3c29d0f871d756981b027bc49faf04da3b-wandavision-marriage.2x.rsocial.w600.jpg

Wow, how about that WandaVision finale? No spoilers, but I can’t believe Disney’s Stitch turned out to be the main bad guy. (Jk, Stitch would never be a villain, he's a harmless himbo.)

Sponsored

But seriously folks, that was an extremely satisfying journey, possibly television’s best miniseries since Ann-Margret and Rutger Hauer teamed up for The 10th Kingdom; and I am furious that there are no more episodes to watch. Now what?

Well, you could twiddle your thumbs until the debut of the next Marvel series on March 19, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, or as the trailer has led me to call it, The Heterosexual Glaring Hour. The premise of that one is … ugh, who cares, it’s just Army guys punching each other. I hope they choke on their own toxic masculinity, and also remove both of those extraneous “the”s from the title. (The upcoming Loki series, set to start in June, looks more promising.)

So anyway, now you’ve consumed all of WandaVision and you’re looking for more like that. What should you watch next? I’m glad you asked.

TV SHOWS THAT ARE SIMILAR TO WANDAVISION

Let’s start with the basics: If you enjoyed the classic-TV tributes on WandaVision, you should check out the originals. The Marvel series most closely referenced The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Malcolm in the Middle, and Modern Family, with a little The Munsters thrown in for extra credit, and you should also take a gander at I Love Lucy — not only a fantastic show, but a reminder that television as we knew it for decades was invented by a woman and a Cuban man.

When it comes to Bewitched, be sure to watch the first two episodes: “I, Darrin, Take this Witch Samantha” and “Be it Ever So Mortgaged.” The pilot sets things up rather neatly, and episode two has the marvelous “quicksilver” (appropriate) monologue that beautifully sets the tone for the rest of the series. From there, don’t feel any pressure to watch in any particular order; just let the top-rated episodes on IMDb be your guide. (And try not to get flummoxed when they change Darrins. The show’s not about him. Down with men.) Also, read up on Bewitched’s queer secrets over here.

With The Dick Van Dyke Show, start at the beginning and then work your way through — there’s not a single dud in the whole series run. But I would draw your attention to a particularly don’t-miss episode, one referenced directly by Wanda: “It May Look Like a Walnut,” from Season 2, which blurs reality in a way that I suspect you will like, because you are weird.

Speaking of weird, God help you if you’re able to find the entire series, but see if you can track down the full run of On the Air, a tribute to mid-century television by, for some reason, David Lynch. Imagine Twin Peaks set at a television station — and it’s a comedy, or at least it has the rhythm of a comedy. It’s an incredible insight into what Lynch thinks “funny” is; oh and it’s got the wonderful Miguel Ferrer and Kim McGuire, aka Hatchetface from John Waters’ Cry-Baby! A VHS tape of the series is going for about $100. Worth it????? Yes, if you are the kind of person who is addicted to chaos, i.e., you are The Stranger editor Chase Burns.

The Brady Bunch, I’m sorry to say, is not especially enjoyable if it was not a part of your childhood. Sorry! It’s not very good! But both Brady Bunch films from the '90s are excellent.

And if you want to be more cerebral about your television, because you think you’re fooling people into thinking you’re smart, consider the more thinky series Black Mirror — essentially a modern Twilight Zone about These Troubling Modern Times. I personally find it a bit numbing (“what if the future … was bad??????”) but you are free to knock yourself out.

One last recommendation: The theme song for the show Down to Earth. Not the show itself (it’s bad) but that THEME SONG. God. It’s everything I love about dopey old TV.


MOVIES THAT ARE SIMILAR TO WANDAVISION

Many years ago I made the mistake of watching Pleasantville with my parents, which made for a VERY uncomfortable atmosphere when we reached the masturbation scene. I don’t think we said a single word about the movie afterwards. Anyway, the show is about the boy who played Spider-Man and Elle Woods getting pulled into a fictional world of TV sitcoms, and it’s a real pleasure, if you catch my drift. (Not to be confused with Stay Tuned, which has a similar plot and the delightful John Ritter and Pam Dawber [Mindy!!!], but I’m sorry to say does not require your attention.)

For more meditations on television, turn your gaze to The Truman Show (and try not to think about how Jim Carrey harbors vaccine conspiracy delusions). The premise is that an enormous TV studio has been constructed for a reality show that everyone inside knows is fake except one guy, who has no idea he’s the star. Looking back, this movie really indulges the straight white male fantasy of essential exceptionalism — who the fuck would actually care about the life of this one boring mediocre man?

Far more enjoyable is Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of the few absolutely perfect movies ever made, even though it’s a shame that they didn’t go with their original casting choice for Roger (Paul Reubens! Ugh, what might have been). Even without the visually amazing gimmick, it’s a perfectly-paced murder mystery: In a Hollywood where humans and cartoons work alongside each other, a gruff detective must team up with a wacky rabbit to uncover a sinister evil. The entire film oozes with affection for classic cinema; I just wish there was more of Bob Hoskins in the shower.

And now for a very important personality test: Would you rather watch a movie about devious teen girls discovering forbidden witch powers, or a movie about the tragic nobility of the man-child? Your answer determines whether we will be friends or enemies. Take a peek at The Craft for mean girls casting spells; and take a look at Toys for a man who has decided to make “whimsy” his entire personality. Look, I know I’m making it sound like I prefer one over the other; but in truth I find The Craft a little too ponderous and Toys has a chaotic fiasco-energy that at least keeps me on my toes (and Tori Amos, and Joan Cusak), so I am shocked to realize that I would actually rather watch Robin Williams than Neve Campbell.


MOVIES THAT ARE ONLY KINDA SIMILAR TO WANDAVISION BUT YOU MIGHT LIKE THEM ANYWAY, I DON’T KNOW, WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE


Okay, hear me out on this one: Plan a double-feature night with Groundhog Day and Scrooged, both of which, like WandaVision, are about a person trapped in a hell of their own creation. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray is an abrasive TV host who becomes trapped in a small-town time loop and must find a way to escape (perhaps through the power of love!!! Amazing) and in Scrooged he plays an abrasive TV executive who becomes trapped in a production of A Christmas Carol and must find a way to escape (perhaps through the power of love!!! Amazing). They are kind of the same movie — both very good! — the main difference is that one has Andie MacDowell and the other has not enough Carol Kane. Also Bobcat Goldthwait is a hot nerd in Scrooged and I don’t know what to do about that??????

Support The Stranger

Now if I may I would like to make you extremely sad by recommending Dancer in the Dark, a Bjork masterpiece that is one of the most depressing experiences you will ever endure. She plays a factory worker whose vision is deteriorating, and who imagines elaborate cheerful musical numbers even as her trauma grows deeper and deeper. Ohhhh it’s a soul-crusher, but it shares WandaVision’s interest in the lengths to which humans will go to hide their grief.

I asked my partner if he could think of any movies in which someone falls in love with a robot, and he thought about it and said “Short Circuit?” Twenty years with this guy and he's still full of surprises.

Okay, one last suggestion that really doesn’t seem like it fits but, again, hear me out: Once Upon a Time in the West, a beautiful Sergio Leone western. Charles Bronson is a real nothing in this film, but the rest of the cast is breathtaking, particularly Claudia Cardinale as a tough-as-nails homesteader about whom the movie really should have been about. I’m slapping this on the list because it’s about a scrappy heroine, an intriguing mystery, and the formation of an unlikely family that must fight together to protect a home. Also it’s one of those movies you’ve been telling yourself you really ought to see for so long you might as well just pull the trigger now. You’re going to have to watch something while you wait for the premiere of Captain America’s Awkward Ex-Boyfriends.