Mild spoilers below for the first two episodes of Disney+'s WandaVision.
Beyond bringing Marvel fans into a new era of comic-book storytelling for the MCU's future, WandaVision is also a love letter to the evolution of television comedies. Its first two episodes hearken back to the black-and-white simplicity of the 1950s and 1960s, respectively, and future episodes will continue skipping through the decades accordingly. For those wondering what viewers can expect to see from future episodes that are steeped in the '80s, '90s and '00s, check out the video above from CinemaBlend's exclusive interview with WandaVision star Elizabeth Olsen.
With its series premiere, WandaVision tapped into such sitcom cornerstones as I Love Lucy, with Bewitched serving as a key inspiration for Episode 2, while other iconic series such as The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Dream of Jeannie also highly influential in the visuals and storytelling. We know the 1980s will embrace Family Ties as a major touchpoint, with The Office and Parks and Recreation serving as the more modern TV references, and it's even more interesting now to consider how WandaVision will handle those decades after seeing the expert way the '50s and '60s were tackled.
As seen in the video above, here's what Elizabeth Olsen had to say about the way WandaVision utilizes the specific humor from each decade, while teasing the approach for later eras.
Yeah, that was really important to us, and it is important to the show as well – what comedy is, or what humor is for each decade, it evolves and changes. I mean, the ‘80s become ridiculously sincere with all of its, you know, all these teaching moments. And you know, the sad music. And it’s like so strange what we watched in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and then we get into kind of the aughts, and the 2000s and ‘10s, and it’s so cynical. Everything becomes way cynical. So it’s interesting to use that type of humor and help tell our story.
As CinemaBlend's own Sean O'Connell brings up at the end of the clip, the '80s and early '90s were so well known for "Very Special" episodes that sidestepped comedic storylines in order to focus on real-world issues. That's where viewers got to see a lot of those "teaching moments" that Elizabeth Olsen mentioned. I don't see the creative team writing about Vision getting AIDS or one of their impending twins getting caught smoking weed at school, so it'll be interesting to see what kinds of tropey moments show up to accompany the sad "wah-nah-nah" music. Wanda's life certainly has more than enough tragedies to account for.
Those two decades were also pretty invested in characters having robots, which was the case on shows like Small Wonder and Saved by the Bell, among others. That feels ripe for WandaVision to poke fun at, while also potentially bringing in more moments from Tom King and Gabriel Hernández Walta's Vision miniseries.
WandaVision was previously revealed to also pay homage to more current TV series such as The Office and 30 Rock, which are known for delivering rapid-fire jokes, especially when compared to their televised ancestors. The talking-head portions of the latter are known to be one of WandaVision's visual references, but Elizabeth Olsen hints that the more cynical humor of modern TV will also play into the MCU series. I cannot see Vision's boss Mr. Hart turning into Steve Carell's Michael Scott, nor Dottie's Rotary Club mirroring Pawnee's local government in Parks and Recreation, but I do think Olsen's Wanda could pull off an amazing impression of Aubrey Plaza's April.
I guess since Twin Peaks isn't known for being a comedy, it doesn't quite count as a specific influence here, though WandaVision's first two episodes definitely gave off the creepy vibes that one gets from a David Lynch project. Here's hoping those remain throughout the show's nine-episode run as viewers learn more about what's actually happening to Wanda.