Melissa Hunter spent her youth being told she was a dead ringer for Christina Ricci. Middle-school bullies mocked her with the moniker “Wednesday,” after Ricci’s role in The Addams Family. So a couple years ago, the ebony-haired, doe-eyed Hunter decided to reclaim the epithet and dress as the acrimonious adolescent for Halloween.
The reaction from friends and strangers was so enthusiastic that the writer-actress decided to rewatch the Addams Family films and reclaim the character who haunted her childhood — as a creative ally.
“I was struck by what a hero she is,” Hunter remembers. “She has a strong, distinct philosophical outlook. It’s incredibly dark but also oddly uplifting. … She makes the things we’re all scared of — assault, death, love — a little less scary by confronting them head-on.”
Hunter’s first season of the web series Adult Wednesday Addams explored the sullen siren’s first forays into adult life: first apartment, job, date. It garnered Hunter 1.5 million views and more than 50,000 YouTube subscribers, and allowed her to crowd-fund season two and win a $5,000 grant from Technicolor’s Creative District.
In the series’ second season, Hunter delves deeper into how Wednesday’s philosophies can be a force for good. She almost murders a pedestrian during her driver’s test to help her appreciate the fragility of existence. She punishes obnoxious catcallers by hiring terrifying psychopaths to lurk on the sidewalk, paying them “compliments” so they understand the effects of their misogyny.
Wednesday’s activism has brought Hunter thousands more fans, and she hopes to continue to create for the character. “She’s unflinching in the face of her antagonists, a self-possessed, fearless predator,” Hunter explains. “I think that’s incredibly satisfying to root for.”
The Tangled Web We Watch is our column on what’s worth watching online. Watch Adult Wednesday Addams at bitly.com/laweeklyadultwednesday. Read Stehanie's full length interview with Melissa Hunter on her blog, TangledWebWeWatch.com