We Love Wednesday Addams on TV But Never in Real Life
Perhaps I’ve watched Wednesday over a dozen times since it premiered on Netflix. What’s not to love about murder, mayhem, monsters, and existential teenage angst? It reminded me of growing up as a teenager in the 90s minus the intrusion of digital technology and the performance it demanded of children.
While there’s much to reviled about the 80s-90s (i.e., rampant misogyny, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the rise of the Christian right), there was a simplicity that now feels archaic, quaint, and downright unfathomable.
In 1993, I was a seventeen-year-old freshman in college navigating freedom, adulthood, sex, drinking, and voicemails. Wait — we no longer needed a tape recorder to capture messages? I was feeling very Judy Jetson. So, who could possibly have time for the internet back then? Our technology consisted of J. Crew catalogs and compact discs, which slowly overshadowed the mixtape because we could skip! rewind! advance the lyrical plot! with the press of a button.
We’ll never return to that from which we’ve come. And only Gen-X, the forgotten generation, will truly understand this. Perhaps this is the only artifact we can clutch to our chests — a march into adulthood without the taint of technology. Even in 1997, my senior year in college, people eschewed the cellular phone and the computer. There was a deep desire, still, for connection. For touch. For humanity.
But humanity under the guise of masks because it was imperative that we fit in, to quote Patrick Bateman. Friends of mine secreted away their gayness only to come out in the 2000s when it was socially acceptable. I’ve been in therapy since I was seventeen but no one ever knew this because it wasn’t fashionable to be mentally ill. In college, I’d leave therapy to go day drinking and no one knew the difference. Except for me. Because who wouldn’t want to drink the pain away? Years later, I’ll grieve this time because it was one that held possibility. And it puts me to thinking how grief is love with no place to go.
The 90s were also a time when people said, that’s gay, you’re crazy, that’s mental. Everyone will deny it now, but this was the…