Just under a year out from the release date of Disney+’s Marvel series WandaVision, we still don’t have a full idea of what the gosh darn thing is about.
We know that the show will continue the adventures of Avengers Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) a.k.a. Scarlet Witch and The Vision (Paul Bettany). We also know, thanks to some stylish promo photos that show the couple in ‘50s style domestic bliss, that it will likely borrow liberally from Tom King’s speculative comic series Vision. The speculative fiction nature of the series would make some sense given the fact that The Vision is dead in the Avenger films continuity.
Now a new Marvel teaser released by Disney+ during this year’s Super Bowl offers up even more clues. Marvel’s description that the series “blends the style of classic sitcoms with the Marvel Cinematic Universe” seems more literal than ever before. This teaser flashes visions (no pun intended) of Wanda and Vis living inside some straight up TV universes! Some are more general and conceptual while others seem to pay homage to specific classic TV sitcoms themselves.
First, check out the teaser if you haven’t seen it yet…
Now let’s break down the TV sitcoms homages that we found in the first brief glimpse offered at WandaVision. Let us know what we missed!
First, a disclaimer. One that that it’s important to remember here is that, despite its recent major heist of 20th Century Fox in its ongoing media consolidation, Disney actually doesn’t own the rights to many classic sitcoms. Some of these old-timey TV glimpses could be meant to be general in nature rather than homages to specific series.
This one is a bit hard to nail down. At first glance this version of Wanda and Vision in ’50s attire seems like it could be an homage to the very early years of Bewitched. That would of course be fitting given Wanda’s witchy nature as Bewitched followed the story of a witch named Samantha’s and her years spent in domestic bliss and tranquility with her husband.
The issue is that Bewitched premiered in the ’60s and spent much of its run in color, not black and white. Also the outfits seen here seem to harken back to earlier in the ’50s. This could be from something like The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, which launched in 1952 and ran all the way through 1966. Ozzie and Harriet was actually the longest running live-action sitcom ever until It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia tied it this year.
I Love Lucy
The next black and white conception we see of Vision and Wanda harkens back to the very beginning of TV sitcoms. Wanda and Vis’s intensely domestic and wholesome looks seem to suggest something like I Love Lucy or Leave it to Beaver.
I Love Lucy in particular is the more likely choice. This short-sleeved collared blouse, pearl necklace, and curly hair is very reminiscent of Lucille Ball’s look in the series. Later on in the teaser Wanda answers the phone in what can only be described as a Lucille Ball kind of way. Just switch out “Hello, Vision residence” with Hello, Ricardo residence” and you’re there.
The Brady Bunch
Next up is Wanda in some pretty unambiguous ‘70s attire. The most obvious comparison to draw here is that Wanda is in a Brady Bunch-style universe with Wanda having Marsha Brady’s super long hair and groovy blouse.
Later on in the teaser, WandaVision all but confirms that this is a Brady Bunch homage when we see a familiar looking ficus and wooden staircase in the background. Some of the TV sitcom homages assembled here could be general but this one is certainly specific.
There’s a pretty tremendous clue as to what show WandaVision is paying homage to here, not in Wanda and Vis’s look (though that helps), but rather the set. The staircase, windows, and chairs visible all seem pretty close to the set of 1980s sitcom Family Ties. That’s the one that starred Michael J. Fox as conservative wonder boy Alex P. Keaton in case you forgot.
In the show Alex’s parents, Elyse and Steven were ex-hippies, which generally fits into Wanda and Vis’s look here. More importantly, however, you can see a couple of pacificers entering the shot from the bottom, suggesting that our superhero pair may have had some superpowered kiddos…at least in this version of their reality together.
Now this is straight up Roseanne, full stop. Wanda’s plaid, suspenders, and blown-out hair suggests the ‘90s, while the chaotic assemblage of the magnets on the fridge behind her and the drab wallpaper clearly harken to Roseanne Barr’s working class classic.
Wanda seems to share a bit in common with Laurie Metcalf’s Jackie Harris or even latter years’ Becky Conner-Healy. There’s even something about Wanda’s hands-on-hips look that suggests Roseanne‘s energy.
Finally, we see Wanda in a very low-tech version of her classic Scarlet Witch costume. This whole vibe looks like something a character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Charmed would wear in an episode surrounding a Halloween party.
Indeed the idea of Wanda wearing a Halloween costume that’s based on her real life powers is highly reminiscent of early WB/CW shows like Charmed. There’s also a little bit of Gilmore Girls thrown in there for good measure. Or perhaps this is calling back to an even more recent working-class sitcom like Malcolm in the Middle.