Top 10 Pop Culture References in WandaVision
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Top 10 Pop Culture References in WandaVision

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Shaina Higgins
Oh hey, we understood that pop culture reference in "WandaVision!" Our countdown includes into the Twilight Zone, very special subtext, a full house, and more!

Top 10 Pop Culture References in WandaVision

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Pop Culture References in WandaVision

For this list, we’ll be looking at all the cool Easter Eggs in the addictive new series that took us back to our favorite shows of yesteryear. We won’t be including any Marvel or MCU references in this rundown; there will, however, be plenty of spoilers.

Did you spot another cool reference to one of your favorite retro shows? Tell us about it in the comments.

#10: Into the Twilight Zone
“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

When we join Wanda and Vision in the 1950s, it's in the kind of shiny domestic bliss where the most serious problem is forgetting the boss was coming for dinner. However, we eventually realize that things might be less “Donna Reed” and more like another classic of the era.
When Mr. Hart begins to choke, the wide sitcom shots are abandoned for tighter reaction frames.
It's impossible not to be reminded of the distinct visual style of the seminal sci-fi series “The Twilight Zone.” The effect is only compounded by Mrs. Hart’s unnerving reaction. Then suddenly it’s as if the incident never occurred. It’s our first clue that, like on “The Twilight Zone,” there’s something much eerier about this picture than we’ve been led to believe.

#9: Where You Lead We Will Follow
“All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”

For all it’s recognizable references, some of “WandaVision’s” allusions definitely feel like more of a wink to specific audiences. “Gilmore Girls” fans will instantly recognize the Warner Bros backlot set where Westview’s downtown exteriors are filmed as our own beloved Stars Hollow. In WandaVision’s Halloween episode, we get so much more than just a glimpse of the familiar square. Eagle Eyed devotees of “Gilmore Girls” will appreciate the miniature hay bale maze near the gazebo, a nod to the famous hay labyrinth that once took over the town. We also see a movie being screened in the square at one point, a regular event on the Stars Hollow calendar. Undoubtedly Westview is enjoying the premiere of another Kirk Gleason masterpiece.

#8: What Bump?
“Now in Color”

TV shows have been ineptly trying to hide actress pregnancies for nearly as long as women have been on TV. Some standby favorites include oversized clothing, strategic furniture placement, and the magic of props. Wanda’s series of unseasonable coats follows right along in this tradition. Afflicted by a serious case of sitcom brain, not even the savvy Geraldine catches on to her neighbor’s accelerated pregnancy. Things go further into the absurd when Wanda continues to deflect attention with the use of comically undersized household items. It’s not until she’s in labor that Wanda is forced to drop the ruse- In this case literally- showing the obvious limits of this overused television staple.

#7: Walls Fall Down
“Breaking the Fourth Wall”

The 2000s brought us a new era of self-referential humor that put unglamorous daily indignities front and center. Popularized by shows like “The Office” and “Modern Family,” this format deliberately weakened the divide between the characters and the audience with a documentary format that included confessional addresses to the camera. It’s a style that WandaVision replicated particularly well. It’s also a very smart choice considering the movement of the plot. Wanda is visibly struggling to maintain a grip on the alternate reality she has crafted. Meanwhile, we see elsewhere that the outside world is breaking through to Westview whether Wanda likes it or not. All kinds of boundaries and illusions are crumbling in this episode, and the TV inspirations it's built on are the perfect illustration of that.

#6: Very Special Subtext
“On a Very Special Episode…”

By the 1980s and ‘90s sitcoms had begun to flirt with the occasional introduction of heavier topics. Nowadays these “VerySpecial Episodes” are mostly remembered for the over-earnest cheese factor, but they did occasionally feature something genuinely poignant. The use of the phrase as the title of this episode was our first clue that things were about to get a little more real in Westview. Despite her picture perfect family, fractures are starting to form in Wanda’s control. Her teaching moment with her sons is very in keeping with the conventions of an issues episode, but it carries real world weight behind it. The episode culminates in a confrontation that all but shatters the sitcom concept. It’s becoming clearer that Wanda can’t hide in TV land forever.

#5: A Full House
“On a Very Special Episode…”

Wanda Maximoff may be a huge TV fan, but actress Elizabeth Olsen actually has a pretty significant connection to sitcom history. Her older twin sisters Mary Kate and Ashley famously started their acting career splitting the role of Michelle Tanner on “Full House.” This episode seems to enjoy playing up the parallels. Much like earlier episodes of “Full House” featured the frazzled adults trying to keep up with the demands of caring for small children, Wanda and Vision have their own comic struggles with their uniquely challenging twins. If that doesn’t convince you just take a look at this episode’s credits. One shot in particular looks pretty familiar.

#4: The Heart of the Home
“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

In the series premiere, WandaVision takes us inside the sitcoms of early television. Though we see lots of inspiration from well-known sources in every episode, the pilot lifts one reference wholesale. The kitchen that serves as the primary setting for so much of Wanda’s plot is a very close recreation of the one some viewers will know from “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
We later learn that Wanda has a special place in her heart for this series in particular. Given that fact, it’s not surprising that she would make it the first stop on her magical tour through Television history. But while Dick Van Dyke could never manage to avoid that ottoman, Vision has an advantage when it comes to navigating the furniture.

#3: The Monster Next Door
“Breaking the Fourth Wall”

This climactic reveal didn’t just break the fourth wall, it broke with the entire tone of the episode. That’s no reason we can’t still have fun though. Agatha Harkness is revealed to be the evil mastermind behind all the chaos in Westview with her very own theme song. Not only is it a wickedly catchy bop, but it makes its own callback to the spooky TV past, most notably the theme of the ”The Munsters.” The 1960s classic also featured a family of monsters living in suburbia, though far more benign in their intentions than Agatha. We love this retro rewind for Westview’s witch. After all, when you’ve been around for centuries, how different are the ‘60s and the 2000s really?

#2: Less is Moore
“Now in Color”

As “WandaVision” keeps moving into the 1970’s, it still maintains the sunny attitude of the previous two episodes. Determined to live her best life in sitcom paradise, it’s no wonder that Wanda drew inspiration from another plucky heroine of the era. The opening credit sequence offers a direct reference to “The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s” colorful titles. Though TV’s Mary Richards was famously single, the scenes of Wanda and Vision out and about in Westview are a further nod to her sitcom, which famously featured Rogers moving through her world rather than confined to a studio set. But none of this is really unexpected. Just check out Wanda’s groundbreaking Mary Tyler Moore style pants in episode 2. She is clearly a big fan.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

The Same Sudden Jump to Color That “I Dream of Jeannie” Had After 30 Episodes
“Don’t Touch That Dial”

Dr. Nielson Gets His Name From the Nielsen Television Rating System
“Now in Color”

The First Isolated Color Splash in this Gray World Reminds Us of “Pleasantville”
“Don’t Touch That Dial”

Pietro is Just the Most Recent in a Long History of Unexplained Character Recastings
“On a Very Special Episode…”

Vision Practices His Dad Skills on Cindy Brady’s Kitty Karry Doll
“Now in Color”

#1: A Bewitching Tribute
“Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience”

If you’re using your magical powers to reshape reality in the mold of classic television, there really couldn’t be a more natural reference point than “Bewitched.” In the first two episodes we see several direct tributes to the wacky 1960’s sitcom about a witch and her mortal husband trying to blend into their suburban community. The pilot especially has a lot of fun recreating the special effects of the era. We’ve seen what Wanda’s magic looks like in the MCU present, but in black and white it manifests in jump cuts, floating wires, and plates that put themselves back together by rewinding the tape. This charming return to a simpler time reminds us that effects don’t have to be high-tech to be enchanting.