower approach to who we interact with, who we trust.”

Tzall mentions, when we meet Wednesday at the beginning of the series, that he feels: “I have no use for people because they hurt me or they want nothing to do with me…. So I will isolate myself from everyone. ” As a result, his “method is to constantly put up a wall” that will prevent him from getting hurt further.

David Jal, Sidey

…Having developmental trauma or social trauma, sustained trauma, really limits the world and your options. So we start a narrower and narrower approach to who we interact with, who we trust.

— David Zal, Sidei

As the show goes on, Wednesday slowly begins to come out of his shell, but Tzall notes that PTSD has given him, even this is a struggle for him. “He’s not with people (at Nevermore Academy) who think he’s weird, if you will, because he’s just like them…,” Tzal said, “and now he’s in a group that he belongs with, he doesn’t know what. Do with it, and he still rejects it because it feels unsafe.”

From this perspective, Wednesday becomes a much more sympathetic figure than when she was known only as the girl who tried to get the swim team out by putting piranhas in the pool. In fact, Zand thinks that we minimize the way trauma affects people.

“We all want to be resilient…” reflects Zand, “so we sometimes minimize how we’ve been affected. We don’t want to call it trauma.” This is certainly something we see on Wednesday in her description of the boys who bullied her as a child and killed her pet scorpion. Instead of dealing with her trauma, she decides not to cry anymore because it doesn’t help, but it means she is her There is no cure for PTSD.

Narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder

Of course, the incident with the piranhas could point to a deeper problem, such as narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder. Zand notes that Wednesday shows flashes of narcissism, including feeling that he is better than others and believing that he is the smartest person in the room. Wednesday, on the other hand, doesn’t crave attention or recognition, so the diagnosis doesn’t seem entirely appropriate.

A better explanation for his behavior might be antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), or since people aren’t officially diagnosed with ASPD until they’re 18, conduct disorder, a diagnosis given to children who exhibit symptoms of ASPD. ASPD and conduct disorders are characterized by a lack of empathy and remorse and a disregard for social rules and norms.

Wednesday’s actions in the first episode with the piranhas certainly check those boxes, and as Zand points out, go beyond typical teenage rebellion and boundary-pushing. So some mental health professionals may diagnose behavior disorder because of Wednesday.

That said, throughout the show, Wednesday often tries to protect people. Even his actions with the piranhas were driven by his desire to protect his brother. Zand notes that Wednesday’s compassion towards others is selective, but since he is protecting others as well as himself, his actions can be attributed to “hypervigilance and PTSD”.

On the other hand, while some people might see Wednesday’s lack of social success as a symptom of autism, both Zand and Tzol agree that he doesn’t appear to be on the spectrum.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by difficulty connecting with others and problems understanding human emotions and social situations, but Zand said, “(Wednesday) can connect, he has a level of emotional understanding, but lacks the will to meet. His pride by acceptance.” In other words, it’s not so much that Wednesday doesn’t understand what others are doing, it’s that he chooses not to get involved.

She’s Creepy and She’s Cookie: What Makes Wednesday Addams Appealing?

Its Wednesday Adams on wednesday Of course he marches to the beat of his own drummer, and sometimes it leads him to do questionable or inappropriate things, but the response to the show indicates that audiences enjoy watching Wednesday’s teenage adventures.

Part of this may be because it’s fun to watch someone behave in weird and unusual ways that we’re less likely to encounter in real life. But many viewers can appreciate the character’s confidence and comfort with herself.

Hollywood vs. Reality

While Wednesday’s quirks and differences are exaggerated for our entertainment, and those quirks are part of what makes him interesting, we can also learn from the confident way he navigates the world. As a result, Wednesday is a positive example for everyone who feels a little different.

Tzall observes that it is rare to find someone who is confident in who they are. After all, even if you’re comfortable with yourself, if other people question one of your traits or characteristics, you may start to wonder if you’re weird or unusual, creating a problem where there wasn’t one before. Wednesday, however, seems impervious to the issue.

“Someone who’s confident that ‘You know what? I like this and I’m going to own it,’ I think people really look up to that…,” Tzall says, “because… nobody’s always that way. ….Intrinsically owning your thoughts and your feelings and your behaviors is something that people struggle with.”

Wednesday’s character gives a positive message to the audience as he is confident in who he is “I think that’s one thing people can take away from this show,” reflects Tzall. “It’s okay to be who you are and… it’s okay to be different.”

This is especially driven by the fact that as the show progresses, Wednesday begins to find acceptance among her peers even though she never expected it, a demonstration that if you find your tribe, you can be accepted just for being yourself.

Cultivating confidence

Of course, building confidence isn’t as easy as it seems on Wednesday. However, the character does several things that probably help him feel more secure about who he is, including:

  • He does not compare himself with others. While it’s natural to compare ourselves to other people, it often focuses on our flaws. Reminding yourself to focus on your own strengths instead can help.
  • He is kind to himself. Wednesday doesn’t bother himself with his setbacks or mistakes. Instead, he picks himself up and carries on, a practice that can boost confidence.
  • He does what he does well, including playing the cello. Recognizing and practicing our strengths can make us feel good about ourselves and boost our confidence.

While Wednesday’s quirks and differences are exaggerated for our entertainment, and those quirks are part of what makes him interesting, we can also learn from the confident way he navigates the world. As a result, Wednesday is a positive example for everyone who feels a little different.

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