WandaVision has been pretty good about keeping the sitcom elements of each episode true to the era they take place in. As I noted in my first piece analyzing the changing eras of Westview, the only thing that’s truly bothered me about it so far is the 1950’s episode being modeled largely after The Dick Van Dyke Show, which didn’t premiere until 1961. I bring this up because I’ve seen a decent amount of criticism and confusion surrounding the era Westview is supposed to be set in during Episode 6, and the answer to all of this explains the timeline not only for this episode but the one I myself complained about a few weeks back.
Explaining the Eras
By starting in the 1950s, WandaVision had seven decades to cover to reach the “present-day” given that the late 2010s and early 2020s in the MCU are kind of fuzzy due to the Blip, and people like Wanda who were snapped away haven’t experienced anything beyond 2018. But with only six era-themed episodes, it wasn’t exactly clear how they’d handle that matter. There was a lot of speculation that the 2000s and 2010s would be covered together in the same episode, or that we’d only see the Westview characters in the present-day once the sitcom bubble burst.
The answer to this little conundrum turned out to be neither of these scenarios, as we found out during this week’s “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”. The episode had elements of both the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the final sitcom era (which will presumably be covered in next week’s episode) looks to be focused on the late 2000s and 2010s. This sectioning off of time periods explains the things that some viewers have pointed out as anachronistic, like the cinema showing 2004’s The Incredibles and what is most likely the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan.
Why A Little Bit of Anachronism Works
Admittedly, this episode does lean more into the early 2000s than the late 1990s as evidenced by things like the Malcolm and the Middle theme song homage, characters – particularly kids – breaking the fourth wall, cheesy sound effects that accompany certain movements, and even the claymation-style “Yo Magic” commercial are all hallmarks of this time period much more than the ’90s. But some things could be seen as fitting with both “sides” of this era, like the Dance Dance Revolution-style game the twins played that first debuted in 1998 but became even more popular in the 2000s. And we did get one shot of what was most likely the actual 90’s in the form of the Halloween flashback of Wanda and Pietro as kids (assuming it was a real flashback).
Ultimately, Westview seems to operate under similar rules to ABC sitcom The Goldbergs. That show is set in the 1980s but doesn’t make an effort to introduce technology and pop culture touchstones in the order they debuted in real life. Every episode is introduced as taking place in “1980-something” and anything that was around in the ’80s is fair game to show up at any time, and WandaVision is doing the same with each era it covers.