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Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, Mark Lee, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather overthink the series finale of Marvel’s WandaVision. Mostly we wonder about the show that could have been, where the main conceit of the TV show was not explained away so easily, and some of the secondary characters had more satisfying development and resolution.
Along the way, we think a bit about fan theories and easter eggs, proposing a continuum between Lost (the clues don’t lead anywhere and and it’s total audience abuse) and the Howard the Duck cameos in the MCU after-credits scenes (a reference that didn’t really “lead anywhere” but was charming and fun).
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I was really waiting for the Full House pastiche but they just skipped it for Malcolm in the Middle.
Because a Full House episode would definitely have ripped apart the space-time continuum and fused the Mary-Kate and Ashley extended universe with the MCU.
I think this discussion nearly hit the nail on the head of the problems I’ve had with the discussion around the series: People act like the show (which was a LOT of fun, make no mistake) was some finely-crafted puzzle that’s beyond criticism, whereas…they dropped the ball a LOT. There’s nothing wrong with a show dropping things as it goes, but it’s bizarre to hear people talk about it as if it got everything right, so I’m thankful to hear that I didn’t hallucinate characters who vanished or plots that were set up and fizzled.
One thing the show did extremely well, that I don’t think people really pick up on, is how it basically demolished the idea that there’s any such thing as “a superhero story.” There are just stories that happen to star superheroes and have more CGI punching than The Mayor of Casterbridge traditionally would. You tell a story about a superhero’s grief by telling a story about a person’s grief and adding powers and costumes.
That went well, and as I think I commented on the post for the first episodes, Elizabeth Olsen had best be getting paid a bundle, because she sold the show’s dumbest ideas without breaking a sweat. Hahn did great work, but played a lot of scenes too campy, for my tastes, but Olsen kept everything powering through.
I’m also in the pro-Howard the Duck group. But I’m also enjoying the Punky Brewster revival and don’t think I watched the original, back when, so maybe don’t go by me…
I completely forgot about the canonical (live-action) example of a show where the protagonist can exploit the fact that it’s sitcom to resolve problems: It’s Garry Shandling’s Show from the late ’80s, on Showtime, then rerun on Fox affiliates. There, they’d do things like jump ahead in time to have things fixed off-screen, walk between sets, or have someone in the audience help Garry. This might be notable, because Marvel had a character who was written with similar meta-narrative abilities around the same time, and happens to have a Disney+ series of her own coming next year: She-Hulk.
Also worth considering the fourth wall breaking problem solving that occurred in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: https://www.bustle.com/articles/70274-9-times-the-fresh-prince-of-bel-air-brilliantly-broke-the-fourth-wall-in-the-name-of
Very good point. I was thinking about it in terms of shows that just didn’t have a fourth wall, but the model of breaking it in “emergencies” might be more Marvel-friendly.
Don’t have Disney Plus.
For the Pantheon of Actors Who work, I nominate Tzi Ma and Donald Freaking Sutherland.