WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen Says the Marvel Sitcom Turns Cynical in the Malcolm in the Middle Era of the 2000s

When WandaVision moves out of the classic sitcom era and into the 2000s, home to contemporary favorites like Malcolm in the Middle and Modern Family, Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision's (Paul Bettany) suburban "sitcom" takes a "really cynical" turn. After the unusual newlywed couple found themselves somehow situated in the black-and-white era of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched — and in front of a live studio audience — Friday's Episode 3 turns technicolor as the superheroes Hustle into the groovy '70s. As the town of Westview moves through decades of classic television, including seminal favorites like Roseanne and Family Ties, the show's stars adjust their performances to replicate the best of TV Land:

"The '70s women, it was almost like there was a relaxation of even just women in social behavior, and so that would affect their voices and the tone that they can take instead of it being all so kind of higher in level," Olsen told Variety about adapting her performance to different eras of television in each new episode of WandaVision. "So the '70s, even though it's this really strange Brady Bunch-aspirational time in this sitcom land, women were still able to kind of have a little bit more control or something that just grounded them a bit more in their voice. And then as we got into the '80s, with those teachable moments and how sincere everything was, that was just really funny."

As WandaVision closes in on modern-day and the mockumentary style popularized by The Office, moving into the 2000s means "comedy and the sitcom becomes really cynical."

"The humor of Malcolm in the Middle and then Modern Family becomes incredibly cynical, and that's what we found comforting, for whatever reason, as a society. So it was just fun when we were in this boot camp to not only just chart the physical changes as tools, but also, ‘What was comedy for history of that time?'" Olsen said of the cast and crew's TV-watching boot camp to prepare for WandaVision. "Like the fact that The Brady Bunch is a result of Vietnam or Rosemary's Baby is a film and Brady Bunch is on television, that doesn't make any sense to me. But for whatever reason, that's what the consumer was watching at home."

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Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, and Randall Park, new episodes of Marvel's WandaVision premiere Fridays on Disney+.

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