‘The Addams Family’: How Cousin Itt Brought More Strange Relatives Into the Fold

by Craig Garrett

The Addams Family are creepy, kooky and one of the most enduring sitcoms of classic tv, but Cousin Itt drafted in even more weirdness. The ghoulish family is iconic, no doubt. Generations continue humming the theme song to this day. Gomez, Morticia, and company adorn t-shirts, lunch boxes and have remained Halloween costume mainstays for seven decades. Still, Addams relative Cousin Itt seems like an unlikely addition to the creepy clan. 

Based on the cartoons of Charles Addams, The Addams Family was a satire of the 1960’s nuclear family standard. The Addams were aristocratic and rich, rather than the suburban, hard-working American ideal. The family often quipped about their blue blood. Only their behavior made them strange, not their actual appearance. 

Cousin Itt adds more weirdness to The Addams Family 

That’s why Cousin Itt stands out. He’s decidedly quite different than the main cast. Perhaps a reason for this is Charles Addams did not create Cousin Itt. A producer of the show did. Itt is less satire and more a fun gag for television. His long hair is comically everywhere. He usually wears a derby hat, and occasionally wears opera gloves. 

Cousin Itt appeared in a handful of episodes in The Addams Family’s first season. Speaking in a strange, high-pitched language, Gomez would often translate. Oddly, Cousin Itt was a break-out character, essentially the Fonz of the kooky family. Itt joined during the second season, complete with his own room in Addams manor. 

The Addams Family grows bigger… and weirder 

Cousin Itt’s popularity seemed to encourage the writers to cook up even more out there extended family members. Aunt Trivia, Grandpa Squint, Aunt Bloop, all get mentions on the original series. Grandpa Squint even eventually made it to live-action. Grandpa was portrayed by Invasion of the Body Snatchers star Kevin McCarthy in the Addams Family Reunion. Several odd cousins are also mentioned in the series. With names like Crimp, Rancid, Flub, and Cringe, one can’t help but imagine gremlins being in the family tree. However, Cousin Cringe’s appearance is eventually revealed. Morticia paints a portrait depicting the family member in season two. Cringe illustrated having two heads, again defying the Addams Family’s regal image.

Of course, the extended Addams Family goes so far as to give Morticia an estranged sister. Ophelia Frump, also played by Morticia Addams actor Carolyn Jones, is the polar opposite of her sister. Upbeat and athletic, Ophelia loves to perform judo throws. Ophelia was married to Gomez before Morticia. However, Ophelia left Gomez for another suitor. Who, you might ask? Why, Cousin Itt, of course. 

The Addams Family can be streamed on Pluto TV