WandaVision: Episode 1
January 15, 2021 6:07 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Wanda and Vision struggle to conceal their powers during dinner with Vision’s boss and his wife.
posted by 1970s Antihero (39 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Questions raised in this episode:

- Were 50s/early 60s sitcoms really that lame? (yes. they really were)
- What the hell is going on?
- Is Debra Jo Rupp the platonic ideal sitcom performer in every respect?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:15 AM on January 15 [12 favorites]


- Is Debra Jo Rupp the platonic ideal sitcom performer in every respect?

Yes.
posted by Pendragon at 10:48 AM on January 15 [11 favorites]


I don't know if it's good but it's very intriguing. Which is the inverse of most Marvel films.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:52 AM on January 15 [7 favorites]


So my initial hypothesis was that we're seeing a very elaborate form of denial on Wanda's part...that her subconscious has basically created a pocket universe to hide from grief in. But the sitcom thing won't quite fit into that without a lot of extra explanatory infrastructure, so now I'm not sure. And the pullback at the end to reveal the TV that the "show" is being displayed on seems like evidence against the idea as well.
After a year and a half away from the MCU, I'm happy that there's new stuff to watch, and that it's something I'm interested enough in to keep going.
posted by Ipsifendus at 11:54 AM on January 15 [1 favorite]


My hypothesis so far is that Strucker is trying to harvest the power of the now lost mindstone from Wanda by keeping her in some kind of brainwashed Truman Show world. But in doing so he's going to unleash some multiverse-y business that the whole MCU is going to be cleaning up for the next cycle of movies/TV shows.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:06 PM on January 15


I don't think the setting is Wanda's call, because I very much doubt she grew up immersed in American culture.

I checked out the calendar. It's August, with the first on a Tuesday, which most recently happened in 2017. Checking whencanireusethiscalendar, it would fit 2006, 1995, 1989, 1978, 1967, and 1961. Yakety Yak came out in 1958, so I'll stop there. Googling a bit, August 1961 marks the appearance of Fantastic Four #1, Marvel's first superhero comic in years.

Other random tidbits:
I zoomed in while watching on my iPad, and I might have missed something about changing aspect ratios during the dinner party.

There's a little bit of red on the toaster.

Newspaper headline: "Little Baby June's First Word Tickles Mother Sue"
posted by Pronoiac at 12:08 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


So much more than a simple spoof. Interesting piece on the show in today's Guardian.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:17 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


This was excellent.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 2:06 PM on January 15


I like Vision well enough, can't say I've ever found Wanda interesting. Not sure if I do now either, but the fucked up sitcom universe thing is an interesting concept.

So my initial hypothesis was that we're seeing a very elaborate form of denial on Wanda's part...that her subconscious has basically created a pocket universe to hide from grief in. But the sitcom thing won't quite fit into that without a lot of extra explanatory infrastructure, so now I'm not sure. And the pullback at the end to reveal the TV that the "show" is being displayed on seems like evidence against the idea as well.

keeping her in some kind of brainwashed Truman Show world.


I vote for "any/all of the above." I definitely think she's in some kind of dreamworld denial about Vision being dead, but also someone's manipulating....something....from the outside. I suspect Mrs. Hart of Something.

Good point that it seems like old sitcoms might not be a thing Wanda grew up with in Sokovia?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:11 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I think the only powers Wanda has demonstrated in the movies are giving people nightmare hallucinations and moving things with her mind. (Also some kind of energy blasts which are probably just exceptionally forceful use of telekinesis. And triggering Vision's density power to send him falling deep into the earth so she could get away with Clint in Civil War which could've been some combination of her TK, "mind games," or some connection she has with the Infinity Stone in Vision's forehead that Strucker used to give or augment her powers.)

But she's never done anything like making rings appear out of nowhere or transmuting a chicken into a basket of eggs. So either that's all an illusion based on her "mind games" (and/or part of the nightmare someone else has trapped her in) or she's somehow become much more powerful, more like the Scarlet Witch of the comic books.
posted by straight at 10:40 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


"My husband and his indestructible head." Heh.
posted by happyroach at 10:59 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


I am intrigued! The "I am in a dream and don't know what's going on" was nicely handled - turning it into marital bantering was great. Regarding the end reveal, I don't think we've seen that logo before, have we?

I'd categorize this episode as specifically an homage to the Dick van Dyke show. Based on the series trailer, it looks like they're making their way through the whole history of the genre, though.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:03 AM on January 16


If the first two episodes were Dick van Dyke and Bewitched, respectively, what are the templates for the remaining decades of sitcoms?
posted by pykrete jungle at 6:05 AM on January 16


Actually, someone in the episode 2 post suggested it was I Love Lucy rather than Dick van Dyke and, yeah, totally.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:10 AM on January 16


If the first two episodes were Dick van Dyke and Bewitched, respectively, what are the templates for the remaining decades of sitcoms?

I've heard that The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Roseanne, and Malcom In The Middle are on the to-be-invoked list.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:27 AM on January 16


> Actually, someone in the episode 2 post suggested it was I Love Lucy rather than Dick van Dyke and, yeah, totally.

Nah, it's absolutely The Dick Van Dyke show. Look at that set!
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:55 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, the set is very DvD. But the flailing over dinner and lobster gags and stuff do feel Lucy-ish. Pastiche me harder, Marvel!
posted by rmd1023 at 11:21 AM on January 16


And then the boss starts choking to death and his wife refuses to notice that it's serious and we're suddenly watching an episode of The Twilight Zone.

And the way Wanda suddenly seems herself when she says, "Vision, help him," made me think that deep down she knows this is a real person not just some hallucination.
posted by straight at 11:44 AM on January 16 [4 favorites]


The “Vision help him” bit is also a sudden shift to her (and him, I think) staring directly into the camera. The rest of the time it’s all staring off of the direct camera line.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:20 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


The wife's repeating her line "stop it" was straight up Lynch.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:33 PM on January 16 [11 favorites]


A surprise Fred Melamed is always the best! Also, Kathryn Hahn would have killed in classic sitcoms.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:21 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


"My husband and his indestructible head." Heh.
posted by happyroach at 1:59 AM on January 16


I don’t think this line has gotten nearly as much acknowledgment as it deserves! Not having read any speculation, I went into this assuming it’s about how Wanda grapples with her grief over Vision’s death. For he first line to him to be a reference to the fact that she saw his head destroyed not once, but twice... and that his immediately preceding line was “My wife and her flying saucers,” a reference to the fact that his death was in the context of an alien invasion. This show immediately started in a dark place, long before anyone choked on a morsel of dinner.
posted by ejs at 3:20 PM on January 17 [9 favorites]


If the first two episodes were Dick van Dyke and Bewitched, respectively, what are the templates for the remaining decades of sitcoms?

If the third one isn't "I Dream of Jeannie" then they've made a grave mistake.
posted by dnash at 4:42 PM on January 17


Nah, it's absolutely The Dick Van Dyke show. Look at that set!

Yes, this was Dick Van Dyke Show. Instead of DVD tripping over the ottoman when they enter the living room in the credits, Vision just walks through the chair.
posted by dnash at 5:04 PM on January 17 [2 favorites]


For the curious, a great answer from r/AskHistorians ("yes, we know you've been watching WandaVision") to the question: In 1950s America was it common for the boss and his wife to have dinner at an employee's home, or is that purely a sitcom plot? Includes menu and planning.
posted by elgilito at 2:47 AM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall wrote a pretty good book on canonical American TV shows. He's providing recaps of the show, and the first one, dealing with the first two episodes, gets into the historical sitcom references, and why the "Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Bewitched" in particular might have been chosen.
posted by Ipsifendus at 4:25 AM on January 18


I don't think the setting is Wanda's call, because I very much doubt she grew up immersed in American culture.

otoh, i will argue (supported by some pre-Disney TV interviews of Elizabeth Olsen when she explained her logic of Wanda's accent becoming more American -- with rather clever tripping of her 'native' Eastern Europe accent - when Civil War rolled through) that Wanda probably has been prodigiously consuming American pop culture to fit in. And sitcoms are comfort food stuff, maybe it's something she could have bonded with Vision during her house arrest phase? In any case, there's internal narrative case to support she created this refuge out of the most innocuous of genres.

(imagine if she latched onto reality tv!)
posted by cendawanita at 7:15 AM on January 18


And the studio audience is also such an unexpectedly enjoyable component of this production! I'm looking forward to seeing the results of the direction - since they were also directed to react in a period-appropriate way, or so I've been told in the various interview promos.
posted by cendawanita at 7:26 AM on January 18


The wife's repeating her line "stop it" was straight up Lynch.

Yeah, that was absolutely the "Kyle McLaughlin finds a severed ear in the lawn" moment from Blue Velvet.
posted by whir at 10:02 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]


I wasn't sure about watching this, neither has been a character I cared much about in my MCU fandom, and Paul Bettany is dead to me after that stuff with Depp (what a piece of shit). But I was curious enough about the sinister aspects to try it out. This first one was just...okay, I guess. Too much sitcom, not enough sinister undercurrent for me, though that one moment was great. Debra Jo Rupp is so amazing, always. I enjoyed the commercial with its Stark Industries callbacks (to why Wanda and Pietro wanted revenge on Tony in the first place and how they were brought into the MCU).
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:00 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


I didn't know anything about this show other than deciding to watch it after seeing it posted here. And I just...what the hell is going on?
posted by medusa at 8:26 PM on January 18 [3 favorites]


Fan guesses below, hoping they don't count as spoilers:

Wanda Maximoff, superhero with telekinetic and telepathic powers, is trapped in some kind of hallucination or alternate reality based on TV sitcoms. She may be being held prisoner by some kind of organisation which has her under control with drugs or telepathy. She may be in an alternate reality created as side-effects of the reality warping that's happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or she may be insane with grief for her late husband and has conjured up a fantasy where they can live an idyllic life together.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 9:41 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]


Medusa, "What the hell is going on" is exactly the ongoing mystery. I will memail you some of the backstory about the characters just in case you're new to the MCU.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:56 PM on January 19


The wife's repeating her line "stop it" was straight up Lynch.

Yeah, that was absolutely the "Kyle McLaughlin finds a severed ear in the lawn" moment from Blue Velvet.


I was getting the vibe of "MCU does Lynch's Rabbits" through the first two eps.
posted by FatherDagon at 3:46 PM on January 21


What stands out is how they truly act like they’ve just moved in to stay. No “where are we, what is this place?” kind of freak out. They make no reference to the nature of their surroundings being like a tv show and certainly don’t hear the incidental music and laugh track. If this is some kind of experiment, test, or attempt to extract information, it’s not apparent.

Bonus from the opening: the realtor sign on the house has a 732 area code phone number, placing it in central NJ.
posted by dr_dank at 12:57 PM on January 23


Bonus from the opening: the realtor sign on the house has a 732 area code phone number, placing it in central NJ.

And out of the 1950s, since the 732 area code was created in 1997; in fact, the second digit of area codes was always 0 or 1 until 1995. Of course, the second three digits are 555, placing the phone number squarely in TV-land.
posted by Superilla at 11:18 PM on February 5 [3 favorites]


I feel like I missed something. What did Vis have in his hand at the end of the episode, right after Wanda created the rings?
posted by hanov3r at 10:16 AM on February 6


In his right hand, he held the TV remote.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:17 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I thought the "Old MacDonald" bit where they try to get Mr. Hart to suggest an animal, he refuses to participate, and Vision decides on "pig" for him was pretty good, in a classic TV sitcom gag kind of way.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 12:35 PM on March 10


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