Warning: This article contains spoilers for WandaVision Episode 7.
"Episode 7" of WandaVision may not have been a consensus favorite episode amongst fans, but it undoubtedly brought some of the biggest reveals of the season to date. Monica Rambeau’s heroic push through the Hex barrier appeared to serve as the start of her journey with superpowers while Agnes revealed herself to be the classic Marvel villain Agatha Harkness, manipulating the plot at every turn.
Through the first seven episodes of Marvel Studios’ first outing on Disney+, the team behind WandaVision has found a way to pay tribute to six different eras of American TV as Wanda Maximoff and Vision live their alternate reality life in suburbia. Classics like The Dick Van Dyke Show, Bewitched, Roseanne, and even Malcolm in the Middle have all found a way to influence the way this mind-bending story is told through Wanda’s powers and mind trips.
In WandaVision’s seventh entry, the inspiration comes straight from 21st-century mockumentary-style sitcoms, specifically The Office and Modern Family. The Office ran for nine seasons from 2005 to 2013, led by comedic superstar Steve Carrell and almost definite future MCU icon John Krasinski, while Modern Family employed actors like TV legend Ed O’Neill and The Incredible Hulk’s Ty Burrell for eleven years from 2009 to 2020.
Just as WandaVision has done every week so far, "Episode 7" dove fully into the style of these two sitcoms to show what Wanda and Vision experience in the Hex. Ahead are all the ways this happened in “Breaking the Fourth Wall.”
THE OFFICE-INSPIRED THEME SONG WITH A MODERN FAMILY TITLE CARD
Every episode of WandaVision has used a unique theme song to help set the stage for each era of TV sitcoms the show uses as an influence. “Episode 7” did this with a new theme that didn’t even include any words, similarly to the fan-favorite Scranton-based TV classic.
The Office would always start with a cold open before the memorable piano medley came in with shots of Scranton, Pennsylvania and the main cast. While WandaVision didn’t include images of the cast, the musical melody was eerily reminiscent of one of the most popular lyric-less theme songs in sitcom history.
The smooth piano melody brought back great memories of the adventures of Michael Scott, Jim Halpert, Dwight Schrute, and more as Wanda, Vision, and the kids keep trying to navigate through a constantly changing world. Additionally, this show does a fantastic job of mixing the feel of previous theme songs with each new one as WandaVision continues to adapt and evolve.
On top of references to The Office in the theme song, the title card appearing at the end of this theme was nearly a mirror image of the title card for Modern Family. Both 21st-century sitcoms serve as a perfect influence for the opening credits sequence, setting the stage well and giving fans a taste of exactly what they're in for with "Episode 7."
Both Modern Family and The Office are shot in the easily recognized “mockumentary” style of camerawork. Basically, this makes the entire run of the show seem like it's being filmed like a reality show or documentary, which the viewing audience sees as its own show in the final result.
Included in both shows are plot-based interviews where the characters sit down in front of a camera and talk about specifics of what’s going on in the action. WandaVision uses this exact form of storytelling, shooting interviews with Wanda, Vision, Darcy, and Agnes (Agatha Harkness).
Wanda’s interviews mostly comment on how everything in the Hex is spinning out of control, and her demeanor is very reminiscent of Modern Family characters like the Dunphy family as well. She even seems to channel Ty Burrell’s Phil when she remarks “It’s probably just a case of the Mondays...am I right?”
The sitcom history classes that the cast of this show took are clearly paying off in spades.
In Vision’s case, his interviews mostly tackle the fact that he thinks Wanda is creating impediments to keep him from getting back to her, which he clearly doesn’t find amusing. In the end, he realizes the ridiculousness of the situation by abruptly ending his sit-down, taking his mic off, and leaving the set to get back to his wife and family.
While Darcy joins in on the interview train, she only has one before Vision zaps her back into her right mind. Agatha has a couple of sit-down moments as well, mentioning how she "bit a kid once" and talking about how she didn't want to "tell two ten-year-old boys that their mother is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs." Can you say "signs of pure villainy ahead?!?!"
These interviews all helped pay tribute to both The Office and Modern Family as they appeared throughout "Episode 7", bringing both dramatic tension and plenty of laughs along the way.
JIM HALPERT REINCARNATED IN WESTVIEW
The Office was known for plenty of running gags, one of the most famous of those coming from John Krasinski's Jim Halpert. Due to the mockumentary style of shooting, along with Jim constantly finding himself in ridiculous situations, the Dunder Mifflin mainstay would very often give a look straight to the camera to express whatever he was feeling in any given moment.
WandaVision takes inspiration from this look in a number of instances throughout "Episode 7."
Vision gives a couple of noticeable looks into the camera mostly when he's driving back into Westview with Darcy. These are all indicative of the major distress he is feeling in his current situation, especially as Darcy explains more of his life before Westview to him.
The other character that pulls this classic look off is Kathryn Hahn's Agnes, mostly when she's "babysitting" Billy and Tommy as they give their mom some alone time. When the nosy neighbor is convincing the super-powered twins that their mom is ok, she looks right into the camera with a look that screams "no way in hell is she going to be ok."
Jim Halpert from The Office is still the king of expressing his emotions silently to the camera. However, the stars of WandaVision certainly used this method of comedy quite well in this 2000s mockumentary tribute episode.
MODERN FAMILY-INSPIRED PLOT, SET, AND CHARACTERS
Looking at the setting for most of "Episode 7," it's almost blatantly obvious that the production crew took inspiration for Wanda's house and the episode's plot from Modern Family.
In terms of Wanda's house, while it may not be an exact replica of the Dunphy residence, it undoubtedly uses very similar colors and architecture to the one that Phil, Claire, and their kids call home for eleven years. There is a certain shade of colorful blue prominently used on the walls of both domiciles, and the living rooms both utilize similar furniture and interior design when looking closely at how everything is laid out.
Additionally, the plot for Wanda and her family is quite reminiscent of many classic Modern Family episodes as she takes a "quarantine-style staycation" to get her head right. Elizabeth Olsen pulls out her best Claire Dunphy impersonation (with a hint of Phil as well), although she only has to deal with two wild children instead of three and more or less has a complete mental breakdown thanks to everything falling apart around her.
Vision's storyline in this episode takes plenty of inspiration from Modern Family as well, in which many of the characters like Phil Dunphy often find themselves in ridiculous situations that they never see coming. This is undoubtedly the case for Paul Bettany's android as he works to recover from almost dying while waking up amongst literal clowns and circus workers.
After bringing Darcy back into her right mind, he seems to go into his own internal panic attack just like Wanda as he learns more details of his life before the Westview Anomaly. Looking back at the kind of situations Phil Dunphy, Ed O'Neill's Jay Pritchett and Jesse Tyler Ferguson's Mitchell Pritchett found themselves in over the eleven-year Modern Family run, Vision's predicament seems to fit right into that mold.
This is all pulled together with some striking similarities between the Dunphys and the Maximoffs in terms of the characters that make up their families. A mother with kids (Wanda and Claire) married to a husband who often acts like a goof (Vision and Phil), living a crazy life that ends up going down a path nobody could ever see coming on multiple occasions.
As has been the case in nearly every episode thus far, WandaVision found a way to take the best elements of the modern sitcom era and infuse them directly into the superhero mold.
MOCKUMENTARY CAMERA WORK
Another staple of the 2000s mockumentary-style sitcom is the all-too-familiar camera work that is utilized to set the feel of the shows, specifically those like The Office and Modern Family. More often than not, what comes onto the screen looks to be clearly shot by someone using a handheld camera, which is known as the "single-cam format".
This is precisely the kind of camera work that is used for most of "Episode 7" of WandaVision, particularly the scenes that are more sitcom instead of MCU action. When Wanda is talking to Billy and Tommy in their house, or when Agnes is taking care of the boys at her own home, the "single-cam format" is undeniably put to use as the camera captures the most comedic moments from every member of the core cast.
Additionally, using this style of shooting allows for the quick-zoom that is so prevalent in mockumentaries of the 21st century. This often helps make the funny moments of a scene even funnier, especially as a way to emphasize the emotions or drama of what's happening.
This is used a couple of times in WandaVision, including when characters like Wanda and Agnes are doing their sit-down interviews. One of the most hilarious instances of this camera technique outside the interviews is when Wanda frantically explains to Tommy and Billy that she doesn't have all the answers to their questions. The camera quick-zooms in on both Wanda and the twins at points in the scene to emphasize how they all feel like they're losing their minds.
It's truly amazing how the slightest bit of nuance with a camera can make so much impact on the comedic value and timing of any scene in question. The team behind WandaVision used this skill, along with all the other aspects of The Office and Modern Family previously mentioned, to bring an absolutely brilliant episode of TV to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This episode could potentially mark the end of the sitcom-style entries, but it will certainly go down as a memorable piece of MCU content.