Nowadays, when you bring up The Addams Family in casual conversation (as I am wont to do), chances are you’re going to hear about how much people love the movies. And that’s fine. I love the movies, too. The humor is perfect and the cast is spot-on. But I will always have a special place in my heart reserved for the TV Addamses, and it is the TV show alone that I want to glorify in celebration of Sitcom Week.
The Addams Family only ran for two seasons, but it’s iconic. Everyone knows who they are, what their quirks are. They’re instantly recognizable. So what makes this show so great? The humor’s a little hit-or-miss. A lot of the humor depends on finding it hilarious when outsiders stumble into the Addams home and find out how weird they are. And we already know how weird they are, so that gets old a bit fast. (Or maybe you find it funny when for the 15th time we find out that Kitty Kat turns out to be…a lion!) That’s not to say the show isn’t funny. One of the things I love about this show is the way it takes normal sitcom tropes and turns them on their heads. Like, the old amnesia plotline. Character gets a bump on the head, character gets amnesia. Hilarity ensues. In this case, it’s Gomez, and when he gets amnesia, he becomes…normal. What makes that episode so great is that normal Gomez is just like every other stereotypical sitcom husband. He tries to tell his wife what to do, he just wants to sit around and read the paper…he’s basically Ricky Ricardo or Darrin Stevens. And this change is horrifying to his family. And then there’s lots of slapsticky goodness as the family all try to hit him on the head at different times, making him go back and forth between these two personalities. It’s good stuff.
So, yes, humor’s there, but it’s not the best part of the show. What this show has that makes it special is heart. It’s really about a family who loves each other and supports each other no matter what. The Addamses are really nice people. They’re unfailingly generous and they always try to be polite even when they think other people are acting weird (which is more than they get from those people). You can see how much they all love each other. It’s been said before, but Gomez and Morticia really are the most functional married couple on TV. Wednesday and Pugsley are always polite to their elders. They always say “thank you” to Thing. They’re just good people, those Addamses. They’re creepy and kooky, but they’re so darn sweet. I think these clips say it all.
The Addams Family never fails to cheer me up. But don’t talk to me about The Munsters. I freaking hate The Munsters.