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Recap / The Addams Family S1 E1 "The Addams Family Goes To School"

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When Gomez and Morticia keep Wednesday and Pugsley home from school, truant officer Sam Hilliard pays a visit. After Gomez and Morticia are persuaded to let the kids go to school, they take action after a fairy tale book that depicts a violent action where a knight slaying a dragon saddens Wednesday.


This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • AM/FM Characterization: When Lurch is playing the harpsichord, he is playing an easy-going waltz. Morticia taps his head and he changes to a more upbeat rock music, only for Gomez to change it back.
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  • Appropriate Animal Attire: One of the paintings in the Addams's living room is a non-anthropomorphic giraffe dressed in a suit and frill-collar. Wednesday says that it is a portrait of a friend of Gomez's.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad:
    • Gomez perks up when the super-intendant mentions Hilliard as a "difficult, troublesome man."
    • When Fester and Grandmama are playing cards, she admonishes him for not cheating.
    • When the school calls and tells the Addamses that they'll be changing the curriculum like they wanted, Gomez thinks that Hilliard had a point and that they may have saved the world. Morticia wonders if they did the right thing because of it and Gomez's face hints that he isn't sure.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Morticia shoes a turtle-neck sweater she knitted for their Cousin Imar to Gomez, it feature three sleeves. Gomez finds it odd... that Imar likes turtleneck sweaters.
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  • The Cameo: Madge Blake guest-stars as the principal Miss Comstock, Nydia Westman as Miss Morrison, and Rolfe Sedan as the postman.
  • Cassandra Truth: When Mr. Hilliard tries to explain his experience with the Addamses, being stressed and hysterical by the experience, the Board thinks that he's drunk.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Gomez is opposed to the idea of public school because "why have children just to get rid of them?" When Hilliard brings up that someday Wednesday being able to read would be useful, he remarks "see you then."
    • When Hilliard brings up concerns about Pugsley being bitten by a live octopus that he wrestles with, Gomez assures him that Pugsley doesn't bite.
      Gomez: A little nip now and then, but it's all in good fun.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Gomez is perplexed what the point of going to public school would be when they feel like Grandmama is enough. He's later proven right (from their perspective anyway) when he hears the kind of fairy-tales the class is reading (the ones where the dragons and witches are slain) and cries moral outrage over it.
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  • Drives Like Crazy: Somehow Pugsley got behind the wheel of the bus on the way back from school, the sound of wheels screeching outside a sign that they're home.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Gomez is introduced playing with his train set, taking absurd glee out of blowing it up and acting cordial with Hilliard despite their inability to find common ground in their train of logic, showing that Gomez is a kid at heart (in a Perky Goth kind of way) who doesn't think the same way as other men.
  • Establishing Series Moment: The first half of the episode features Mr. Hilliard visiting the Addams Estate for business purposes where he acts as an Audience Surrogate, reacting to the home's many peculiar features and the family's even more peculiar behavior, running in terror while the family thinks of it as a normal reaction. A second one qualifies when a distraught Wednesday comes home from her first day, upset that in a story a dragon was slain by a knight, a sentiment the rest of the family shares.
  • Expert in Underwater Basket Weaving: Gomez makes a case that homeschooling works just fine when he shows Hilliard a box full of spiders that Wednesday learned to breed herself.
  • Failed Dramatic Exit: After explaining his harrowing experience in the Addams House, Hilliard tries leaving in a huff, only to accidentally go into a closet instead.
  • Giftedly Bad: Implied to be with Fester and dart-playing, Grandmama standing right in front of him when it's his turn because "it's the only safe place."
  • The Ghost: Cousin Imar, an Addams relative with three arms that Morticia knits a sweater for.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: When the super-intendant mentions how much trouble Hillaird can be, Gomez recommends his friend DuBois in Haiti, who could take his picture and make a voodoo doll out of it. Thinking he's joking, she humors the idea of a nice, old-fashioned horse-whipping or dipping him in boiling oil.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When they try introducing Hilliard to Fester and Grandmama, they happen upon them throwing knives at a statue at a red devil suit. One knife hits the door just a few inches from Hilliard's face and Gomez remarks that they should aim for the heart. Thinking they were trying to throw knives at him, Hilliard runs out the the house in terror.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: When Morticia notices how tense Hilliard is, Gomez recommends putting him on a rack.
    Gomez: That stretching, so relaxing.

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