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Series / The Munsters

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Left to right: Eddie, Lily, Herman, Marilyn, and Grandpa.

A Mundane Fantastic Dom Com, originally airing on CBS from 1964–66, about a working class family of would-be monsters.

The Munsters experienced surprisingly high ratings during the period before the Batman TV series came on, revolutionizing color TV. The humor of the series came from the odd juxtaposition of many "cartoon" antics in a live-action series, namely "Fast Motion", as well as the fact that despite their gothic appearance, the family doesn't seem to think they're different from anyone else... with the exception of cousin Marilyn, who didn't inherit "The Family Look".

They also helped set the standard for what a healthy marriage looked like; not only were Lily and Herman among the first TV couples to be seen sharing a bed together, but their marriage is over a hundred years old! They also showed a realistic relationship, in that while they would have occasional disagreements and sometimes even argue, they still remained extremely supportive of one another and rather than make grand romantic gestures, their love was shown in the little ones, like Herman famously giving Lily pecks on the cheek before work.

Though the Munsters themselves are often compared with the eponymous Addams 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, while the Munsters are working-class recent immigrants (Grandpa having immigrated from Transylvania), and Herman has a quite coarse sense of humour. And while the Addamses are borderline supernatural in some vaguely defined 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 Munsters are composed of:

  • Herman (Fred Gwynne), the 7-foot-tall Frankenstinian patriarch of the family. Though he believes himself to be a Standard '50s Father, he's really more of a Bumbling Dad and loveable idiot. Employed as a gravedigger for Gateman, Goodbury and Graves Funeral Parlor. Afraid of Blood. It is worth noting that Herman is considered to be the most successful of Doctor Frankenstein's many efforts—presumably since he didn't tear apart the countryside. Later, it is established that a British family named Munster had adopted Herman. He stands out from other sitcom dads for having a more active role in his son's and niece's lives for a 60s dad and not just sitting there yelling at them from behind his paper.
  • Lily (Yvonne De Carlo), Herman's doting housewife is a vampiress with a touch of Bride of Frankenstein. The child of immigrant parents, Lily is more keenly aware of social standards than the rest of her family, but nevertheless cheerily goes about her bizarre habits anyway. Often seen bailing Herman and/or Grandpa out of trouble. She and Herman have one of TV's most successful marriages—during the series they celebrated their 100th Anniversary! Lily had some progressive traits for a housewife of her time: she's spunky, unafraid to speak her mind, and is fairly independent and never hesitates to find a job outside the home if need be, and sometimes more unusual jobs than what when were expected to do, like fortune telling or modeling.
  • Grandpa (Al Lewis), Herman's Lancer and usually the instigator for the show's zany scheme of the week. A combination Count Dracula and Mad Scientist, Grandpa is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist with at least one degree in Occult Magic. He sometimes reports being discriminated against by his neighbors — not because he's a blood-sucking demon of the night, but because he's European.
  • Marilyn (Beverly Owen; Pat Priest), the pretty blonde Unfazed Everyman of the series, Marilyn is the shockingly normal muggle niece of the family. Rather than being proud of her more conventional nature, Marilyn is convinced that she is the freak of the family. Lily and Herman regard her "weirdness" as a tragic affliction, fearing that she might end up an 'old maid' without their help—even though storylines usually show red-blooded men from outside the family definitely drawn to her—that is, until meeting her folks and being inevitably frightened off. Despite being ripe for storylines, Marilyn was a background character at best. Priest even said years after the fact that anyone could have played her.
  • Eddie (Butch Patrick), a boy with werewolf tendencies, Eddie demonstrates the typical problems of a pre-teen in 1950s America: too much homework, not enough television, can't stop chewing the teacher's leg, etc.

Thanks to the aforementioned Batman, The Munsters had a short run, only airing 70 episodes over two seasons before being cancelled. Partly as a response to the color television craze that played a part in the series' downfall, and partly to introduce the concept to international audiences ahead of the series' syndication, Universal released The Movie Munster, Go Home! shortly after the series ended, with "See your favorite Munsters in TECHNICOLOR!" being a major theme of the marketing. Unfortunately, the film was a flop.

The show found a large audience in syndication, enough so that a reunion movie was produced in 1981, titled The Munsters' Revenge. This would be the final time the original castnote  would play their roles in a main Munsters work, but it would not be the last Munsters project of The '80s, as a revival series entitled The Munsters Today aired in syndication from 1988-91, replacing the entire original cast. The Munsters property was revived for two more television movies, Here Come The Munsters and The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas, both of which aired on Fox.

NBC had optioned a reboot of the series created by Bryan Singer and Bryan Fuller entitled Mockingbird Lane. It was to be a drama. The pilot episode aired as a TV special on October 26, 2012, but NBC didn't pick it up. In August 2017, another reboot of the series attempt was announced, but this seems to have fallen into Development Hell.

However, Rob Zombie directed a Direct to Video Munsters Prequel movie, releasing in September 2022.

Tropes Include:

  • Accidental Athlete: In the episode "Herman the Rookie," Herman is playing baseball on a sandlot field with Eddie when he hits a towering home run, conking Dodger's manager Leo Durocher on the head from eight blocks away. Durocher immediately tracks down Herman and decides to give him a tryout with the team, but things do not go well — no one will play with Herman given how he runs the bases and how hard he throws a baseball, and he ends up demolishing parts of the stadium when up to bat. The procedure is repeated at the end of the episode when Herman's punted football hits Rams' General Manager Elroy Hirsch from several blocks away.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Marilyn is a blonde in the series. However, in the movie Munster, Go Home!, she's a redhead (mainly because she was played by a different actress than in the show).
  • Adorkable: The family themselves, being hopelessly naive about how their appearances, home, and way of living frighten their neighbors, but it never stops them from being optimistic and having fun.
  • An Aesop: In the first episode, Herman is laughed at when his real face is revealed under his King Arthur costume at the masquerade party the parents of Marilyn's beau are throwing. Herman doesn't even notice but Lily is outraged on his behalf and makes her family leave. It ends up not working out between Marilyn and Tom, who doesn't apologize for his parents' and friends' rudeness. Lily rightly remarks that having money clearly doesn't give you manners.
    • Herman's famous speech about prejudice.
  • Alliterative Name: Marilyn Munster.
  • Amnesia Episode: Herman develops amnesia when a 300 pound safe falls on his head in "John Doe Munster."
  • Amusing Alien: The Munsters are funny because they never realize anyone finds their appearance or mannerisms bizarre.
  • Animated Adaptation: The Mini-Munsters, a 1973 animated TV movie.
  • Artistic License – History: In The Treasure of Mockingbird Heights: Henry Morgan never came to North America. Furthermore, he was not hanged. (He was a rare famous pirate who retired without being executed or killed.)
  • Beatnik: In "The Musician," Grandpa gives Eddie a potion that turns him into a virtuoso trumpet player. As a side effect, though, Eddie suddenly starts behaving like a beatnik, sporting a "cool" attitude, snapping his fingers, and spouting lingo such as "Daddy-o."
  • Blind Without 'Em: Dr. Dudley. He even invokes it by taking off his glasses whenever he has to examine Herman so that he doesn't have to be frightened by his appearance.
  • Broken Aesop: Eddie has a tendency to brag to the other kids about Herman's abilities, to the point of making them up. This often gets Herman in over his head as he tries to make good on his son's lies. Eddie is never punished for this.
  • Broken Pedestal: When Eddie finds out his TV hero Zombo is an actor in makeup, he's not very happy about it...
  • Bumbling Dad: Herman isn't always very bright and is sometimes clumsy.
  • Bungling Inventor: Grandpa. Has a mad-scientist-style basement laboratory and is always mixing up potions, many of which backfire.
  • Camping Episode: "Grandpa's Call of the Wild." The family's camping trip is spoiled when Grandpa feels inspired to turn himself into a wolf to participate in a night howl. He is subsequently captured by park rangers.
  • Children Are Innocent: In "Yes Galen, There Is a Herman", Herman bonds with a young boy, who is among the few normal people in the show who isn't scared on sight of the Munsters. Granted it probably helps that the boy is something of a Nightmare Fetishist.
    Galen: Boy, this is the neatest house I've ever been in!
    Herman: *chuckles bashfully* Oh, you're just saying that.
  • Chinese Launderer: In "Herman's Raise," Herman finds a job working for one of these after being fired from the parlor. It doesn't last long.
  • Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: The Munsters Today episode "A Hero Ain't Nothin' But a Cereal" had Herman being coerced into endorsing an unhealthy breakfast cereal called Licorice Puffs. In the end, he is encouraged by his family to tell the truth to the public that Licorice Puffs has no nutritional value whatsoever.
  • Con Man: Applies to Herman's grifter twin-brother Charlie, in "Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie."
  • Cool Car: The Munster Koach (a tricked-out, souped-up hearse) and the Dragula race car (a heavily modified coffin on wheels) qualify. The former was the show's signature vehicle.note 
  • Cool House: The Munsters' house looks like your average old haunted house, and at times it seems to be alive (like when the shutters kept hitting a suitor who was getting too fresh with Marilyn).
  • Cute Monster Girl: Lily is a vampire, but very attractive — not surprising given that she was played by Yvonne De Carlo, who was typecast in exotic bombshell roles much of her career.
  • Darker and Edgier: Mockingbird Lane, which had quite a lot of blood, some violence, a more morbid sense of humour, and showed Herman and Lily after they'd just made love.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Herman, Lily, Grandpa, and Eddie are all monsters, but at the same time they are kindhearted and decent people.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both Grandpa and the Raven in the Clock frequently indulge in cutting remarks and wry commentary.
  • Diet Episode: Herman tries to go on a diet when he's about to attend a reunion with his old army buddies, and discovers his old uniform no longer fits. By the end of the episode, he settles on wearing a girdle underneath.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Eddie comes home bemoaning the fact that his classmates have inflicted a vicious, cruel nickname on him: "Shorty".
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • Eddie painfully invokes this trope when he takes up the trumpet in "The Musician." Grandpa gives him a potion that temporarily turns him into a virtuoso performer, but has the unfortunate side effect of morphing him into a jive-talking Beatnik.
    • Herman unwittingly becomes a pop music sensation in "Will Success Spoil Herman Munster?" but develops an insufferably big ego in the process. Grandpa prepares a batch of magic-laced "nothin' muffins" and feeds one to Herman. It strips him of his singing voice, making him sound like an Alvin and the Chipmunks clone and ending his career.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the earliest episodes of the show, Grandpa has a lengthy prosthetic nose.
  • Eldritch Location: Of a zany variety. Mockingbird Lane seems to have its own weather patterns separate from the rest of the world. In the pilot episode, Marylin's date gets drenched because it's only storming on the Munsters' street.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Turns up in The Munsters Today in the episode that is a remake of the original series' "Just Another Pretty Face". While the original version had the doctor refuse to surgically restore Herman's Frankenstein monster appearance after he became human, the Munsters Today version of the episode has him agree to do the operation, but Herman and Lily are disturbed with how eager he is to do it, so they back out if it.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song to the first season of The Munsters Today explains that the Munsters from the original 1960's series "went to sleep many years ago" and "woke up with a brand new show". Since the rest of the series ignored the premise of the Munsters from the original show ending up in the late 1980's because of being put in suspended animation, the theme song for the other seasons became an instrumental.
  • Extremely Dusty Home: The family lives in an old house with lots of cobwebs. One often sees the characters kicking up clouds of dust when they hit the upholstery. Lily's idea of "dusting the house" involves spraying dust everywhere out of a vacuum cleaner.
  • Face of a Thug: They look like stock Gothic Horror monsters but hold no ill will toward anyone.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Frankenstein monster, vampires, and a werewolf...all related! How the union of the first two creatures produced a young werewolf is anyone's guess, though Lily is shown to have a werewolf brother named Lester. Their Uncle Gilbert is also the Creature from the Black Lagoon.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: Whenever someone meets the Munsters and runs away.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: The Munsters initially became this in The Munsters Today, where it was established that they accidentally went into suspended animation for over 20 years and now had to catch up with the culture of the late 1980's. The premise only stays consistent in the first season, however, as the other two seasons act as if the suspended animation accident never happened.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Spot the dragon qualifies even though we only see his head and dinosaur-like tail. While having an innocuously typical dog's name, he's also a big and scary-looking critter who roars and breathes fire. He's afraid of his own shadow, though — and as Herman puts it, "I don't blame him."
  • Forced into Their Sunday Best: Subverted in Eddie's case. He's almost always seen dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy outfit — but he doesn't seem to mind wearing it, and none of the kids tease him about it in school.
  • Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics:
    • While the show's theme is an instrumental, there were lyrics written for it that were never used.
    • Zig-zagged with The Munsters Today. In the first season, the theme song had a few lyrics explaining the show's premise, but the rest of the series changed it to an instrumental, most likely because of the show's changes causing the first season's theme song to become meaningless.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Grandpa and Lily are both very friendly to their neighbors, though their friendship is not normally reciprocated.
  • Gentle Giant: Herman may be a tall Frankenstein monster, but he's really a big softy.
  • Good Parents: Herman and Lily are very loving parents to Eddie and Marilyn (who may technically be their niece, it's very clear she's more of a daughter to them since they've raised her since infanthood). Lily is very devoted and warm, and Herman works hard to set a good example for little Eddie. While they think Marilyn is the strange-looking one, they coddle and dote on her, believing her looks will make life a lot harder for her, and constantly try to help her find a worthy suitor.
  • Growing the Beard: Happens literally in universe in the episode "Eddie's Nickname." When Eddie is given the nickname "Shorty" by his schoolmates, Grandpa gives the boy a potion that is supposed to make him grow six inches overnight. It backfires when he sprouts a six-inch beard instead.
  • Halloweentown: While the setting is creepy (a family of classic horror-movie monsters in a haunted house), it's all Played for Laughs.
  • Happily Married: Herman and Lily. Likely the longest lasting marriage in television history, enduring for well more than a century. They are also one of the first live-action couples to be shown sharing the same bed.
  • Hiccup Hijinks: Herman gets the hiccups at the beginning of the episode "Herman's Sorority Caper," causing the whole house to shake. Grandpa cures them early on, but by the end of the episode, they come back.
  • Hollywood Natives: While on vacation in the episode "Big Heap Herman," Herman is separated from the rest of the family and stumbles onto a tourist attraction that is a show business tribe. Although most everyone is an actor dressed up as and acting like a Hollywood Native, the tribe somehow has an actual Native American Chief who is so old and delusional that he believes his tribe is real — even attempting to marry Herman to his daughter.
  • Housewife: Lily normally doesn't have a job. Her occasional attempts to hold one down (as a welder or palm reader or beauty salon owner or model, for example) are short-lived.
  • Hypocrite: In Cyrano De Munster, Clara instantly dumps Clyde for Herman (despite not having met him face to face) because she believes she's in love with whoever wrote the poems. The hypocrisy comes in when one bears in mind she fell for Clyde under the belief he wrote the poems, and earlier claimed she would love him even if he had the face of a monster. It goes up to eleven when she does meet Herman face-to-face, but instead of adoring that poem-writing soul she was so fond of, screams and runs off.
  • Impact Silhouette: Frequently happens whenever Herman crashes through a wall. He also does this with the front door during the opening theme for the second season.
  • Improbably Cool Car: The Munsters Koach and Grandpa's coffin-mobile. It was the '60s, it was a high-concept sitcom, so of course they had to have George Barris showrods even though it's never explained how a working stiff like Herman can afford a car like that.
  • Injury Bookend: In one episode Herman gets struck by lightning and is turned into a regular human being. After all of Grampa's magic fails to return him, he gets struck by lightning again and is back to his old self again.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Previously, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were featured in the series Car 54, Where Are You?. In the movie Munster Go Home! Herman panics, telling Grandpa to "Call the police! Call the FBI! Call Scotland Yard! Call Batman!" And then shouts out, calling "Car 54, Where Are You?!!!!!"
  • Jackass Genie: One pays the family a visit in The Munsters Today episode "Genie from Hell". One example of his antics is giving the teenage Eddie a toy car when he wanted a real one.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Inverted. In Here Come the Munsters, Marilyn is the daughter of Herman's sister Elsa and a mad scientist named Norman Hyde. A major part of the film's plot is that while trying to find a way to make Marilyn more pleasant-looking by the family's standards, Norman accidentally turns himself into a handsome man named Brent Jekyll. Brent Jekyll is used as a puppet by a racist politician to deport all immigrants in America, but Grandpa manages to turn "Jekyll" back into Hyde before it is too late.
  • Jerkass: The two elves in The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas, though they do get called out for trying to ruin Christmas just so they can have a vacation and also make amends by inventing a machine that creates toys from a person's thoughts (Herman's).
  • Known by the Postal Address: It is often mentioned that The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything:
    • Like turn Herman into a normal human and back into a Frankenstein monster.
    • Or put hair on a bowling ball!
    • Or change Herman from a woman back into a man.
  • Locked in a Freezer: In one episode, Herman and Grandpa get locked in a bank vault when they try to return some money that they accidentally stole (Herman having been mistaken for a bank robber earlier in the episode). Fortunately for them, the real robbers show up and blow open the vault, after which the crooks pass out in fright when Herman and Grandpa step out to thank them for the rescue.
  • Love Potion: In "My Fair Munster," Grandpa prepares a love potion for Marilyn to help her attract a suitor, dousing her oatmeal with it. However, Marilyn leaves without eating breakfast and Lily puts her portion back into the cooking pot, later dishing out the potion-laced cereal to Herman, Eddie, and herself. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Mad Scientist: Grandpa. Has a mad-scientist-style basement laboratory and is always mixing up potions, many of which backfire.
  • Manchild:
    • Herman. A Running Gag has him throwing foundation-shaking temper tantrums. He enjoys watching children's programs and was once coaxed into testing Grandpa's sleeping pill by being promised candy. He also doesn't like angering people, fearing they will yell at him.
    • Grandpa has shades of this from time to time, as well. In "Munster Masquerade", he pouts when he doesn't get invited to a party, and in "Family Portrait", he petulantly refuses to take part in the magazine piece being done on the family, to the point of hiding in the attic and leaving a note saying he's run away to avoid it.
      Herman: How could a man who's 400 years old act so childish?
  • Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Herman. Happens ''every'' time he looks into a mirror, in fact.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: The Munsters Today episode "Drac the Ripper" had Herman Munster see a police sketch of Jack the Ripper on a television news bulletin. He notices Grandpa's likeness to the drawing and becomes suspicious that Grandpa is Jack the Ripper.
  • Monster Mash: Another difference from the Addams Family, who were generally Gothic in inspiration. The Munsters are based on specific movie monsters.
    • Herman is Frankenstein's Monster.
    • Grandpa is Dracula.
    • Lily is Dracula's daughter.
    • Eddie is a werewolf (although he has some vampiric traits too) and The Wolfman shows up in one episode - as Lily's brother Lester.
    • Some fans have speculated that Marilyn is based on the typical Damsel in Distress/Final Girl of horror movies.
    • The Creature from the Black Lagoon shows up as well. He's from the old country, rich, and a former politician. He's referred to as Uncle Gilbert.
    • Igor (the hunchback) showed up in the Reunion movie as distant cousin/Grandpa's old lab assistant.
    • The Phantom of the Opera was also in the Reunion movie as "Cousin Phantom".
    • And then there are the pets: a dragon named Spot, a cat with a lion roar, a raven inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's poem of the same name (he even says "Nevermore!"), and Grandpa's pet bat Igor.
  • The Movie: Several, but only two (the theatrical Munster Go Home! and the Reunion Movie The Munsters' Revenge) featured (most of) the original actors.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In The Munsters Today episode "Designing Munsters," Herman and Lily exchange roles as provider and housewife. A montage is shown where the opening credits of the original show's first season is reenacted, but with Herman and Lily switching roles: Herman kisses Lily while giving her her briefcase, scolds Grandpa for trying to bite him, kisses Marilyn when she leaves for school, and gives Eddie his books and pats his cheeks.
    • Here Come the Munsters and The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas both feature a nod to the 1981 film The Munsters' Revenge. The former had Herman getting arrested as part of the plot and the latter featured the Phantom of the Opera as one of the Munsters' relatives.
  • Negative Continuity:
    • The Munsters Today was meant to be a sequel series to the original show where the Munsters had been frozen for 22 years and woke up in the late 80's — but by the second season, inconsistencies become so blatant that the show started to gradually become an Alternate Continuity.
    • The original series establishes that Marilyn is the daughter of Lily's sister instead of Herman's. This gets changed in Here Come the Munsters, where Marilyn is presented as the daughter of Herman's sister Elsa and a mad scientist named Norman Hyde.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Love comes to Mockingbird Heights", Lily and Grandpa are guilty of this. If only they had listened to Herman and let Marilyn take it slow with Alan, they wouldn't have played right into his game to marry off Marilyn for her "money". note 
  • Not Allowed to Grow Up: Averted in The Munsters Today. By the second season, Eddie becomes a teenager.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: In the episode "Yes Galen, There Is a Herman," Herman befriends a young boy named Galen after rescuing him when gets his head stuck in a fence. His parents don't believe him when he tells them about "Uncle Herman," so they send him to a psychiatrist. Galen ends up taking the psychiatrist to the Munsters' house to prove that Herman is real. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Obliviously Beautiful: Marilyn Munster, as a consequence of believing her family's standards of beauty.
  • Our Vampires Are Different:
    • Lily and Grandpa eat the same things as everybody else (including turkey at Thanksgiving). They usually sleep at night, Lily even sleeping aside Herman in an ordinary bed. Probably no fangs, and they have normal reflections and no weakness to garlic, crosses, or sunlight. Lily and Grandpa have just been alive... or not dead... for a long, long time. Grandpa does has a taste for blood, given his attempt to bite Lily's hand in the first season opening; in one episode, he also chides Herman for pounding (tent) stakes in his presence. However, in America at least, Lily seems to view such things as inappropriate.
    • In one episode, Grandpa telephones "the old country" and ends up with a switchboard operator whose mother he had bitten once, vampire style. The two briefly chat happily about the vampire bite in the same way a person might talk about having dated someone's mother, with the implication that the switchboard operator's mother had been flattered that a celebrity vampire like Dracula (i.e., Grandpa) had bitten her once.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Eddie has pointy ears and a widow's peak, but barely anything else about him that's wolf-like.
  • Parental Bonus:
    • The Munsters Today had quite a lot of these, one example being in an episode where Herman mentions hearing music and giggling in Dr. Frankenstein's lab nine months before his younger brother Frank was created.
    • The Munsters' Scary Little Christmas also has some, one being when the two elves that try to cancel Christmas for their own selfish reasons excitedly talk about surgically-enhanced supermodels and then chant "Silicone, silicone".
  • Quirky Household: And how! Weird pets (one of whom talks), dusting the house with actual dust, Lily sleeping coffin-like while clutching her namesake flower, Grandpa's basement laboratory, driving eccentric automobiles — the list goes on.
  • Real After All: In "If a Martian Answers, Hang Up," Herman mistakenly thinks he's contacted extraterrestrials via radio. At the end of the episode, a real alien does call in and is rudely rebuffed.
  • Rearrange the Song:
    • The theme song of The Munsters Today is a hard rock version of the original series' theme, which even had lyrics in the first season.
    • The theme song was rearranged between the first two seasons of the original series as well, with Season 2's version being a more uptempo surf rock version of Season 1's.
  • Related in the Adaptation: In the original TV series and The Munsters Today, Marilyn is the daughter of Lily's sister, but the 1995 movie Here Come the Munsters makes her the daughter of Herman's sister.
  • Remake Cameo: Yvonne de Carlo, Al Lewis, Butch Patrick, and Pat Priest appear in one scene of Here Come the Munsters.
  • Revival: The 1980s series The Munsters Today and a revival movie from the 90s.
    • Worth noting that The Munsters Today, despite being a show whose premise was that the Munsters were cryogenically frozen and woke up in the '80s, lasted longer than the original show.
    • Mockingbird Lane was originally envisioned as this, before NBC later aired the pilot as a Halloween special (and later scrapped the idea altogether).
  • Running Gag:
    • Any time Herman gazes into a mirror, it cracks.
    • Herman is often seen throwing foundation-shaking temper tantrums.
    • Whenever Marilyn brings home a suitor, he runs off frantically when he meets Herman and Lily. In fact, this happens most times people meet Herman and Lily. In all cases, done as a Fast-Forward Gag.
    • The raven in the cuckoo clock invariably offers up snarky commentary and frequently interjects "Nevermore!"
  • Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear: The family's unnamed pet black cat qualifies. While it looks like a garden variety feline, it also roars like a lion!
  • Sequel Series: The Munsters Today was initially this with the premise that the family from the original 1960s series were in suspended animation for 22 years and woke up in the late 80's, but by the second season this backstory was contradicted enough times that the show became an Alternate Continuity.
  • Sexophone: Used when Grandpa's latest invention turns Herman into a woman. (He got changed back by the end of the episode). Grandpa's spell once did the same to Eddie at the end of an episode, so the reset was automatic.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Butch Patrick's 1983 novelty single "Whatever Happened to Eddie?" is set to the tune of the theme song and details his life as Eddie Munster.
    • Marilyn is a reference to Marilyn Monroe.
    • Munster, Go Home! includes shout outs to Car 54, Where Are You? (in which both Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis starred) and to the 1966 Batman series.
    • Because both series were produced by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, there were several nods and references to Leave It to Beaver, including one episode where Herman is unsuccessful at using reverse psychology to talk Eddie out of running away from home (which was a plot in an earlier Leave It to Beaver episode), much to Lily's chagrin.
      Herman: I don't understand... it always worked on Leave It to Beaver...
      • In "Herman's Sorority Caper," one of the college frat pledges is played by Ken Osmond, who was Eddie Haskell on this show.
    • In "Movie Star Munster," Herman gets wrapped up in an insurance scam, where the scam artists convince the mark he's starring in an action film, then injure him with dangerous stunts and collect the accident insurance. The film is called Double Indemnity.
    • This from "John Doe Munster":
      Grandpa: It's time for my favorite TV program! Its all about that crazy, mixed up family and their weird, fantastic adventures! Theme music to My Three Sons is heard from the TV.
    • In "Herman, the Master Spy", there are shout outs to other CBS shows:
    • The episode "The Treasure of Mockingbird Heights" is a shout out to the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • Siblings Wanted: In "Eddie's Brother", Eddie, suffering from Only Child Syndrome, tells his parents he wants a little brother. Herman and Lily both faint.
  • Signature Laugh: Herman's braying bellow.
  • SitCom: This and The Addams Family are the two primary 1960s examples of Black Comedy situation comedies.
  • Sleeping Single: Subverted. Then again these Munsters are strange folk.
  • Take That!: Two episodes of The Munsters Today took a shot at the film adaptation of Howard the Duck by saying that watching it twice is very undesirable.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: The episode "Low-Cal Munster" happens specifically on Thanksgiving. The episode, though, aired during October.
  • There Was a Door: Herman, who Does Not Know His Own Strength, plows right through his front door in the Season 2 opening credits. He's startled for a brief moment, but laughs about it as he walks away.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
  • This Is My Side: Grandpa and Herman have many childish spats related to this, most memorably when they draw a boundary line dividing the house interior in half in "A House Divided."
  • The Tonsillitis Episode: Eddie is admitted to the hospital to have his tonsils removed, in "Operation: Herman."
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Munster, Go Home! revolves around Herman inheriting his rich uncle's estate, and his cousins, fuming over getting nothing, attempting to drive the family out by converting Munster Hall into a Haunted House and scaring them away. Naturally their attempts only make the Munsters more comfortable.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Herman in The Munsters Today is even more clueless than he is in the original series.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Grandpa tends to be more insulting towards Herman in The Munsters Today.
  • Unconventional Wedding Dress: In an attempt to marry off Marilyn in one episode, Lily dresses her up in an all-black wedding dress.
  • Under Crank: The Fast-Forward Gag scenes.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Marilyn, who looks far more "normal" than her relatives and considers their odd behavior perfectly ordinary.
  • Unusual Pets for Unusual People:
    • Grandpa owns a pet bat named Igor, who frequently keeps the old man company in his basement dungeon.
    • Eddie has a dragon named Spot who lives under the staircase.
    • The family also owns a black cat that roars like a lion and a raven that lives in a cuckoo clock (and often sticks his head out to caw, "Nevermore! Nevermore!" and add snarky commentary).
  • Wacky Fratboy Hijinks: In "Herman's Sorority Caper," a group of local college frat pledges kidnap Herman, who is knocked out by one of Grandpa's potions, and leave him in a sorority dorm room as a prank.
  • "Where? Where?": The early episode "Walk on the Mild Side" has Herman suffering from insomnia and going for late-night walks in the park, and the rest of the family worries for him because of a rash of monster sightings in that very same park. Nobody in the family realizes that Herman was the monster everyone else was reporting.
  • White Sheep: Marilyn appears entirely normal compared to the rest of her family, but only physically. She finds the macabre and creepy monster lifestyle just as appealing as the other family members.

Alternative Title(s): The Munsters Today