By Melissa Antoinette Garza
Evolved from a popular New Yorker cartoon by Charles Addams, The Addams Family began its run in September of 1964. It followed the adventures of an eccentric clan of characters who found appreciation in things that most others were frightened of or disgusted by. Whether it be their pet lion, their flesh eating plants, the bell that shook the entire house when rang, or any of the other many unconventional aspects of the Addams’ house, visitors typically didn’t stay long and rarely left with a good opinion of the family.
Gomez (John Astin), the patriarch and a man with seemingly never-ending wealth found enjoyment in blowing up toy trains, Zen Yogi, and most importantly adoring his wife Morticia (Carolyn Jones). Though, he was often referred to as the head of the Addams household, Morticia was without a doubt a strong woman who made decisions that Gomez would always agree with. In the few spats the duo did have, Gomez right or wrong would be the one to apologize, and all it would take was his beloved to utter anything in French. Time and again, both in cinema releases and remakes of the television series, producers have attempted to recreate the magic and chemistry of Astin and Jones, yet it remains an impossible task.
When one thinks of “gothic” an image of a sulking, gloomy individual who hates the world comes to mind. The Addams Family, however, redefined the term to something much more positive. It is the cheerful admiration for things that others consider depressing or horrifying. Their collective outlook on life continues to make this show much more than the average sitcom. Morticia reading classics of Edgar Allan Poe to the children at bedtime or the family being utterly disgusted at the mention of daisies or white picket fences helped create an understanding with the audience. The characters didn’t despise everyone and everything. On the contrary, they enjoyed every moment of their life. Though some still describe the show as a “dysfunctional” family, they were anything but. The point was despite their eccentricities, they were the most functional bunch on the block. They weren’t scheming or lying or cheating. They were merely having fun with one another in ways they found amusing.
Political correctness and fear of complaints would hinder any real reproduction of the show. It is doubtful that jokes about children loading gun powder or references to suicide would be seen with the same good natured humor that it was then. People are too sensitive and the networks haven’t the courage to overlook such outcries, regardless how ridiculous. Any new attempt would be watered down and the humor would be lost. Therefore, it is best to leave perfection alone.
Still in syndication and rightfully so The Addams Family is a timeless classic that remains as entertaining today as when it first aired. It is intelligent, creative, superbly cast and definitely one that needs to be revisited again and again.