WandaVision has finally aired its first two episodes. It certainly is a unique project, as it avoids the classic superhero action and focuses on sitcom-inspired comedy. It isn’t just inspired, but it is recreating sitcoms from different eras. The first two episodes focus on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched. These shows aired back in the 60s and 70s, so they are digging deep. Of course, comedy sensibilities have changed substantially over the years, and many wondered if going this far back may be counterproductive. The newer generation won’t recognize most of the references, and the humor might not click the same way for those that grew up with it. Now that the show has aired, it proves that we underestimated the strength of sitcoms.
To this day, sitcoms are still some of the most popular shows that air on television. Even today, there is a wide variety within this genre, such as the police sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, a family-focused Modern Family, or the never-ending animated sitcom The Simpsons. The latter proves the staying power of this genre, as the series has been airing since 1989. Even as these shows have adapted to modern sensibilities, the core aspects that define them have been there since the first TV sitcom titled Pinwright’s Progress kick-started the genre in 1946. We see it in how WandaVision adapts these classic series, but somehow still manages to keep them fresh
Even a younger audience can appreciate the jokes in large part due to the performances by the cast. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are a perfect leading pair that bring new life to classic tropes. They also brought in some veterans of the genre, such as Fred Melamed, Debra Jo Rupp, and potentially many more in future episodes. What WandaVision does incredibly well is it knows how to use the awkward phases of older sitcom shows. There were always pauses for a laugh track that tends to go on for too long nowadays. Instead of just leaving them in, they use these out-of-place sequences to add the overall mystery and darker atmosphere slowly seeping out.
Jac Schaeffer and her team did their homework and found ways to re-energize older aspects and avoid the feeling of them being outdated. It’s a love letter to the past that anyone can appreciate and proved its staying power as a genre. In a way, many of us learn to love these older shows through our peers, as many might have grown up on older shows through parents and grandparents. One of my fondest memories was spending time with my mother watching shows she spent her childhood watching. It may also be a gateway for families to discuss the originals after a viewing. It creates a platform to ask your family about their knowledge of these sitcoms. To this day, my grandfather still watches re-runs of The Dick Van Dyke Show and shares his favorite memories surrounding the show. I cannot wait until WandaVision starts to explore sitcoms that I grew up with and remember when I was just a kid watching them. One day, I’ll be able to share the same experience that I had with the MCU.
Source: Guinness World Record