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The Addams Family is a creation of American cartoonist Charles Addams that appears in print cartoons, television shows, movies and video games. A satirical inversion of the ideal American nuclear family, the Addamses are an eccentric, wealthy family who delight in everything grotesque and macabre and are unaware that people find them bizarre or frightening.
Addams's cartoons in The New Yorker magazine originally gained popularity in the 1930s. He was noted for his morbid sense of humor, and over the years various bizarre people and creatures who lived in a huge decaying Second Empire house became recurring characters.
(Addams' original cartoons were one-panel gags and he never developed any of the characters or even gave them names until the sitcom was being developed. All information below is derived from the various media versions.)
The family that the cartoons, movies, and television shows are based on is apparently only one surviving branch of the Addams clan. Many other "Addams families" exist all over the world. Their family credo, according to the film version, is Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc (pseudo-Latin: "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us").
They reside next to a cemetery and a swamp at 0001 Cemetery Ridge, in a gloomy mansion. (Charles Addams was first inspired by his home town of Westfield, New Jersey, an area full of ornate Victorian mansions and archaic graveyards.)
Although they all share macabre interests, the Addamses cannot be considered evil people. They are a close-knit extended family, regularly attending events involving the children and loudly cheering their accomplishments (despite the two usually doing very poorly at whatever is being attempted). Morticia and Gomez remain passionate toward one another. She sometimes calls him "Bubbele" (a Yiddish term of endearment), to which he responds by kissing up and down her arms - behaviour which Morticia can also evoke by speaking a few words of French, such as "specialite de maison". Also, in several of the TV episodes, the family is unfailingly friendly and hospitable to their visitors, even though these are often horrified at the Addams' lifestyle.
Addams Family characters
Family members and servants
The Addams family consists of Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Uncle Fester, and Grandmama. The family is attended to by their butler, Lurch and their servant, Thing, a disembodied hand in a box.
Gomez Alonzo Addams is the Addams patriarch. He is the husband of Morticia and the father of Wednesday and Pugsley. Originally Grandmama's son, this was retconned later on to make him Grandmama's son-in-law. His brother (originally uncle-in-law) is Uncle Fester.
Gomez is portrayed as a charming, handsome, and successful man, although he takes a childlike, eccentric enthusiasm to everything he does. For instance, his personal portrait depicts him as standing gleefully on his head. Though a peaceful man, he is known to be well-versed in many types of combat. He and Morticia fence with foils sometimes.
Gomez has an endless love for Morticia. He studied to be a lawyer, but rarely practices, while taking great pride in losing his cases. Gomez is also quite pleased with the fact that his law class voted him "Least Likely to Pass the Bar."
Gomez is extensively wealthy from inheritance and extensive investments, but he seems to have little regard for money. Although Gomez invests in the stock market, to the point where there is a ticker tape machine in their living area, he seems to play the market primarily to lose.
Gomez is of Castilian origin and loves to smoke cigars and play destructively with his model trains. Despite his macabre sense of humor, he is extremely generous and known for going out of his way to help those he considers friends.
Morticia A. Addams (née Frump) is the matriarch of the Addams Family. Her original mother was Hester Frump, but her origins were later retconned and she became Grandmama's daughter. (Grandmama subsequently became known as Esmerelda Frump.)
Morticia has an older sister named Ophelia.
In the sitcom, her marriage brought her uncle Fester into the family. She is a woman with pale skin and a Gothic appearance, clad in a Vampira-esque, skin-tight black gown with octopus-like tendrils at the bottom.
Morticia is portrayed as elegant, artistic, and musically inclined (opera singing, tango dancing, and playing numerous instruments). She also knits strange items of clothing for various members of the family.
The original drawing of Morticia in The New Yorker was said to be the inspiration for Maila Nurmi's Vampira character, the forerunner of Elvira.
Pugsley and Wednesday
Gomez and Morticia have two children, Pugsley and Wednesday. Wednesday, whose middle name is Friday, was originally — as her name suggests — a quiet, somewhat pathetic child, full of woe. Her name appears to have been a satirical reference to contemporary actress Tuesday Weld. In the TV show she is a sweet-natured, innocent, happy child, largely concerned with her pet spiders. A favorite toy is her Marie Antoinette doll, which she had guillotined. The movies gave Wednesday a much more serious and mature personality with a deadpan wit and a morbid fascination with trying to physically harm or possibly murder her brother (she was seen strapping him into an electric chair, for example, and preparing to pull the switch); she is apparently often successful, but Pugsley never dies. Like most members of the family he seems to live in a semi-immortal state.
For his part, Pugsley is largely either oblivious of the harm his sister tries to inflict on him, or an enthusiastic supporter of it. In his first incarnation, Pugsley (originally to be called Pubert, a name that would be given to the Addams baby in the live action movies) was depicted as a diabolical, malevolent child next door. In the TV series, he is a devoted older brother and an inventive and mechanical genius. In the films, he loses his intelligence and independence, and becomes Wednesday's sidekick, cheerfully helping her in her evil deeds.
In the most recent animated series, Pugsley's and Wednesday's personalities seem to be a mix of their previous ones, with Wednesday a happy and somewhat optimistic child, while retaining her sophisticated manner from the movies and Pugsley having regained some of his genius when it comes to chemistry and machines, but his intelligence still seems to be rather underdeveloped at times.
In the 1993 film Addams Family Values, Gomez and Morticia have a third child, a son named Pubert (voiced by Cheryl Chase), a mustachioed and seemingly indestructible baby with the ability to shoot flaming arrows. (Charles Addams first created the name Pubert for the '60s TV series, but it was rejected and so he changed it to Pugsley.) He is referred to in the unrelated Warner Bros. movie Addams Family Reunion and follow-up series, in which Wednesday states that there used to be a third sibling, but that they ate it.
Uncle Fester and Grandmama
Other members of the family who live with Gomez and Morticia include Uncle Fester and Grandmama.
Fester is a bald, barrel-shaped man with dark, sunken eyes and a devilish grin. He seems to carry an electrical charge and can illuminate a light bulb by sticking it in his mouth. In the original television series, Fester was Morticia's uncle, and therefore technically not an Addams, although at times he claims the family name as his own. In all other animated and filmed content, Fester became Gomez's older brother, and therefore the uncle of Wednesday and Pugsley.
Grandmama is Gomez's mother in the 1960s live-action TV series, where she is given the name "Eudora Addams". In both the movies and the animated TV series, she is Morticia's mother and her surname is sometimes mentioned as "Frump". Grandmama is a witch who deals in potions, spells and hexes of all kinds. She even dabbles in fortune-telling. Her trademarks are her shawl and frizzy hair. In the original TV series, Mother Frump exists as a separate character from Grandmama. In the animated series, Grandmama is only referred to as "Granny".