After seeing and falling in love with The Addams Family I knew I had to see the sequel and once again I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. My love for Wednesday Addams has reached new heights as she stole the show once again throughout this movie. The storyline with Fester and Debbie was wonderful of course and it was hilarious in the electrocution scene towards the end, but really it was Wednesday that made it for me.
As with the first movie – although perhaps more so – Values has the message of how ‘normal’ isn’t necessarily ‘right’. Wednesday and Pugsley are sent away for a summer camp and Wednesday is very much the odd one out in a cabin of girls. They are all very prim and proper girlie girls who are interested in doing the right thing and having the cheery attitude of the camp. The camp counsellors spend the time trying to force Wednesday to become like them and seem to want to squash any attempted at individuality.
There is a wonderful scene at the camp where the counsellors are announcing the cast for their thanksgiving play. It’s uncomfortable to watch but that’s what makes it powerful. They announce who will be having the major roles, and they all go to the line of almost identical pretty girls. They then say “not everyone can be a star” and go on to give minor, unimportant roles to the girls and boys of different ethnicities or who are more plus sized. They even prove to not have remembered their name and there’s a very uncomfortable bit when the woman goes “I’m still not sure how to pronounce this Jam-al? Jami-l? Whatever.” This shows the camp is open to all as long as all has a very specific look and is brilliant for showing the way racism comes into our societies unchecked.
On top of that, the Thanksgiving play itself shows racism. The prim and proper white kids get the roles as the Pilgrims, while anyone who is a different ethnicity or looks or acts ‘different’ has a role as an “Indian” with the audience implying or outrightly saying that “Indian” roles aren’t as good. Coming into this film, I didn’t expect to have such messages regarding racism, but I suppose it’s not too surprising, given that the general message in The Addams Family is that “different” is not synonymous with “wrong”.
And don’t worry, the woman who tried to kill Fester gets her comeuppance. #LeaveFesterAlone