[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision.]
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and their incredibly meticulous theories go hand in hand. When a new MCU installment arrives, every nook and cranny of each frame is examined and each piece of dialogue dissected for Easter eggs that herald future stories and the arrival of fan-favorite characters. Like many MCU properties before, WandaVision evoked numerous theories. The weekly launch format of the Disney + show left plenty of room for speculation and guesswork to accumulate, and at the center of it all was the mystery of the sitcom announcements.
These short clips appeared during each installment of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) comedy life. They were specific to an era, portraying the same two actors throughout the decades while being eloquent about a variety of household essentials. From toasters, soaps and paper towels to watches and antidepressants, WandaVision It was prime time to showcase these products. The hidden meanings behind each ad have already been explored here at Collider. But why do they exist at all? Given her sinister nature and the commercials’ often personal connection to Wanda herself, perhaps there is another reason behind her presence. These interludes could be Wanda’s dreams, adopting another comedy format to fit her version of Westview.
When showrunner Jac Schaeffer spoke to Collider’s Liz Shannon Miller, she mentioned that her hope had been to solve the holes in the show’s plot with the commercials. There were talks about how to eliminate them, but Schaeffer stood firm because “they are going to be our savior.” In the end, the commercials weren’t necessary for the plot, but they added a new dynamic to understanding the central character of the show. As Schaeffer said in the interview: “In the end, we didn’t need him and he really ended up being so tied to his subconscious in this open way. But it was equally tied to his subconscious and the MCU which, to me, feels great in the way it works and exists within the narrative. ”
Which brings us back to our dream theory, especially since Schaeffer herself credits Wanda as the creator of these commercials because they “round out” her experience in the sitcom. If you think about it, within the narrative of WandaVision and the reality that Wanda has created for herself at Westview, there is no logical need for any means of promotion. Who is watching TV in Westview to see these ads and buy the products? The only viewers on the show are Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and the SWORD agents who are tracking Wanda’s whereabouts.
Wanda made sure every part of Westview was as perfect as life imagined from a sitcom. However, the commercial breaks felt anything but perfect. The woman at the headVictory Blake) looked dead inside, while the male actor (Ithamar Enriquez) had an ominous air about him. There are some scenes where Wanda and Vision (Paul bettany) are obviously watching TV. However, Wanda is never nervous about anything she sees on her screen. You should have reacted to the commercials if they had appeared because your messages came so close to home.
Wanda only “breaks character” when outside forces intrude on her suburban life. She rewinds the scene when the SWORD agent appears outside her home. Move on to a second take when Vision asks too many probing questions. And let’s not forget his violent reaction to Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) mentioning his dead brother.
So within the context of the show itself, none of the characters seem to be watching the commercials except for us. The ad breaks are a narrative anomaly. And when do real life humans take a break? When we sleep
When Wanda’s powers were introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, they literally manifested the dreams and nightmares of their future teammates. It is not too difficult to imagine that Wanda’s subconscious could exert her powers in the same way. The assumption that Wanda is dreaming of these retro endorsements is also underlined by a single line of dialogue spoken in the WandaVision final. When Wanda’s spell is finally lifted on the residents of Westview, Norm (Like But) faces her. Distraught, he says, “When you let us sleep, we have your nightmares.”
Why mention Wanda’s nightmares if they haven’t been on the show yet? Again, we return to the anomaly of the ads: since they do not belong to the narrative structure, it is safe to assume that they fit the subtext of the narrative. In other words, Wanda’s dreams.
If one examines the evolution of dreams, it is evident that they become increasingly dark and unstable, which resembles Wanda’s state of mind when her control over Westview begins to crumble. The deliveries of the toaster and watch only hint at Wanda’s past traumas. As dreams, they only make tangential reference to Wanda’s reality. But later, things get relatively nightmarish; there is the paper towel that is used to absorb the spilled red liquid and the need to find the reality with the Nexus antidepressant pills. The latter coincides with the segment of the 1990s of WandaVision, when Wanda’s life in Westview is unraveling and she is internalizing her doubts about living in an alternate reality rather than dealing with her feelings of pain and isolation.
Of all the advertisements, Yo-Magic Yogurt is particularly significant for this hypothesis, as it directly addresses pain and death, both of which are triggered in Wanda by the appearance of Fake Pietro (Evan Peters). The yogurt nightmare plays on Wanda’s reality of losing her brother, and her subconscious reminds her that despite Wanda’s magic, she couldn’t save her twin. The nightmare could also have been Wanda’s subconscious protecting her. As we eventually learn, Pietro from Evan Peters was an impostor controlled by Agatha (Kathryn Hahn); he wasn’t the real deal. In a way, the dream could have been a warning to Wanda not to trust him and have no illusions.
The very fact that the ads have so many connections to Wanda’s personal life could well be the proof we need that they are stylized versions of Wanda’s dreams and nightmares. Dreams that Wanda does not know, but that the people of Westview must suffer. This is, of course, just a guess. But these commercials help shape the way viewers understand Wanda, and hopefully help the people of Westview forgive her as well.
As much as Wanda’s dreams, advertisements or not, were reflections of her own inner turmoil, the fact that she inadvertently shared those horrors with the folks at Westview casts doubt on what Marvel’s intentions are with Wanda / Scarlet Witch. Are we to believe that Wanda could eventually become some kind of antihero or even a villain? Or is this a stepping stone for her to realize her true potential to keep doing good, despite her past actions? Now that Wanda is in possession of the Darkhold, she can learn more about its origins and its powers. This could give you control over your abilities that you haven’t had in the past. And Wanda will need it when she returns to the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Insanity.
All nine episodes of WandaVision are now available to stream now on Disney +.
KEEP READING: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’: Wyatt Russell’s meta casting as John Walker is perfect
“We’ve all heard the story of the Lone Ranger. But you’ve never heard it from Tonto’s perspective.”
About the Author