***Disclaimer: major spoilers ahead
The new Marvel TV show WandaVision centers on the Avenger Wanda Maximoff. To recap and summarize, Wanda has created her own little reality in which she can live a happier life with Vision and her kiddos since her whole family and love interest, Vision, all died in terrible ways. In the first few episodes, the audience has no idea what is happening except the hiccups that happen throughout Wanda’s sitcom. However, as the series progresses, her world begins to change and starts to slowly fall apart.
While the first few episodes mimic sitcoms throughout the decades, in episode 8 the audience finally starts understanding what is going on. The town of Westview, Wanda and Vision’s new home, has become an array of sitcoms from different decades, serves as a physical coping mechanism for Wanda. We also get a long backstory (yay for female character development) and learn that old sitcoms were not only a way for Wanda and her family to learn English but it was a time that she was able to spend quality time with her parents before they died. In addition to her parent’s brutal death, we are reminded that her twin brother Pietro was brutally shot to death and that she was forced to kill the love of her life and then die all over again. And if her tragic backstory wasn’t enough, we are thrown back in time where we see Wanda holding the deed to a plot of land- a place they were supposed to grow old in together.
Anways, for a while, this coping mechanism works and she and Vision are married, she gives birth to twins, and even her brother Pietro is somehow brought back to life.
But the question is does WandaVision accurately portray how someone copes with trauma? It is true that escapism is fairly normal copy mechanism to turn to when someone experiences trauma. It is a good distraction from their trauma. For Wanda, years of trauma and depression lead to her creation of the sitcom world she and her new family live in. WandaVision portrays this escapism through her sitcom-Westview-new life creation. Overall, WandaVision opens the door for a realistic conversation about mental illness while showing that a character isn’t weak for having trauma and depression.