It's a family thing, and it won't quit They keep it together, y'all, that's it They're not ordinary, just strange Some say loco, insane in the brain But you know that you love 'em In a class by themselves, none below, none above 'em It ain't nothin' to be ashamed of So give love to the folks who go by the name of...
- Tag Team, "Addams Family (Whoomp!)" (from the Addams Family Values soundtrack)
Meet The Addams Family: father Gomez (Raul Julia), mother Morticia (Anjelica Huston), daughter Wednesday (Christina Ricci), son Pugsley (Jimmy Workman), butler Lurch (Carel Struycken) and Granny (Judith Malina; Darrined by Carol Kane for the sequel). The film series is based on the cartoons created by Charles Addams and the 1960sDom Comit spawned. The first film, released in 1991, focused on the family's search for Gomez's missing brother, Fester (Christopher Lloyd). Fester's return leads to a joyful reunion between the brothers. However, all is not as it seems and a scheming "mother", a money hungry lawyer, and a plot to steal the family's fortune create complications and Hilarity Ensues.It was successful enough that a sequel, Addams Family Values, was released in 1993, which added a new child (Pubert) and a new love interest for Fester named Debbie (Joan Cusack), who drives a wedge between Fester and the rest of the family.A third movie starring the Family, Addams Family Reunion, was released direct-to-video in 1998 with an (almost) all-new cast. Serving as a Pilot Movie for the then-upcoming The New Addams Family series , it is not related to the prior two films.Needs a Better Description
Adorkable: Fester, especially in Values when he's completely head over heels for Debbie.
All Part of the Show: When Wednesday goes Off the Rails during the Thanksgiving play in Addams Family Values, the audience doesn't get that she's off-script until well after the set is on fire. The fact that they clearly do intend to burn Amanda alive at least gets her parents moving.
Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe. In the first movie, when Morticia is working as a kindergarten teacher she reads Hansel & Gretel to her class, depicting Hansel and Gretel as cold-blooded killers and the witch as an innocent victim. The kids are not pleased by this Downer Ending.
Ancient Tradition: The movie treats the Mamushka as one of these, taught to them by Cossack cousins so long ago they no longer remember when. And since Gomez explicitly states that they danced the Mamushka while Nero fiddled, that means the Addams family has been around for at least nineteen centuries, and has documented enough of their family history to know exactly what they were doing the night of July 19, 0064. That's how old that traditional dance is.
In the first movie, Morticia compliments the man stretching her on the rack (who is sweating over the evil deed) as "having done this before". She also believes that she and the female antagonist could have been good friends were it not for the current unpleasantness.
The second film has the following exchanges between Morticia and Debbie:
Morticia: You have enslaved him. You have placed Fester under some strange sexual spell. I respect that.
In Addams Family Values, Baby Pubert does this to a guillotine blade one-handed... with just his thumb and forefinger. It must be reiterated that he's a baby.
It must also be reiterated that he's an Addams.
Gomez manages to catch a thrown butter knife in his teeth in the same film.
The first film also had the Mamushka, a traditional dance performed by Gomez and Fester that involves them juggling knives between each other. It ends with Gomez hurling every knife directly at his brother, who catches them with his bare hands, the final one in his mouth like a sword swallower.
Becoming the Mask: Played with, as the mask that the amnesiac Gordon became was that of his actual real identity of Uncle Fester.
Berserk Button: A very subtle one with Pugsley in the second film. Pugsley almost never gets angry, but he clearly takes offense when Amanda refers to the Addams' as circus people. (Keep in mind, she's probably thinking "freak show", he's probably thinking "harmless happy clown".)
Big Damn Heroes: Baby Pubert in Addams Family Values. He makes his way through the house via a chain reaction of events and manipulates the wires just as Debbie throws the switch, causing her to be incinerated.
Book Ends: The beginning and ending of the first movie are both based on one of Charles Addams' original comics in the New Yorker (specifically the opening with the family pouring boiling oil on Christmas carolers and the part at the end where Gomez is amazed to see Morticia knitting a onesie with tentacles, implying that she is pregnant). Doubles as a Mythology Gag.
Bowties Are Cool: Gomez sports some of the coolest bow ties ever to be committed to film.
Morticia:(straight-faced, taking garment bags out of a wardrobe and looking at tags) Uncle Knick-Knack's Winter Wardrobe... Uncle Knick-Knack's Summer Wardrobe... Uncle Knick-Knack...
Brick Joke: in the first movie we see the family motto, We Gladly Feast on Those Who Would Subdue Us. In the second movie, the school camp counselors try to subdue Wednesday and Pugsley, and are last seen being roasted on a spit by Wednesday's accomplices.
Buried Alive: In the first film, the two antagonists land in open graves which Wednesday and Pugsley have somehow prepared in advance. The following exchange occurs:
Pugsley: Are they dead?
Wednesday: Does it matter?
The second film opening includes Wednesday and Grandmama burying a cat. When it meows, Wednesday shakes the box and shushes it.
Calvin Ball: "Wake The Dead" seems to be some variety of this.
The Comically Serious: While Wednesday's lines tend to be funny, a big aspect of the humor comes from her delivery of them with the same deadpan inflection.
Cool and Unusual Punishment: The "Harmony Hut" in the second film. It's a hut filled with posters of kittens, in which the Addams are forced to sit and watch upbeat Disney movies.
Creator Cameo: In a sense. Director Barry Sonnenfeld makes a cameo appearance in each film: The first sees him as a random passenger in the model train that Gomez later crashes, and the second casts him in a slightly larger role as Joel Glicker's Henpecked Husband father.
Darker and Edgier: The films paint the characters as much more macabre than the TV show (although still nicer than in the original magazine cartoons), thanks to more relaxed standards on what is acceptable as humor.
A good example is Pugsley's name. Originally, most of the Addams clan didn't have first names, but when the TV show was being produced, they went to Charles Addams to name them. His first choice for the boy's name? Pubert!
Dull Surprise: Used deliberately with some of Wednesday's deadpan reactions, specifically because when it goes beyond that to actually surprised, it's all the more amazing... and hilarious.
Evil Versus Evil: The movies would become a lot more awkward if anyone (including the villains) seriously protested the Addams' pastimes.
Face Framed In Shadow: In the films, Morticia's face is constantly shadowed, no matter the ambient lighting, with the only bright spot being around her eyes. It especially stands out when she's with other cast members, who are normally lit.
From Values, after Pubert becomes blonde and rosy cheeked. Grandmama is explaining that this change can become permanent. Of course, this IS the Addams we're talking about, so it's a subversion.
Grandmama: We're talking dimples!
Gomez: NOT in this house!
Also, Wednesday's contribution to the horror story at camp.
Wednesday: And so, the next night, the ghost returned to the haunted cabin, and he said to the campers - "None of you really believe in me, so I'll have to prove my power." And the next morning, when the campers woke up... all of their old noses had grown back. *Cue screams and a smirking Wednesday*
Flat "What.": Christopher Lloyd gets two good ones in as Fester in the first film. The first occurs when he and Gomez are watching their old home moviesnote Fester is trying desperately to not have his cover blown, so he points out Flora and Fauna Amor — whose picture he'd seen in his room — to which Gomez responds by asking for his forgiveness, and the second happens while Fester is talking with Abigail Craven about how the whole family suspects him note Abigail informs Fester she can fix this through her "Dr. Pinder-Schloss" guise.
"This is my costume. I'm a homicidal maniac. They look just like everyone else."
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In-Universe example. In Family Values, during the Thanksgiving play, Pugsley is dressed up as a turkey for a musical number. His lines in the song consist of saying "Eat Me" twice. Amanda's parents, who are in the front row, react slightly.
During the second movie early on, they manage to sneak a lot of them through, such as the fact that Fester watches Gomez and Morticia having sex through keyholes, and offering Thing as a way to stave off loneliness.
The first film has a scene at the beginning of a coo-coo clock of the Addams mansion with moving mannequins of the family. The mannequin of Gomez is apparently kissing the mannequin of Morticia on her breasts.
Good Is Not Nice: The most flagrant example being the camp counselors from Values, Gary and Becky. Not for the way they treat Wednesday and Pugsley (that is, until they force them to watch saccharine movies), but the way they heavily favor the rich, white, blonde kids over the minority campers, even casting the latter group as the "savage" Native Americans in Gary's play. Becky can't even pronounce two of their names, Consuela and Jamal.
In introducing the play, Gary refers to the two factions as white meat and dark meat.
Jumping Out of a Cake: Gruesome example from the second film. Gomez tries to have this done at Fester's bachelor party.
Gomez: [peers into cake] ...that poor girl. Lurch, was she in there before you baked? Lurch: [growls contritely] [beat] Gomez: C'est la vie![everyone laughs]
Kick the Dog: The judge from earlier in the movie ruling in favor of Gordon/Fester as owner of the Addams property "with no small amount of personal satisfaction", except for one exception - Gomez's bucket of golf balls, which he dumps out in front of him.
Look Ma, No Plane!: In the climax of Addams Family Values, the baby somehow gets catapulted high enough to come eye-to-eye with a commuter plane...specifically, the one that's currently flying the Alpha Bitch and her family home from the disaster that was summer camp.
Murder by Cremation: For his brother's wedding Gomez orders a huge cake with a stripper inside. However, when the cake is delivered, it turns out that the unwitting butler put the girl inside before he put it into the oven. Nobody is too upset though.
Nigh Invulnerable: Fester is immune to fatal amounts of electricity and mansion-destroying explosions. He does seem worried by bullets, which makes it even weirder that Debbie would decide on the electric chair to finish him off when that method didn't succeed the first time.
Seems to apply to all the family to some degree. Pusgley and Wednesday spend much of the first movie playing fatal games with each other, involving poison, knives, even electric chairs. Wednesday even explicitly says the latter is supposed to kill Pugsley, and that this particular game is called "Is There a God?"
Morticia, going through Fester's luggage in the first movie, notes that he brought cyanide and teasingly chides him "As if we'd run out." The delivery insinuates they use it as a condiment.
Nobody Calls Me Chicken: In Values, Amanda goads Wednesday into adding to the ghost story by insinuating she's not up to it. Wednesday's creative spin makes them wish they hadn't.
No Body Left Behind: Debbie is electrocuted to ashes in Addams Family Values. All is left are her shoes and credit cards.
Obviously Evil: Debbie's successful crime spree tugs at Willing Suspension of Disbelief when she gets to Fester. She couldn't look more guilty if she tried. Putting aside that the Addams see this as normal, the authorities would have noticed such oddities as ordering a hearse prior to the victim's death. Wednesday even lampshades this towards the end. Not to mention this noticeable line.
"Just a single, I will be a widow then."
Oedipus Complex: In Values, Gomez pulls out a magazine from Fester's bed, opens to one of the centerfolds, and the two say together "Mom!".
The Other Darrin: For unknown reasons, Carol Kane replaced Judith Malina as Granny for Addams Family Values.
Portal Book: The books in the Addams' library are an inversion: people can't go in (as far as we know), but the stories in the book manifest in the real world when opened (e.g. The Sun Also Rises creates sunlight).
Redemption Equals Death: Both played with and averted in Family Values. Fester treated his Axe Crazy wife with nothing but love and respect, but she's so insane she simply keeps going with her plan to kill him, not realizing she actually has someone who cares. Fester is perfectly willing to die for whatever perceived crimes he's committed. Then, when she actually dies, she's just... a pile of dust. No redemption there.
Sarcasm Mode: You could think that the entire Addams Family had gone into this hardcore when they're seeming to humor the ranting Debbie. Actually, considering their previous behavior, they're probably sincerely empathizing with her.
Screaming Birth: Averted during Pubert's birth in Addams Family Values; all Morticia emits are a few barely audible grunts. Totally justified, however, when you consider their sex life.
Seriously, who didn't burst out laughing at Morticia's first line in that movie?
Morticia: Marvelous news. I'm going to have a baby. (Beat) Right now. (Cut to Morticia being rushed through the hospital.)
Then there's the bit during labor when Gomez asks Morticia if she's in unbearable, inhuman pain. She smiles coyly and says "Oui", bringing on Gomez's usual kissing response. The doctor has to remind them that there's a baby to deliver.
Silent Snarker: Lurch, The guys slightest facial movement speaks volumes.
Something Else Also Rises: A pretty hilarious version occurs in the movie. Gomez and Morticia are sitting in the graveyard and, as per usual, things get romantic between them. Cut to shots of the various, elaborate gravestones of deceased Addamses that manage to become this trope.
Suppressed Mammaries: Christina Ricci had her breasts tied down when she played Wednesday in the movies. Puberty did not miss her. In what was almost assuredly a reference to this fact, her first scene in Now And Then has her duct taping her breasts down after complaining about them getting bigger.
Tempting Fate: In Values Joel has the horrible idea to tell Wednesday she wouldn't be able to scare to death her future husbands. Guess what happens a few moments later?
Terrible Interviewees Montage: Inverted in the second movie; it's not the nanny interviewees who are terrible, it's the children. And while the one who gets the job seems perfect, she's really the worst.
Theme Tune Rap: Each has its own: The first film had "Addams Groove" by MC Hammer (complete with a nigh-Indecipherable Chorus), and Values featured "Addams Family (Whoomp!)" by Tag Team (an Addams-themed remake of "Whoomp! (There It Is)"; later "won" a Razzie Award for Worst Original Song).
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The whole time Wednesday and Pugsley are at camp, they try to escape so they can save Fester. When they finally get out and make their way home, they end up tied up, just as helpless as the rest of the family, and Pubert ends up saving them.
Tranquil Fury; Morticia while showing Fester the family graveyard and the family creed. She's suspicious of him as well and rather threateningly but eerily calmly states the family creed 'We would devour those who'd subdue us' and that 'As an Addams, you understand what that means, right?'
And then again when she sees how miserable her family is after getting kicked out of the house, and then walking off in the middle of the night to confront Fester
The Voiceless: In this version, Lurch never talks, only growls and grunts. For the record, the character was intended to be mute in the show as well, but Ted Cassidy ad-libbed the classic "You rang?" line and it was too funny to not capitalize.
What Happened to the Mouse?: In the movie, Tully and Margaret Alford's son, who appears in one scene (and in the credits as "Tully Jr.") but despite the fact that his mother runs off with Cousin Itt and that his father is buried, possibly alive, in the Addams' graveyard, he's never spoken of again, not even in the sequelAddams Family Values.
Also in Family Values, it's mentioned that the "Black Widow" has killed at least three husbands, but we only ever learn the fates of two of them.
One of Debbie's previous identities (as shown by the headshots kept on her wall) is Kathie Lee Gifford - so perhaps Monday Night Football has a different announcer in the Addams Family universe...
Who Even Needs A Brain: In Addams Family Values Gomez and Fester are cheerfully reminiscing about all the (violent) pranks they pulled on each other as kids. Fester casually mentions that one time he waited til Gomez was asleep, then opened his his head and removed his brains. Gomez is surprised and sort of impressed by this revelation.