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Western Animation / The Addams Family (1992)

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Just as creepy and kooky, but much more two-dimensional.note 
The second animated series based on The Addams Family that was produced by Hanna-Barbera, which 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.

For the 1973 animated series, see The Addams Family (1973). If it's the 2019 animated film you're searching for, go to The Addams Family (2019).

Provides 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 despite himself. At the end of the episode, Morticia points out that he 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.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: While Gomez looks slightly closer to his comic book appearance than his live-action counterparts, his face still looks fairly normal so he can pass as a sophisticated gentleman. Similar to the live-action versions, he also has a more lean and athletic physique than the chubby comic book version.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: Despite being a boy genius in the original live-action series, this continuity portrays Pugsley Addams as a thick-headed numskull.
  • American Gothic Couple: The American Gothic painting is spoofed briefly in the episode "Hide and Go Lurch", where one of the first hiding places Gomez and Fester try while avoiding Lurch is a similar portrait. Gomez is disguised as the daughter while Fester is disguised as the father.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: For some odd reason, Fester 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 about whether she can tell the future or not, though she has been shown to have other magic abilities.
  • 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. He also has the Spy Twins, who appear in three episodes.
  • Author Filibuster: If an episode has an Aesop, then Wednesday will make sure you learn it.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: When Fester puts Norman in charge of FTV, Wednesday brings up Norman's past experience with a network, which is deemed the greatest failure in Happydale Heights' television history. When it seems it'll be held against Norman, they actually hold it for him.
  • 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 interestingly plays with this Trope. 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 standards, did a perfectly fine job. Gomez also comments on the faculty being angry at her, since he recalls his 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 freaks him out and he can't keep the 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.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: The Normanmeyers. Norman wears a powder blue suit, Normina wears a bright yellow dress and N.J. wears a pink shirt.
  • Couch Gag: In the opening of the series, whether Pugsley or Wednesday won at the line "Petite" and what position the family is in at the ending.
  • Creepy Family: This is an Addams Family cartoon, so of course this is another work involving a family that's bizarre and sinister.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Norman Normanmeyer holds up a dartboard with a picture of RumpCo, Normanwear's biggest competitor in manufacturing underwear, in "Happyester Fester".
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The original theme song frequently appeared within this show, where the Addamses would often hum the theme song while doing certain tasks.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The opening of this show starts with a bolt of lightning and a brief Ominous Pipe Organ.
  • 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 does teach important lessons of fitness and self-reliance (which the rich kids realize when they apply Holler's 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Wednesday calls her headless doll "Juliet" instead of "Marie" in the pilot episode "Happyester Fester".
  • 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.
  • 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 that someone else rejects and then comes up with another one that 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 out 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: One episode has Gomez and Morticia spend the night in a lion pit, and they worry that they kept the neighbors awake with the "animal noises".
  • Goo Goo Getup: In "Little Doll Lost", after Lurch offers to take the place of Wednesday's lost Marie Antoinette doll, one of their playtime activities involves him clad in this.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: In "Ask Granny", we see a grotesquely detailed close-up of Granny Frump's puckered-up lips.
  • 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.
  • Happily Married: Gomez and Morticia, per usual, are a happily married couple. 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 towards each other.
  • Hero of Another Story: Cousin Itt is an international secret agent, and we occasionally get a glimpse into his amazing adventures.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: "Happyester Fester" has Norman Normanmeyer trying to steal Fester's latest invention, a miraculous kind of fabric used to make underwear he calls "Happyester." It's only after Norman swindles the design out of Fester and releases Happyester wholesale that everyone discovers the product is also incredibly itchy and shrinks in the wash. The Addamses naturally applaud Fester for not ruining the surprise.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Happyester Fester", Fingers called Fester "Baldy" even though he is also bald. The same episode has Fester remark on how people outside his home are weird, which is rich coming from a guy who likes to blow himself up and is a member of a family that's rather strange themselves.
  • "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 won't 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 can't 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.
  • Intended Audience Reaction: The Normanmeyer family are written to be as obnoxious as possible for anyone who likes the Addams family, in contrast to how they are considered the picture of perfection in-universe. N.J. avoids this due to liking the Addams family, even being close friends with Wednesday and Pugsley.
  • Invisible Streaker: Gomez and Fester consumed an invisibility formula that didn't affect their clothes in the episode "Hide and Go Lurch".
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: When Granny Frump makes advances towards the health inspector Mr. Limp in "Dead and Breakfast", Mr. Limp protests "Get it away!"
  • 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.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • In the episode "Itt's Over", Norman manages to get Fester arrested for 'killing' Cousin Itt. However, it turns out Cousin Itt is alive and well, and his 'disappearance' was because he left for an emergency hair appointment. As a result, Norman gets arrested for lying to the police that he 'witnessed' the crime and replaces Fester in prison. As Fester walks away, he asks his former cellmates to treat Norman the same way they treated him.
    • In "FTV", Norman sabotages Fester's television network by making its satellite fall. It crashes on Norman's house.
    • In "The Day Gomez Failed", Norman tricks Gomez into signing over the Addams' property and convinces the city to build a freeway on it. Once the construction workers learn the land is too swampy to support a freeway, they instead build the freeway on Norman's property.
  • Look Behind You: In "FTV", Norman Normanmeyer distracts the Addamses by claiming to see a six-car pileup.
  • Mad Bomber: Uncle Fester is a very rare heroic example, as he's mostly interested in blowing up himself and doesn't cause much collateral damage in the process. Some episodes even imply that his body is Made of Explodium since he can spontaneously explode himself at will.
  • "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".
    • In "Little Big Thing", Granny Frump stubbornly refuses to get new glasses, claiming that she looks better without them. She finds her point proven when she takes off one of the pairs she's trying on and the mirror she's looking in promptly shatters.
  • Mirroring Factions: Despite greatly disliking the Addams family for their "strangeness," the Normanmeyers themselves aren't nearly as "normal" as they like to think they are. For example:
    • Norman's weirdly obsessed with underwear, being a major manufacturer of it.
    • The Normanmeyer's house is littered with various underwear-based decorations and themes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Overall, this cartoon, as was done with the 1973 cartoon, uses character designs based on Charles Addams' original New Yorker cartoons, though this time a more stylized appearance is used.
    • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: In "NJ Addams", during Underwear Day at school, Pugsley raises a hand and pleads to take NJ's place in helping the Normanmeyers. Norman Normanmeyer turns Pugsley's offer down because of Pugsley's pet gibbon doing something to the underwear cupcakes from last week's Underwear Day.
  • Obsessively Normal: Norman and Normina Normanmeyer strive to be as normal as possible. Because of this, they despise their abnormal neighbors the Addams for this very reason. They expect the same from their more open-minded son, N.J. Ironically, some would say that the Normanmeyers are the most abnormal characters on their show due to their obsession with underwear, with Norman being the CEO of a large underwear manufacturing corporation.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The intro of this show starts with the brief beginning of Toccata in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach along with Dramatic Thunder.
  • 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.
  • Once a Season: Both seasons had one episode involving Uncle Fester's comic book superhero Festerman. Season one's episode was simply titled "Festerman", while season two's episode was titled "Festerman Returns".
  • Only Sane Man: N.J. Normanmeyer is the only member of his family who knows the Addams Family are perfectly harmless and nice people. He also repeatedly tells his parents that the Addamses love all the horrible, twisted things Norman and Normina do to drive them out of town, and it's why they think the Normanmeyers are their good friends.
  • 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.
  • 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 cared about and loved their son N.J. (who did not inherit their hatred; instead, he was close friends with Wednesday).
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Lurch and his girlfriend featured in "Girlfriendstein" play this trope straight with their skin colors (Lurch being dark blue and his girlfriend being magenta).
  • Prefer Jail to the Protagonist: "Hook, Line and Stinkers" has the Spy Twins enduring scores of injuries at the hands of Wednesday, Pugsley, and the Addamses' pet alligator Snappy. When Cousin Itt shows up to arrest the twins, they are grateful to be sent to a maximum security prison. Unfortunately for the Spy Twins, Snappy ends up joining them in the armored car that's to transport them to the prison.
  • 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 does this when Fester says something in a different language, at which point he tells Gomez to "do that with your wife".
    • The bell on a rope to summon Lurch and his catchphrase "You rang?" are often modified with a different sound effect and verb, in the vein of "You screamed?", "You burped?", "You yodeled?" etc.
    • Brief voice clips of Fester and Lurch are often used for them commenting on scenes despite them not being onscreen (or being in different locations entirely, depending on the story), almost in a non sequitur manner - like Lurch groaning "Bad move" and Fester saying "This is just great."
    • Other Addamses are often mentioned in conversation, like the unfortunate Uncle Goner who's something of a Butt-Monkey.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Spy Twins are reminiscent of the spies from Spy vs. Spy, though they're colored like regular humans and don't wear monochrome outfits.
    • The two episodes featuring Festerman are titled "Festerman" and "Festerman Returns".
  • Show Within a Show:
    • The Festerman episodes are about Fester reading his self-made comic books to the kids.
    • The episode "FTV" has Fester set up his own TV network with the rest of the family pitching in with broadcast content. One show is The Dead Detective, about an inanimate skeleton with a deerstalker that "captures" a crook (Fester) through the Hypercompetent Sidekick (Wednesday) throwing it at him.
  • 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 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 show's setting, puts a lot of weight on being "happy" and normalcy, but the majority of its residents seem to have little problem with the Addamses, 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 follow the fictional adventures of a comic book Fester has made.
  • Sweet and Sour Grapes: Humorously inverted in "The Day Gomez Failed." When Norman Normanmeyer tricks Gomez into signing over the deed to the Addams's property and then tells the city that they can build a freeway on it, the construction workers discover that the land is too swampy to use, and reward Gomez for saving them millions. Ordinarily, that would be the "sweet" to the sour of nearly losing the land...but Gomez is more depressed than ever because it just means that he's yet again succeeded when he wanted to fail!
  • Truth in Television: In "The Day Gomez Failed," one of Gomez's many attempts to fail at something involves buying tons of stock in the worst company he can find. Unfortunately, he doesn't understand how Wall Street works—when other investors hear that one of the richest people in the world is purchasing stakes in a business, they all rush to get in on the action, which in turn makes the company's shares skyrocket. This is common practice in actual stock markets.
  • Unishment: A key example happens when 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.
  • Victory Is 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.
  • Waif-Fu: Wednesday is a fencing enthusiast like her father.
  • 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 in "Sir Pugsley". The same episode had Gomez and Morticia's joust end because Gomez predictably got distracted by Morticia saying "en garde".
  • Went to the Great X in the Sky: The episode "Itt's Over", where Uncle Fester is mistaken for having killed Cousin Itt, has Fester lament that his cousin has gone to the big wig-maker in the sky.


Video Example(s):


The Normanmeyer

The Normanmeyers are the next door neighbors to the Addams Family and have an antagonistic relationship to them due to how weird they are... not that the Normanmeyers are any better.

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