The Addams Family and The Munsters both premiered in 1964, but the comparisons should stop there, according to the original Gomez, John Astin. Fandom is full of unfair comparisons and rivalries. Elvis or the Beatles, Star Wars or Star Trek, Seinfeld vs Friends… the list goes on forever. Still, another ongoing debate is which classic tv sitcom is truly the best monster family around…the Addams or the Munsters?
Based on the cartoons of Charles Addams, The Addams Family was a satire of the 1960’s family ideal. Rather than hard-working and middle class, the Addams were regal and independently wealthy. Indeed, sometimes it was difficult to ascertain exactly what the adult Addams did for an un-living. Meanwhile, the Munsters embraced the dynamic of the nuclear family. Herman Munster was a blue-collar everyman that carried a lunch pail to work.
The Addams Family or The Munsters?
However, it’s easy to see why the two shows measure up so well together. Both monstrous families aired concurrently from 1964 to 1966. The Munsters has 70 episodes in the original run, while The Addams Family has 64. Each show has an iconic theme most people can imitate to this day. Both shows feature outsider preteen sons. Morticia Addams and Lily Munster are each raven-haired, supportive wives. Finally, both shows are led by hilarious patriarchs. Fred Gwynne plays Herman Munster with childlike glee, while John Astin plays Gomez Adams with a more sly, devilish side.
Despite Astin’s sardonic portrayal of Gomez, the actor was frustrated with comparisons to The Munsters at the time. “You see, The Munsters are monsters on the outside, but perfectly normal people in every other respect,” Astin told The Capital Times in 1965. “The Addams Family, on the other hand, are not monsters at all, but terribly daffy in almost every respect. Like the Addams cartoons, our show is an attack on the cliches of life, a reverse joke.”
The Addams Family appears to come out on top… for now
Arguably, The Addams Family has proven to be the most popular of the two shows. The Addams have had two successful live-action feature films in the 90s. Two more recent animated theatrical outings followed. Animated versions of the characters have made an appearance on Scooby-Doo, and the ghoulish family even had a Broadway musical produced in 2010. Meanwhile, more recent attempts to reboot the Munsters have stalled. Mockingbird Lane, a reboot of the Munsters concept, failed to make it past the first episode in 2012.
However, upcoming projects based on both of these classic TV shows are set to drop in 2022. The Netflix series Wednesday centers on the Addams Family teen, played by Scream star Jenna Ortega. Meanwhile, Rob Zombie’s new movie reboot of The Munsters recently dropped its first trailer. Both projects are slated for fall 2022 releases.