January 16th, 2021

Watch Television

Don't You Wonder Sometimes About Sound and Vision?



It's back to the good old MCU with WandaVision, a new series on Disney+ that premiered with two episodes last night. The characters of Wanda and Vision from The Avengers movies are inexplicably placed in a TV sitcom format with teasing hints that evil shenanigans are afoot. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles from the films and both get a better chance to be sweet and charming than they ever had in the movies. So far the writing isn't very interesting, either as a homage to old sitcoms or as an intriguing Twilight Zone-ish story. But I'm inclined to keep watching for the performances.

I gather we'll be watching the super couple progress through eras of sitcoms one decade at a time. Episode one was a 1950s tale resembling I Love Lucy while episode two looks more like The Dick Van Dyke Show or Bewitched.



The obviously computer animated second opening sequence is one of the ways in which the show fails to surpass films like Pleasantville in terms of capturing the look of a real period TV show. Other problems are more subtle, like the editing or the use of low angle close-ups. Taken as episodes of a sitcom in themselves, they feature typical screwball plots about Wanda and Vision desperately trying to impress people while concealing their magical powers. Series creator Jac Shaeffer concocts gags like Wanda, wearing negligee, sneaking up behind Vision's boss to cover his eyes, mistaking him for her husband. The boss's total lack of resemblance to Vision, and being accompanied by his wife, make the plausibility of the gag too weak, rendering it awkward and weird instead of funny.



But Olsen and Bettany are really good, particularly Bettany who somehow manages to project strength, vulnerability, and goofiness all at once. It's nice to see the two of them settle down on the couch at the end of each episode.



WandaVision is available on Disney+.

Twitter Sonnet #1434

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