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The Series “WandaVision”: Homage to the Sitcom Genre

WandaVision is a new series that pertains to some interesting qualities. As other modern cinematic content, it is multi generic. One of its generic facets appears to relate to sitcom, which is, as cited in Wieczorek, “a half-hour series focused on episodes involving recurrent characters within the same premise” (128). Additionally, distinctive production’s manner, plot characteristics, and actor play are components of a traditional sitcom (Wieczorek 128). However, the final product is a completely different creation, where the author employs a range of tested cinematographic methods to illustrate his ideas. WandaVision seems to befit the genre demands (at least its opening four episodes) and reproduce the esthetics of the past several decades in the U. S. together with sitcom peculiarities.

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First of all, WandaVision attempts to revive the most famous attributes, sound design, and general picture of the previous century sitcoms. Namely, the black-and-white gamma is applied in episodes “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience” and “Don’t Touch That Dial.” In addition, a somewhat lowered frame quality is used in the first one (“Don’t Touch That Dial”; “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”). The next element is the laugh track that accompanies verbal jokes and awkward actions of performers. Also, costume and scenery designers have done their work properly: clothes, autos, and other everyday life items resemble those of the 50s—70s sufficiently. Finally, the advertisements intentionally inserted in the middle of the episodes are utterly authentic. Consequently, the mentioned part of the season can be assumed to have quality references to the past of cinematography through its visual and audial elements.

The second feature that makes viewers recall old sitcoms is acting. The actors have tried to play in the same manner as their colleagues from the past did. Specifically, all performers exaggerate their emotional displays. Women move in a special way that was a hallmark of the postwar economic boom period. Everyone smiles affably regardless of the whole horror-like atmosphere at the beginning of the series. For example, the neighbor of Wanda and Vision keeps smiling even when sawing their fence with considerable tension (“Now in Color”). Accordingly, actors’ efforts supplement the general objective of the series to give an impression of time traveling through venerable movie traditions.

At last, the narrative and setting of WandaVision‘s first few episodes are consistent with continuous approaches of the genre. Indeed, the general tone of the series is hidden behind the genial, simple jokes. An illustration of these might be the constant of Agnes’ puns about her hapless husband (“Don’t Touch That Dial”; “Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”). Similarly, the setting is characteristic of the genre and time presented: a newly-married pair moves into a new house, meets their neighbors, and participates in the sequence of funny events. In addition, the first fragments of the series do not contain any action scenes, although they are a hallmark of Marvel production. This is the way that author chose to introduce Wanda’s illusive safe space. Thus, the scenario is a homage to the sitcom genre that could be seen through jokes and plot twists reappearing there.

Given these points, WandaVision certainly matches the criteria of a typical sitcom and reveres the memory of old, forgotten cinema. Its decorations resemble those used in the past century, as well as costumes and a laugh track. The actors’ work should be appreciated for the reconstruction of earlier acting experiences. Likewise, the narrative and setting are appropriate for the style. Nevertheless, WandaVision is a synthesis of old and new, free interpretation of commonly known ideas and methods, and complex work, indeed.

References

“Don’t Touch That Dial.” WandaVision, created by Jac Schaeffer, Disney+, 2021.

“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience.” WandaVision, created by Jac Schaeffer, Disney+, 2021.

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“Now in Color.” WandaVision, created by Jac Schaeffer, Disney+, 2021.

Wieczorek, Magdalena. “Relevance in Sitcom Discourse: The Viewer’s Perspective. Anglica. An International Journal of English Studies, vol. 27, no. 2, 2018, pp. 127–142.

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StudyCorgi. "The Series “WandaVision”: Homage to the Sitcom Genre." October 2, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-series-wandavision-homage-to-the-sitcom-genre/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Series “WandaVision”: Homage to the Sitcom Genre." October 2, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-series-wandavision-homage-to-the-sitcom-genre/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Series “WandaVision”: Homage to the Sitcom Genre'. 2 October.

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