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In the 1960s, in the context of a still incipient television that was taking audiences away from the cinema, a telecomedy (sitcom, to be precise regarding its origin) emerged entitled “The Addams Family”, which in these latitudes was translated as “ The crazy Addams”. Inspired by the cartoons of Charles Addams, it is structured around an extravagant family whose members have a tendency towards the macabre and are endowed with supernatural powers (rather dark, although in keeping with the humorous tone), whose origin always remains under a halo of mystery.
The main achievements of the sitcom, in addition to the precise definition of the characters, consisted of intelligently parodying a good part of the clichés of gothic horror (especially those attached to monsters and haunted castles) and playing with the cultural contrast between that construction of a dysfunctional family with the “supposed normality” related to the North American middle class of the ’60s. The grace lies in establishing who are, in truth, the crazy ones in certain situations.
The millionaire Homer Addams, his refined wife Morticia (who has the traits of a vampire), their “freak” children Merlina and Pericles, the extravagant Uncle Lucas, the Grandmother, reminiscent of witches, the butler Largo (who recalls the monster due to his features). from Boris Karloff’s Frankenstein) and Fingers, were quickly incorporated into the popular imagination, associated with the famous melody that was created for the series and then remained in all the adaptations. The series lasted for two seasons and 64 episodes, but its influence was gigantic.
In the early ’90s, director Barry Sonnenfeld (who would do the same shortly after with “Men in Black”) decided to bring the Addams family universe to the big screen. He called on Anjelica Huston, a renowned actress who had collaborated with leading directors in the ’80s, Raul Julia and Christopher Lloyd, to fuse (with ups and downs) elements of comedy, horror and fantasy. Endowed with a much more caustic humor than the series and with more references to popular culture, the film takes up the central theme of the clash that occurs between the Addams’ way of life and their neighbors. Here, their delusional lifestyle is threatened by a couple of con artists who, precisely, hide behind respectable figures who try to capitalize on society’s negative view of the Addams.
In this film (whose success led Paramount Pictures to think of a second part in 1993, less successful but interesting due to the incorporation of a young nanny, behind whose apparent normality a murderous psychopath hides) he had a particularly well-achieved character: Merlina ( Wednesday in the original English), embodied in this film version by Christina Ricci. She is introverted, does not interact with her peers, always dresses in black, never laughs (when she decides to do so, it gives her chills), she is more intelligent and prepared than girls her age and plays with a decapitated doll called “Marie Antoinette”. ”. The armor to face the world is her black humor, generally used as a dagger or a poison dart.
This character, precisely, is the one chosen by Netflix for “Merlina”, a series whose first chapters can be seen from November 23 on the content platform. This first series focused on just one of the members of the Addams family, will follow in the footsteps of Merlina during her student stage at the Nevermore Academy, where (in a nod to movies like “Carrie” or the mutants of “X-Men) she will have to learn to master his psychic powers. The new product will be directed by Tim Burton, who for many years had the intention of entering the world of the Addams. It will be interesting to see how he works it out, as the filmmaker delved into similar ground 10 years ago on “Dark Shadows,” where he also adapted a 1960s TV series. Merlina will be played by Jenna Ortega and, although not in the foreground, Homer, Morticia, Pericles and other Addams will appear.
The new product will be directed by Tim Burton. Photo: MGM/Netflix