Wandavision...there's a reason you like it, and it's not because it is any good.

in COMIC BOOKS fan/pro4 months ago (edited)

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It's okay to like shows that aren't very good. I like lot's of shows that aren't really very good. But it's when you all raise hell about how great something is, when in fact it's a 5 out of 10...it makes me feel very very alone.

There's a reason I haven't bothered to watch the Mandalorian. It's because the more you people rave about something the more I know it's going to be a big fat disappointment. I guess you are all just really easily amused and/or have a very low threshold for what you consider "great".

Now, I don't look down on anyone for having a low threshold for the quality of things they like...I, myself, have a low threshold for what I consider good booze. If it gets me drunk, it's good. But I'm not going to rave about how good Karlov Vodka is when I know full well anyone who drinks Makers Mark whiskey would take one sip of Karkov and spit it out like one of those sideways rotating lawn sprinklers.

This show is a lot closer to a 5.00 quart of Vodka than Makers Mark Whiskey.

Let me tell you something, if you can make a show so bad that I am fast forwarding through scenes with Elisabeth Olson in a skin tight magicians assistant outfit, instead of pausing and starring...you have really accomplished something.

This show is not good, but I can tell you why you like it.

The following maybe...technically... has spoilers...but not really if you've seen previews or know anything about the show, or have seen Avengers Endgame, which is basically all of you.

The show starts of in some parody homage world of golden age televisions sitcoms where for reasons not yet explained Wanda and Vision now exist in. and we sit through a dreadful interpretation of that genre waiting...and waiting...for it to get to the fucking point and actual plot. We get scraps and hints that this isn't really reality and even some half assed reveal that this is all being watched from actual reality. That could have all been inserted at once in the first five minutes, because everyone watching already knows what is coming. Every single person watching this show knows that they are in some alternate reality of some kind...so these shards of information and the ominous voice calling out from somewhere else is not a surprise, it's not interesting, it doesn't give us anything we didn't know the second Wanda and Vision appear in a black and white world.

Just get on with it.

Just get on with it, because the entertainment value of these two living in a old sitcom is about zero. Elizabeth Olsen....as much as a I covet her...is no Lucille Ball and Paul is no Dick Van Dyke. They are just not good comedic actors and every line and pratfall is honestly embarrassing. and the rest of cast is so inconstant on the level of overacting between each of them that I get the impression that none of them actually knows what the tone of the show is supposed to be. Well...welcome to the club.

You have some of them attempting to act with the nostalgic charm of TV from that era, and some who apparently never actually watched more than five minutes of any of those shows, just overacting to the level off a bad high school play. The wacky plots and gags aren't as charming as real old time television and not clever enough to be a good parody of them. It's a tedious mess.

The plots are uninspired and fall in between just admitting its a complete rip off of an old plot and pretending it's a tool for setting some tone. It sets no tone. There's no chemistry being shown between these two that even reaches the glimpses of it that we got in the movies. The comedy isn't funny. The jokes fall flat because we know the world they are in is not real and there is no job, reputation, or anything at peril.

See...in "I Love Lucy" we got a real feeling that Lucy and Desi were in love and cared about each other via tender moments or just the way they were allowed to flesh out scenes and interact with each other. The two leads in WandaVision could have each filmed their parts on a green screen without the other even being in the studio, for all the chemistry they had and for as little as their reactions to each other were even shown.

In "the Dick Van Dyke Show" we understood that their world was meant to be real...to the characters. We were meant to view it as their life, however wacky for the purpose of comedy it was, So, there was an actual understood risk, to that character, of losing his job if his boss was insulted.

Here, we know this isn't their reality ,so there is no peril . If Vision's boss doesn't give him a promotion it doesn't matter. We know it...and the character seems to be struggling with a vague insight that something is off. There is no reason for us or him or her to GAF about what is going on.

Let's be clear, I'm not some 70 year old shaking his cane at you about how tv isn't as good as it used to be. I don't even like those golden age sitcoms, but I do understand what about them is well done. WandaVision fails because it does not. You can't do a parody or homage or intertwine a previous eras work into something new if you don't bother to understand the basic foundation of that work.

These shows lived and died on character and chemistry and the wacky plots were the filler. People didn't tune in to see Lucy burn Ricky's diner...they tuned in to see Lucy and Ricky.

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Because Lucy and Ricky were fun and full of chemistry and people loved them because they loved each other.

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All the wackyness was a tool to highlight that advantage the show had and that attraction people had to it. These old shows were character driven and the ones that succeeded into legendary status did so because the leads had chemistry and charm and had talent and skill to convey that to the audience in a way that drew them right into their fictional existence, and feel like they knew them, and to and root for them.

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It takes more than setting up vintage furniture and filming in black and white to establish the world and level of reality of a show and it's characters. It takes more that putting two faces onto the screen that we've seen together before to convey chemistry. Wanda and Vision do not behave like they do in the movies, their personalities here are 2 dimensional...but not 2 dimension-ally charming like Lucy or Dick Van Dyke, and not even 2 dimension-ally absurd like the actress playing the neighbor...they don't jive with each other or anyone else on screen or anything going on. And don't give me any of "that's what they're going for" bullshit. This isn't Wanda and Vision having one level of depth and everyone else another...every person on that show is just presenting their own personal interpretation of how people acted in old sitcoms and none of them are on the same page.

It doesn't establish how invested the two actually are in the life they have, or why two people who...in all previous appearances...are bright, dutiful, courageous, caring, deep individuals, newly passionately in love...are now as completely as 2 dimensional as the half assed sitcom. They get put into a sitcom world somehow...okay...that doesn't explain the change in their personalities or the difference in the level of depth that there was to them before the insertion and the lack of it now.

Think back to "Civil War" and the scene where Vision is trying to make Wanda dinner....it is goofey and charming and loaded with chemistry. Now compare that to ANY scene between the two of them on this show. The scene in Civil War, ironically, is far closer to the charm and chemistry of olds sitcoms than anything this dreadful mess every gets near accomplishing.

The old sitcoms lived an died on the strength and constancy of the characters. You liked Dick Van Dyke and Lucy, you knew who they were and that's why you GAF about any of the nonsense and why you laughed when the slap stick moments happened. The funniness of a character getting hit in the face with a pie is directly correlated with how well you know and understand that character, and how they'd feel about getting hit in the face with a pie.

It's not just comedy 101, it is writing 101. The audience needs to understand who they are dealing with in order for anything to have any impact. Impact comes from the connections people have with the characters.

Writers often think juxtaposing two things that would normally not merge is in and of itself interesting and compelling. It not. that's the start of something that could be. That is not a joke, it is only the set up of a joke. Take 5 or 6 of the on liner gags out and devote that time to the scene where Vision is in the office typing. Vision is far smarter and more efficient than anyone there. Being able to do a stack of reports in minutes...that's his ability, but not who he is. The character we have seen in the movies is a curious soul, observant and fascinated by humans. He'd look around, see he is typing faster and slow down to the pace of one person...then maybe speed up the pace of another person and so forth, , trying to fit in. This could have been a scene that demonstrated his personality, was whimsical, and funny in the nostalgic physical comedy way of those old shows.

But it wasn't, it blew through that and every other possibility and is just relying on being a show about what's going to happen...unraveling a mystery. But that is only effective if you give a reason to give a damn.

This show never gives attention to ( because it probably didn't notice) the watering down of the two characters themselves. It presents a reality they are living in that we all understand is false. But does not explain ( or perhaps even notice) that the characters themselves, not just their actions but who they are as people, is a vapid shadow of what they had been when last we saw them.

This robs it of any chance it has to make a solid connection. The few moments that could have been bittersweet, since the audience knows that none of this is real, like the wedding rings appearing or Wanda saying "No" and resetting things in episode 2 ...just fall flat. Especially that last one because it was just another attempt at a "reveal" of a plot twist that every single person knows is coming for....two entire episodes now. Actually...every single person has known since the plot of the show was announced.

What we have here is a tv show that's created a background set and not a world. It's not as good as the tv shows it's aping, not competently making fun of those shows, not using the foundation of those shows as a obstacle to get through, not building the actual characters, not showing any chemistry that isn't 2 dimensional...and worst of all, two episodes in I don't GAF about anything that happens to anyone. A GOOD SHOW by now would have given us some characters beyond Wanda and Vision to gaf about and have us partially dread the upcoming plot twist because we wouldn't be sure what would happen to those character...hell, and this point I don't even GAF about Wanda anymore.

You like it? You wanna know WHY you like it? You wanna know why, only at this particular time in history people are raving about this show? No...It's not just because we're all in lockdown and starving for entertainment. It's because it's a show about people in a strange reality that we all know is not real and that they will get to leave behind. You like it because you are projecting yourself into the premise...and dearly wish that the world you are currently living is was just some false facade that would soon shift back to what it was by the aid of some unseen entity.

That's why you like this dumb show. Go ahead and enjoy it...and I will continue to enjoy bottom shelf vodka, but let's neither of us fool ourselves about what is good and what is not. Or that either of our current interests are anything more and coping mechanisms (though yours is objectively healthier than mine).

Later.

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People enjoy a lot of dumb shit. I'm amazed how many 'Real Housewives of...' shows seem to be on one UK channel as well as various local 'reality' shows that I have zero interest in. I tuned into WandaVision as I have invested a fair bit of time in the Marvel Universe and I quite liked it as being something different. I've not watched many of the old US sitcoms they are playing off (apart from a fair bit of Bewitched), but I get the idea. I bet those shows didn't have as many black people in them. I've only seen two episodes, but I hope it is going to be more than just a spoof and I assume the hints we have seen lead to a reveal of what is going on. The humour is a bit laboured, but no worse than a lot of sitcoms.

Oh, and The Mandalorian is great. It's basically a western, but does Star Wars better than most of what we have seen in the last 20 years. It's on a smaller scale, but that's not a bad thing. I do worry they are going to overload us with other shows as there seem to be about seven more coming.

You know what they say about opinions...

What a well written and thought out review.
This should be one of your careers.
If not already.

The show turned into something a bit different half way through the run when we saw what was going on 'outside'. I think it played out well and my other half who is not so into Marvel stuff enjoyed it. The two leads did gel well and having a female lead may have broadened the audience.

I think Marvel create some good characters who are flawed, despite their powers. We have Falcon and Winter Soldier coming up. I guess that will be back to boys beating people up.