This month on Dispodopolis, we discuss the Disney+ release of "WandaVision." There is a lot of hype surrounding the first Marvel production created for Disney+. We were able to dive into the first two episodes on our latest podcast. We cover all the fun, jokes, and symbolism that flows through both episodes. We also talk about the theories that are flying around the internet. There are many, and we help explain how some may be correct, and some may be far fetched. Is it worth the hype? Let's find out.
"Episode One: Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience" brings back an era when they would advertise certain aspects of their recording to encourage viewership. It is something you still see with ma and pa hotels in small towns. You can still see the signs outside the hotels offering "Color Television" and "Heated Pool." This episode is a step back in time to the beginning of the family sitcom that graced the air in the early fifties to the early sixties. There was even a sit-down session with Dick Van Dyke to receive his guidance with "WandaVision." In 1961, Dick Van Dyke got his start on television and headlined a show called "The Dick Van Dyke Show," with Mary Tyler Moore. We see Vision walk through a chair where Dick Van Dyke tripped over an ottoman. That show was in black and white using a 4/3 television ratio, and so does the first episode of "WandaVision."
The episode is full of dad jokes and miscommunications, which were familiar tropes that they would commonly use in early sitcoms, and these persist today because of their usefulness. We are introduced to Wanda Maximoff and Vision as they pull up in their "newly married" decorated car and arrive at their perfectly decorated new home. The miscommunication between them starts the next morning when they discover a heart on the calendar. Each doesn't know what it is for, but the other acknowledges that they do know. As the day unfolds, so do the misunderstandings.
Here we are introduced to Agnus, their next-door neighbor, helper in a pinch, and confidant. Some think she is Wanda's mentor Agatha Harkness. Agatha Harkness is also a witch that mentors Wanda and her talents. She may well be her mentor, and she proves to be beneficial to Wanda in the first two episodes. During the first episode, she helps Wanda plan a romantic evening for her and Vision. Then, she helps Wanda switch it to a business dinner to impress the boss, Mr. Hart, and his wife. Agnus' husband, Ralph, is never shown and could never live up to the description, but we know that he looks better in the dark.
We soon realize that Wanda and Vision don't have a back story, and they don't know how to present themselves. This becomes painfully evident during the dinner party. Mr. and Mrs. Hart start to wonder if they will ever be feed. When dinner is served, the Harts start asking questions, and all turns for the worst when Mr. Hart starts choking during his line of questioning. Mrs. Hart can only sit in despair, laughter, and repeat over and over, "Stop it!" We wonder at this point if Wanda isn't responsible for the situation that has befallen Mr. Hart. Is she trying to stop the obsessive questions? Does she feel guilt for the way she handled the situation? She eventually breaks character and tells Vision to help Mr. Hart. Once Vision removes the obstruction, they all return to their characters as if nothing had happened. The Harts excuse themselves to leave after a lovely evening.
Wanda and Vision end their evening trying to create a back story, rings and pick out a song. Many questions are raised with the first episode, and additional questions sprout up as we close out with the credits. We pull back to see they are on a television screen being watched with someone holding a remote and a journal with the SWORD emblem on it. SWORD (sentient, weapon, observation, and response division) seems to be watching over what is transpiring.
The closing credits display the science of color television. The pixels break down into their RGB (red, green, and blue) form. They create a three-dimensional form that emphasizes some of the objects that adorn the episode. Learning about the colors that create light is a fun experiment you can do at home. You can take a red, blue, and green translucent film and hold each one in front of a flashlight and see how they reflect the color. But if you layer the films, the color changes and becomes lighter. You can also visit a website called the Physics Classroom to duplicate that experiment online.
"The Second Episode: Don't Touch that Dial" beckons a time when televisions had knobs and dials that turned, and you had to stand up to change your channel or the volume. It also reminds us of the perfection that was expected of individuals in social situations during the sixties. We are introduced to some new characters and upgrades in our television viewing.
It opens with Wanda and Vision sleeping in separate beds, and this opening scene ends with the beds pushed together and Wanda switching them to one. This is a direct influence from "I Love Lucy" and how the show developed over the years, starting with separate beds and then the television board, several years later, allowing them to have one. This scene leads to opening credits for this episode deeply rooted in the show "Bewitched." This is purely intentional, even down to the scriptwriting of WandaVision that echoes Bewitched exactly. It also reminds one of the "Jetsons" opening. The Jetsons was an animated television show that was played during primetime in the early sixties.
We soon find out that the town of Westview is having a talent show "for the children." Wanda and Vision have transformed themselves into Illusion and Glamour and created a cabinet of mystery box with a painted motif to match the Mind Stone. After a quick rehearsal, Wanda heads to the ladies' committee meeting, and Vision heads to the neighborhood watch committee. These meetings, the practice, and the talent show are all held within a couple of hours.
At the ladies' committee meeting, we are introduced to a cast of characters that round out the town of Westview. Agnus is there to guide her through the introduction and meeting with Dottie. How do you explain Dottie? She is definitely straight out of the Stepford wives with psychotic undertones. Wanda allows her to put her in her place, or is somebody else controlling this situation? She also meets Geraldine at the meeting. Who is Geraldine? She isn't actually Geraldine, she is Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Maria Rambeau, the best friend of Captain Marvel. Does Geraldine know who she is?
At the same time, Vision is at the neighborhood watch committee, becoming a member of the town. He even points out that one guy is a communist. They all think it is in jest, but does he know something we all don't know? Vision even tries gum since he decided it is a “When in Rome” moment. Even though the outcome is comical, the show's illustrations add a fun level representing the decade.
As Wanda is about to leave her meeting, she confronts Dottie to make up for her missteps during the meeting. Just then, you hear her name over the radio. Someone is reaching out to Wanda, and you can hear the FBI agent, Jimmy Woo, saying, "Wanda, Wanda, who is doing this to you, Wanda?" It is obviously from outside of Westview, and they are trying to reach into the closed world that holds Wanda and Vision. Why is this happening, and who is creating the limitations?
We are whisked away to a town square with a gazebo and a Wentworth's Department store, inspired by Woolworth's, in the background. Every studio lot has a town square like this one. Some of the ones you probably remember are the one from "Back to the Future" and, more recently "Gilmore Girls." Each of these is easily transformed into exactly what you need to create the perfect town. It is magical how they can transform the same town square into any decade or any part of the country.
As Wanda and Vision plunge into their magic show, everything goes wrong, and Wanda steps in to save the moment. Every illusion created by Illusion is actually part of his natural abilities he has from the Mind Stone. Wanda uses her magic to explain away all of the powers of Vision. "Is that how mirrors work?" asks one of the ladies of Dottie. Dottie hushes her as if she was an imbecile. Everyone buys in but underneath, they all understand what is going on around them. They have an outward cheer while pushing down the disbelief and fear that sounds their thoughts.
The talent show ends, and Wanda and Vision are embraced by the community and honored for their efforts. So strange how Wanda is so nervous about being excepted while she seems to control the world.
As soon as they are honored, we see Wanda and Vision back on the couch discussing the day. Wanda gets up to get popcorn, and she is pregnant. She turns to Vision to get confirmation from him that this is actually happening. As a disruption from outside jerks them away from the moment, they head in the direction of the noise. They go outside to see what is going on, and a beekeeper is coming out of the sewer. He has a SWORD emblem on his back, and Wanda recognizes the symbol immediately. Wanda stops the moment exclaiming, "No." Then all is rewound by Wanda and set straight for her happy ending. She is quite determined to keep the illusion she has created. Wanda seems to flow in and out consciousness of the moment.
As the episode closes, Wanda moves the show's timeline, and color encompasses the frame and pushes out the screen. The credits are filled with hexagons and joyful color. It contrasts with the commercial that interrupts the second episode. The commercial surrounds Hydra and Wolfgang von Strucker, a most controversial subject for Wanda and her past. It is advertising the Strucker Watch. This contrasts with the commercial from the first episode that centers on a toaster designed by Stark Industries. As pointed out in our podcast, a toaster is used as a loving reference for Vision by Wanda. As each new episode is released, a little more of the story unfolds. I can't wait to see how this all develops — what a fun adventure.
Before discussing "WandaVision," we talk about which attraction we would like to see changed to join the Marvel Universe. We are so excited for the addition of the Guardians of the Galaxy attraction in Epcot and the Marvel Campus opening at Disney California Adventure that we wonder how far this expansion will go in the parks. We talk about attractions that are currently in need of a makeover and those that have been retired. What current attraction or retired attraction would you like to see changed to join the Marvel Universe?
We would love to hear from you and your family. If you have any comments, questions, or fun and fancy-free thoughts, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please enjoy our latest podcast, Dispodopolis.