Duh nuh nuh nuh *snap snap*
Duh nuh nuh nuh, duh nuh nuh nuh, duh nuh nuh nuh *snap snap*
They're creepy and they're kooky
Mysterious and spooky
They're altogether ooky
The Addams Family
Their house is a museum
Where people come to see 'em
They really are a scree-am
The Addams Family
So get a witch's shawl on
A broomstick you can crawl on
We're gonna pay a call on
The Ad-dams Fam-i-ly!
A sitcom based on Charles Addams's ghoulish single-panel cartoons for The New Yorker magazine, The Addams Family was produced by Filmways and aired for two seasons (196466) on ABC. One of the last American network series to be filmed entirely in black and white — which may well have been a stylistic decision, given the subject matter — the show was not very successful in its original run, but became a cult favorite once it entered syndication, and inspired spin-offs in many media.
A deliberate inversion of the ideal American Nuclear Family, the Addamses are an obscenely wealthy clan of borderline supernatural beings with a taste for the grotesque and macabre, holding opinions and preferences that are mirror images or inversions of more conventional attitudes. Although very visibly different from virtually everyone they meet, they still perceive themselves as a "perfectly normal family"; in fact, they seem somewhat incapable of even noticing that their lifestyle varies widely from that of their neighbours. They also invert various horror-movie tropes about evil families: despite their tastes and the apparent trappings of pain and horror amidst which they live, the Addamses are clearly NOT evil — they are compassionate and loving, friendly to all they meet, eager to help strangers in times of need, and tolerant to a fault. In fact, they are probably more so than most families! The end result is more delightfully eccentric and endearing than disturbing.
Though the Addams themselves are often compared to the eponymous Munster family, there are considerable differences. The Addamses are in essence landed gentry (their history in the US goes back to the Pilgrim era), very refined and elegant, and independently wealthy; the Munsters are working-class recent immigrants (Grandpa having immigrated from Transylvania) who were much more down-to-earth and relatable in the issues they faced, and Herman has a quite coarse sense of humour. The Addamses are borderline supernatural in some undefined way; the Munsters are explicit monsters based on well-known horror archetypes.
The most important difference, however, is in the respective families' views of themselves and the people around them: whereas the Addamses consider themselves (and only themselves) to be the "normal" ones, and cannot understand why the other people they meet are so very strange, the Munsters believe themselves to be just like the people around them, and cannot understand why said people seem to think the family is so strange. (This is itself an extension of the socioeconomic angle: Blue Blood WASPs thought they were the real America, and had no idea where the country they lived in came from; immigrants were convinced they worked hard to be every bit as American as everyone else, and were confounded that people still treated them differently.)
The family is composed of:
- Gomez Alonzo Addams, the clan patriarch (John Astin). The series' naive patriarch and ostensibly a lawyer, though the family's vast independent wealth eliminates any need for him to actually work; when he does, though, he takes great pride in the cases he's lost. He also smokes cigars, has a moustache, and likes to do crazy things like blow up toy trains.
- Morticia Frump Addams, his wife (Carolyn Jones). Tall (but still shorter than Lurch), elegant, ivory-skinned and black-tressed, and always clad in a tight black dress. Morticia is your standard Housewife calm reason to Gomez's maniacal exuberance and likes knitting, painting, and cutting the blooms off roses. As she never shows her teeth when smiling, has the ability to literally smoke from her dress and has a beam of light across her eyes in some adaptations, she may possibly be a Vampire. We're not sure, even to this day...
- Pugsley Addams, their son (Ken Weatherwax). A young Mad Scientist in the making who once demonstrated a home-made disintegration rifle to a visiting Soviet diplomat.
- Wednesday Friday Addams, their youngest (Lisa Loring). A sweet, happy child who loves her family, her spider, and her headless doll Marie Antoinette. She is also quite sensitive and easily disturbed by strange and upsetting things like stories of vicious knights slaying innocent dragons.
- Grandmama, Gomez's mother (Blossom Rock), who sometimes switches to Morticia's depending on the adaptation. More than just an old lady but not quite a witch, Grandmama takes a delight in doing a lot of the family's cooking and gladly acts as a secondary parental figure to the children.
- Uncle Fester, Morticia's uncle (Jackie Coogan). Blend a Mad Scientist and his Igor together, and filter them through Curly Howard of The Three Stooges, and you get Uncle Fester.
- Lurch, their Frankensteinian butler (Ted Cassidy). A man(?) of few words but many groans, Lurch may be their all-purpose servant, but he is treated as one of the family, receiving care and devotion from everyone when he needs it.
- Thing - exactly what it says on the tin. (Credited as "Itself" but usually performed by Ted Cassidy; associate producer Jack Voglin performed in scenes with Lurch.) A hand in a box — many boxes, actually, as there's at least one in every room. Fetches mail, plays charades, performs mime. Clearly both sentient and sapient and, like Lurch, treated as a family member rather than a servant or pet. Got its very own romantic subplot in one episode.
Together they live in a crumbling Second Empire-style home which looks much like a stereotypical "haunted house" and which seems at times to be animate and sentient, with a playful attitude toward most visitors. Inside is a museum — or a Ripley's Odditorium: strange and bizarre decorations and furnishings fill the house to the brim, and invariably shock first-time visitors.
And do they have visitors. The primary theme of The Addams Family was culture clash — that of post-war America against something profoundly and grotesquely other. All manner of ordinary folk encountered the Addamses — sometimes to their benefit, sometimes to their dismay — but never without challenging their notions of normality and reality.
A secondary theme was tolerance — as strange as they are, the Addamses are the heroes, and the viewer is encouraged to understand, empathize and identify with them regardless of their macabre ways. Once the Addamses are familiar, delight comes from anticipating the reaction of the next unsuspecting mundane to cross their path. The show was so exquisitely crafted that this appeal to tolerance was never blatant, save for one memorable episode where a Rebel Without a Cause-style biker crashes into the Addams home; he is so astounded by and grateful for their casual acceptance of his unconventional ways that he holds them up as an example of a true family to his rigid, unyielding father.
In short, a classic series, groundbreaking in many ways, that entertains and challenges the viewer. Among its many "firsts" was the relationship between Gomez and Morticia — one of the most singularly passionate marriages on television in that or any other era, it was perhaps the first time a married couple had been shown to be so fiercely and intensely in love with each other. In fact, it's been half-joked that the couple appear to be the only 1960s TV parents capable of having children. Interestingly, the Addamses are widely considered to be the most mentally healthy 60s Sitcom family out there, and with good reason.
A reunion movie, Halloween with the New Addams Family, aired on CBS in October 1977 featuring most of the original cast.
For tropes found in the original television show, the 1977 television movie with the original cast, or the 1990s live-action revival series, see below. For tropes found in other adaptations, follow the link in the paragraph above.
- Abusive Parents: Katherine Adams is verbally abusive to her daughter Gina in The Addams Family Reunion.
- AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: In the opening theme song, the word "scream", usually pronounced as one syllable, is pronounced as two syllables—"scree-um"—in order for it to rhyme with "museum."
- Accidental Misnaming: When Gomez's relative from Spain meets Lurch, he calls him "Church."
- Adaptational Heroism: They're nicer than and never malicious unlike the original Charles Addams cartoons and the later movies.
- Affectionate Nickname: Tish.
- Alternate Character Interpretation: In-Universe: There was an episode of the TV series in which the Addams children are sent to school and their parents feel alarmed when they discover that in the literature class the kids were read a story about a cruel knight that savagely murders an innocent dragon.
- Amnesia Episode: The aptly named episode "Amnesia in the Addams Family" focuses on Gomez hitting his head and acquiring amnesia.
- Amusing Alien: The family is both amusing (to viewers) and alien (to everyone around them).
- Arranged Marriage: Two examples involving Gomez.
- "Morticia's Romance" reveals that Gomez was originally in an arranged marriage with Morticia's older, blonde sister Ophelia (also played by Carolyn Jones) but he married Morticia instead.
- In "Morticia's Dilemma," it is revealed that Gomez's grandfather pledged his grandson to an arranged marriage to Consuella, daughter of Don Javier Francisco de La Mancha Molinas. Hilarity Ensues when Don Javier arrives with his daughter to enforce the bargain.
- Becoming the Mask: When Lurch's mother comes to visit and they pretend Lurch is the master of the house and Gomez and Morticia are the servants, Lurch grows accustomed to his new idle position so much, they have to "brainwash him out of it" afterwards.
- Been There, Shaped History: In The New Addams Family episode "Granny the Happy Medium", Grandmama's brother Uncle Jester implies that he is responsible for Amelia Earhart's disappearance and the sinking of the Titanic.
- Bittersweet Ending: One episode ends with the family unable to go to the moon like they wanted, but they're happy, since they earned no money and, according to Gomez, zero is "still a good round number."
- Bizarre Human Biology:
- Blinding Bangs: Cousin Itt is a most extreme case, being covered in fur from head to toe.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The defining trait of the Addamses, and a big part of their appeal, is that they have a clearly... "off"... sense of the way the world works. Finding "normal" cute animals to be ugly, being disgusted by birdsong or flowers, finding frightening creatures to be adorable, etcetera. And, from their perspective, it's the mundane people who are odd and possibly crazy. Despite this, though, they are extremely gracious, kind, generous and friendly in their own creepy way. Overlaps with Values Resonance in that they're weirdly progressive - Gomez (sort of) does yoga, they're shocked that the school is teaching the kids corporal punishment in fairytales, and they love animals that repulse most people.
- Bullying a Dragon: Honestly, if you knew of a family like this, and were fully aware of what they do and how they do it, would you attempt to just be cordial, or would you antagonize them? Fortunately, most people don't try to antagonise them, instead preferring to avoid them and get away from them as fast and yet politely as possible when they get too creeped out.
- The Butler Did It: Averted, but talked about in one episode.Lurch's Mother: "I've read a lot of murder mysteries, and the butler is always the one who does it"
- Call-Back: In "My Son, the Chimp," Pugsley mentions the Gorilla he befriended and brought home in one of the first episodes.
- Captain Ersatz: In "Art and the Addams Family," Gomez decides to hire Picasso to instruct Grandmama in painting after an art critic pans the older woman's canvases. There's one problem, though — he hires penniless non-talent Sam Picasso for the job.
- Catchphrase: Quite a lot, actually. The most famous would be Lurch's "You rang?", Gomez's "Tish! That's French!" and "Querida!", Uncle Fester's "I'll shoot 'em in the back", and "Thank you, Thing", which was used by everyone, but mostly Wednesday and Morticia. Morticia also has a Mad Libs version that comes into play when Gomez gets distracted by her French while she's in the middle of something she considers more vital: "[important thing] now, [romantic word] later."
- Chandelier Swing: Gomez is fond of doing this.
- Character as Himself: "Thing as Itself."
- Christmas Episode: "Christmas with the Addams Family," where the adults each dress up as Santa Claus for the benefit of the children... at the same time.
- Cigar Chomper: Gomez spends a lot of scenes smoking cigars, even when he's on his head practicing his Zen Yogi poses. While the expensiveness of the habit does reflect the Addamses' absurdly large amount of money, the aggressiveness usually implied by the trope often doesn't come into play, as Gomez is one of the more genial and less intimidating members of the family.
- Closer to Earth: Morticia vs. Gomez. Surprisingly, this trope is much less prevalent than in other major sitcoms. Gomez is still an intelligent and attentive husband and father, and not a Bumbling Dad.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The whole family is quite eccentric. This applies to their ancestors too.
- Combat Pragmatist: Uncle Fester, when he decides to defend the family's honor with his trusty blunderbuss:
- Companion Cube: Wednesday with "Marie," her headless doll.
- Uncle Fester with his blunderbuss.
- Also Fester with his coat. He says he never takes it off, and even insists on wearing it during a doctor's examination.
- The computer named "Whizzo." The Addamses sometimes treat it as a friend.
- Continuity Nod: The original series had a surprising number for a 1960s sitcom, such as Wednesday's hatred of fairy tales that involved the slaying of dragons.
- The 1977 reunion special Halloween with the New Addams Family had a few, including an appearance by Thing's love interest Lady Fingers and Morticia's sister Ophelia.
- Continuity Reboot: 1998's The New Addams Family.
- Conveyor Belt o' Doom: Gomez and Morticia are playing this with Fester in "Ophelia's Career." The conveyor belt blows a fuse right before it would have sliced Fester's head open.
- Corpsing: During Morticia's close-up in the intro, Carolyn Jones just barely fails to not crack a smile.
- Courtroom Episode: The episode "The Addams Family in Court" qualifies as this, along with being a Prison Episode. Grandmama is sent to prison due to illegally telling people's fortunes and the other Addamses go to court to try and free her. Legal Hilarity Ensues during the trial.
- Creepy Child: Pugsley and Wednesday, although this is mostly played for laughs.
- Creepy Family: The Trope Codifier alongside The Munsters.
- Creepy Good: Along with The Munsters, the Trope Codifier.
- Dainty Little Ballet Dancers: Inverted by the title character in "Lurch Learns to Dance." Wednesday and Lurch dance ballet for Gomez and Morticia — but Lurch is both far too large and ungainly to do so effectively.
- 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 to try not to say anything about those weirdos who play with puppies and pick flowers.
- Dark Parody: In-universe, Wednesday uses her dolls to role-play a story where Little Red Riding Hood dies.
- "Day of the Week" Name:
- Wednesday Friday Addams.
- The New Addams Family episode "Keeping Up with the Joneses" features the titular Joneses as distant cousins of the Addamses who have a child of their own: Monday.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Thing's full name was said to be "Thing T. Thing," with the middle initial standing for "Thing."
- Diet Episode: "Fester Goes on a Diet" has Uncle Fester go on a diet to impress his Love Interest in hopes of becoming thinner and taller.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Often happened in the original series, with Lurch playing it on the harpsichord.
- In countless portions of Addams Family Reunion.
- The New Addams Family is an interesting case. Its new theme song can be heard playing in the background, but the original theme by Vic Mizzy also appears in the episodes Grandpapa Addams Comes to Visit and Lurch and his Piano (the theme is used as Grandpapa Addams' Leitmotif in the former and Lurch plays a few bars of it near the end of the latter).
- Diseased Name: Morticia has two aunts named "Anemia" and "Dementia."
- Does Not Like Spam: Uncle Fester doesn't like "army food."
- Don't You Like It?: This is the usual result of the Addamses trying to do anything neighborly for their neighbors, due to Blue-and-Orange Morality.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Morticia and Wednesday.
- The Eeyore: Morticia's cousin who's aptly named "Melancholia." Gomez was this before he met Morticia but he's the opposite now. Also, Ophelia can be this when she's unhappy.
- Election Day Episode: Two!
- "Gomez, the Politician" has Gomez throwing himself into the campaign for a local city council candidate.
- And then in "Gomez, the People's Choice" Gomez himself runs for mayor because his property taxes are too low. He eventually has to withdraw when Uncle Fester admits that he got the names for Gomez's petition drive from the local cemetery.
- Establishing Character Moment: The family as a whole gets this in the series premiere, "The Addams Family Goes to School", where Mr. Hilliard, the truant officer, is shown into the house and sees its more unusual decorations, meeting each of the regulars.
- Everything Sounds Sexier in French: How many times does this come up between Gomez and Morticia? In the French translations, it becomes Everything Sounds Sexier in Spanish.
- And Italian.
- But not Latin. In an episode Gomez kisses Morticia's arm mistaking her speech as French. She clarifies it's Latin and he's turned off.
- Expository Theme Tune
- Extremely Dusty Home: The Addams mansion. Not quite as dust-ridden as that in The Munsters, but a respectable runner-up.
- Extreme Omnivore: The Addamses eat a variety of weird meat, including yak, zebra, newt, alligator, and aardvark. They also drink beverages that contain cyanide and henbane that have no ill effects on them.
- Uncle Fester once ate some soap.
- Gomez once mentioned a relative who got imprisoned and was sent a cake that contained a hacksaw. He ate the hacksaw too and apparently developed a taste for them.
- In "Cat Addams", Cousin Itt plays sick in order to make the vet "cure him" and think he's amazing so he'd be brave enough to treat Kitty Cat. He eats the thermometer.
- The title illness in "Uncle Fester's Illness" was cured by Fester eating a thermometer. Fester then eats a tongue depressor.
- The Faceless: Cousin Itt, hidden by all that hair; in fact, Itt's hands were possibly the only part of his body ever seen, and those rarely - and even then only wearing gloves.
- Faint in Shock: Normal people have a habit of passing out in surprise when exposed to the family's antics.
- Feud Episode:
- In "Morticia and Gomez vs Fester and Grandmama", Morticia and Gomez don't want to interact with Uncle Fester and Grandmama because the former two think the latter two are spoiling the kids.
- In "The Winning of Morticia Addams", Uncle Fester tried to invoke this trope between Gomez and Morticia but failed.
- Fiction 500: In addition to being somewhat inhuman, the Addamses are inhumanly wealthy. No explanation is ever given for their ungodly amounts of money beyond the occasional mention of the stock market and investments, but it shows up in several episodes: it's revealed that Gomez keeps a desk drawer stuffed with $100 bills for no reason, and in another, he casually buys an entire company in one day just to keep the new neighbors from moving.
- Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Morticia has several of these, such as being a sculptor, home decorator, or author of children's books. She gives them all up by the end of the episode in question.
- Fluffy the Terrible: In the original series they kept a pet African lion named Kitty Cat. However, this is a subversion as despite being a lion, he seemed harmless. When frightened, Kitty Cat would run backwards up the stairs!
- A Fool for a Client: Gomez, as an attorney, has represented himself on occasion. He usually loses. And just as usually, he couldn't care less.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: The New Addams Family episode "Saving Private Addams" ends with one of the family's activities knocking out a television antenna. Gomez comments that someone will be watching static tonight and kicks the antenna, which then causes the whole screen to become static before the credits roll.
- Friendly Neighborhood Spider: The title family have a pet spider named Homer. Despite the neighbours being scared of him, he's actually quite a nice pet.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Pugsley in the original series, inventing many devices, such as a disintegration gun.Gomez: (After demonstrating the gun by zapping a nearby table lamp.) Sure helps keep things neat and tidy around here!
- Gentle Giant: Lurch, more or less.
- Goth: Gomez, Morticia, and Wednesday in particular. Fester is more of a rivethead. To audiences from the eighties on, the basic concept of the show appears to be a family of arty bohemian Goths living in a stereotypical white bread American sixties suburb.
- Guttural Growler: Lurch. "You rang?"
- Halloween Episode: Several:
- "Halloween with the Addams Family": From Season 1 of the original series, a pair of burglars are on the run from the cops. Gomez and Morticia think them trick-or-treaters and insist they join in on their Halloween festivities.
- "Halloween, Addams Style": From Season 2, Wednesday fears witches don't actually exist.
- Halloween with the New Addams Family: The 1977 Made-for-TV Movie sees the family coming together again for a Halloween party.
- Happily Married: Gomez and Morticia's marriage is happy, very passionately so. While their cross-network rival The Munsters was one of the the first TV programs to show a married couple sharing the same bed, Gomez and Morticia were the first to have an apparent sex life. According to IMDb, Astin and Jones deliberately decided to give Gomez and Morticia "a grand romance" as an antidote to the virtually sexless parents then common in television shows of the era.
- Harmless Electrocution:
- In "Morticia's Romance", Morticia remembers a time when Uncle Fester got hit by lightning. He survived but kept flashing red, white, and blue light out of his ears.
- At the end of the episode of the new series "Cleopatra, Green of the Nile", Fester and Gomez sit in an electric chair and survive unharmed. They actually enjoy it too.
- Several times in the series, Fester puts an electric bulb into his mouth and ears. This seems to be good for him in fact, as it "charges him up."
- In the update of "Uncle Fester's Illness," Fester touches an electric eel and the whole family get struck by lightning, but they're unaffected.
- Head in a Vise: Uncle Fester puts his head into a head-press while tightening it as a cure for his headaches. When a loud "pop" is heard, Fester is satisfied.
- Height Angst: In "Fester Goes on a Diet," Uncle Fester feels that he's too short and too fat for his girlfriend.
- Help, I'm Stuck!: In the Christmas episode, Uncle Fester gets stuck up the chimney while posing as Santa.
- Here We Go Again!: At the end of "Amnesia in the Addams Family", Gomez's amnesia is cured, but then Uncle Fester asks "Who's Fester?" However, this is open to interpretation: he could have had amnesia or he could have been joking.
- Hired Help as Family: The titular family has two servants: Lurch, a butler, and Thing, a disembodied hand. Both of them are considered surrogate family members and the family becomes very sad if something bad happens to either of them.
- Hypochondria: When Gomez was engaged to Ophelia in the flashback, he was convinced he had bronchitis (which he didn't really).
- Hypocritical Humor: This would often come to play whenever the Addamses criticized others for being strange and/or boasting about how normal they are.
- I Am Spartacus: In "Christmas With the Addams Family", Uncle Fester, Grandmama, Gomez, Morticia, Lurch, and Cousin Itt each dress up as Santa Claus to convince Wednesday and Puggsley that Santa exists. After the Addams children have guessed the identities of the Santa impostors as their family, the real Santa leaves a brightly decorated Christmas tree with presents.
- Identical Grandson: John Astin as "Grandpapa Addams" on The New Addams Family.
- Impoverished Patrician: "Morticia Meets Royalty" features Princess Millicent, Gomez' aunt who married the bankrupt Prince von Schlepp, and retains the title of princess, insisting that all members of the family address her as princess. During her visit, she suspects Thing of being a thief, when the real culprit is Millicent's handmaiden Lady Fingers, a disembodied hand and the female equvalent of Thing. Later on, her apparently worthless stocks turn out to have substantial value, improving her fortunes.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: All the Addamses go back and forth between having superhuman aiming skills (e.g. throwing knives into the hilts of the previous knife five or six times in a row, often without looking) to having absolutely dreadful aim depending on what's funnier.
- Injury Bookend: One episode centers around this, after Gomez gets amnesia from being hit on the head with a juggling club. One person hits him and fixes him, another person thinks he's still out of it and brings the amnesia back by hitting him again, and so on.
- Inheritance Murder: In The Addams Family Reunion, Dr. Adams has been poisoning his father for the inheritance, and his sister is aware of this and fine with it. The old man survives, however.
- Intercontinuity Crossover: A very brief one with Batman, of all people.
- In the BackUncle Fester: I'll shoot 'em in the back! Turn around!
- iSophagus: Fester swallows a whistle in "Ophelia's Career", with predictable results.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: During an instance of Poor Communication Kills, Gomez and Morticia each thought the other was preparing to stray, and each told the other they would step aside for the other's happiness. Fortunately, they each realize the truth before too late.
- Jail Bake: Gomez mentions an extended family member who once got put into prison and Grandmama sent him a cake with a hacksaw in it. He apparently ate the hacksaw too and ever since that, he even developed a taste for them.
- Karma Houdini: No matter how improbable their dealings with the outside world, they seem to come out on top. Grandmama was arrested for fortunetelling, but the judge's wife insisted the charges be dropped because the prediction for her came true. Treasure hunters try to rob the Addamses with an old lead to a sunken treasure, but after they're scared off the treasure turns out to be in the family basement all along, etc.
- Kiss Up the Arm: Gomez with Morticia, whenever she speaks French.
- Knight of Cerebus: The New Addams Family played with this trope in the episode Death Visits the Addams Family. The Grim Reaper arrives to claim the soul of Gomez, and at first appears to be very intimidating; even his voice is menacing. However, Death eventually reveals himself to be a short and harmless-looking man. Despite this, he is still played as a serious threat because he still wants to bring Gomez to the great beyond and covets Morticia. In the end, Gomez bests Death at a few games and sends him back to the netherworld. The last thing that keeps this trope from being played completely straight is the fact that this episode was the final episode of the series.
- Laugh Track: The original live action series made use of this.
- Lazy Bum: In one episode, Morticia and Uncle Fester mistakenly overhear Gomez say the family is broke. Fester turns to Morticia. "What will we do for money? I'm too proud to beg and too lazy to work!"
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In one episode Morticia needs a phony name to give to Gomez's broker, and asks Fester what he thinks of the name 'Jones'. Fester's reply — "Eh...what kind of name is Jones?" (In this version of the show, Morticia was played by Carolyn Jones).
- Left the Background Music On: Occasionally the show's main theme is played by Lurch on the harpsichord near the beginning and/or end of the episode.
- Leitmotif: Several characters (namely Fester, Gomez, Lurch, Morticia, Thing, and even the house itself) have their own themes.
- Lighter and Softer: Many of the darker gags in the Addams cartoons depict family members as explicitly evil and murderous, especially the bald character named in the TV series as "Fester." The TV series, however, depicts them as kindly, artistic bohemians who are undeservedly distrusted by their uptight suburban neighbours because of their counter-cultural lifestyle.
- Limited Wardrobe: With only a few very rare exceptions, the family always wears the same outfits.
- Lost Voice Plot: During one scene from "Lurch the Teenage Idol," Lurch loses his voice. Grandmama manages to cure it simply by sticking a pin in his throat.
- Love Interests: Gomez and Morticia are the only couple in the show, but several characters have tried dating a few times:
- Uncle Fester has several pen-pals, whom he's tried dating in the episodes "Fester Goes on a Diet," "Uncle Fester's Toupee," and "Fester's Grand Romance." All of these times, he's felt self-conscious about his height, weight and/or baldness.
- Ophelia has tried to date Cousin Itt, along with three other boyfriends. None of these romances worked out because Cousin Itt wasn't interested and Ophelia judo-flipped the other men. Not surprisingly, the latter didn't like it.
- In "Morticia Meets Royalty," Gomez's aunt, a princess named Millicent, brings her own hand in a box named Lady Fingers, whom Thing develops a crush on. They eventually get engaged.
- At the end of "Cousin Itt's Problem," Cousin Itt's dog runs away, apparently on a date with another dog.
- In "Lurch's Grand Romance," Lurch gets a crush on Morticia's friend Trivia. Grandmama makes "love dust" which makes Trivia fall for first Lurch, then Gomez, then Fester.
- In "Gomez the Reluctant Lover," Pugsley gets a crush on his teacher.
- "Morticia the Matchmaker" introduces Cousin Melancholia, Morticia's cousin, who has a fiancee named Fred.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: The Addamses, of course.
- Made-for-TV Movie: Halloween With The New Addams Family.
- Made of Iron: Uncle Fester walks on hot coals barefoot and is unaffected, Gomez is fine after falling into a vat of acid, Pugsley and Fester and Gomez have survived electrocution several times, and the Addamses seem to be able to eat anything with no ill effects.
- Mad Scientist: Fester and Gomez, a bit. Gomez fits some of the more harmless varieties of the trope; the smallest stimulus would send his mind careening down a new path of speculation, so his attention probably wouldn't be on any one experiment long enough to cause actual harm.
- Maintain the Lie: An episode was based on Lurch's aged mother coming to visit him, and his having never told her he was a butler; most of the story involved his posing as the master of the house, with Gomez acting as butler and Morticia as maid.
- Man-Eating Plant: Cleopatra and the rest of the plants in Morticia's greenhouse don't ever eat anyone, but they're definitely carnivorous and occasionally dangerous to people.
- Mistaken for Aliens: In "The Addams Family and the Spaceman," investigators think that Cousin Itt (because of the way he talks and his hair) and Lurch (because he was making "punch" that smoked and was so tall) were Martians. The investigators say gibberish to Gomez, who replies in gibberish as a joke, causing the investigators to think Gomez is an alien and the Addamses to think the investigators are aliens.
- Mistaken for Disease: In "Uncle Fester's Illness", Fester and Thing behave lethargically, and Morticia and Gomez believe they have a disease. As it turns out, Fester, with his Bizarre Human Biology, simply had a "mercury deficiency" and Thing was just sad because a picnic had been cancelled.
- Mistaken for Transformed: In "My Son, the Chimp", Uncle Fester tries to do a magic trick which ends up creating an explosion that knocks his grand-nephew Pugsley into another room. At the same time, a chimpanzee unexpectedly arrives on the scene, and Fester is left believing his trick turned Pugsley into a chimp.
- Moonburn: Trope Namer. In the episode "Portrait of Gomez", the family enjoys a nice quiet evening outside. Because Uncle Fester ate the moonscreen instead of applying it to his skin, he got a moonburn (apparently).
- Muggles: Most everyone else in the series.
- Multi-Ethnic Name: Gomez Alonso Addams. His first two names are Spanish, while his last name is English.
- Mysterious Middle Initial: Subverted Trope. When Thing went missing and the Addamses hired a detective to find him, they said his name was Thing T. Thing and, when asked what the middle T. stood for, they said it meant Thing.
- My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In the episode The Addams Family Meet the VIP's, two Russian diplomats pinpoint the random location from a phonebook using their pin then the scene cuts to Morticia who felt as if she was struck by a pin.
- Mythology Gag: A few examples.
- Thing was a Mythology Gag. He was inspired by a Charles Addams cartoon where a postman approaches the Family's house and is surprised by a sign that says, "Beware of the Thing!"
- Pubert, the third Addams child as seen in Addams Family Values, was referred to in the New Addams Family remake of "The Addams Family Goes to School," where Wednesday mentions that there used to be a third Addams sibling until Pugsley ate him.
- The New Addams Family episode "Keeping up with the Joneses" sees the Family meeting the titular Joneses, who appear to be distant cousins who share the same macabre interests, ways and fashion as the Addamses. The family heads, Ramone and Putrescence, are not only meant to be seen as Expies of Gomez and Morticia, but they are also based on their incarnations from the Paramount films.
- Name Amnesia: The episode "Amnesia in the Addams Family" has Gomez getting Identity Amnesia from a strike on the head. When he wakes up, he can't remember his own name or his marriage to Morticia.
- Named by the Adaptation: All of the characters (though the list of suggestions for their names was provided by Charles Addams himself).
- Names Given to Computers: Their machine is named "Whizzo."
- Nature Lover: Zigzagged for Morticia Addams. She owns a carnivorous plant and is heard enthusing about ravens, bats, and other such animals, but there are some animals, such as robins, that she dislikes, and while she does pick flowers, she cuts the blooms off.
- Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Gina, Stevie and Jenny, The three normal kids at the reunion in The Addams Family Reunion. Gina is a Shrinking Violet who gets along well with Pugsley and Wednesday. Stevie is a bully to his cousin Gina as well as Wednesday, Puggsley and his own grandfather. Jenny is somewhat snotty and prefers to avoid Pugglsey and Wednesday but doesn't go out of her way to be mean to anyone the way her brother does.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The entire point of the series.
- Nightmarish Nursery: Played for laughs with Wednesday and Pugsley's play room, which features torture racks, guillotines, an electric chair, and other gruesome decorations. This being the Addamses, this is all seen as quite normal and the children have great fun with their macabre toys. Other people visiting the house not so much...
- Noodle Incident: Addams Family Reunion mentions, on two separate occasions, an attack dog named Spot that the Addamses owned at one point, who died in an incident with a Girl Scout troop. Nothing is said in regards to what actually happened to him, though at one point the dog — now stuffed — is seen, still snarling.
- Not Now, We're Too Busy Crying over You: In "Morticia's Favourite Charity," Gomez sees a pair of Pugsley's shoes next to Cleopatra the plant. He thinks that she/it ate him, so he hits Cleopatra and begs her/it to spit Pugsley out. Then, Pugsley arrives and says, "Father, why are you attacking Cleopatra?!"
- Nuclear Family: The Culture Clash was heightened by the fact that, underneath their utterly bizarre trappings and tastes, the Addams Family are a loving family with a healthy relationship.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: Subverted. Gomez and Fester gelled so brilliantly in the original series that later incarnations Retconned them into brothers.
- In Addams Family Reunion, Gomez asks if Morticia has noticed anything strange about his grandparents, who are visiting, and her response is: "Now, keep in mind that for me they are still in-laws. Tradition dictates that I must despise them. Regardless of my own personal feelings in the matter."
- Obsessive Hobby Episode:
- In "Morticia the Writer", Morticia takes up writing but spends too much time doing so, and it interferes with her and Gomez's love life.
- In "Morticia the Sculptress", Morticia takes up sculpting but it both interferes with her and Gomez's love life and makes her neglect their kids.
- Once an Episode: The inevitable mention of various never-seen relatives, such as Uncle Knick-Knack. Sometimes happened more than once per episode, but who's counting?
- One Dialogue, Two Conversations: In "Morticia and the Psychiatrist," Gomez and Morticia are discussing Pugsley's odd behavior with Dr. Black, the eponymous psychiatrist (actually a psychologist). The Addamses are fully aware that Pugsley's "abnormalities" include joining the Scouts, playing baseball, and getting a puppy; however, Dr. Black thinks they are complaining about the Addams' macabre décor and unusual toys (which include dynamite). To complicate things, earlier in the episode, Dr. Black counseled Morticia and Gomez to cater to all of Pugsley's abnormalities, and he mistakenly thinks the family's décor and pastimes are the result of his advice.
- Only Sane Man: Subverted with Lurch. Although he often sounds exasperated and seems to be the Deadpan Snarker when dealing with the family's whims, he often is happy to oblige overall.
- The Ophelia: Morticia's older sister in the TV series (established in the episode "Morticia's Romance," which deals with Gomez and Morticia meeting right before his Arranged Marriage - to Ophelia). Unsurprisingly, she's named Ophelia and has long, flowing hair.
- Our Better Is Different: Nearly all the time, considering the family.
- Out-of-Character Moment: In "Cousin Itt and the Vocational Counselor", Morticia and Gomez pretend to be a bickering couple, but then Morticia takes Gomez too seriously and stays mad at him, even at night. She has another one when they make up, stating that she was "a fool for sending [Gomez] out in his bare feet without a thought for [his] sinuses," which is coming from the woman who wanted her chair moved to a draftier area in another episode.
- The Parody Before Christmas: In "Halloween With the Addams Family", the Addamses read a poem on Halloween that is clearly a spooky parody of "A Visit from St. Nicholas." For instance, it talks about hanging lanterns to guide "Sister Witch" and her team of vampire bats.
- Perky Goth: Gomez is a male example.
- Morticia, when she gets passionate towards Gomez.
- Wednesday was this in the TV show.
- Pet Monstrosity: Kitty Cat the lion in the 60s TV show.
- Pilot Movie: Addams Family Reunion was this for The New Addams Family.
- Pirate Peg Leg: Gomez's sea pirate great-grandfather had a peg leg. He didn't actually need it (both of his legs were intact) but thought it added to his appearance.
- Playing Sick: In "Cat Addams," to make the vet think he's doing a good job (and therefore make him brave enough to give Kitty Cat the lion a checkup), Cousin Itt, Uncle Fester, and Thing all play sick and pretend the vet cured them.
- Poor Communication Kills: A literal example almost occurs in "Green-Eyed Gomez." Gomez thinks Morticia is having an affair with an old friend. Rather than talking to her, he tries to commit suicide (with assistance from Uncle Fester and Lurch) to "free" her to remarry.
- Prison Episode: In one episode, Grandmama is sent to prison for telling peoples' fortunes and her family must set her free.
- Puppy Love: Pugsley gets a crush on his teacher in "Gomez the Reluctant Lover", despite being a child of about eight to ten years.
- The Quiet One: Lurch.
- Also Pugsley's crush Gina in Addams Family Reunion.
- Quirky Household
- Rail Enthusiast: Gomez. One of his favorite pastimes is to set his model trains running toward each other on the same track, then dynamite the track just before they have a chance to collide.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Ted "Lurch" Cassidy's brief, unexpected teen idol status became the basis for an episode where Lurch's harpsichord playing earns him a similar teenybopper following.
- The Real Spoofbusters: The New Addams Family episode "Granny the Happy Medium" featured a Ghostbusters parody in a husband and wife team of paranormal exterminators called the Ghost Toasters being hired by the family to get rid of Grandmama's brother Uncle Jester. Their introduction is even accompanied by an instrumental spoof of the Ghostbusters theme song and preceded by Fester asking "Who ya gonna call?"
- Related in the Adaptation: The Halloween Episode of The New Addams Family, which was a remake of the original series episode "Halloween with the Addams Family", had the notable change of making the two crooks who tried to rob the family father and son.
- Remake Cameo: John Astin as Grandpapa Addams, Gomez's grandfather, in The New Addams Family. The character is just Astin's incarnation of Gomez, but older. Lampshaded by the first thing Grandpapa says upon entering the Addams mansion being a hearty, joyous "I'm back!" Astin's performance proved so popular that Grandpapa returned for an additional episode!
- Repetitive Name: Thing T. Thing. And when prompted for what the T stands the answer is "Thing."
- Reunion Show: The 1977 television special Halloween with the New Addams Family.
- Running Gag: The self-opening front gate, the cantankerous bell-pull to summon Lurch, the roaring bear rug, Gomez reading his stock ticker, Lurch's grab-and-crumple of guests' hats when they arrive and the phrase "Follow me," Gomez's doing headstands, and myriad others.
- The New Addams Family had a recurring gag of Wednesday trying to kill or seriously injure Pugsley, only for Thing to save the boy's life at the last minute.
- Salem Is Witch Country: In episode "Halloween—Addams Style", Wednesday is crushed to hear from a neighbor that witches aren't real. So the family holds a seance in an effort to summon the spirit of Aunt Singe, an ancestor and a real witch who was burned at Salem.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: In Addams Family Reunion, the family is mistakenly invited to another family's reunion, and when it looks like the eccentric billionaire grandfather is going to leave his money to the Addamses instead of his greedy Adams relatives, the rich family reports Gomez and Morticia to a Department of Child Disservices, steals Wednesday and Pugsley away, buries Lurch alive, and has Fester thrown in an insane asylum. But luckily, the grandfather uses his power and wealth to bail Gomez and Morticia out of jail, rescue Lurch before he runs out of oxygen, and rescue Fester from the asylum, while Wednesday and Pugsley take care of their foster family themselves.
- Seduction-Proof Marriage: In "The Winning of Morticia Addams," Dr. Chalon tries to put the moves on Morticia, but when she realizes what he's doing goes beyond friendliness, she sharply reminds him that she's married.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Happens on occasion, although it's usually Played for Laughs.
- In "Portrait of Gomez" the family spends the whole episode trying to get a good picture of Gomez for their favorite magazine after receiving a letter that it will be featuring them. Then it turns out the magazine neither needs or wants a picture of Gomez himself and the story is about the house itself (it's being recognized as one of the most haunted ones in America, to the pleasure of the family).
- In "The Great Treasure Hunt" The family engages on a lot of preparations to find the lost treasure of a pirate ancestor, including hiring a boat (the crew of which instead attempt to burgle the mansion), before finding out that the treasure isn't buried at sea, but under the mansion itself. The treasure also turns out to be fake gold.
- She Is All Grown Up:
- Wednesday has her "grownup" moments, wearing a miniature Morticia dress.
- Morticia herself in the flashback episodes that revealed how she and Gomez met. Gomez even invokes the trope with, "That cute little girl has grown up to become a beautiful woman!"
- In one episode Morticia and Gomez try to think of a job for moptop Cousin Itt. Gomez says "I know! The Beatles! ... Nah, he'd be too much for them." Funnily enough, The Beatles actually were fans of the show.
- In another, we have this gem:Uncle Fester: Hey, did you ever notice, Little Orphan Annie doesn't have any eyeballs?
Morticia: That's part of her charm.
- The New Addams Family explicitly states the Addams residence to be at 1313 Cemetery Lane as a shout-out to the Addamses' one-time television rivals, who lived at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
- Sick Episode: Subverted in "Cat Addams." Kitty Cat appears sick because he isn't eating, but It turns out he's just not hungry. Grandmama mentions that Kitty Cat has a stomach ache, though he seems fine.
- In "Uncle Fester's Illness," Fester loses his charge and Wednesday suspects Thing to be sick. Fester is cured when he eats a thermometer (no, really) and Thing wasn't sick. He was just sad.
- Silence of Sadness: Inverted in the episode "Lurch and His Harpsichord." Lurch usually only says sentences of one to three words, but when he feels sad due to the eponymous instrument being taken away, he says a full sentence:Lurch: "Nobody cares about me."
- Sleeping Single: In "Lurch Learns to Dance," Gomez and Morticia are shown to sleep in twin beds — nail beds, naturally!
- Sleepwalking: In "Gomez, the Cat Burglar," Grandma's yak stew causes Gomez to sleepwalk at night—and to start robbing houses in the neighborhood in his sleep.
- Space Episode: Averted, but the family did try to go to the moon in "Addams Family Splurges."
- The Speechless: Thing. Sometimes he uses sign language. Once he gets so frantic trying to communicate with Gomez he's shaking too much to sign properly, prompting Gomez to cry, "I hate it when you stutter!"
- Status Quo Is God: Parodied in the reunion movie, where the characters have aged along with their actors - Gomez has greying hair, and the kids are now young adults - but Gomez and Morticia have since had two other children, Pugsley Jr. and Wednesday Jr., who look and act as much as you'd expect.
- Stock Footage: Whenever a new visitor enters the house, the same footage of its unusual furnishings is used.
- The shots of Kitty Cat coming down the stairs or into the living room from the parlor.
- The scenes of Gomez wrecking his toy trains, especially the actual explosion/crash coming from the first episode.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Happens several times.
- Pugsley, Wednesday, and Uncle Fester all like to play with dynamite. One episode focuses on Wednesday getting in trouble for using Fester's explosives instead of her own.
- Gomez likes to blow up toy trains.
- Morticia once made an exploding rock and named it after World War Two.
- Tasty Gold: In "The Great Treasure Hunt," Fester bites into a gold coin to test if it's real. It's not. He doesn't mind, though.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Pugsley gets a crush on his teacher in "Gomez the Reluctant Lover." However, she doesn't return his affections and it doesn't last.
- Team Pet: Thing.
- Also, Kitty Cat, a lion, created especially for the series.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Uncle Fester in The New Addams Family. Though he wasn't really a bad person anyway, this particular incarnation of Fester was portrayed as more friendly and jovial than usual. He even used his electric abilities to revive a hospital patient in the remake of Uncle Fester's Illness and went along with children that mistook him for the real Santa Claus in the remake of Christmas with the Addams Family.
- Too Kinky to Torture: The whole family. Particularly Fester (when two burglars put his head in a vise) and the kids in The Addams Family Reunion.Gomez: Children. No matter how often you scream at them or how severely you punish them, they always beg for more.
- 20 Minutes into the Future: The Addams were the first sitcom family with a home computer, albeit one that filled a room. Named "Whizzo," it appeared in at least two episodes, predicting horse races and an upcoming election. Gomez even refers to it as his 'personal computer' in the horse racing episode.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Morticia's sister Ophelia appeared in three episodes, played by Carolyn Jones.
- The Unintelligible: Cousin Itt, but only to strangers (and the audience). Family members had no problem understanding what he was saying.
- Averted in "My Fair Cousin Itt," when Morticia trains him to speak more slowly so he can act in a play. His voice becomes understandable, but he also gains a huge actor's ego. Eventually, Itt reverts back to his usual speech type.
- Unishment: A recurring source of frustration for many of their foes. Usually any attempt to make the strange Addams suffer only brings them pleasure.
- Unusual Pets for Unusual People: The Addamses have as a housepet a full-grown lion they called Kitty Cat.
- Unwanted Rescue: In Addams Family Reunion, Lurch saves a Rich Bitch from drowning and gives her CPR. She isn't very grateful.
- Vanity Plate: Being a Filmways production, its "globe" logo would appear at the end. The famous "This has been a Filmways presentation" announcement was sometimes given by Ted Cassidy in his normal speaking voice, sometimes by an anonymous baritone voice, and sometimes there was no voiceover.
- Villain Protagonist: Subverted. While they appear disturbing, the Addamses are kind and decent people.
- Vine Tentacles: Morticia's prize plant, a carnivorous African strangler named Cleopatra, often interacts with household guest via its highly mobile vines. Morticia insists she's just a very friendly plant offering hugs, but most people still find her unsettling. Not helped by the fact that at least one of Cleopatra's tendrils has a toothy mouth at its end with which she eats her favorite meaty treats.
- Vote Early, Vote Often: Done accidentally (out of laziness rather than simple greed or ambition) in "Gomez, The People's Choice." Fester is assigned to get names for a petition to let Gomez run for mayor and though he could save time by just recording those names off of headstones in the cemetery. Gomez is forced to withdraw from the race when this is discovered.
- Waif-Fu: Ophelia knows her karate.Hester: It was not for nothing she had all those judo and karate lessons!Granny: Every girl should know judo and karate!
- Wednesday is mentioned to be a karate practitioner.
- Weight Woe: In "Fester Goes on a Diet," Uncle Fester wants to go on a date with a lady but theyve never met and he worries he's too fat for her. He also worries that he's too short.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Katherine, Geoff, Melinda and Gina from The Addams Family Reunion all disappear from the film a bit abruptly a while before the ending (Katherine when last seen being chased by a hair-eating dog).
- White Sheep: Of the three children of Walter in The Addams Family Reunion while fairly stupid and greedy, Geoff doesn't seem to be trying to kill his father, unlike his siblings.
- Whole Episode Flashback: In the series' only two-part episode, Morticia and Gomez tell the kids about how they met.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Gomez remembers an ancestor who used to be "deathly afraid of ghosts. Now he's one himself."
- Wicked Cultured: And how. Even Lurch is a harpsichord virtuoso.
- Women Are Wiser: In The Addams Family Reunion while Melinda is a bit of an Upper-Class Twit she's still better than her husband, suggest that they get lost and should go home while he refuses, as well as being opposed to gambling their 401K and house to Cousin Itt.
- World of Ham: OH YEAH!
- "Thank you, Thing!"