Wanda and Vision mysteriously find themselves in a Meta 1950’s sitcom universe.
WandaVision “Episode One” and “Two,” developed by Jac Schaffer, place the “married” couple Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) and android Vision in a black and white idealized suburban town called Westview. The miniseries is a surreal 1950’s and early 1960’s style sitcom. The episodes so far are episodic. I feel that the miniseries will become more serialized as the mystery of what Wanda and Vision are doing in Westview is revealed. I’ve enjoyed the first two episodes where Schaffer plays with 1950’s television and Marvel aesthetics.
“Episodes One” and “Two” feel like they are based on two different sitcoms. I Love Lucy is a significant influence on “Episode One,” where there is a lot of physical comedy. Wanda is a ditzy “Lucille Ricardo” type who thinks that the special event marked in the calendar with a heart is her and Vision’s anniversary. The heart turns out to represent that Vision’s boss Mr. Hart and his wife are coming over for dinner. Agnes, their nosey next-door neighbor is a ” Ethel Mertz” type who conspires with Wanda to plan a perfect anniversary dinner. High Jinks occurs during the dinner where Vision is trying to impress his boss.
” Episode Two” is influenced by I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. First, the opening credits are funny animated sequences where Wanda and Vision try to mask their powers. Wanda has to hide her telepathy and telekinesis in front of the neighbors. Vision has to pretend to be a normal human being in front of his workmates and boss. In the episode, Wanda and Vision try to do a simple magic show at the fundraising talent show to blend in. The inversion is that instead of the wife, it’s Vision who messes up their magic show. Gum gets stuck in the android’s gears makes him act goofy and use his powers. Wanda spends most of the magic show trying to hide all of the fantastic feats that her husband does. In the two episodes, my favorite sitcom trope is that Vision and Wanda sleep in separate beds though they end up reattaching them after being scared by a tree branch. The laugh track adds authenticity and a sense of the uncanny to WandaVision.
The two commercials featured in these WandaVision episodes give some clues to what may be happening. The first commercial features an advertisement for the Stark Industries Toast Mate 2000 toaster oven. When the homemaker character turns on the toaster oven to make toast for her husband, the light turns red. Since the rest of the episode is in black and white, it’s jarring. Along with the fact, it signals that Wanda and Vision are stuck in a alternative universe or maybe even a computer. Perhaps somebody using Stark Industry technology is trapping Wanda and whatever is left of Vision’s consciousness in a device. This theory is proven possible since a scientist watches the “sitcom” on an old-fashioned television screen amongst many modern computers. He is taking notes.
The second commercial is an advertisement for Strucker watches, signaling Hydra’s possible involvement. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker was one of the leaders of Hydra and a sleeper agent within SH.I.E.L.D. The watch also has the Hydra octopus engraved on it. So possibly that scientist is a Hydra agent experimenting on Wanda and Vision. However, the other possibility is an unknown villainous lab is playing with their minds. These commercials are just visuals drawn from Wanda and Vision’s memories to make the world seem more real to them.
Wanda starts to realize there is something wrong with Westview. She sees a colored toy airplane in the bushes. Wanda is puzzled by this phenomenon but then forgets about it when Agnes brings over her rabbit for the magic show. Toward the end of the second episode, she suddenly becomes pregnant. Wanda questions if it’s real, but Vision soothes her nerves. Though their times when both Wanda and Vision are blind to some of the other bizarre moments. Nobody can tell Vision why he is computing all this information or what the company he works for produces. When Mr. Hart chocks at dinner, all his wife does is yell at him to stop. Mrs. Hart takes her husband away; the minute Vision removes the culprit from his throat. Wanda doesn’t notice when “Geraldine” questions what she is doing at the Talent Show steering committee and struggles to remember her own name. Finally, the couple seems more pleased than freaked out when they and their house suddenly become colorized into technicolor.
Maybe somebody is looking for Wanda Maximoff. When Scarlet Witch helps the neighbor Queen B Dottie clean up after their committee meeting, the radio plays a male voice calling for Wanda. He asks where she is. This voice snaps Dottie back into reality. She asks Wanda, ” Who are you?”. The man asks Wanda,” Who is doing this to you.” Wanda stares at the radio, starting to figure something out when the radio breaks and the moment is over. I don’t recognize the voice, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t somebody we know. Vision died in Avengers: Endgame, so hopefully, one of the other Avengers or a S.H.I.E.L.D agent is coming to save Wanda.
I’m a big fan of meta in media, especially in the fandoms that I’m part of, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I can’t wait to watch more of WandaVision and figure out what exactly is going on in this Sitcom world. Seeing episodes based on 1960’s and 1970’s sitcoms like The Brady Bunch or The Mary Tyler Moore Show will be a blast. I like what I’m seeing so far, but I am curious to see how the writers grapple with Wanda and Vision becoming parents. Make sure you have watched some episodes of I Love Lucy, I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched to get a richer experience.