Viral indeed: Jenna Ortega had COVID while filming that kooky ‘Wednesday’ dance scene

A young woman with dark hair dancing in a black dress among a crowd
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams in “Wednesday.”

Jenna Ortega’s showstopping dance number from Netflix series “Wednesday” has once again gone viral — and not in a good way.

The standout moment from the popular show has come under scrutiny this week after Ortega’s remarks about filming the dance scene while sick resurfaced. In a November interview with NME, the series lead revealed that she filmed the routine while waiting for COVID-19 test results — which came back positive.

The famed scene sees Ortega’s Wednesday Addams bust a move to the tune of The Cramps’ “Goo Goo Muck” at a school dance in the fourth episode of first season, which came out last month. Choreographed by Ortega herself, the kooky dance number has amassed more than 6.7 million views and a heap of praise on Twitter and beyond.

In her glowing review of “Wednesday,” Times TV critic Lorraine Ali hailed Ortega’s dance as “one of the top television moments of the year.” According to Ortega, however, the fan-favorite scene was “awful to film” because she had just contracted COVID-19.

“I woke up and — it’s weird, I never get sick and when I do it’s not very bad — I had the body aches,” Ortega told NME.


“I felt like I’d been hit by a car and that a little goblin had been let loose in my throat and was scratching the walls of my esophagus. They were giving me medicine between takes because we were waiting on the positive result.”

Watch the trailer for Netflix’s ‘Wednesday,’ which follows the Addams family’s daughter as she enrolls at her parents’ creepy alma mater.

Aug. 17, 2022

The 20-year-old performer added that she asked to reshoot the scene but was told there was no time. “I think I probably could have done it a bit better,” she said.

MGM Studios, which handled production on “Wednesday,” said in a statement to NME that “strict COVID protocols were followed and once the positive test was confirmed production removed Jenna from set.” (The production company provided the same statement to The Times on Wednesday.)

But that wasn’t good enough for Twitter users who have accused Ortega, episode director Tim Burton and the producers of “Wednesday” of behaving irresponsibly and putting their colleagues at risk.

Jenna Ortega kills as the dead-eyed, boarding school-bound Wednesday Addams in the streamer’s triumphant update to a pop culture institution.

Nov. 23, 2022


“she shouldve been isolated — not made to keep working while feeling ill,” tweeted @jelevision. “forcing jenna ortega to keep working and spreading covid around the set is so negligent of the producers and studio.”

“Jenna Ortega having COVID on set and working unmasked around other unmasked performers is not a flex,” tweeted @hereisviolet. “She should not be praised for ‘working while sick.’ The above the line crew could’ve possibly disabled or killed someone for their irresponsibility.”

“the narrative around this being ‘omg jenna works so hard’ and not ‘a bunch of executives not only made a 20 year old choreograph her own dance and work with covid but also put every single person on that set at risk’ is uh. driving me INSANE,” tweeted @kaicfox. “esp as a disabled person who has a disabled father in the film industry like if that happened on my dads set or a set i was on we could have died ????”

Representatives for Netflix did not comment when contacted Wednesday by the Los Angeles Times. Representatives for Ortega did not immediately respond Wednesday to The Times’ requests for comment.

Pandemic backlash aside, “Wednesday” has been a massive success for Netflix. The streaming giant announced late last month that the “Addams Family” spin-off had broken the platform’s record for most hours viewed within a week for an English-language show, surpassing the previous record set by the fourth season of “Stranger Things.”