January 7 is not a national holiday, or even a date particularly well-known amongst fans of gothic comedy. It really should be. Because on January 7, 1912 — a Sunday, should you be wondering — Charles Addams came into this world, bringing with him a ghoulish sense of humor and a mind that would one day create the Addams Family.
Addams’ fiendish family got their start in The New Yorker in 1938; about 150 cartoons were published before the cartoonist died in 1988. But by far their greatest impact was felt on television, with a 64-episode series in the 1960s and multiple spin-offs to its name. (Who can forget The Addams Family Fun-House or The New Addams Family? Who wishes that they could?)
In honor of Addams’ birthday, here are 10 episodes of the classic 1960s series to revisit, all of which are available via Hulu.
GOMEZ THE POLITICIAN (S1 E4)
Prepare yourself for an unexpected pre-emptive strike on Super-PACs with this episode, in which Gomez funds the political campaign of a local city council candidate, on the proviso that his money gets spent in ways in which he approves of. Turns out, there’s a reason Gomez’s favorite candidates never win elections…
Watch The Addams Family Episode 10: Wednesday Leaves Home in Comedy | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
WEDNESDAY LEAVES HOME (S1 E10)
Preparing for the fandom that would grow up around this character in later years — thanks to Christina Ricci’s portrayal in the 1990s movie revivals — this episode focuses on Wednesday’s almost-kind-of running away from home… except that she doesn’t quite manage to leave the house. Well, not until after she’s been reported missing, at least.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY MEETS THE VIPS (S1 E11)
International relations get complicated as foreign dignitaries find an intended visit to a traditional all-American family leading them directly to the home of Gomez and Morticia, which goes exactly as well as you’d expect — especially when Gomez finally unveils his fetish for his wife speaking French.
Watch The Addams Family Episode 21: The Addams Family in Court in Comedy | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN COURT (S1 E21)
With the self-proclaimed altogether-pokiness, it was only a matter of time before the law caught up with the Addamses — although being arrested for fortune-telling really seems like a disappointing reason to end up in court. Thankfully, everyone ends up in contempt before too long. (We also find out that Morticia is a twisted firestarter, if not quite a punching instigator.)
Watch The Addams Family Episode 31: Uncle Fester’s Toupee in Comedy | View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com
UNCLE FESTER’S TOUPEE (S1 E31)
There are few things funnier than a farce of mistaken identities, but adding a comedy wig to proceedings manages to raise the bar, as in this story of long-distance romance and male ego. The title pretty much tells you all you need to know, but rest assured; it actually lives up to that promise.
MY FAIR COUSIN IT (S2 E1)
The theater, the theater, whatever happened to the theater? Well, in the season-opener to the show’s second year, Gomez Addams has happened to it, with the family torn apart by a contest to take the lead role. Stardom does terrible things to people, even ones as weird as this family.
MORTICIA’S ROMANCE (PARTS 1 & 2) (S2 E2/3)
An unusual two-part story, Morticia’s Romance is an extended flashback to Gomez’s attempts to win the heart of his one true love — including the introduction of Morticia’s embarrassing older sister, the depressingly normal Ophelia, who just so happens to be played by Carolyn Jones (AKA Morticia herself.)
UNCLE FESTER, TYCOON (S2 E16)
The Addams Family is at its best as a gonzo social satire, with the family so at odds with a social institution in such a way that makes us wonder if there’s something wrong with it as well — case in point, this episode in which Fester ventures into the world of big business and things go surprisingly well.
ADDAMS CUM LAUDE (S2 E25)
What would happen if America’s self-styled creepiest family (but in a lovable way, not a Manson family way) put themselves in charge of impressionable young minds after taking over a highfalutin’ business school? Only some important life lessons in subjects including do-it-yourself dentistry and taxidermy. You know, the essentials.
LURCH’S GRAND ROMANCE (S2 E29)
Before the series ended — this was the penultimate episode — faithful butler Lurch found some romance in the form of Trivia, a high school sweetheart who really isn’t that interested in him… until the family (and an overactive love potion) get involved.