The Addams Family

Growing up with The Addams
June 22, 2009
Growing up I quickly learned to love anything morbid, cynical, or sarcastic. So it goes without saying I loved the Addams Family. I was first exposed to the Addams when they appeared in cartoon form on Saturday mornings in the 90's (I later realized that they had also been incarnated in cartoon form in the 70's).

I quickly realized there was something a little different about the Addams' brand of humor. They laughed at the obituaries (I knew what they were even as a kid; my mom worked for the newspaper), enjoyed anything painful or horrible, and in general delighted in the macabre. Among other things, every episode, Wednesday and Pugsley went at it like Itchy & Scratchy, and were constantly trying to harm each other.

Already having watched horror movies from a young age, this stuff was right up my alley. For the Addams' everyday was Halloween (just like the Ministry song), and to me it was fascinating. So, you can imagine my delight when I realized there were two movies preceding the 90's cartoon.

They were even better! The movies took the cartoons macabre humor to the next level. The basic plot of the first movie involves Uncle Fester being brought back into the fold after having had amnesia. In true Addams fashion, it begins with the Addams' pouring boiling hot liquid on Christmas Carolers.

Some of my favorite scenes include the seance, The Mamushka dance, The Children's play, and witnessing a downtrodden Gomez sulk in a motel (after the Addams Mansion is repossessed by the Addams lawyer and Gordon (Fester with Amnesia), watching cable, at one point calling a talk show host to see where a voodoo group meets. As far as the seance, I feel it exemplifies the Addams mix of spooky and humorous quite well, especially when Thing, the Addams "pet" disembodied hand, surprises Margaret, the Addams' lawyer, wife. The Mamushka is just fun and bizarre, and the Childrens' play, is great because with the exception of the Addams, everyone is completely mortified by what is going on. Also, regarding the motel scene, it's very surreal to see the Addams reduced to such shambles, and I find it gives more insight into the characters. Watching Gomez sulk, as Morticia does her best to lift everyone's spirits, as well as find work, show how she is the true head of the family. Another favorite of mine though is the romantic scene between Gomez and Morticia in the graveyard. They reminisce about when they first met, at a funeral, and how she was so beautiful, no one even looked at the corpse. They even romanticize about being buried in matching coffins. In all honesty when other little kids would think about couples like Ken & Barbie, or Prince Charming & Sleeping Beauty, as being idealistic, you guessed it, I was thinking about Gomez & Morticia.
the seance
the Mamushka
Children's Play
Where do they meet?
Personally though, I feel the sequel is far superior. Addams Family Values shines with witty dialogue and even more macabre antics. The basic plot involves Morticia and Gomez having a third child, Wednesday and Pugsley being sent off to summer camp, and Fester becoming involved with a psychopathic girlfriend named Debbie. The attempts by Wednesday and Pugsley to kill their brother Pubert are great, and probably fueled my love for dead baby jokes. They include dropping him off the roof of the Addams residence, as well as attempting to decapitate him with a guillotine. The great lines of dialogue really start to roll in when Gomez and Morticia drop the kids off at camp. Morticia, in reference to the other children, tells Wednesday "look at their bright eyes, their smiling faces, help them." When another camper, Amanda, asks the Addams' why they're dressed like they're going to a funeral, Wednesday simply responds "Wait." Another great scene involves Wednesday allowing her swimming partner Amanda to "drown" (they're role-playing) because she "can't swim." For me, my favorite moment in the entire movie involves Wednesday's cynical speech, during the camp play, followed by complete havoc wreaked by the children. She states how she cannot trust Amanda's character, and in short how the Indians will get screwed over by the pilgrims. Then all the campers playing Indians, begin to shoot flaming arrows, tie Amanda to a pole, etc. Another scene that really sticks out for me is Gomez's tirade in the police office, demanding they arrest Debby. Overall though, Wednesday, is the real star of the second film, and it's her moments that shine through.
On the roof
Off with his head
The Addams arrive at camp
We cannot break bread
Chaos ensues
Chaos continues
Arrest her at once!
I did eventually of course find out about the 60's t.v. show as well as Charles Addams original comic strips, which started the whole Addams craze.
The TV Show
The strips that started it all
As for the t.v. show, while I enjoyed it, I honestly found it a bit stale compared to the two movies, just not quite morbid enough, heh. As far as Charles Addams' illustrations, well, I have 5 different collected volumes of his work. I suppose that speaks for itself. Well, I hope you enjoyed my article, later.
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