With the latest Addams Family movie in theaters, it seemed like a good idea to look back at episode 1 of the old TV series (currently available on Vudu). Premiering in 1964 on ABC, “The Addams Family Goes to School” introduces the Addams Family through a truancy case. Now, in case you don’t know what that word means: Wednesday (Lisa Loring) and Pugsley Addams (Pugsley Addams) aren’t in school, which is a no-no! Scandalous as that may be, a truant officer named Mr. Hilliard (Allyn Joslyn) finds the family crazier than he could have imagined. However, despite some quirky mannerisms and a love of the macabre, the Addams Family are actually good people….right?
The Show is Still Cool
It may be in black-and-white, but this show is still fresh. Why? When done well, dark and sarcastic humor has a “now” feeling to it. The Addams Family helped bring horror into the mainstream, and in the best sense of the word. It’s a show that both kids and adults could enjoy…fun for the whole family, one supposes the blurb might say.
At the same time — and this is important — it retains enough edge that some people still wouldn’t understand its appeal. We’ve all known people too normal for anything dark, who may consider such things “satanic” and depressing. They don’t like horror movies, aren’t even the slightest bit rebellious and try to not stand out. Well, this family not only stands out, one of its members can actually charge a light bulb with his mouth! On top of that, The Addams Family has the best selling pinball machine of all time.
Is the Addams Family Dangerous?
This isn’t the most hotly debated question of all time, as it’s generally assumed the Addams Family are good. Indeed, this episode doesn’t indicate they’re totally evil. Morticia Addams (Carolyn Jones) is very polite, making a decent enough impression. However, if you watch how things progress, you’ll likely understand Hilliard’s fear. Gomez is a little too frantic, and the Addams Family decor is a bit off. Lurch (Ted Cassidy) seems downright threatening, at one point carrying Hilliard around like a mother would a small child (embarrassing, to say the least). However, the final straw is when Hilliard almost gets hit by a razor sharp dart. How many people would be cool with that?
As we get acquainted with Wednesday, Pugsley, Gomez (John Astin), Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan) and Grandmama (Marie Blake), it’s obvious that the Addams clan is indeed “altogether ooky,” though not as dangerous as they appear. In fact, some at the school’s office find Mr. Hilliard less agreeable than the Addams,’ with Miss Comstock (Madge Blake) going so far as to consider him a drunk. Let’s face it: If this family was real, most people would actually be on Hilliard’s side, and the Addams brood would probably be run out of town.
That’s the ultimate message of this family: They are rebellious at their core, and an acquired taste. They are non-conformists, at least in terms of their appearance and interests. They only put their kids in school when they have to. Of course, this episode never mentions the futility of a solid education when the world is mostly run by and for maniacs…but, hey, The Addams Family could never be that rebellious.
What do you think of The Addams Family? Let us know in the comments!