‘WandaVision’: What Those Commercial Breaks Reveal About the Show’s Deepening Mysteries
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1 of WandaVision.]
Marvel’s first Disney+ series is taking viewers on one trippy ride through the lens of classic TV sitcoms, but WandaVision‘s cooking up more below the surface — and whatever it is, it’s peeking through in little ad-breaks featured in every episode.
With each passing installment, fans get a bigger glimpse behind the mysterious curtain hanging over Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) suburban life together. Reflecting the classic motifs seen in the television of yesteryear, one particularly interesting aspect of each episode is the ad-breaks or commercials.
Each installment features a unique commercial advertising goods from very familiar names as well as the same Commercial Man (Ithamar Enriquez) and Commercial Woman (Victoria Blade). Below, we’re taking a look at how their inclusion in the episodes could be hinting towards the bigger picture at play. But beware of major spoilers as we add to this piece each week.
Ad 1 – Stark Industries’ Toast Mate
In the ’50s-set premeire episode paying homage to classics such as I Love Lucy and The Dick Van Dyke Show, Wanda and Vision’s black-and-white world is interrupted by a commercial for the Toast Mate 2000 (at the 9:55 mark), a product from Stark Industries. It’s unclear at first if this is simply an Easter egg nod to Mr. Tony Stark, a.k.a. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and his family business, or if there’s an underlying meaning.
A few observations to be made in this ad are the emphasis on clocks and timing; there’s a ticking mechanism from within the toasting device that keeps time, but grows quicker and quicker as the segment goes on. A red light also begins blinking on the toaster, permeating the black-and-white veneer presented in the show so far. This is the only ad in black-and-white to do so. Yet, it’s the product’s tagline that has our heads turning as the narrator says, “Forget the past, this is your future!”
The statement is alarming because it suggests that despite all that fans know about Wanda and Vision’s history, it’s best to forget and move on. Obviously, this isn’t what viewers will be or should be doing. If anything, the phrase could serve as a motto or ideal for Wanda’s current state of mind. In her shoes, we’d also like to forget about the demons of her past including Ultron, Thanos, and the Avengers: Infinity War death of Vision. The sentiment is later echoed when Wanda tells Vision in Episode 2, “This is our home now, I want us to fit in.” The quickened pace of time also suggests and other-worldliness to the couple’s predicament, further iterating that we’re not spending time in reality.
Ad 2 – Strucker Watch
The HYDRA-laden commercial from the ’60s-set episode, “Don’t Touch the Dial,” continues with the display of gender roles, noting that along with a woman being a man’s best accessory, Strucker’s watch is a must-have. Again, there’s an emphasis on time and in one shot when the watch is seen on the man’s wrist, it reads 9:10, whereas in the final zoomed in shot, the clock reads 2:40. Whether those specific times mean something remains unclear, but it further emphasizes the loss of linear time in Wanda and Vision’s world.
This commercial also interrupts a disconcerting moment for Wanda in Episode 2, breaking in at the 16:33 mark. Before the HYDRA-linked product is advertised, Westview’s local personality Dottie overhears Wanda’s name being called on the radio, the man asks “Wanda, who’s doing this to you, Wanda?” Whether the ad-break is a coping mechanism for the disrupted peace she’s been experiencing in suburbia is uncertain, but the use of Strucker’s name is a certain callback to Wanda’s past.
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As Marvel enthusiasts will recall, Wolfgang von Strucker is the HYDRA member responsible for giving Wanda and her twin brother Pietro their powers through various experiments. The Strucker commercial’s tagline of “he’ll make time for you,” serves as a possible reference to the fact that in Strucker giving Wanda her powers, he’s also possibly given her the ability to crate her own version of time. We see Wanda rewind certain moments in every episode and replay them to her liking. The commercial further supports the idea that Wanda is calling the shots.
Ad 3 – Hydra Soak
By time Episode 3’s 10:24 mark arrives, it’s safe to say that Wanda’s most likely driving this sitcom train, and the ad-break serves to reflect her own situation. Another HYDRA product, Hydra Soak luxury bath powder, helps a frazzled house wife “find the goddess within,” as the ad’s tagline states. “Escape to a world all your own, where your problems float away,” the commercial’s narrator says before adding, “when you wanna get away, but don’t want to go anywhere, Hydra Soak.”
“A world all your own,” stands out the most as a reference to the technicolor bubble Wanda and Vision find themselves in. It’s the emphasis on the woman in the commercial that further points to Wanda being at the center of it all. The phrase also lends a likeness to Westview’s town sign slogan, “Home: it’s where you make it.” While the events in Episode 3 are chaotic, with a sped-up pregnancy to boot, it’s Wanda’s continued resistance towards outside forces, like Geraldine, a.k.a. Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) who she seemingly kicks out of her fantasy world after observing her SWORD pendant necklace, that’s telling.
SWORD, like SHIELD, is a counter-terrorism and intelligence agency, it’s name in the show stands for “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division,” a deviation from the comic’s version, “Sentient World Observation Response Division.” The agency’s symbol seen on Geraldine’s necklace and on the notebook of an unidentified individual in Episode 1’s final moments. Is Wanda attempting to let her problems float away by creating her own world? This commercial definitely hints at the possibility, but perhaps more ads will provide better insight. Stay tuned.
WandaVision, Season 1, Fridays, Disney+