Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Addams Family and the Munsters

I have a t-shirt of The Addams Family. It doesn't say anything on it, it's just them, Morticia, Gomez, Pugsley, Wednesday, etc., in an in-the-know chibi version sort of way, which is to say they're all sort of short and cute. I wear it to work at the library. After all, I'm all about promoting our collection and quite a few books, movies, and TV shows we have feature The Addams Family. Well, I'm all about promoting the good parts of our collection. I merely try to be tolerant of the rest of it.

A woman came up to the front desk with her gaggle of children. Somehow, in all the activity, she spotted my t-shirt. "Look kids." She cried. "It's the Munsters!"

The Addams Family was a work of genius, in which a dark vision of the American family, anarchic, accepting of strangeness, interested in death, was revealed to be shining with love and beauty. It is one of the rare, truly healthy families depicted in a featured way in American culture, and the genius of it is that it is shown as the shadow of what we are and strive to be.

The Munsters are a generic sitcom family except they happen to be Monsters. It was a gimmick, like some TV producer looked at the Addams Family and thought: "They're missing out on a really good gimmick with all that grace and strangeness."

"No, this is the Addams Family." I corrected the woman. Then I went and got her two collections of the original New Yorker cartoons and season one of the TV show.

Hopefully her family can still be saved.

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