Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Horror Of...Halloween Night, The New Addams Family - Halloween with the Addams Family

Another Halloween day, another chance to build our frightfully fun mood. But what should we be watching?

I know what you are thinking. Am I in a time loop? He's already done this one. But no, this is The New Addams Family, a series made in Canada at the end of the 90's. They were continuing the tradition of bringing us delightful Charles Addams fun and tommacabrey.

The result was taking a series of New Yorker cartoons in the 30's to a comedy series in the mid 60's to a movie series in the 90's and creating a new series at the end of the 90's. (And there is a step in there I left out, as we'll be looking at that later this month.) Now some would say we shouldn't play with old concepts like this. Dump 'em. And, you know, if that makes you happy, GREAT! But I'd like to just sit back and enjoy what they are trying to do with this concept. (Some people are just so weird.)

The show revamped the opening, which is for the best. You can't keep reusing it, though it is a freaking classic. Instead the show opens with a faster beat and little more fun. New era, different energy levels.

Perhaps some will complain, but it's fun. The show is supposed to be fun and goofy and they put it out there for you to see.

This is the pilot for the series and they chose the structure from a classic episode of the original's first season, "Halloween with the Addams Family". Wisely they are going to take the simple structure of it, and build out to expand the fun and character moments.

And to start the show, we get a little poetry. Gomez (Glenn Taranto) reads a beloved little rhyme, "Twas Halloween Eve". It is a play on "Twas the Night Before Christmas" that allows for the cast to be introduced one by one quite quickly. (And how can I not like any steal from Christmas. It keeps encroaching on my sweet little All Hallow's Eve. This is war.) The original had a play on this poem in it to, though that came at the end of the show as a some light poetic humor to end on.

Going into the episode, we open with Gomez waking up on Halloween morning, the most wonderful time of the year! Sure it's morning and daylight out, but that can only dampen the mood momentarily.

"But how is Christmas here already?"
This post opening scene gives us an acrobatic Gomez that ties to the 90's movies. The show takes a lot from that version of these characters. Fester continues to be Gomez's brother. Wednesday still has the dark homicidal personality. In fact Wednesday's actor Nicole Fugere, had previously played the role in Addams Family Reunion the year before.

Gomez is all giddy for the day and starts it with a gift for Morticia (Ellie Harvie). Jewelry.

She's pleased, and Gomez asks her to try it on. And she puts them on Gomez, and gives him his favorite thrill. Miranda Rights.

Elsewhere, Grandmama (Betty Philips) and Lurch (John DeSantis) are securing Halloween dinner in a cage. Grandmama is contemplating if she should kill it before stuffing, but decides the other way is more fun.

Gomez gets on with the Halloween decorating by finishing the preparation of the jack o'lantern.

Nearby, Fester (Michael Roberds) is readying the bobbing tub. This year they'll bob for hand grenades. (Is bobbing still a thing?)

And just in time for trick or treating (...Don't flashback to the last review...) Wednesday and Pugsley reveal their costume choices. Siskel and Ebert. (Part of me wondered how dated a joke this was for the time, but I hadn't realized that their show ended just shortly after this episode aired. So it was actually a timely and up to date joke.) It is one of the many changes in this version of the episode, and opens up jokes and bits for the kids for the rest of the episode. And the kids do have more to this episode. Instead of disappearing for the rest of the show. They have a trick or treating B plot.

It is fun to see them freak out the...squares?

Outside the robbers arrive on queue. They've just bungled a bank robbery, and are running. Both in Halloween masks this time, they have the police on their heels. They are a father and son team, though dad is loathe to admit it. The son is quite dense.

When the Addams see them, while the kids are leaving, they are invited in as Trick or Treaters. They run in when they see the police close.

Our lead robber is Jerry Van Dyke. He's playing the role as an overly jokey jerk. His character's jokes tend toward the vaudevillian range of humor. "A little too much chlorine in the gene pool." "Eat any good books lately." It fits nicely into the show.

"Wait. They said this would be a Coach reunion."
Initially the Addams were planning to give the robbers some Gummy Bats, but when they see all the cash in their bags (presumably gifts from the neighbors), they change their plans.

It's the sort of Halloween treat that is creepy, spooky, ooky,
and *sniff* mysterious."
(Gummy bats? It's better than the apple's they were giving out in the original show.)

Gomez pulls out a bundle of cash for the robbers to have.

Seeing the cash, the robbers come up with a plan.

A robber! (How original of these two.)

The Addams are stoked. They love a good game of Robbery. Fester eagerly tries to get in by pulling his own gun, but Morticia chides him for stepping on their guests game. So they let the robbers get back control.

The robbers demand to know where the money is. Gomez smirks and tells them that they'll have to beat the information out of the family. The Addams don't play Robbery as amateurs.

Fester really wants to be pistol whipped. But the robbers want to just get the money and run. But the Addams are stubborn, sending Lurch to get rope to tie them up with.

Finally tied up, Gomez and Morticia send the robbers running around the house. It's all part of the game. Best Halloween ever.

Meanwhile, the kids are out looking for fun.

They are stopping at houses trick or treating .One house has a excited couple doing a Friday the 13th bit.

The couple is giddy, and pinch Wednesday's cheek. This puts them on the road to trouble. They then demand a Trick to receive a Treat. And then they inform the kids that all this will get them is a box of raisins. Things don't look good for this couple.

"Let me show you the power of a fully armed and operational movie critic."
The kid's bind up the couple, and hook them to the door bell. A shocking end.

As Wednesday leaves the house, she tells kids that the people are inside, but they need to ring the bell repeatedly to get them.

Down the street they find a bully stealing candy from little kids.

Wednesday expresses respect for what the bully is doing. Then she let's him take Pugsley's candy. As the kid runs off, Pugsley then flips a switch. There is a BOOM, and candy falls from the sky on the neighborhood's kids.

Back at home, the Addams are getting bored.

They think the robbers must be having trouble. So, while Grandmama goes to start dinner, they go to find and help the robbers.

The robbers hear them and assume that they are coming to kill them.

Then cops come to the door, with the Addams kids. The kids were terrorizing the neighborhood, including setting fire to a nursing home. Gomez is quite proud.

Then the robbers run up and demand to be immediately taken away.

"It's true! It's true! I was in My Mother The Car."
The show ends with the family enjoying their Halloween feast. After it, Grandmama and Fester fight for the wishbone. Fester loses to her once again.

Gomez and the adults got a game of Robbery and a fine meal. The kids got to run roughshod over the neighborhood. Halloween. The happiest time of the year.

And that closes out  the first of a new series with the Addams family. A fun series that plays with old and new ideas. This episode, much like the original episode gives us a fun little Halloween adventure with a family that embrace Halloween for all it's got.

And if you need more incentive, I'll note that John Astin does make appearances in the show at Grandpapa Addams.

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