The Munsters Reloaded

OK, fine look, there's going to be a "Munsters" reboot and as noted earlier, I hate it.  Now normally this is Scott's territory as Count Adaptula, but I'm going to step in here and suggest that:

  1. A Munsters rewrite can be done in a way that won't be terrible or Munsters In Name Only.
  2. In fact, it may be very timely.

Yes, my progeeks, I'm thinking that the trends indicate it is time for a Munsters rewrite.  In fact, it tells us something about our current trends.

Let's take a look at "The Munsters."  Some think of it as a kind of Adams Family Ripoff – and to an extent it was.  But it was also quite different – less morbid, more crazy, and a cast more like a comedy version of Hammer Horror than the Charles Adams alternate reality.  It was broader and goofier quite frankly, and memorable in its own way – I still remember how funny Herman was, how beautiful Lilly was, and that frankly EVERYONE wanted Grampa to live in the basement.

You know what?  We SERIOUSLY need a remake of the Munsters.  Why?

Because the Munsters is a good contrarian approach to a lot of trends we face now:

  • Our horror is pretty much body horror/torture porn.  The Munsters hearkens back to the Hammer horror films and the humanized monsters.
  • It's supernatural creatures without the angst.
  • It's a family comedy that's rather positive – which can have a good audience, just witness the success of "Raising Hope"

In short, I think the Munsters is perfect because a remake true to the original wacky spirit is different enough it'd stand out.  In short, it's so wrong it's right.  If My Little Pony can find an audience of adults, it's a reminder that maybe we've stratified our opinions of television too much.

Here's what I'd do:

  • Put it in a setting that's the "real" world but monsters happen to exist – and are a part of society people don't really think about being THAT different.  Mummies, vampires, werewolves, witches, etc.  This also gives you a chance for all sorts of references to movies, etc.
  • Put Eddie, the young werewolf, in high school – and make him  normal kid.  Not hated, not Mr. Popular, but a smart kid looking to find his place in life.  His werewolfism is just something he has, and you can play it for laughs, but not angst.  Also, frankly, you get some of the Twilight/YA audience that'd be curious anyway.
  • Keep Herman the same – the goofy lovable dad.  Just make him a partner at the funeral home he works at.
  • Get someone as drop-dead gorgeous and fun as Yvonne DeCarlo to play Lily and you can have fun exploring the issues of the modern woman from the perspective of an undying one.
  • Grampa Munster should pretty much be the same – the goofy vampire scientist-alchemist who never grew up.  The Munster Koach must make an appearance.
  • Make each episode a mix of family comedy tropes and horror/monster tropes combined, moving into homage level (think Venture Brothers).  Have a very Special Episode about Wolfsbane.  Have Grampa start dating older women combined with scenes from classic vampire films redone (such as "I never drink wine," etc.  There's a chance to pack this with loving and funny references.
  • At some point Eddie befriends an angsty young vampire who's being a colossal pile of emo as he thinks girls will like him.  Eddie and Grampa set him straight and he gets some respect and a damn nice cape.

Positive, funny, homages to genres long passed, an inversion of current trends, and a shot of well-needed lightening up.  I'd say a true-to-form remake of the Munsters could work – as long as it stayed true to form and didn't conform to the modern tropes it could SO easily be used to mock.

Steven Savage