Is Wednesday Addams Having an Eddie Munson Moment?
Let's make one thing clear: Wednesday Addams has been in the public consciousness for a long, long time — way longer than Netflix or Stranger Things.
The wonderfully grim youngest daughter of The Addams Family has been a pop culture icon for over 80 years. The franchise launched with the New Yorker comic strip in 1938 and was followed by the classic '60s live-action sitcom. Then there was the '70s and '90s animated cartoons, the '90s live-action movies, the hit Broadway show in 2010, and a plethora of animated films, video games, TV shows and other entertainment over the years.
Now, thanks to Tim Burton's Netflix smash, Wednesday, the character has been thrust back under the black light of contemporary pop culture.
On TikTok, fans have embraced Jenna Ortega's dry, Kubrick stare-fueled modern goth girl version of Wednesday Addams with open arms — even if Wednesday doesn't really do hugs. (Her colorful werewolf bestie Enid gets a pass.)
Over the past week, fans on the social media platform have celebrated Wednesday with makeup tutorials, outfit posts and lip-sync videos. One smash viral trend in particular, however, sees fans mimicking the character's standout dance choreography from Episode 4, titled "Woe What a Night."
In the scene, Wednesday begrudgingly attends Nevermore Academy's annual school dance, where she briefly, dramatically lets loose on the dance floor as the DJ bumps The Cramps' 1981 cover of "Goo Goo Muck." It's delightfully bizarre and meticulously executed.
Within days, the scene has become one of Netflix's most viral moments, inspiring thousands of takes on the instantly iconic dance, which Ortega impressively choreographed herself after watching videos of goth kids dancing in the '80s, as well as old Siouxsie and the Banshees performances and Fosse footage.
Even celebrities — from Broadway's Beetlejuice star Elizabeth Teeter to Kim Kardashian and North West — have posted their own takes on the trend, with some videos set to The Cramps and others soundtracked by a sinister remix of Lady Gaga's 2011 song "Bloody Mary."
Suffice to say, outside of her creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky and undeniably lovable family, Wednesday Addams is having a moment all her own. And yet, something about her 2022 breakout feels a little... familiar.
It's perhaps ironic that Wednesday, which premiered on Netflix Nov. 23, broke the streaming service's record for the most hours viewed in a single week for an English-language Netflix series. Earning a whopping 341.23 million streams, the record it broke previously belonged to Stranger Things Season 4, which just so happened to introduce another offbeat character that sparked a fandom frenzy: Eddie Munson.
In fact, many fans are comparing the viral phenomenon surrounding Wednesday's titular character to the Eddie Munson craze from earlier this year. While the two fictional teens are part of very different worlds and subcultures, they do share some similarities.
Both characters are social outcasts who are largely misunderstood by their high school peers. (Even Wednesday doesn't fully fit in at Nevermore Academy, despite its student body literally consisting of what the series canonically refers to as "outcasts.") Both Wednesday and Eddie are also considered alternative — Wednesday is a goth while Eddie is a metalhead — and dress the part to boot. (Make those Doc Martens, obviously.)
They're also unlikely heroes. While loner Wednesday appears more interested in solving the murder mystery plaguing her school simply to satiate her hyper-fixation on all things macabre, viewers eventually learn that she's more selfless and caring for others than she'd likely ever admit out loud. Meanwhile, Stranger Things' Eddie turns out not to be the self-preserving coward he thinks he is when he goes out in a blaze of glory for his friends at the end of Season 4.
Plus, two of the most memorable scenes from both Wednesday and Stranger Things center on the characters engaging, respectively, with some not-so-Top 40 music. In Wednesday's case, it's her dancing unconventionally to a rockabilly song; for Eddie, it's him absolutely shredding a Metallica solo on top of a trailer in the Upside Down. (Fun fact: In Stranger Things Season 4, Episode 1, another Cramps song, "I Was a Teenage Werewolf," plays in the background when Eddie appears onscreen for the first time, marking yet another connection between the two characters.)
But not all fans are OK with the parallels.
"Wednesday is slowly turning into Eddie Munson," someone bemoaned under a Wednesday-related TikTok video. The comment received over 300 replies and more than 24,000 likes. One horrified Twitter user even suggested that TikTok is "Eddie Munsonify-ing" Wednesday Addams, referring to the thousands of Eddie Munson lip-syncs, headcanons and cosplay videos that took over the app over the summer.
Some frustrated fans have argued that popular alternative characters such as Wednesday and Eddie are often obsessed over by mainstream audiences while real-life alt kids and people who are part of genuine subcultures are shunned and misunderstood in the real world. Still, others are just happy for the onscreen representation.
It's difficult to ignore the similarities between the two characters and how they've been embraced by fans and on social media. Regardless, it's a positive sign that viewers have been able to connect with these offbeat, alternative characters, with Wednesday and Eddie acting as relatable onscreen avatars for young viewers who may feel like outcasts in their own lives. And that's so much bigger than any viral trend.