Marvel Series ‘WandaVision’ Has a Surprising Connection to ‘Saved by the Bell’
WandaVision turns television sitcoms on their head by putting Marvel superheros in them. Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) find themselves living sitcoms from the ’50s and ’60s. They haven’t gotten to the ’90s yet. Will that be when they do their version of Saved By the Bell?
WandaVision director Matt Shakman participated in a Zoom press conference for the Marvel show on Jan. 10. Shakman revealed the surprising connection WandaVision has with the ‘90s sitcom Saved By the Bell.
Marvel goes to great lengths to get TV sitcoms right on ‘WandaVision’
So far, WandaVision tackled the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. No one could mistake the influence of I Love Lucy, Bewitched and The Partridge Family on the Marvel series.
“We wanted to be as authentic as possible,” Shakman said. “That was one of the biggest goals and so production design, cinematography, costuming, everything was about going on this deep dive. With the actors we all wanted to do the same thing, so we watched just a ton of old television episodes, talked about how comedy changes,because it really does. The approach to comedy in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s is really different.”
Inside the Marvel-ization of TV sitcoms
Shakman continued in detail about the influences on the first three WandaVision episodes. The Marvel team looked at specific TV shows, and more than one for each WandaVision episode.
“I Love Lucy, Dick Van Dyke, you can feel the energy of that sort of theatrical performance working with the audience,” Shakman said. “And then when you get into ’60s shows like Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie, it is a fourth wall and all of a sudden it’s much more like doing a movie these days. That laugh track is all canned and brought in. It changes the energy, the approach, the style, everything.”
But what does ‘Saved By the Bell’ have to do with ‘WandaVision’?
Saved By the Bell was a high school sitcom. It’s back for a new generation in Peacock’s reboot with the original cast, and new students at Bayside High. What does that have to do with Marvel, though?
Well, before Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) ever got to Bayside High, Shakman was an actor on Good Morning, Miss Bliss, the show that became Saved By the Bell. He and other costars did not graduate to Bayside High.
“We were on this show called Good Morning, Miss Bliss with Hayley Mills that then got reconceived from middle school to high school and became Saved by The Bell,” Shakman said.
Shakman would not spoil whether or not Saved By the Bell is the ’90s sitcom in which Wanda and Vision find themselves.
“It goes pretty crazy,” Shakman said. “I wouldn’t want to ruin it for everybody but we definitely do take quite a tip. We take quite a trip.”