I remembered hearing about this when Jerry O’Connell was a guest on Watch What Happens Live awhile ago, but I totally forgot about it until yesterday afternoon when I was searching through the guide to set reminders for all of my shows. I am a regular viewer of Grimm, and Mockingbird Lane was on just before it, so it was by pure luck that I checked the guide. This is why I’m glad I don’t just have a DVR record all of my shows, because I’d totally forget to check the guide and miss things that I wanted to see.
Ok so if you’ve never heard of the Munsters, you are probably a kid and don’t watch TV Land or whatever channel plays classic reruns of old shows. I watched this show in black and white when I was a kid and it was one of those shows that I just loved because of how grim it was. I don’t know why I love dark shows lol. Anyway, this is what someone wrote for the synopsis on IMDB:
“Grandpa Sam Dracula is essentially Dracula who assembled Herman because no man was good enough for his daughter Lily, a sexy vamp. Lily’s niece Marilyn the freak is actually normal and Lily and Herman’s only child, Eddie, has his werewolf tendencies surface in puberty, forcing the family to relocate to their famous 1313 Mockingbird Lane address. Written by Anonymous”
This was quite different from the original series in many respects. In the original series, they weren’t the same skin color as everyone else. Of course in the black and white version you can never tell what color they are, but there is a color picture of them and they are quite pale. Lily for example has a sheet white face with her regular makeup. Grandpa’s face is kind of blue-ish and Herman’s face is kind of purple. Eddie’s is also white with red cheeks. I remember in 1981 they did a movie called The Munsters Revenge where Grandpa and Herman both had green faces.
The thing about the Munsters from the 1960’s was that they assumed that they were normal, and everyone else was weird, so when people had a scared reaction towards them, they didn’t understand why. The Munsters in this new retelling knew that they were different, but since they didn’t look any different from anyone else, nobody got scared, so that kind of ruined that gag. Grandpa was still rude to Marilyn for being normal, even though she didn’t look any different than the rest of the family, so that only made his rudeness, well, rude. It didn’t make sense to make fun of her because she was just as normal as they were, but I guess it did make sense in the context that she wasn’t a vampire or a werewolf, she was a norm.
I called my aunt today to ask her if she saw it and she said that she hated it. She said there were too many special effects and it was too cornball. They took away the gag that I mentioned about them not being different, and that’s what she loved about it. She was a teenager when the original Munsters was on the air, so to her, it’s really an insult that they changed everything about the Munsters that she loved.
There are some things that you don’t mess with, and when you remake all of those old classic TV shows and movies and give them way too many special effects to make them look cool, you are taking away from the charm of the characters.
Speaking of the charm of the characters, their outfits weren’t “Munsters” outfits at all. For example, the original Munsters outfits were all formal gothic, I don’t even know what period they were supposed to be, but they were formal. In this new show, they wore regular normal everyday outfits. Look at the image above, Marilyn was the only one who wore the right type of outfit from the original series. Grandpa, Herman and Lily wore new outfits, but I can’t really complain about them because they were nice looking outfits. They weren’t “Munsters” outfits, but they were still nice. Eddie on the other hand, all he wore was a scouting uniform… that is not what Eddie would wear. Although even though that wasn’t a typical Eddie outfit, I did respect their choice for giving him something else because his old outfit was a bit of an odd choice for a child to wear.
I really don’t want to complain about this new take on the Munsters because believe it or not I actually loved every minute of it. I loved the cool werewolf in the woods destroying the scouts camp and tossing the children about. I loved the house, I want to live in that house. I loved Herman because he was played by Jerry O’Connell who I happen to love and respect as an actor. I loved Lily because she happens to be Portia Di Rossi who just so happens to be married to Ellen DeGeneres who I happen to also love. And I love Eddie Izzard, I think he is an amazing actor and person. This is the type of show I would love to see come back just as the way they remade it. I liked it because it was a different take on the show and sometimes a new take is a good thing.
Mockingbird Lane was just a special for Halloween and I hope they continue to make specials in the future just for the fun of it. It is available on Hulu if you missed it. Go check it out because it was a really cool show.