Rather than hijack this thread, I’ll start a new one.
I always like the Addams Family better. The characters looked more believable, and they just acted slightly off. If was a subtle thing, less “in your face” then the Munsters. And of course, there was John Astin…
Addams Family, definitely. It retained the look of Addams’s art to a good degree even while it changed the characters to a less ghoulish sort of ghoulie. And, for the guys, Morticia was well worth watching.
The actors in The Munsters did a good job defining their characters, but it was to me inherently less interesting. Too clownish.
The Addams Family was extremely wealthy. None of them had jobs, as such. Gomez played the market for his own amusement. They were so rich that their wealth influenced norms to overlook and accept their oddness to a great degree. The rich aren’t crazy; they are eccentric.
The Munsters were working-class. Herman definitely had a blue-collar job. Working class people aren’t allowed to be different, so the norms shunned the Munster family. Overtly, and often, quite rudely.
Both families basically lived in their own little fantasy worlds where they believed themselves to be normal. The Munsters had a reason to do so. The Addamses , not so much, as they would have had the world kissing their wealthy asses regardless.
Carolyn Jones was jaw-dropping hot. So was Yvonne DeCarlo.
The Munsters had a way cool hot-rod they could probably barely afford. The Addamses, who could have afforded any even cooler car, did not.
I give it to The Munsters.
Definitely the Addams Family, for a number of reasons. For one, I always loved how darned nice they were to everyone. To me, they treated other members of their family the way family should treat one another.
For another thing, Morticia and Gomez had a clearly sexual relationship. Re-watching some of the old episodes, I’m a bit surprised by how much innuendo they got away with! As a kid, I didn’t recognize the innuendo, but I thought it was very cool that a married couple was so romantic!
The Munsters, to me, seemed like a grab at cashing in on the popularity of the Addams Family.
The Munsters were locked into two cannons - the old Universal Studios’ monster movies and the Dumb but Lovable Sitcom Dad (which, even back then was ripe for subversion, but which they were satisfied to do so only by having their characters from the first cannon)
The Addams had a wider frame of reference, including late 19th C. Gothic, Poe, and French Surrealism.
But all in all, I’m going with the Sopranos - instead of a decaying old mansion, they lived in an even creepier McMansion, the dad was still Dumb but Lovable, and they had an even more cheerful attitude towards cruelty than the Addams.
Addams Family by a landslide. I agree that the Munsters was basically a boring traditional sitcom with lots of makeup. The Addamses not only looked funny, a bit, they reveled in being different. Plus the writing was much better.
I was about 13 when it was on, and it was a great show for those of us who felt a bit different. No accident that Paul Rudnick’s script for the second movie had the great camping scene, where Wednesday and the nerdy Jewish kid team up against the WASPs. (Best sequence in either movie.) He got the appeal perfectly.
Addams Family, no question. The shows weren’t even in the same league. The Munsters were essentially a one-note concept, which is perfectly conventional TV light entertainment (see also Gilligan’s Island, The Beverly Hillbillies, etc.). What if the family next door were… monsters? Comedy ensues!
The Addams Family was something else again. With the exception of Thing and Cleopatra (and possibly Cousin Itt?), none of them really qualified as monsters, or even fit into any recognizable category. As a TV family in 1964, they were far more audacious than monsters: they were nonconformists. Unlike the Munsters, there really wasn’t any reason why they couldn’t fit into normal society-- they simply chose not to. The show depicted a happy, successful extended family that saw nothing wrong with eschewing convention in favor of their own unique chaotic-neutral philosophy. Sure, Ward may have dropped a few pearls of wisdom to the Beaver on his way out the door to the office about not giving in to peer pressure, but the Addams Family were living that advice every day.
I think Gomez and Morticia were arguably the most admirable married couple on TV during the 1960s. Passionately in lust (seriously, did any other husband and wife go at each other like that on TV back then?), fiercely devoted to each other, they were also obviously very loving and attentive parents (with the possible exception of the kids’ ready access to explosives-- but Uncle Fester was usually on hand to supervise, wasn’t he?). They never quietly fretted over whether their kids were too unattractive to fit in, as the Munsters did over Marilyn. If Puggsley wanted to smoke like his old man, Gomez wasn’t one to play hypocrite-- if it was appropriate for him, it was fine for his boy. I myself wouldn’t be happier if I had the good fortune to marry into such a family-- close-knit, supportive, eclectic, and with a bicephalic sea turtle in the solarium.