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Western Animation / The Addams Family

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

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

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

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


These animated series provide examples of:

  • Arbitrary Skepticism: For some odd reason, Fester absolutely refuses to believe in Grandmama's fortunetelling powers despite the supernatural nature of the Addams, and is very vocal about it. The show is ambivalent wether she can tell the future or not, though she has been shown to have other magic abilities.
  • Author Filibuster: If an episode has an aesop, then Wednesday will make sure you learn it.
  • Creepy Family: Well, the franchise is based around the concept.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite how dark, creepy and macabre the family is, the Addamses are all genuinely good people. Amusingly, the Addamses aren't even aware of how strange they are. They think of themselves as a typical, normal American family and are nice enough not to say anything about those weirdos who play with puppies and pick flowers.
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  • Enfant Terrible: A Running Gag of the show is that while Wednesday is well behaved, Pugsly is usually chained up or otherwise restrained during school hours to keep him from wreaking havoc.
  • Happily Married: Gomez and Morticia, of course. There's also the Normanmeyers, recurring semi-antagonists in the 1990s cartoon. Despite their extreme dislike of the Addamses' behavior, they're shown as a very loving couple toward each other.
  • Lighter and Softer: The original Addams gag cartoons depicted the family as genuinely evil, especially the character named in the TV show as Fester, who, for example, was once seen beckoning another car driver to overtake him into the path of a hidden articulated lorry. Not to mention the famous "pouring boiling oil on carol singers" image, the setup of which was used as one of many Mythology Gags to said cartoons in the first film.
  • Mad Bomber: Uncle Fester is a very rare heroic example, as he's mostly interested in blowing up himself and doesnt cause much collateral damage in the process.
  • Mythology Gag: Both cartoon series use models based on Charles Addams' original panel strips as opposed to cartoon versions of the TV/movie actors. The 1973 series was the most faithful (with Gomez retaining his porcine appearance from the strips, among other things), while the 1992 series went for a more stylized appearance.
  • Retcon:
    • Fester was changed from Morticia's uncle to Gomez's older brother in the 1973-75 animated series.
    • Also, the kids' ages became less clear in the adaptations. In the 90's cartoon and movies, Wednesday seemed older than Pugsley.
    • The cartoon version set her as Pugsley's little sister in an episode where she keeps beating him, which is what she is in the original live action series.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Pugsley Addams. He was a boy genius in the original television show, but the animated incarnation of the character is a Genius Ditz whose inventions cause chaos and destruction by accident instead of on purpose.
  • Waif-Fu: Cartoon Wednesday is a fencing enthusiast like her father.

The 1970s animated series provide examples of:

The 1990s animated series provide examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • "The Day Gomez Failed" revolves around Gomez feeling he had run out of challenges and figuring that the only thing he hadn't accomplished yet was to fail at something. He spends the whole episode trying to do (and fail at) ridiculous, impossible things, only to succeed with blinding colors in spite of himself. At the end of the episode, Morticia points out that he actually succeeded at his goal after all, by failing at failing. Don't think too hard about that one.
    • Thing also has shades of this, easily becoming rich and famous when he sets out to become a Hollywood star, accidentally earning the ire of a mentally unbalanced hand model in the process.
  • Action Figure File Card: The toy line based on the 1992 cartoon had them.
  • An Aesop: One episode revolves around Grandma needing glasses and stubbornly refusing to accept it, which leads to her turning Thing into a giant monstrosity that almost wrecks the town when she enlarges him to make reading his palm easier. At the end, Morticia gives her a lecture about how many people, even Lurch, wear glasses (in Lurch's case, they're reading glasses).
  • Arch-Enemy: One-sided with the Normanmeyers, who hate the Addams and constantly try to ruin them. The Addamses don't consider them enemies at all, and see their abuse as friendly neighborly behavior.
    • Thing of all beings manages to get himself an arch enemy in a weird hand model named Harry Palmer who tries to kill him after Thing takes most of his roles. He reappears in a later episode, now living in Happydale Heights as a security guard, who's been kidnapping guard animals to keep him safe after developing paranoia about Thing.
    • Cousin Itt has Thundermane, a supervillain with a cybernetic haircut, but he only appears in one episode.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Grabbing Wednesday by the braids. Gomez and Morticia refer to the last person to do it in the past tense, and Pugsley even flat-out tells the perpetrator (a robber) You Do NOT Want to Know what she'll do.
    • The normally unflappable Gomez goes ballistic when someone else flirts with Morticia, as experienced by the villainous Thundermane and his goons.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The series plays with this Trope an interesting way. Morticia, wanting to bond with her children, volunteers to help out at the local school, but even before she starts, Wednesday knows she won't be able to fit in. True enough, Morticia's attempt at helping out with lessons and school lunches backfires in a major way (though the schoolchildren are mostly amused), and Morticia doesn't understand why, since she, by her own standards, did a perfectly fine job. Gomez also comments on the faculty being angry at her, since he recalls his own schooling being a lot like what Morticia did. Wednesday and Pugsley are perfectly aware that the Addams type of morality isn't the norm, but Morticia and Gomez, not interacting much with society at large, aren't.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Norman Normanmeyer alludes to this trope in the "Puttergeist" episode, where he remarks that the way people reacted to seeing him dressed as the Puttergeist was good for the underwear business.
  • Broken Pedestal: Wednesday experiences a mild example when she finds out that her teen idol crush Graveyard Gary is just a normal guy playing a role. He's not a huge dick or anything, but the Addams lifestyle really freaks him out and he can't keep character.
  • Captivity Harmonica: While in jail for allegedly killing Cousin Itt in "Itt's Over", Uncle Fester at one point uses his nostrils to play the Addams Family theme song on the harmonica.
  • Cement Shoes: Pugsley does it to Wednesday, but because they are busy chasing the Puttergeist, he doesn't get to throw her in the water.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening of the series, whether Pugsley or Wednesday won at the line "Petite" and what position the family is at the ending.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: D.I. Holler, the camp counselor of Camp Holler in "Camp Addams". An unusual variation as Holler is eventually shown to be right AND wrong, as the camp is meant to be to straighten out spoiled rich kids (Mr. Normanmeyer dumped Pugsley and Wednesday there to keep them away from N.J), and when the campers revolt at the end, Wednesday points out that for all of Holler's harshness, she really does teach important lessons of fitness and self-reliance (which the rich kids realize when they apply Hollers lessons without realizing it), then tells Holler that while her training is correct, she'd be easier to understand if she didn't yell so much. Holler ends up calming down.
  • Every Episode Ending: The episodes mostly end with one of the family members announcing a ‘family dance’ to celebrate resolving the problem of the week. One member generally thinks of a song which someone else rejects and then comes up with another one which they all agree on and then they dance.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Mr Normanmeyer just can’t get that any harm he does to the Addams, will be welcomed with open arms.
    • In one episode he gets Fester thrown in prison and visits to gloat on him… only to find Fester is having the time of his life. When Fester thanks him for putting him in there, he starts beating on the bars weeping tears of frustration.
  • Freaky Is Cool: N.J. Normanmeyer certainly falls here. Unlike his parents, who despise the Addamses, N.J. thinks the family is pretty cool, enjoys hanging at their house and is best friends with Wednesday and Pugsley. This seems to go for almost all the children of Happydale, who on several occasions join the Addamses in their antics, especially in a notable episode where Morticia arranges a scavenger hunt in the Addams house. Which, let's be honest, if the implements that can kill, maim, hurt or transform someone are kept out of reach, is the most perfect place for a scavenger hunt, EVER.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Whenever Thing's box is opened, what can best be described as a pin-up photo of a disembodied female hand can usually be seen on the underside of the lid.
    • "Dead and Breakfast" has Gomez and Morticia request that their children give them some time to be alone after they find themselves in cages hanging from the ceiling.
    • In one episode, Gomez and Morticia mention that they spent a night in the lion pit, and worry that they kept the neighbors awake with all the snarls, roars and shrieks.
  • Halloween Episode: In "Puttergeist", Wednesday, Pugsley and their friend N.J. try to determine whether the legend of the Puttergeist ghost, the spirit of a headless golfer who was struck by lightning on the Happydale golf course 40 years ago, is true or not. At first, it seems the Puttergeist was only N.J.'s father, Norman, in a costume. But then it turned out the Puttergeist was Real After All.
  • Hero of Another Story: Cousin Itt is an international secret agent, and we occasionally get a glimpse into his amazing adventures.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Fingers called Fester "Baldy" despite that fact that he is also bald.
  • "I Am" Song: "The Fester Way" has Uncle Fester sing about his way of life.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In the "Sweetheart of a Brother " episode, when Pugsley wants to become a normal kid after he gets a crush on a foreign exchange student, and is afraid she wont like his Addams personality. Not only does she not care about it, as she can tell he's a good person, but becoming normal means Pugsley cant scare away the school bully like he usually does. He only snaps out of it after the bully threatens the girl for standing up against him, and reverts to his usual self to protect her.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Norman Normanmeyer makes a comedic cry for "mommy" when Lurch catches him snooping on the Addamses in "FTV". He does it again in "Itt's Over" when he ends up in jail for lying about Uncle Fester killing Cousin Itt.
  • Invisible Streaker: Gomez and Fester consumed an invisibility formula that didn't affect their clothes in the episode "Hide and Go Lurch".
  • "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name: In "Dead and Breakfast", Uncle Fester claims that crime is his middle name when he tries to investigate who robbed the family. Wednesday quips that his middle name was fungus last week.
  • Mirror-Cracking Ugly: Fester looks into a mirror and makes it crack in the episode "Itt's Over".
  • Mythology Gag:
    • In the "Little Big Thing" episode, we see a glasses shop called Coogan's, as in Jackie Coogan, the actor who played Uncle Fester in the original live-action show.
    • Cousin Itt is portrayed as a secret agent, which may be a nod to an episode of the original '60s show where Cousin Itt was looking for a job and one of Gomez's suggestions was for Cousin Itt to be a government spy.
  • Once an Episode: Episodes ended with some traditional family dance. None of the dances are ever actually shown (They just showed the house shaking from the outside), and some have very strange prerequisites, such as only being performed on certain days of the week or if you are no more than a certain distance from the airport.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "N.J Addams", Morticia realizes Gomez really is feeling sad when he doesn't respond to her speaking French.
  • Not So Different: Ironically, the Normanmeyers are not nearly as "normal" as they like to think themselves as. Norman is weirdly obsessed with underwear, being a major manufacturer, and their house is littered with various underwear-based decorations and themes.
  • Pet the Dog: The Normanmeyers, neighbors of the Addams Family, hated the Addamses and frequently plotted to get rid of them, but the episode "N.J. Addams" showed that they actually cared about and loved their son N.J. (who did not inherit their hatred; instead, he was close friends with Wednesday).
  • Prison Episode: "Itt's Over" has Uncle Fester go to prison for allegedly murdering Cousin Itt. Cousin Itt eventually returns to prove that he's still alive. This results in Norman Normanmeyer, who reported Fester murdering Itt in the first place, being put behind bars for lying about the crime.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Mayor of Happydale Heights and Principal MacNamara. Neither has any personal issue with the Addams, and are only forced to interfere when they're worried that the Addams' behavior may be harmful to the other citizens. Both of them even join the Addams family dance when offered.
  • Running Gag: Whenever Morticia says something in a different language, Gomez immediately pops up by her side, exclaims "Tish! That's [insert language]" and attempts to kiss her arm before Morticia tells him now isn't an appropriate time. Gomez even did this when Fester said something in a different language, at which point he tells Gomez to "do that with your wife".
  • Springtime for Hitler: Parodied in the episode "The Day Gomez Failed", where Gomez is trying to live up to the Addams Family tradition of being a failure - however, every time he tries to embark on some Zany Scheme that would clearly ruin him, it always backfires, making him even more of a success. However, as Morticia points out, that simply makes him an even bigger failure, because he failed at failing. This immediately cheers him up.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Played with Happydale Heights, the shows setting, puts a lot of weight on being "happy" and normalcy, but the majority of its residents seem to have little problem with the Addams, and only interfere when their antics spill out into the town itself. The only characters who seem to be interested in rigidly enforcing the standards are the teachers of the elementary school, and Mr. and Mrs. Normanmeyer.
  • Superhero Episode: "Festerman" and "Festerman Returns", which follows the fictional adventures of a comic book Fester has made.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: The original theme song frequently appeared within this show, where the Addamses would often hum the theme song while doing certain tasks.
  • Unishment: A key example happens where Norman frames Fester for Itt's supposed death. He finds jail delightful and when Itt turns up fine, he even pulls some strings so Fester can stay as long he wants without the need to commit crimes. To add insult to injury, Norman is arrested for making false accusations.
  • Victoryis Boring: This happens a lot with Gomez. In "The Day Gomez Failed", he has achieved so much he decides to try his hand at failure, and in another episode he wins a long-standing feud only to find it’s awful being a winner.
  • Villain Song: "The Polycotton Blues" by Mr. Normanmeyer about how much he dislikes living next door to the Addams and how he wants to get rid of them (with Mrs Normanmeyer and even N.J. joining in).
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: A weird example with Mr. Normanmeyer and Uncle Fester from the 1990s cartoon. Normanmeyer despises Fester and does everything he can to treat him like crap. Fester, being an Addams and Too Kinky to Torture, loves it and interprets Norman's abuse as friendly affection.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Wednesday has an uncontrollable urge to dance when she hears music, which Pugsley uses to beat her in the family's annual joust for the first time ever in "Sir Pugsley". The same episode had Gomez and Morticia's joust end because Gomez predictably got distracted by Moritica saying "en garde".


How well does it match the trope?

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