December 20, 2022

#08-266: Meet the Addams Family

Left to right: Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Morticia, Gomez,
Wednesday, Lurch, and Grandmama (from a Russian fan site)

Note: Few cartoons have transitioned as successfully into television and film as the work of Charles AddamsLet's learn its background and meet the key Family members.

Get Ready: What is the attraction of the macabre? And how is it that we often find the most somber things to be hilarious?

A TV show currently popular in America tells of the school days of a rather odd teenaged girl named Wednesday Addams, a member of The Addams Family.

In the late 1930s, American cartoonist Charles Addams drew the first of nearly sixty cartoons for the magazine The New Yorker featuring the creepy members of a family living in a haunted mansion. Neither the characters nor the family officially had names, although they were popularly dubbed "The Addams Family" after their creator.

In 1964, the Family got their own TV show, and Addams worked with the producers to give them names and fill in their personalities. Since that series, there have been several revival series and a number of feature films.

Here, then, meet the Addams Family.

The mustachioed, cigar-smoking paterfamilias with the bulgy eyes and droopy eyelids is Gomez. He is cheerful, optimistic, and wildly in love with his wife; his hobbies include juggling, knife-throwing, and fencing, and he also enjoys crashing the trains on his model-train layout.

His beautiful dark-haired wife, Morticia, is always dressed in black--suitable, as her name is similar to "mortician," the occupation of those who prepare the dead for burial. She is quiet, confident--and probably a witch. She is also crazy about Gomez.

Wednesday, the couples' oldest child, was named after a nursery rhyme about the days of the week in which the third line reads, "Wednesday's child is full of woe." She is obsessed with death, and enjoys visiting cemeteries and raising spiders. In appearance, she is typically "Goth": pale skin, dark hair (in pigtails), and wearing a black dress with a white collar, black stockings, and black shoes.

The younger child is Pugsley, a chubby, devious, and brilliant boy who invents things, including a "disintegrator gun." He enjoys playing with dynamite and other dangerous "toys," and he has a pet octopus named Aristotle.

Other members of the "family" include the Frankenstein-like butler, Lurch; bald, creepy Uncle Fester; Cousin Itt, who appears as nothing but hair; and a disembodied hand with real personality, named simply "Thing."

Scary was never so funny.


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. bulgy
  2. a butler
  3. chubby
  4. disembodied
  5. a disintegrator
  6. fencing
  7. mustachioed
  8. obsessed (with)
  9. a paterfamilias
  10. woe

  1. having a mustache
  2. fighting with a sword
  3. a male house servant
  4. popping out
  5. sadness
  6. something that can make something disappear
  7. slightly fat
  8. crazy (about)
  9. male head of the family
  10. without a body

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 20, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. c; 3. g; 4. j; 5. f; 6. b; 7. a; 8. h; 9. i; 10. e