The Addams Family

Photo: The Addams Family: Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky…but the thing that truly made The Addams Family great is that while they may have been freaks, they were the nicest, most welcoming freaks around. Which explains why — despite their extreme fear of normalcy — Gomez (John Astin) and Morticia (Carolyn Jones) were constantly inviting people into their home and trying to make a good impression (as odd as these regular folk may have seemed to the family of misfits). It doesn’t sound like a big thing, but therein lay the key to the 1960s sitcom: Sure, it was irreverent and off-the-wall, but unlike pretty much all the comedies on the air today, these characters genuinely loved and cared for one another. This tenderness is perhaps best illustrated in the ”Mother Lurch Visits the Addams Family” episode — one of 22 on this three-disc set — in which Gomez and Morticia act as servants for their faithful butler so he can impress his mom. (It’s also interesting because, as we learn in one of the short but sweet featurettes, Astin — whose manic energy and geniality set the tone for the entire affair — was originally considered for the butler’s role.) ”There will never be another Addams Family better than this one,” says Felix Silla (Cousin Itt) on a commentary regarding all the attempts to remake the show. We can only assume that includes ones with MC Hammer theme songs.

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