Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 7 Best And 7 Worst Episodes Of The Addams Family Ranked

Beginning as a series of cartoons appearing in The New Yorker, Charles Addams' "The Addams Family" arrived on television in 1964. This creepy creation for the small screen chronicles the many odd and weirdly endearing adventures of the titular family for two seasons, comprising 64 episodes. This wasn't the end for the mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky clan: The Addams family has returned in many forms over the decades, including Barry Sonnenfeld's live-action movies, a number of animated productions, and "Wednesday," a Netflix series directed by Tim Burton.

No matter how different the many iterations of the Addams family may be, each and every one is clearly influenced by the original '60s TV series (especially its unforgettably catchy theme song). To honor the lengthy legacy of pop culture's freakiest family, we're looking back at that show's highest highs ... and its lowest lows. From Morticia's artistic adventures to a very special Halloween installment, these are the seven best and seven worst episodes of "The Addams Family."

14. Worst: The Winning of Morticia Addams

In the Season 1 finale, "The Winning of Morticia Addams," Uncle Fester reads an article that suggests husbands and wives who fight are actually much happier than those who seem perfectly content. Since Gomez and Morticia can't get enough of each other, he worries that they're secretly unhappy. To put them at odds, Fester convinces Gomez that an expert fencer named Dr. Francois Chalon is making a move on his wife. Furious, Gomez challenges him to a duel.

This episode is fine for the most part, dated cultural references aside. Fester's concern for his niece and nephew is adorable, if misguided, as is Gomez's willingness to kill for the woman he loves. The problem is, we never believe for a second that Morticia has eyes for anyone other than Gomez. This makes Chalon's belief that he can win her pretty weak. Moreover, Fester could clear this whole thing up by admitting it's his fault to begin with. Still, it's always nice to see just how in love Morticia and Gomez truly are, even if the story around them doesn't make much sense.

13. Best: Lurch Learns to Dance

Remember that meme where people put all kinds of music over a clip of Wednesday Addams teaching Lurch to dance? That's not from Season 1's "Lurch Learns to Dance." Wednesday does try and teach Lurch to dance, but in this episode, it's ballet. That's just one example of how often "The Addams Family" likes to reuse jokes, to often excellent effect. In this episode, Morticia and Gomez discover that the reason Lurch never attends the Butler's Ball is because he lacks confidence in his dancing abilities.

Wanting to cheer up their loyal servant, they do their best to instruct him in various dancing styles. While most attempts fail, Lurch still agrees to attend the ball (in a costume selected by Wednesday), but he can't seem to join in on all the fun. Luckily, Morticia shows up in disguise to dance with him, allowing Lurch to show off his tango skills. This isn't a particularly hilarious episode (though some of Lurch's outfits are quite funny), but it's just plain nice to see everyone working together to help shore up Lurch's self-esteem.

12. Worst: Crisis in the Addams Family

When you have as daring a lifestyle as the Addams family does, chances are, you're going to annoy the insurance company. That's almost the entire plot of Season 1's "Crisis in the Addams Family." This clan likes to fire weapons in their home, conduct experiments while skydiving, and keep a lion as a pet. All of these things (and so much more) are huge risks that the insurance company is simply done paying for. Therefore, they decide to cancel their policy with the Addams family.

At the same time, Fester is feeling inadequate and wants to become more of an independent man. So, he decides to get a job. Turns out, he gets a job at the very same insurance company that just dumped his family's policy. While Arthur J. Henson, manager of the insurance company, struggles to keep the Addamses away from his business, Fester winds up selling a new policy to Gomez. This is an episode that requires us to feel sympathy for a smug businessman over the titular characters, because they've put him through so much trouble. That's understandable, but it just doesn't stick. Luckily, Henson does get his comeuppance in the end, but we spend far too much time with him during the rest of the episode.

11. Best: The Addams Family Goes to School

"The Addams Family Goes to School" is the very first episode of "The Addams Family." It sets up the show's format and many of the jokes that are revisited later on. Even though it's many decades old, it still feels as fresh as it must have to the viewing public of 1964. The plot couldn't be simpler: A school administrator visits the Addams family to remind them that their children Pugsley and Wednesday need to attend school. After he meets the entire family (and is mentally scarred by them), Morticia agrees the children should attend school, even though Gomez is convinced it's a terrible idea.

All this is fine, but the episode really gets good once the children actually enroll. Wednesday comes home crying from her first day at school, grievously upset about a fairy tale where a knight slays a dragon. Gomez and Morticia are shocked that reading material promoting violence against defenseless dragons (and witches!) would be allowed in any school. This episode may have been designed to highlight how strange the Addamses are, but today, it proves how timeless certain culture wars truly are. Just imagine the field day modern news outlets would have with a family that wants to ban fairy tales.

10. Worst: My Son, the Chimp

Season 1's "My Son, the Chimp" has a funny concept: Uncle Fester thinks he's turned Pugsley into a chimpanzee. In a better episode, this might have led to scenes in which Gomez and Morticia try to get Pugsley to go to school, or perform in some kind of play that gets ruined because he's actually a chimpanzee. There could have been hilarious hijinks where they attempt to keep his ape status a secret from someone important. It might have been hilarious.

But this episode does none of these things. There are absolutely no stakes whatsoever: Pugsley is not a chimp at all. He just falls into a secret room, where he spends his time reading comic books. He's not in any danger, and neither is the chimp or the family at large. They think they are, but that just results in flat scenes of them acting ridiculous while trying to figure out how to get Pugsley back. It's not a total loss, though — the chimp is pretty adorable and spurs a few chuckles when the camera cuts to him reacting to something absurd.

9. Best: Lurch's Grand Romance

Remember, once more, that meme where people put all kinds of music over a clip of Wednesday Addams teaching Lurch to dance? That's in this episode. If there's one thing "The Addams Family" proves, it's that putting Lurch in uncomfortable situations is a recipe for success. There's just something about his stone-faced, imposing demeanor and rumbling voice that makes seeing him squirm really entertaining.

In Season 2's "Lurch's Grand Romance," the Addams family is visited by Trivia, an old friend of Morticia's. Although Fester and Gomez can't see what makes this woman so special, Lurch immediately falls for her. Trivia makes no secret of noticing his affection, but the thing is, she's not interested in romance. No, her only love is show business — she hasn't any time for a petty thing like a relationship.

Even though there's no chance Lurch will convince her to date him, the Addams clan still tries to coach him in the ways of wooing a woman. Grandmama becomes so desperate to help, she gives Trivia a love potion. Of course, it has unintended consequences — hilarious, endearing consequences. Lurch's goal is hopeless, but again, it's nice — and incredibly fun — to see everyone working together to help him.

8. Worst: Morticia, the Sculptress

Just as pushing Lurch to do things that make him uncomfortable results in good episodes, giving an Addams an interest in art or making them worried about money spells doom. In Season 2's "Morticia, the Sculptress," Morticia tries her hand at sculpting and discovers she enjoys it. Everyone else thinks her work stinks, but they're far too polite to say so. Hoping he might be wrong, Gomez brings in an art critic who attacks the sculpture. Not wanting to make his beloved wife feel bad, Gomez then hires a despicable con artist named Sam Picasso to pretend to sell her art.

Here's how the plan works: Gomez buys the sculptures himself (for a ridiculous amount of money), then pays Picasso to haul them away. He does this so often that the Addams family starts going broke. Everything turns out okay in the end, but the rest of the episode is a dull and unfunny slog. There's just something disappointing about seeing a man like Gomez Addams, with all his outlandish interests, suddenly worry about something as common as money.

7. Best: Christmas with the Addams Family

Holiday episodes can be hit or miss. If you nail the spirit of the occasion, the installment can become a timeless classic that fans watch year after year. If not, it becomes the episode most viewers skip when attempting a rewatch. Season 2's "Christmas with the Addams Family" is a heartfelt example of the former category. Here, the family (and Lurch) works hard to maintain the magic of Christmas for Pugsley and Wednesday after a neighbor informs them that Santa Claus doesn't exist. 

In the grand scheme of things, Santa seems like a strange character for the Addams family to care about. He's a mainstream icon of traditional joy and happiness — wouldn't they rather their kids look forward to being visited by a frightening holiday monster like Krampus? Perhaps, but it's Christmas. Why not lean into it? Not only does this episode have an adorable twist where all the adults individually dress up like Santa without telling each other, it ends with the suggestion that Santa really does exist in this fictional world. Then, the whole thing caps off with the cast singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" directly to the camera. Corny? Sure. But that's the magic of it.

6. Worst: The Addams Family Splurges

Season 1's "The Addams Family Splurges" is another abysmal money episode. The only reason it's better than "Morticia, the Sculptress" is because this episode's money concerns are rooted in a desire to take a trip to the moon, which sounds like a very Addams thing to do. Bored with taking vacations all over the world, the Addams family decides it would be far more interesting to spend some time on Earth's barren satellite. When their accountant Ralph J. Hulen informs them that such a trip would be prohibitively expensive, they concoct a scheme to bet on horse races and take home the necessary cash. If they win every bet, they'll make billions.

Hulen assumes this little plan of theirs won't work, but it does. They start raking in winnings that climb into the millions. Now, Hulen is worried that his company is really going to have to pay up, and he tries to weasel out of it. However, it turns out he doesn't have to, because they make one bad bet and lose everything. It's a strange ending: The slimy accountant kind of wins, even though he's the antagonist. It's like the episode wants us to side with him instead of the characters we actually care about.

5. Best: Lurch, the Teenage Idol

Lurch learns to dance, falls in love, and in Season 1's "Lurch, the Teenage Idol," becomes a musical sensation. Nearly every episode of "The Addams Family" features at least one scene of Lurch playing the piano, and that's how this episode begins. But for the first time, the Addamses get the idea that he might have what it takes to become a successful recording artist.

At first, the studio wants nothing to do with the butler's music, but when they hear him play, they sign him immediately. Lurch gets famous overnight. Teenagers start lining up outside the Addams family's home, desperate to see their new favorite performer. His music is so popular, he gets booked on a world tour. The only problem is, he'd have to leave Gomez and Morticia to embark upon it. There's a current of satire about the '60s music industry running through this episode that is somewhat lost when viewed decades later. What does still work is Lurch's reluctance towards and eventually acceptance of his fame, and the heartbreak it elicits in the family he's grown to love.

4. Worst: The Addams Family Meets the Undercover Man

There's no way to sugarcoat this: Season 1's "The Addams Family Meets the Undercover Man" is one of the most pointless episodes the series ever produced. Here, the Addamses use a C.B. radio-esque contraption in their basement to communicate with people all over the world. Since they're a family of kooks, all the things they say sound like nonsense. But when the American government intercepts these communications, they become convinced they're spies broadcasting in code.

To find out more, they send in undercover agents. The first is a kind postman, while the second is a plumber. The bulk of the episode features these two men wandering around the house and getting scared by things. That's it. Basically, the entire episode is the first 10 minutes of Episode 1. There's a small twist at the end, but it's pretty inconsequential. The funniest line in the whole thing is when the intelligence agent says, "The United States' intelligence makes a point of never being too sure about anything." It's a solid quip, but it can't save this stinker.

3. Best: Halloween with the Addams Family

Season 1's "Halloween with the Addams Family" is the show's first holiday-themed episode, which makes perfect sense. If there's one holiday everyone should associate with all things creepy and spooky, it's Halloween. The surprising thing is, this episode isn't an all-out extravaganza. It's a surprisingly small story with just enough holiday touches to create effective ambiance.

When two criminals played by Skip Homeier and legendary comedian Don Rickles flee the scene of a crime, they hide out in the Addams family's home. Since it's Halloween, the crooks aren't surprised by the family's appearance — they just think they really like the holiday. When they realize they're weird and rich, they decide to rob them too.

An episode like this could have been a series of scenes where the criminals look for things to steal and get scared by the creatures lurking in the halls — but it's not. Instead, it's two bad guys getting outsmarted by a disembodied hand. While the rest of the family is oblivious to their guests' intentions, Thing pops up wherever it can to make sure the robbers don't succeed. It's a fun, humorous, and entertaining episode that can easily be watched every October 31st.

2. Worst: Art and the Addams Family

Season 1's "Art and the Addams Family" is really bad. Specifically, it's an unfunny, structurally nonsensical bore, with a very annoying antagonist. This is where we meet Sam Picasso, who also appears in "Morticia, the Sculptress." That episode is a slightly better remake of this one, which is just miserable. Grandmama has taken to painting, but is quite bad at it. To help her out, Gomez tries to hire Pablo Picasso. Instead, he gets a con man named Sam.

Poor and starving, Sam visits the Addamses and is (of course) horrified by them. That's the joke — he spends the entire episode afraid. Each attempt to help him relax just makes him more frightened. It turns out that Wednesday is an okay painter, but Sam gets all the credit for it. That's how this episode ends: A guy lies to the nice people who give him food, money, and a place to stay, then takes credit for their daughter's work. Now, the joke could be that the Addams family is just too quirky to notice or care that they're being had, but that's a pretty weak punchline to an already boring episode.

1. Best: Morticia's Romance

In the midcentury era of largely disposable episodic television, a story that could support two episodes was bound to become a classic. Such is the case with the Season 2 two-parter "Morticia's Romance." When nobody in the Addams residence can sleep, Gomez and Morticia regale them with the story of their sweeping romance. It doesn't begin the way you might expect: At first, Gomez was betrothed to Morticia's peppy, conceited, and inhumanly strong sister, Ophelia.

Gomez, battling bronchitis, doesn't want Ophelia, or anyone else ... until he meets Morticia. The second he sees her, he's on top of the world. Unfortunately, his mother and Morticia's (memorably played by Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West in "The Wizard of Oz") have already made the arrangements — Gomez has to marry Ophelia. As this story unfolds, we also learn that Gomez and Thing have been friends since he was a child, and get to see the moments Gomez meets Fester and Morticia meets Cousin Itt. Beyond offering great insight into how the Addams family began, this episode delights in showcasing Carolyn Jones, who pulls off the dual role of Morticia and Ophelia. If you're looking to revisit "The Addams Family" and can only watch one episode, it should be "Morticia's Romance."