TV TATTLE

WandaVision has allowed Kathryn Hahn to deliver her best work

  • "Hahn is an actress who has never given a bad performance, even in bad movies, and as WandaVision shows its cards, it’s only become more clear that this is some of her best work yet," says Sam Adams. "As Agnes, Hahn is not only playing two roles—'Agnes,' and the actual witch behind her, Agatha Harkness—but balancing two diametrically opposite character types. Agnes is the comic sidekick—she arrives to deliver a punchline or two, and to be the hammy foil to Wanda’s straight man—but Agatha appears to be the villain (or at least a villain), complete with a song in which she begins to reveal her evil plan. (Hahn herself sings the refrain, 'It’s been Agatha all along.') This is perfectly matched to Hahn’s sharp comic energy, which, while always fun, is also all the more captivating for always feeling a little dangerous. For most of the show, that edge manifests in the hints here and there that life in Westview is not all that it seems, such as Agnes’ break in behavior in the fifth episode when she asks Wanda if she should try acting out a scene again or when, in the third episode, she and another neighbor, Herb, seem to be hiding broader knowledge of what’s going on and, more to point, afraid of the consequences of breaking the illusion."

    ALSO:

    • It's about time Kathryn Hahn is appreciated: "Since the premiere of WandaVision, Kathryn Hahn has been killing it," says Lindsey Romain. "She brilliantly occupied the role of a ’50s/’60s housewife in the pilot. (Begone, Ralph, no one cares about you. And if you happen to matter eventually—guess what, I extra don’t care.) If anyone could inhabit the role of a sitcom character, it was Hahn. The actress stole the show in TV comedies like Girls, Parks and Recreation, Children’s Hospital, Bob’s Burgers, Transparent, and more. (Here’s where I also tell you to quit everything you’re doing and watch I Love Dick, one of my favorite shows ever.) That’s not to mention her filmic contributions. Anchorman, Step Brothers, Our Idiot Brother, We’re the Millers, Bad Moms? As well as brilliant dramatic work in Captain Fantastic and Private Life? Hahn knows what the hell she’s doing. Let’s take a minute to appreciate her perfect performance in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, for instance. If anything, we should be grateful she took the time to gift us with a nuanced MCU villain (?). Although it sucks that it takes decades-worth of hard work for someone to finally be appreciated because of their mainstream contributions. But that’s endemic of a larger problem. I don’t blame Kathryn Hahn for utilizing this space, And for making it extremely witchy in the process."
    • Teyonah Parris is glad Marvel revealed she was playing Rambeau at Comic-Con 2019 instead of waiting until episode four’s confirmation:  “Kevin Feige got on stage at Comic-Con and was like, ‘Monica!’ So I don’t know that they ever thought anything different,” Parris explains. “That was one of the most amazing, fun things to have experienced, especially now that we’re all in a pandemic and quarantine.”
    • Parris on her WandaVision evolution: "I did the 60s and 70s (episodes), so that was a lot of fun," she says. "I didn’t miss the girdles and the nylons of the 60s, but that was based on the wardrobe comfortability level. With the 70s, that was just really fun. The style of acting, I suppose, was challenging because it’s inherently antithetical to what I believe to be truthful acting. The challenge was finding the truthfulness in this style. Once we got to modern-day Monica, [the acting] is more straightforward. And so there were parts of the sitcom world that I missed, but it was still fun to watch Lizzie (Olsen) and Paul (Bettany) and Kathryn (Hahn) in that sitcom world. It’s a lot of character work and style work that they had to do to accomplish the authenticity in each sitcom decade. So I’ll leave that to them — they’re doing an excellent job with it (laughs)."
    • Parris on being a Black female superhero: "It’s no secret to any of us that it’s not often we get to see Black people in the superhero aspects, but particularly Black women," she says. "I would say there’s been a disproportionate amount of men to women, and that’s in everything in life, if we’re honest. So being a Black female superhero is really exciting for me because, especially in this context, being in a show where you’re in people’s homes, I get the opportunity for people to see this Black woman and to empathize with her, to get to know her. They begin to engage with her humanity. And I think that’s so important, and it’s important for young kids of color to see people that look like them — young Black girls, young Black boys and just everyone — to be able to have that opportunity to see people that look like them, or not, and to get to know who they are, engage with them. That’s really an honor."
    • Why WandaVision paid homage to Happy Endings: "ABC’s Happy Endings only ran for three seasons, but those three seasons packed more jokes than most sitcoms do in five," says Josh Kurp. "Created by David Caspe, the ABC comedy starred Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Zachary Knighton, Adam Pally, Damon Wayans Jr., and Casey Wilson, and was produced by, among others, Anthony and Joe Russo. They also directed episodes of Community and Arrested Development, as well as Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and two of the five highest-grossing movies of all-time, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. The Marvel connection is likely the reasoning behind the delightful and unexpected Happy Endings homage. Or maybe the world is finally coming around to the show’s rapid-fire brilliance."
    • WandaVision's slow rollout helps the show tackle grief: "We’ve seen superheroes die and the impact of that loss on their friends and the world at large," says Jason Tabrys. "Endgame deals with this constantly — showing a world shattered by the loss of half the population and an Avengers team dealing, at various points, with the loss of key members like Natasha, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Vision. Spider-Man: Far From Home is obviously driven, largely, by Peter Parker’s grief over the loss of his mentor in Tony. We’ve also seen heroes hobbled by the loss of someone they love — Bruce Wayne, in particular. But WandaVision is doing something different, sitting with the pain and showing the personal devastation and mental health impact in full. For all its quirk and cheeriness at the start, the show’s commitment to being a meditation on grief and loss stands out as its most daring and revolutionary part. WandaVision is pioneering a new level of human emotion and exploration for cowls and capes fiction that can help to broaden the reach of these things beyond escapist fantasy. The MCU needs to keep its eyes fixed on the stars but it also needs to continue keeping one foot on the ground, showing the vulnerabilities of its heroes as they wrestle with relatable and tangible things in the midst of planetary and superhuman challenges. It can never lose sight of the need to keep pushing boundaries there, same as it does with the boundaries of scale and spectacle."
    • WandaVision has solved a mystery Modern Family never could
    • How WandaVision could introduce Marvel's Mutants
    • WandaVision is like The Matrix, but from the Machines' perspective

    TOPICS: Kathryn Hahn, Disney+, Happy Endings, Modern Family, WandaVision, Teyonah Parris, Marvel




  • More TV Tattle: