As with many movies and television series, especially ones that are set in a fantastical world, there are going to be elements that we just have to get on board with. Magic is real, dragons exist, Adam Sandler is somehow able to pull every hot woman on earth, we just have to suspend our disbelief. But in the hit Netflix show Wednesday, fans still can’t seem to wrap their heads around how she communicates with Thing.
There are many strange, wonderful, and quirky things that come with being a member of the Addams family, including, well… Thing. In the Netflix series, the monsters of legend all exist with werewolves, sirens, gorgons, shapeshifters, and psychics all appearing to live together at Nevermore Academy as outcasts from society. We see that Wednesday has inherited her mother’s psychic abilities, albeit a darker and much more dangerous version (which we are sure she much prefers).
These things many viewers will take in their stride, but they are still baffled by the characters’ ability to communicate with Thing. The character plays a much larger role in the Netflix show than it ever has in past iterations, taking on the role of Wednesday’s accomplice, her right hand if you will (pun absolutely intended). We see Wednesday reasoning with it, arguing with it, and caring for it throughout the series, making it as important as all the other characters.
On top of this, there are certainly moments where Thing makes its feelings very well known.Image via Netflix
Given that it is simply a disembodied hand, it is rather hard to see how anyone could communicate with it. It cannot speak, and even sign language usually requires the use of two hands. There are examples of signing with only one hand, with American Sign Language able to adapt in many cases to just one hand. This would still be very difficult to convey on screen though, and fans have their own theories.
Some people believe it is just a talent that the members of the Addams family possess.
Though, in the Netflix series, other students at the school, especially Enid, are also able to communicate with Thing.
With the amount of hand gesticulating going on, this user is sure that Thing is somehow Italian.
A few people are pretty sure that the movements were inspired by sign language as a basis, with a little “ooooohhh, magic” thrown on top.
There are times where Thing does tap things out, making this user believe that a form of Morse code is being used.
Though others feel it will remain a mystery.
In reality, Wednesday star, Jenna Ortega, has discussed how Thing’s “language” came to be telling Screen Rant,
“It was so funny, because the Thing language was just made up on the day. Every day we’d show up and go, ‘Ahhh…’ (hand motions) ‘That looks right. I feel like I kind of know what he’s saying.'”
It would appear then that there is no specific language being used, though likely a combination of trying to make it seem like there was a form of sign language and morse code being used. Of course, this doesn’t answer the question of how the character in the show is able to understand it. I guess we just have to put it down to magic.
But I think we are missing the bigger and more confounding question here… how does Thing understand everyone else? It has no ears to hear what people say, no eyes to read their lips. It’s just a hand, so whilst understanding its movements and signing is one thing, understanding how it receives information is a whole other kettle of fish.