If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, it’s likely you’ve come across Netflix’s new horror comedy series, Wednesday. The Addams’ Family spin-off starring Jenna Ortega has taken the world by a dark and gloomy storm — so much so, that the show surpassed Stranger Things 4’s record of most hours viewed in a week. What you might not know is that, like many other celebrities, the Addams have storied roots right here in New Jersey. If you watch closely, one of the first scenes of the new series hints at this history, so we headed straight to Google to investigate further. Read on for North Jersey’s ties to The Addams Family and Wednesday.
The NJ Ties
Within the first five minutes of the show’s first episode, the Addams’ family car (black, of course) zips by with a custom license plate (also black) reading “ADD4M5.” While not totally surprising that Morticia and Gomez opted for a vanity plate bearing the family name, there’s another detail that we found pretty surprising: the plate was from New Jersey.
As it turns out, the Addams have deep ties to New Jersey, and so does Wednesday. The original creator of The Addams Family, Charles “Chill” Addams, originated from Westfield, and many of the characters were inspired by his NJ upbringing. Even closer to the heart, Christina Ricci — Wednesday in the 1991 movie The Addams Family and Marilyn Thornhill in Wednesday — spent much of her adolescence living in none other than Montclair.
(Photo Credit: @wednesdaynetflix)
Charles “Chill” Addams + The Addams Family Origins
Charles “Chill” Addams was born on January 7, 1912, in the charming town of Westfield, NJ. According to Patch, Charles was one of the country’s premier cartoonists, with his work frequently published in The New Yorker. In August of 1938, Charles released his first Addams Family cartoon, which depicted a vacuum salesman visiting the family mansion. The rest, as we all know, is a creepy, kooky, and altogether ooky, history.
(Photo Credit: @addamsfest)
The Addams family was largely inspired by Charles’ hometown surroundings. Per My Central Jersey, Westfield’s stately homes, historic references, and quaint downtown actually informed “The Addams Family” cartoon architecture. As a kid, Addams was fond of visiting cemeteries and was once caught by police breaking into various homes in the area — that sounds about right.
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There are various momentos to Charles throughout the town of Westfield, including a nearly full-sized, skeleton he graffitied on a barn. The skeleton is preserved by the township and was on display at the James Ward Mansion in 2019. Similarly, for the past five years, the town has held an event called AddamsFest, which celebrates the life and legacy of Charles with various events throughout the month of October.
Netflix’s latest horror comedy Wednesday, follows the Addams family’s daughter of the same name as she reluctantly navigates her new school and her parent’s alma mater, Nevermore Academy. Nevermore is a school for outcasts, populated by werewolves, vampires, sirens, and brooding artists (because yes, they are supernatural creatures too). Played by Jenna Ortega, Wednesday is a macabre young girl who delivers hilariously deadpan one-liners without blinking — even once.
(Photo Credit: @wednesdaynetflix)
In the series, the Addams’ family car dons a black New Jersey plate, with a custom-designed number reading “ADD4M5.” The NJ plate is a nod to the 2019 The Addams Family animated film starring Finn Wolfhard, Oscar Isaac, and Charlize Theron. In the movie, Gomez and Morticia pack up shop and flee to New Jersey in avoidance of angry villagers. Morticia and Gomez are clearly enjoying their stay here in the Garden State.
Nevermore Academy is located somewhere on the east coast, sitting just outside the fictional, suburban town of Jericho. The town bears similarities to the suburbs seen previously in the franchise, so we can deduce that, in some capacity, it was inspired by Westfield, too.
(Photo Credit: @riccigrams)
And if that isn’t enough New Jersey for you, Christina Ricci, who plays Marilyn Thornhill in Wednesday and played Wednesday herself in the 1991 version of The Addam’s Family, actually has roots here in Montclair. Christina moved to Montclair from California as a young girl and attended Edgemont Elementary School, Glenfield Middle Schoool, and Montclair High School. She joins a long list of celebrities to have attended MHS, including Buzz Aldrin, Josh Allen, and more.
Wednesday isn’t the only recent Netflix original to have NJ ties. In recent months, The Watcher and The Good Nurse have shaken up pop culture with their harrowing, true stories — which both happened in New Jersey. Of course, we New Jerseyans are no strangers to the spotlight.