Day 89: “Herman and Lily and Grandpa and Eddie and Marilyn”

For those of you unfamiliar with the names in the title of today’s entry, the Munsters – Herman, Lily, Eddie, Grandpa, and Marilyn – were, with the exception of Marilyn (herself a young, smart, and conventionally attractive blond) – a close-knit, loving, and perhaps surprisingly well-adjusted sitcom family of misfit monsters who, along with Spot, their pet dragon, lived in a decrepit, Gothic-inspired mansion on Mockingbird Lane. They may not have been monsters – not officially, at least – but they were certainly monstrous in their own oddly loveable way. Except for their appearance (and monstrous pedigrees), however, the Munsters were basically like any other mid-century sitcom family.

It was, in many ways, a ridiculous concept and a largely repetitive comedy that arguably outlived its novelty. But it was also – in its own strange, madcap, and irreverent way – a kind of modern-day morality play.

Everyone in the family knew that they were different from the rest of the world (or, perhaps more accurately, that the rest of the world was different from them), but they never let those differences define them or their relationships with others. In fact, many times, they didn’t even understand why others treated them so differently. The Munsters were comfortable with themselves, with one another, and with their own identities, regardless of what other people thought of them. And more than that, they genuinely loved one another (even Marilyn, whose “normalcy” easily could have made her an outsider within her own family).

They never devalued themselves because they were “others” in their society, and that’s admirable. They also never devalued anyone else (normal by our definition of the word but very, very different from the Munsters’ view of normalcy), and that’s even more admirable.

Appearances and expectations weren’t what mattered to them. The things that mattered to them were the things that matter to us all: things like acceptance, compassion, family, kindness, love, and understanding.

Maybe it’s time we all take a cue from Herman and Lily and Grandpa and Eddie and Marilyn and try being a little more monstrous, Munster-style.

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