The 10 Best Wednesday Addams Moments, Ranked

Netflix recently announced their lineup for their 2022 "Netflix and Chills" annual Halloween celebration, and noticeably absent from the list was the anticipated "Wednesday" series from Tim Burton, starring Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams. The series is expected to debut sometime in the fall of 2022, but without it on the schedule, it seems as if audiences will have to wait just a little while longer to see the newest live-action interpretation of Charles Addams' beloved creation. First appearing as a comic strip in 1938, "The Addams Family" has been adapted to television, film, animation, video games, comic books, a Broadway musical, and countless items of merchandise. Regardless of age or interest, there's a form of "The Addams Family" for everyone.

As groundbreaking as the family has been for alternative subcultures and sardonic humor, Wednesday Addams has been a seminal role model for unconventional girls for generations. If you've ever worn black lipstick, chances are someone has compared you to Wednesday at least once in your life. 

Waiting for the new "Wednesday" series is its own sweet form of agony, but fortunately, there are plenty of Wednesday Addams moments to know and love. In honor of the upcoming series, let's look back at 10 of the greatest adapted moments of everyone's favorite goth tween.

10. Where babies come from — Addams Family Values (1993)

"Addams Family Values" is arguably Wednesday's movie, and that's no shade to Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) or Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack). Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams is armed to the teeth with hilarious one-liners, and one of the best moments occurs in the waiting room of the hospital as Morticia Addams delivers the newest member of the family, Pubert. 

As Wednesday and her brother Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) patiently wait, they are seated next to a little girl who is excited to become a big sister. She recites an absolutely absurd monologue about where babies come from, including an angel telling a stork to deliver a diamond under a leaf in the cabbage patch because her mommy and daddy kissed. Pugsley replies "Our parents are having a baby, too," but Wednesday ends the scene with a quick zoom to the face and the matter-of-fact explanation, "They had sex."

This moment is spectacular because it points out the absurdity of how "normal" families often lie to their children about conception because they view it as inappropriate, setting their children up for failure and for a harsh reality check later on down the line. Wednesday isn't being rude or unbecoming, she's stating a fact, and she's right to do so.

9. Normalizing crossbows — The Addams Family (2019)

Many were skeptical when it was announced that the family Addams were getting the animated treatment, but the 2019 film starring Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, Finn Wolfhard, and Chloë Grace Moretz wasn't the total trainwreck many had anticipated. The film was a massive box office success and even spawned a sequel film that ... probably shouldn't have been made.

The movies are just as inspired by Barry Sonnenfeld's live-action films as they are Charles Addams' iconic "New Yorker" cartoons, which include deliciously sarcastic lines for Wednesday Addams. In the film, Wednesday convinces her parents to allow her to attend a public junior high school, where she befriends Parker Needler (Elsie Fisher).

As the film takes place in the current era, Parker immediately finds it odd that Wednesday is a tween without a cell phone, calling it "weird." Wednesday, always quick on her feet, snaps back with "I may not have a cell phone, but you don't have a crossbow, and I thought everybody did." Wednesday's love of crossbows is well documented, and while this film allows her to be a bit more vulnerable as a budding teenager filled with hormones and insecurity, it's a sweet moment that reminds the audience where her priorities always lie.

8. One thing on her mind — Addams Family Values (1993)

The way young girls are conditioned to perform femininity and gender roles is archaic and asinine, and "Addams Family Values" is one of the strongest films to rebuff these ridiculous expectations. After being sent off to Camp Chippewa thanks to Debbie Jelinsky, the Addams family is shown interacting with the general public more than usual, but the attendees of Camp Chippewa are a lot of WASPy trust fund kids with their even more obnoxious parents.

In a truly memorable exchange, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) describes Wednesday as being "at that very special age when a girl has only one thing on her mind." Ellen Buckman (Harriet Sansom Harris), the busybody mother of Wednesday's camp rival, confidently assumes that Morticia is referring to Wednesday having crushes on boys.

Fortunately, Wednesday will always be Wednesday, and without missing a beat corrects her with one word: "Homicide." It's a fantastic outcome of the "play stupid games, win stupid prizes" rule, where Ellen should have known better than to assume Wednesday would subscribe to the socialized expectations of the status quo.

7. Adult Wednesday Addams

The internet of a decade ago was nothing like the internet of today. YouTube creators were able to get away with a lot more blatant copyright infringement, which meant shows like Melissa Hunter's "Adult Wednesday Addams" were able to thrive. Now, Hunter is an acclaimed TV writer, having contributed to shows like "Santa Clarita Diet," "Close Enough," and "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," but her Adult Wednesday Addams series from 2013 to 2015 is arguably what put her on the map.

The series is exactly what it sounds like, with Hunter playing Wednesday Addams as she dealt with the issues of existing as an adult woman in the world like job hunting and catcalling, but from her darkly comedic perspective. Hunter created the series under the impression that it would be protected under fair use as parody, but the series has unfortunately been scrubbed from YouTube after she was sent a letter from the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation asking her to take them down. The videos do pop up every once in a while from fans who pirated the footage before it all disappeared, but for the most part, "Adult Wednesday Addams" exists only in our memories and Tumblr gifsets.

6. Performing Hamlet — The Addams Family (1991)

The Addams family are known for their theatrics, with crossbow-wielding, fencing, salsa dancing, and poetry reciting all within their wheelhouse. Wednesday and Pugsley are tasked with performing in a school talent showcase and do so in the most Addams way possible. While the other students are happily performing as elves or flowers and scream-singing off-key, Wednesday and Pugsley decide to perform an abridged version of Shakespeare's "Hamlet," the sword-fight in particular.

The Addams kids aren't ones to skimp out on their commitment to the craft and go whole hog by rigging their bodies with blood-spurting special effects. As Wednesday passionately recites "Hamlet," she and Pugsley pretend to chop off each other's limbs and even slice open Wednesday's throat, spraying blood on the first few rows of parents in the audience. The rest of the Addams family members, who have up until this point been bored out of their minds, jump from their seats and applaud wildly. Finally, some real entertainment at this children's play!

5. Lessons in white feminism — Addams Family Values (1993)

Wednesday Addams is often cited as a feminist icon, and with good reason. It'd be easy to paint her as a "not like most girls" trope, but Wednesday has no interest in comparing herself to other women. She embraces her personality and aesthetic and doesn't judge those who don't subscribe to the same lifestyle. Where she does have a problem, however, is when she sees people weaponize their identity. 

In a small but massively impactful moment in "Addams Family Values," Wednesday stands on the dock to the lake at summer camp with the insufferable Amanda Buckman (Mercedes McNabb). Wednesday's issues with Amanda have nothing to do with her blonde, preppy appearance, but instead her extremely privileged approach to the world and her spoiled, snobbish attitude.

As the two await instructions on a "life-saving lesson," Amanda gleefully volunteers to play the victim. Wednesday immediately retorts "all your life," understanding that someone like Amanda will continue to play the victim in every circumstance until the day she dies. Amanda may not even recognize it yet, but she's already showing signs of being the type of person who will forever view herself as the most oppressed group as a woman, despite the fact her wealth and whiteness offers her privileges that others could only dream of. 

Call it like you see it, Wednesday!

4. Pulled — The Addams Family Musical

Despite a short run on Broadway, "The Addams Family Musical" has become a favorite across the globe for educational, community, and regional theaters. With a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music by Andrew Lippa (who is also behind the musical adaptation of "Big Fish"), "The Addams Family Musical" is a delightful addition to the Addams canon, focusing heavily on a teenage Wednesday Addams who finds herself falling in love for the first time and feeling compelled to rebel against her family by cutting off her braids and wearing ... yellow. The original cast was absolute dynamite, with Broadway legends Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia, character acting legend Jackie Hoffman as Grandma, and Krysta Rodriguez ("Quantico," "Daybreak," "Smash") as Wednesday.

All of the music featured throughout is creepy, kooky, and fun, but there's no denying that Wednesday has the show-stopping number with "Pulled." Staged while torturing Pugsley, "Pulled" is about the emotional conflict Wednesday feels as a lifelong creepy kid suddenly finding herself drawn to sweet things like "string quartets and Chia Pets and afternoon banana splits, angels watching as she sleeps, and Liberace's greatest hits." Wednesday belts her proverbial face off throughout the song, and it's become a mainstay in many alto/mezzo-soprano musical theater performers' repertoires.

3. The Thanksgiving play — Addams Family Values (1993)

Despite what the American public school system has most people believe, Thanksgiving was not a celebratory feast where the colonizing pilgrims and Indigenous Wampanoag people shared a meal and made construction paper hand turkeys. An unfortunate reality is that most of pop culture's exploration of the holiday refuses to acknowledge the true history of the day, instead favoring the white-washed approach of sharing thanks, eating until we burst, and listening to weird uncles scream at football games on TV. One of the only films to actually acknowledge the injustice of Thanksgiving isn't a Thanksgiving movie at all — it's "Addams Family Values."

In "Addams Family Values," the campers are tasked with putting on a festive play called "A Turkey Named Brotherhood." To make matters worse, the camp has assigned all of the non-white campers, the disabled campers, and the Jewish campers whose parents haven't had a plastic surgeon erase their ethnic features to play the roles of Native Americans in brownface. Wednesday chooses to go off script during the big performance while playing Pocahontas (a real historical figure who had nothing to do with the first Thanksgiving), knowing this play is seriously messed up.

In a great climax, she delivers a powerful speech explaining the ways colonizers have harmed Indigenous communities for generations and leads a revolt where the fictional set is burned to the ground. The children lean into the harmful "savage" stereotypes assigned to them and end the performance by spit-roasting the camp counselors and tying Amanda Buckman to a pole with an apple in her mouth.

2. Wednesday's dance — The Addams Family (1964–1966)

The very first live-action adaptation of "The Addams Family" debuted in the mid-1960s, with John Astin, Carolyn Jones, Ted Cassidy, Jackie Coogan, Ken Weatherwax, and Lisa Loring playing the titular family. Lisa Loring's Wednesday is much younger than the usual portrayals, which allowed for even funnier juxtaposition whenever she dropped macabre comments. Wednesday had a much sunnier disposition in the TV show than what most are used to seeing from the more recent movies, but one Wednesday moment has stood the test of time above all others.

In season 2 episode 29 "Lurch's Grand Romance," little Wednesday takes it upon herself to teach the gentle giant (played by Ted Cassidy) how to dance. After putting on an upbeat record, she exclaims "This is the latest, it's called 'The Drew!'" and begins dancing her little heart out. Wednesday shuffles her feet at a rapid pace, and Lurch looks on in confusion. "You don't want her to think you're square, do ya?" she asks.

Lurch clearly does not want this, so Wednesday tells him that as long as he's a good dancer, she'll think that he's "boss." The moment is painfully cute because Loring is naturally so adorable, but witnessing the generational share of lingo in this spooky mansion will immediately warm your heart. Lurch eventually tries the dance for himself and while he's not as smooth as Wednesday, he still looks pretty "boss."

1. Wednesday's Halloween costume — The Addams Family (1991)

Wednesday Addams quotes are shared like wildfire, to the point where people viewing them can likely hear Christina Ricci's voice in their heads when they read them. While the Thanksgiving speech from "Addams Family Values" makes the rounds every holiday season, Wednesday's most famous moment is an evergreen reminder and a personal safety tip all rolled into one. On Halloween night, the conniving Margaret Alford (Dana Ivey) in full fairy princess/Glinda the Good Witch regalia sees Wednesday in her usual white collared, black velvet dress.

"What are you, darling? Where's your costume?" she asks, only for Wednesday to firmly reply, "I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everybody else." 

The Addams family as characters in all of their adapted forms have always been about understanding that outward appearances and dark interests do not define a person's character and that oftentimes the real monsters are those hiding in plain sight. This moment is Wednesday's best because it perfectly encapsulates her practical approach to life, as well as showcases how she is often the most sensible person in the room, regardless of her young age.