Scary Parents

Halloween normally conjures up thoughts of ghouls, goblins, the afterlife, and phobias. The holiday itself is pretty simple: the dressing up, the trick-or-treating, the scaring people, etc. But the underlying metaphors of the deceased seeking vengeance or just acknowledgement, and bringing to light the things in life we most fear, are quite complex albeit common thoughts.  However, watching a movie marathon the other night (of course, me and movies, right?), which included The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values, had me linking this Spooktacular celebration to an area of my life I never thought it would intersect: parenting.

Yes, this Halloween season I’ve been thinking about parenting. More specifically how I believe that Gomez and Morticia Addams might just possibly be the ultimate parents. Okay, I know, but hear me out, hear me out.  Seriously, from the movies and the early t.v. show (which was amazing by the way), there is a good argument here.

gomez and morticia retro

They never shout at their kids. They never force them to be who they’re not. They’re always supportive, constantly giving Wednesday and Pugsley encouragement, and regularly back them up on their ideas no matter how crazy they may seem. If anyone speaks out against either child, these devoted parents immediately jump to their defense while also checking to make sure the kids didn’t, in fact, do some horrible good deed. They put up with the explosions from well-timed dynamite, the science experiments that set the house ablaze, and foster a love for animals by allowing the odd pet or two such as an alligator, octopus, a lively bear (rug), and a poisonous spider, just to name a few. In fact Gomez and Morticia actively encourage Wednesday and Pugsley’s individual hobbies and eccentric creative interests. They deal calmly with the sibling rivalry that often involves medieval weaponry and amazingly complex booby traps. And like all parents, they wonder if they’re “doing it right.”

morticia retro

In case you don’t remember, in The Addams Family Values, Gomez and Morticia send their kids to a summer camp because they are persuaded by external forces that it’s best for the kids. Of course, it’s a terrible idea and they never would have sent them to a place that didn’t appreciate their umm…individuality… if they hadn’t had a seed of doubt about their parenting skills planted in their heads by the nefarious villain of the flick. So here they are worried, like all conscientious parents would be, just trying to do the right thing by their kids to make sure they grow up properly.

morticia and gomez current

Also, in that movie they showed their vast reservoir for acceptance in the face of diversity. Or at least Morticia did. When their baby is “ill” and turns blonde (gasp!) and “normal” (in the All-American, Stepford, take-you-home-to-meet-the-parents sort of way), Morticia reads him The Cat in the Hat. Mind you, she doesn’t want to. She’s dreadfully sad that all of the characters live at the end. It’s rather obvious that she’d be more comfortable reciting Dante’s Inferno, something from The Brothers Grimm, or perhaps a few chapters from Faust, but instead of trying to force her own personal affinities onto this changeling in her arms, she instead recognizes what he needs and sucks it up with a little Dr. Seuss.

morticia gif

Empathy, love, acceptance, and support. These are the pillars of the Addams parents. I mean, honestly, can you think of a better pair of parental role models?

15 thoughts on “Scary Parents

  1. I agree with you 100% without a single sarcastic or snarky thought. Gomez and Morticia were everything you say they were – supportive, accepting, encouraging, and loving. The humor in the shows came from the activities of the family being diametrically opposed to the “normal” American family of the late 20th Century, but the basis on which their family worked was just like the ones headed by Ward and June Cleaver on the one hand and Andy Griffith on the other.

  2. I remember watching both the Addams Family and The Munsters back in the 1960s. I seem to recall that I preferred The Munsters, because the parents were less like mine than the the parents in the Addams Family. I don’t mean in a creepy way, but in how they related to the children and and embraced diversity.

    • I thought the Munsters were funny…especially how the dad, Herman, was usually getting in silly trouble of some sort. I did like how they were always accepting of Marilyn even though she was the “black sheep” of the family.

  3. The Addams family were sort of similar to The Beverly Hillbillies in that all members existed in a select microcosmic bubble their whole lives, and as such, view their idiosyncratic lifestyles as that of “being the norm” and assume the rest of the world’s on “the same page” with them.
    Which is why there’s always that disconnect between them and the average person.
    And also why they always get confused when others respond to them and their ways adversely.

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