Thursday, February 16, 2012

RETROPHILIA: The Addams Family

To close out the week this week, how about we have a lovely little dose of happy nostalgia, and when we're looking back, we're practicing a fun little activity yours truly likes to call...

a vampire  blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in general




This time, a sweet and fangy look at a pop-culture phenomenon that MAY have been (allegedly) popular when I was a kid (the first time!) An originally short-lived ABC sitcom that brought the silly and the sinister together in a wonderfully macabre PB and J sandwich of funnings. (Which is of course delicious, particularly when you remember to sprinkle a little macabre on top of it! :P )


A little something we like to all call...


Addams Family: A Classic TV Show that never gets old!

The Addams Family

And while without doubt, the 1991 Film Flick Revival of the franchise was certainly NOT too shabby...

(And how it introduced us to Christina Ricci who would later grow up to be quite fine in a gothy-girl-next-door sort of way)

Christina Ricci: Even when she was Wednesday we knew she'd go on to be big!



... but I think with everything that receives a remake, a revival, a refrying or even a re-destroying, you've got to go back to the original, to get a look at how the concept was first conceived.

Personally, I've always had a soft spot for this FIRST series. I was bored (as I often am, occupational hazard of being a Vampire) while waiting to move on to my next section at my moonlightin' inventory scan gunman job when the mildly bright idea to see if the series was available to watch online. Much to my surprise, duh, it was!

Yeaaah, it's so TOTALLY a sitcom to be sure. All the cliches are there; the claustrophobic mock-60's TV sets, the typical traditional family stuff of the era played for quick gentle jab lines, that laugh track that has become almost as famous as the king-pimp-daddy of ALL sound effects, A.K.A. the
Wilhelm Scream But this is not a review (I have to keep reminding myself, and YOU )

...at least, not this time.

So why talk about it? Well, why NOT talk about it? It is my blog after all. ;) It's something that certainly influenced my cultural life, and it's influenced yours too, whether you're old enough to remember this original or not.

AF was one of the first "Family Shows" that played with the conventions of its genre. Sure there have been other shows, namely its contemporary chief alter-network rival
The Munsters but I think the former was a tad better written and made use of its "gallows humor" a little more subtle...ishly than the latter.

I believe surrealist stuff like the Kickass Old Spice Dude ad campaign and
Pee Wee's Playhouse among others, owe a debt to AF for first making the weird and whacked out seem pretty cool.

I think one of the major things that made the show work was each overall "take" that the lead actors chose to give the characters (quite literally ;) ) that made up their ancient Addams clan.

Sure, Raul Julia might have maaaaybe been a more "authentic" Gomez as a bona fide Puerto Rican, and he is/was a solid actor, don't get me wrong, but John Astin as the originator of the role, fleshed him out, and gave him an almost happy-go-lucky blue-blooded naivete (OMG that was FRENCH! * Chet kisses himself * ;) lol ) that made you, the viewer want to hang out with him from week-to-week. (Just not to stand too close and risk getting blown up or something by his moments of whimsy.)

Of course Anjelica Huston is a fantastic actress and certainly made the first film better by her presence, but would anyone not agree that Carolyn Jones made Morticia quite fetching as the not-quite-deadpan wife in the midst of chaos. (I still have no idea how the woman didn't bust up laughing her ass off every time she had to do her "Japanese Music Practice" bits. )

Even Lurch, a character who appeared to be totally dead and stiff (again, literally) still seemed to have a snaky subtle edge to him...watch carefully and you'll see him sneer a little with a kind of "W-T-F" face through a lot of comic situations.

Yeah, I guess the two kids in AF were pretty basic and sitcom stock in their lines, but that's common for TV shows back then, and Uncle Fester is actually more of a dim-wit then I remembered, but everybody does a good job.

Bottom line, if you've never seen this classic TV series, you're missing out. Seriously, you never know what to expect. (That is, if you've never seen it before, or it's been so long that you don't remember, that is! :) )

And besides, who DOESN'T love a house like a museum, a living disembodied hand that popsout of a box and that "snappy" TV Theme song!



Watch Episodes Of The Addams Family On Hulu!

Thank you Addams Family!!

--Chet

a cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in generala cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in general

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