The Marvel Cinematic Universe has finally come to Disney+, but not exactly in the way many might expect. Marvel Studios' first original scripted show for the platform is WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany as Vision, who are both living in bizarre suburbia inspired by sitcom history. For many, the show will act as a sitcom history lesson, referencing every era of the genre, from I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show to Full House and Roseanne.
WandaVision is the first project from the MCU's "Phase 4," which was supposed to start with the movies Eternals and Black Widow, and the series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. However, those projects were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, giving WandaVision a surprising lead-off spot. But those expecting an action-adventure series were in for a shock Friday morning when the first two episodes were released. Both were presented in black and white and even had a laugh track. Bettany's Vision was dressed like Dick Van Dyke and Olsen's Wanda Maximoff looked like Mary Tyler Moore.
The first two episodes felt like lost episodes of I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show. "It was really about trying to capture [the authenticity], from the length of your fingernails and how they were shaped to the different types of fake eyelashes you were wearing," Olsen said in a recent Entertainment Weekly interview. "The whole thing was very specific, and it was really fun to do that as an actor. Usually, we try to adapt our bodies or how we speak or how we walk as a character for one project. To get to do this like six different times was really fun." Here's a look at some of the sitcoms referenced in the first two episodes and future ones. Each new episode is released on Disney+ Friday mornings.
I Love Lucy
As someone who grew up watching reruns of I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, I Love Lucy, etc., I thought the first two episodes of #WandaVision were fantastic! Can't wait to find out more! pic.twitter.com/hvKnoSOxnB— Kevin Brackett (@KevinRBrackett) January 15, 2021
Any show planning to take audiences on a deep dive through sitcom history has to start with I Love Lucy, one of the most influential American television shows in history. It originally ran from 1951 to 1957 on CBS and starred Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. Wanda's relationship with her neighbors and out-of-control kitchen antics appear to be references to Lucy's own comedic struggles at home.prevnext
The Dick Van Dyke Show
#WANDAVISION #WandaVisionspoilers I am in love with this show! I love all the shout outs to I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, Bewitched, Pleasantville, and Stepford Wives. I love the theme songs, too! Can't wait to see more! pic.twitter.com/zN0bCh9pF7— Ms. Ocampo's birthday is today! (@MsOcampoWrites) January 15, 2021
While the first episode included references to plenty of other sitcoms, it most directly mirrored an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, complete with Bettany dressed up like the titular star at work. Wanda's kitchen layout even looked like the Petrie's. The Dick Van Dyke Show ran from 1961 to 1966.prevnext
Of course, with Wanda being an actual witch, there were going to be Bewitched references. The second episode's animated opening sequence even replicated the Bewitched opening. The show originally ran from 1965 to 1972, with the first two seasons were produced in black and white, but have since been colorized.prevnext
The Brady Bunch
By the end of episode two, things start getting really weird. Suddenly the black and white world turns to color, hinting that the world Wanda and Vision are living in is actually being changed by a villainous unseen force. In one of the trailers, a scene appeared to take place on a set similar to The Brady Bunch home. Olsen recently told TVGuide that The Brady Bunch opening will be recreated on the show.prevnext
Family Ties also appears to be referenced in one of the trailers. There was a shot with Vision and Wanda on a set that recreated the home featured in the series. Family Ties ran from 1982 to 1989 and helped make Michael J. Fox a superstar.
"I loved TV, and watched far too much The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy and Bewitched and everything," Marvel's Kevin Feige recently said. "We go up to the Modern Family and The Office style. The talk-to-the-camera, shaky-camera, documentary style."prevnext
Once the show moves into the late 1980s and 1990s, references to Full House will start to appear. Coincidentally, Olsen's twin sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen starred in the series. Olsen told EW that performing in front of a live audience reminded her of the times she visited the Full House set. “It was insanity,” Olsen said. “There was something very meta for my own life because I would visit those tapings as a kid, where my sisters were working [on Full House].”prevnext
One of the trailers also confirmed Roseanne will be referenced. Wanda was shown complete with blown-out hair and a plaid shirt, with a set behind her that should remind viewers of the Conner home. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Matt Shakman said even the location of Wanda and Vision's home was a reference to sitcoms.
“We shot [Just the Ten of Us] on Warner Bros. Ranch. So I would skateboard down Blondie Street during my lunch break every day, and to this day, that’s where all these amazing sitcom houses are. Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Partridge Family,” Shakman explained to THR. “So I wanted to put Wanda and Vision’s house there. I wanted it to be there among the ghosts of sitcoms past. I wanted it to have that DNA and that weird kind of tension between fake and real, which is what that street really has. You can’t go to a real neighborhood and make it feel like Blondie Street.”prevnext
Debra Jo Rupp
WandaVision is also packed with sitcom veterans who otherwise might not appear in an MCU project. One of them is Debra Jo Rupp, who plays the wife of Vision's boss and one of their neighbors. Rupp has been in dozens of sitcoms, including That '70s Show, Seinfeld, and The Ranch. Kathryn Hahn plays the "nosy neighbor" character Agnes, while Fred Melamed plays Vision's boss. Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings and Randall Park will also be seen in the series.prev