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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Addams Family is a classic sitcom that centers on a creepy but oddly charming nuclear family that enjoys the morbid side of life. Despite their ghoulishness, the Addamses are good, generous people who love and respect one another, and parents Morticia and Gomez demonstrate a true commitment to their children. Parents also need to know that this series reflects attitudes and behavior that were acceptable when it originally aired in the 1960s, including smoking, references to gun violence, and traditional gender roles. While some images may be scary for small children, overall the show is a good choice for tweens.
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What's the story?
Based on the ghoulish characters first created by New Yorker magazine cartoonist Charles Addams, THE ADDAMS FAMILY is a classic 1960s TV sitcom that follows the Addamses, a tight-knit, fun-loving family whose idea of normal is all that's dark, bizarre, and grotesque. Heading up the family is playful, romantic Gomez (John Astin), a lawyer who enjoys cigars and blowing up model trains. He adores his beloved wife, Morticia (Carolyn Jones), whose pastimes are knitting and taking care of man-eating plants, and his children, morbid son Pugsley (Ken Weatherwax) and somber Wednesday (Lisa Loring). Rounding out the family are demented Uncle Fester (Jackie Coogan), hag-like Grandmama (Blossom Park), and loyal, Frankenstein-like butler Lurch (Ted Cassidy). The show's funny plot twists are often a result of misunderstandings between the kooky Addamses and those who aren't familiar with their freaky world.
Is it any good?
This series, which, at its foundation, is a macabre satire of the traditional American nuclear family, isn't so much scary as it is quirky, especially by today's standards. The characters are likeable and generous, and their behavior, although weird, isn't intended to cause harm. While some of the images may be a little strong for young children,The Addams Family is fine for tweens. (Just be sure to fill them in on why Gomez and Morticia smoke all the time without garnering a peep of protest from friends or family members.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different kinds of families as represented by The Addams Fmaily. Kids, do you know any families that are nice even though they're very different from you and your parents? What makes them different? Do those differences affect what you think of them? What other people think of them?
Families can also discuss how values change over the years. What things do you notice characters in the show doing that aren't typically acceptable now? Why do you think that changed? What else has changed between now and 40 years ago (on TV and in general)?
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