I know that The Addams Family are one of the more famous families in the American zeitgeist, but after watching The Addams Family (1991) and The Addams Family Values (1993), I still think they are highly underrated. The electricity exuberating from Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday, and Pugsley made me wish at least 15 more live-action films were made before Raul Julia’s passing.
Every member of this family is a living legend, but the character who really captures the audience’s attention is Gomez. Raul Julia’s performance definitely plays into the extremely loveable nature of him, but the scripts of both films give him a fully realized character to dive into. Gomez is not like the other husbands: he worships Morticia, supports his children in their personal lives, and outwardly displays his affection for his brother Fester. This is Gomez’s world and we’re all just living in it.
Let’s first discuss the elephant in the room (or the bat, I would say): the romance between Gomez and Morticia. In a scene where Morticia is reminiscing on their courtship, she reminds Gomez that they met at a funeral, and everything bloomed from there. What a perfect meeting for a couple obsessed with everything dark and morbid. Speaking of which, for a family obsessed with death, these two are extremely happy together and show us a romance that is completely healthy and equal, something quite shocking for a film series in the 90s. We see the same themes in Wednesday’s courtship of Joel in The Addams Family Values. There is no stalking, no idealized fantasies: both couples are based in reality, no matter how outrageous their romantic gestures.
Gomez consistently goes out of his way to continue to woo his own wife. The sexual tension between the two is never hidden and is prominent enough to make any viewer blush. To see this level of consistent intimacy between a married couple on screen is rare! Let alone in a Halloween film about a scary goth family. Gomez is always taking Morticia up on her seductive challenges and levels her up every time. The majority of their kisses include Gomez sweeping her off her feet into a dip and giving her the grand kiss of her life. Multiple times. He does ballroom dance with her in public, never shying away from how gigantic his love is. He WOULD die for Morticia, and he says that out loud. Every one of his actions is evident that this is completely true and I have no doubt that he would die over and over again for her!
Rather than following the expected pattern of hyper-masculine rage, whenever Gomez is upset, he plays with trains! In the first film, when he begins to pick up on clues that Fester may not be Fester he rants his frustration to Thing, the sentient hand who lives with the Addams as a pet, and speed races his model train around the track. It’s evident that this is a coping strategy that only occurs with extreme anger, because when the rest of the family hears the noise, they immediately know that something is wrong. Gomez refuses to take out his frustration and complicated emotions out on the members of his family through violence and rage and instead knows to find a coping mechanism that is not harmful to others.
Gomez is a striking man of many creative suits, looking his best at any hour of the day. His over-the-top romantic gestures are only a testament to how much he cares about his wife and he consistently goes out of the way to fight for the safety and happiness of every member of his family. Gomez is smart, emotionally intelligent, and unapologetically himself, even if that may go against the rigid expectations of masculinity. This is for you Gomez and Raul Julia, thanks for all the laughter and heart!