October 28, 2012

A Visit to Mockingbird Lane



This update of the 1960's show The Munsters revisits the monstrous clan of Lily, Herman, Eddie, Marilyn and Grandpa as they move into the creepy "hobo-murder house" on a sunny street in quiet middle America. A lot of what you love about the campy original series survives including the stair trapdoor and the theme song.

The elements that do change are for the better. Marylin for instance is a lot creepier than I remember. Charity Wakefield plays her with a certain creepy innocence and despite her obvious handicap--sunny blond disposition and lack of obvious monstrosity--she is certainly a Munster through and through. Jerry O'Connell plays Herman like a modern version of the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. He's a self-made monster with a bum ticker because he loves too hard. Finding Herman a replacement heart becomes one of the show's main conflicts.

Far and away, Edie Izzard steals the show as Grandpa. He rocks a version of Gary Oldman's imperial red robes in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula and bakes blood cookies that turn the neighbors into his slaves. I have been a fan of Izzard since his stand-up days and he brings the same comedy to this role. His character is a departure from the original goofy Grandpa and he plays grandpa "D" with a suave, biting humor.

Overall, the aesthetics of the show remind me of another of my favorites, Pushing Daisies--and it turns out the show-turned-special was actually written by Pushing Daisies writer Bryan Fuller--but like that show I doubt this one would have succeeded past a few episodes.

For all it's charm, the episode did leave me wanting more. All the major action is resolved at the episode's end, but it felt more like a pilot that could have spawned more episodes, which is what it was originally intended to be, instead of a standalone piece. So much work and money ($10 million to be precise) went into the crafting the world of the show and I am disappointed that we won't be invited back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane. Or will we? 

Watch the special on Hulu
 

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