Lessons in Love from the Addams Family

My girlfriend and I have a tradition of watching both of the 1990’s Addams Family movies every October. While we love every Addams, from the sociopathic Wednesday to the gnarly-faced Fester, Gomez and Morticia Addams have a special place in our hearts. It is in part Morticia’s gothic visage and Gomez’s charismatic mania; the morbid absurdity of the whole thing is delicious. But above all else, there’s something about Gomez and Morticia that’s in some way profoundly romantic. Like I said, they have a special place in my and my girlfriend’s hearts—but I think that they should have a special place in your heart too.

The interplay of Raul Julia’s Gomez and Anjelica Houson’s Morticia is unique in cinematic romance. Infinitely lustful for one another and mutually disinterested in the dull affairs of the ‘real world’, Gomez and Morticia regularly and publically opine for each other. “How long has it been since we’ve waltzed?” Gomez asks Morticia for no particular reason. Morticia sighs wistfully, “Oh Gomez…hours.” Morticia and Gomez’s unawareness of how uncomfortable they make ordinary people with their raucous flirtation is most comedic. They apparently have sex in the middle of a public auction, and during a climactic fight, Gomez pauses the entire scenario to wax poetic to Morticia.

This is the structure of most Addams Family jokes: an Addams does something that totally jars the people surrounding them but the Addams is none the wiser. But there is a unique sincerity to Gomez and Morticia’s relationship. The Addams family’s contrast—the white, healthy upper middle class—is treated as banal and shallow in comparison to the gruesome main characters. The Addams are better at being a family than most of our own families. It’s Morticia and Gomez that the Addams clan relies on for haven in an unwelcoming world, and it’s their crazy intense love for one another that gives them the strength to lead.

Thus, when Gomez and Morticia’s fantastical tango causes every champagne bottle in the room to burst, or when they celebrate at the prospect of bringing a three-legged baby into the world, we’re not laughing at them but, rather, with them. Gomez and Morticia’s twisted and delightful love affair isn’t just ironically funny, it’s the heart of the Addams’ story. Behind the intense physicality and maddening poeticisms, Morticia and Gomez don’t have marital issues because they, unlike the rest of the world, accept themselves and each other in all their ghoulish delight. 

We’re all in the process of trying to become ‘better people’ (whatever that means). But our partners shouldn’t resemble the scorn of an outside world we so often wish to escape. We are all perverse, disgusting, morbid, and foul. Perhaps there are times when it’s best to indulge in that. Why not have a loved one to do it with? A partner who doesn’t just accept your faults but loves them because they’re a part of who you are. They might even share those flaws: a loved one who’s as spooky as you. Then both of you can unleash yourselves on the world and each other—like Gomez and Morticia—in all of your ghoulish delight.