How 'WandaVision' Borrows From Classic Sitcoms to Create Its World

The Disney+ pays homage to series like 'The Brady Bunch,' 'Bewitched,' and 'I Love Lucy.'

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

In the third episode of WandaVision, you might notice a familiar-looking horse statue in the latest version of the suburban home occupied by Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, and her android husband Vision. For anyone with a passing knowledge of the history of sitcoms, this week’s set very clearly takes its inspiration from the abode in The Brady Bunch, down to the iconic staircase Carol and Mike’s kids would run down. The horse is also an homage to the Brady clan.

WandaVision‘s production designer Mark Worthington says he did not insist on having that horse there, but when his decorator found one that resembled the Bradys’, it had to go in. It was not a conscious “easter egg,” Worthington explains, but it was “serendipity.” 

Another happy coincidence? The Brady horse statue was from a studio prop house and had popped up before in Bewitched, another show from which WandaVision takes major cues. (Before then, it was in the witch-themed film Bell, Book and Candle, adding another layer of magic to it.) 

For as much as the first episodes of WandaVision have been a boon for content-deprived Marvel obsessives searching for clues that connect it to the overarching narrative, the show has also proven delightful as a classic sitcom pastiche. For those of us who grew up on Nick @ Nite and TV Land, the joy of WandaVision is noticing where it nods to the TV of yore. And in no place is that more evident than in the ever-evolving set. 

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

So far, each installment has taken inspiration from a different era. The premiere, which starts off with Vision consciously not tripping over an ottoman, is primarily an ode to The Dick Van Dyke Show, though Worthington notes there are elements of The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, and I Love Lucy in its design as well. The second episode moves into the mid-to-late 1960s with Bewitched. At the beginning of the half hour, Wanda and Vision are in twin beds like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, but they move them together like the witch Samantha and her human husband Darrin. Now, as Wanda is experiencing a surprise (and fast-moving pregnancy), we’re up to the 1970s and The Brady Bunch

For Worthington, the goal was not to precisely mimic the old sets, even though Wanda and Vision’s kitchen in the opening episode looks almost exactly like Rob and Laura’s in Dick Van Dyke. “It’s not slavish replication, it’s using these ideas that are embedded in everybody’s psyche one way or another to express this story idea,” he says. 

At this point in the series, it’s not clear what exactly is happening. Is this in Wanda’s mind? Is it a simulation of some sort? But regardless of where the plot is actually going, Worthington and director Matt Shakman are attempting to use the audience’s cultural memory of vintage programming to tell their story about these superheroes trapped in some kind of existential maze. “There is an interplay between the environments they are in and who they are at that moment and what they need and how that’s developing,” Worthington says. “They are not decorative-they are pretty-but they are integrated in terms of expressing character, where they are and what that means and it becomes clearer as time goes on.” 

Though the house evolves from episode to episode, it also maintains its general structure in key ways. The front door is always prominent-perfect for bits involving Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbor Agnes (played with glee by Kathryn Hahn).

By Episode 3, the house actually starts to come alive as Wanda experiences the pains of labor. Appliances whir, paintings start to spin, and water pours from the ceiling. As with many of the special effects in these early episodes, the goal was to make them happen as practically as possible, using the wire gags that Bewitched relied on. When visited by her friend Geraldine-who we know to be Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris)-Wanda attempts to hide her bump using a fruit bowl, a wink to the creative ways sitcoms have hidden actors’ pregnancies in the past. The one element of Wanda’s birth sequence that had to be CGI was a stork that mysteriously appears. (According to Worthington, there were discussions about having a real stork on set, but it ended up being too complicated.)

Without understanding precisely what it is, it’s clear that the plot of WandaVision has to do with something going on in Wanda’s mind, and while the aesthetics are a fun journey through television history, they are also evoking a very specific kind of American nostalgia. Though it might not be worth scouring the sets for “easter eggs,” they are a consistent reminder of the comforts of old TV and how it is so easy to slip into a marathon of reruns wherein you might not even notice how strange the Bradys’ horse statue really is.Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.

Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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