Western Animation / The Addams Family

Just as creepy and kooky, but much more two-dimensional.note 

The Addams Family has has two Animated Adaptations, both produced by Hanna-Barbera.

The first animated series ran on NBC Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1975 and featured an 8-year-old Jodie Foster as Pugsley. It is based off the New Yorker cartoons by Charles Addams and the 1960s sitcom of the same name. In the cartoon, the Addamses travel in a vehicle resembling the Creepy Coupe from Wacky Races.

The second animated series aired in 1992 on ABC in the wake of the recent live-action movie. It was more similar to the 1960s live-action sitcom, mainly taking place in the Addams' big mansion, and featuring original Gomez John Astin returning to his role. Unlike the 1973 series, this iteration also used the classic theme song. The show was later reran on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.

These animations provide examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • The '90s cartoon episode "The Day Gomez Failed" revolves around Gomez feeling he had run out of challenges and figuring that the only thing he hadn't accomplished yet was to fail at something. He spends the whole episode trying to do (and fail at) ridiculous, impossible things, only to succeed with blinding colors in spite of himself. At the end of the episode, Morticia points out that he actually succeeded at his goal after all, by failing at failing. Don't think too hard about that one.
    • Thing also has shades of this, easily becoming rich and famous when he sets out to become a Hollywood star, accidentally earning the ire of a mentally unbalanced hand model in the process.
  • Action Figure File Card: The toy line based on the 1992 cartoon had them.
  • Animated Adaptation:
  • Arch-Enemy: One-sided with the Normanmeyers, who hate the Addams and constantly try to ruin them. The Addamses don't consider them enemies at all, and see their abuse as friendly neighborly behavior.
    • Thing of all people manages to get himself an arch enemy in a weird hand model named Harry Palmer who tries to kill him after Thing takes most of his roles. He reappears in a later episode, now living in Happydale Heights as a security guard, who's been kidnapping guard animals to keep him safe after developing paranoia about Thing.
    • Cousin Itt has Silvermane, a supervillain with a cybernetic haircut, but he only appears in one episode.
  • Author Filibuster: If an episode has an aesop, then Wednesday will make sure you learn it.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In the 1992 animated series, grabbing Wednesday by the braids. Gomez and Morticia refer to the last person to do it in the past tense, and Pugsley even flat-out tells the perpetrator (a robber) You Do Not Want To Know what she'll do.
    • The normally unflappable Gomez goes ballistic when someone else flirts with Morticia, as experienced by the villainous Silvermane and his goons.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The series plays with this Trope an interesting way. Morticia, wanting to bond with her children, volunteers to help out at the local school, but even before she starts, Wednesday knows she won't be able to fit in. True enough, Morticia's attempt at helping out with lessons and school lunches backfires in a major way (though the schoolchildren are mostly amused), and Morticia doesn't understand why, since she, by her own standards, did a perfectly fine job. Gomez also comments on the faculty being angry at her, since he recalls his own schooling being a lot like what Morticia did. Wednesday and Pugsley are perfectly aware that the Addams type of morality isn't the norm, but Morticia and Gomez, not interacting much with society at large, aren't.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Alluded to by Norman Normanmeyer in the 1992 animated series episode "Puttergeist", where he remarks that the way people reacted to seeing him dressed as the Puttergeist was good for the underwear business.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening of the 1992 animated series, whether Pugsley or Wednesday won at the line "Petite" and what position the family is at the ending.
  • Creepy Family: Well, the franchise is based around the concept.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: A very young Jodie Foster as Pugsley in the 1970s animated series.
  • Crossover: With Scooby-Doo in the third episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, titled "Wednesday Is Missing".
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite how dark, creepy and macabre the family is, the Addamses are all genuinely good people.
    • Amusingly, the Addamses aren't even aware of how strange they are. They think of themselves as a typical, normal American family and are nice enough not to say anything about those weirdos who play with puppies and pick flowers.
  • Every Episode Ending: The 1992 animated episodes mostly end with one of the family members announcing a ‘family dance’ to celebrate resolving the problem of the week. One member generally thinks of a song which someone else rejects and then comes up with another one which they all agree on and then they dance.
  • Freaky Is Cool: N.J. Normanmeyer from the 90's cartoon certainly falls here. Unlike his parents, who despise the Addamses, N.J. thinks the family is pretty cool, enjoys hanging at their house and is best friends with Wednesday and Pugsley. This seems to go for almost all the children of Happydale, who on several occasions join the Addamses in their antics, especially in a notable episode where Morticia arranges a scavenger hunt in the Addams house. Which, let's be honest, if the implements that can kill, maim, hurt or transform someone are kept out of reach, is the most perfect place for a scavenger hunt, EVER.
  • Halloween Episode: "Puttergeist": From the '92 animated series, Wednesday, Pugsley and their friend NJ try to determine if the legend of the Puttergeist ghost, the spirit of a headless golfer who was struck by lightning on the Happydale golf course 40 years ago, is true or not. At first, it seems the Puttergeist was only NJ's father Norman in a costume. But then it turned out the Puttergeist was Real After All.
  • Happily Married: Gomez and Morticia, of course. There's also the Normanmeyers, recurring semi-antagonists in the 90s cartoon. Despite their extreme dislike of the Addamses' behavior, they're shown as a very loving couple toward each other.
  • "I Am" Song: "The Fester Way" from the 90s cartoon, sung by the inimitable Rip Taylor.
  • Lighter and Softer: The original Addams gag cartoons depicted the family as genuinely evil, especially the character named in the TV show as Fester, who, for example, was once seen beckoning another car driver to overtake him into the path of a hidden articulated lorry. Not to mention the famous "pouring boiling oil on carol singers" image, the setup of which was used as one of many Mythology Gags to said cartoons in the first film.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the 90's cartoon episode "Little Big Thing", we see a glasses shop called Coogan's, as in Jackie Coogan, the actor who played Uncle Fester in the original live-action show.
    • Both cartoon series use models based on Charles Addams' original panel strips as opposed to cartoon versions of the TV/movie actors. The 1973 series was the most faithful (with Gomez retaining his porcine appearance from the strips, among other things), while the 1992 series went for a more stylized appearance.
    • The '90s cartoon portrayed Cousin Itt as a secret agent, which may be a nod to an episode of the original '60s show where Cousin Itt was looking for a job and one of Gomez's suggestions was for Cousin Itt to be a government spy.
  • Once an Episode: The animated version ended every episode with some traditional family dance. None of the dances are ever actually shown (They just showed the house shaking from the outside), and some have very strange prerequisites, such as only being performed on certain days of the week or if you are no more than a certain distance from the airport.
  • Not So Different: Ironically, the Normanmeyers are not nearly as "normal" as they like to think themselves as. Norman is weirdly obsessed with underwear, being a major manufacturer, and their house is littered with various underwear-based decorations and themes.
  • Pet the Dog: The Normanmeyers, neighbors of the Addams Family in the 1992 animated series, hated the Addamses and frequently plotted to get rid of them, but the episode "N.J. Addams" showed that they actually cared about and loved their son N.J. (who did not inherit their hatred; instead, he was close friends with Wednesday).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Mayor of Happydale Heights and Principal Macnamara from the 90s cartoon. Neither has any personal issue with the Addams, and are only forced to interfere when they're worried that the Addams' behavior may be harmful to the other citizens. Both of them even join the Addams family dance when offered.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The 1973 animated series.
  • Retcon: Fester was changed from Morticia's uncle to Gomez's older brother in the 1973-75 animated series.
    • Also, the kids' ages became less clear in the adaptations. In the 90's cartoon and movies, Wednesday seemed older than Pugsley.
    • The cartoon version set her as Pugsley's little sister in an episode where she keeps beating him, which is what she is in the original live action series.
  • Role Reprisal:
    • The 1973 animated series had new actors for most of the family, but had Jackie Coogan and Ted Cassidy once again reprise their roles as Uncle Fester and Lurch.
    • John Astin once again reprised his role as Gomez Addams in the 1992 animated series.
  • Running Gag: In the animated series, whenever Morticia says something in a different language, Gomez immediately pops up by her side, exclaims "Tish! That's [insert language]" and attempts to kiss her arm before Morticia tells him now isn't an appropriate time. Gomez even did this when Fester said something in a different language, at which point he tells Gomez to "do that with your wife".
  • Springtime for Hitler: Parodied in The '90s cartoon; in one episode, Gomez is trying to live up to the Addams Family tradition of being a failure - however, every time he tries to embark on some Zany Scheme that would clearly ruin him, it always backfires, making him even more of a success. However, as Morticia points out, that simply makes him an even bigger failure, because he failed at failing. This immediately cheers him up.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Played with in the 90s cartoon, where Happydale Heights, the shows setting, puts a lot of weight on being "happy" and normalcy, but the majority of its residents seem to have little problem with the Addams, and only interfere when their antics spill out into the town itself. The only characters who seem to be interested in rigidly enforcing the standards are the teachers of the elementary school, and Mr and Mrs Normanmeyer.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Also happened a lot in the second animated series, where the Addamses would often hum the theme song while doing certain tasks.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Pugsley Addams. He was a boy genius in the original television show, but the animated incarnation of the character is a Genius Ditz whose inventions cause chaos and destruction by accident instead of on purpose.
  • Unishment: A key example happens in the 90s cartoon where Norman frames Fester for Itt's supposed death. He finds jail delightful and when Itt turns up fine, he even pulls some strings so Fester can stay as long he wants without the need to commit crimes. To add insult to injury, Norman is arrested for making false accusations.
  • Villain Song: "The Addams Blues", by Mr Normanmeyer from the 90s cartoon, about how much he dislikes living next door to the Addams and how he wants to get rid of them.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A weird example with Mr Normanmeyer and Uncle Fester from the 90s cartoon. Normanmeyer despises Fester and does everything he can to treat him like crap. Fester, being an Addams and Too Kinky to Torture, loves it and interprets Norman's abuse as friendly affection.
  • Waif-Fu: Cartoon Wednesday is a fencing enthusiast like her father.