Why Every Kid Needs an Uncle Fester
Every great movie and TV series has at least one character that isn't anyone's favorite, but they are absolutely essential at the same time. In "The Addams Family," that role is left to Uncle Fester.
He's creepy, and we're not sure how many crimes he's committed, but the series would lack something without dear Uncle Fester. Wednesday and Pugsley are lucky to have him, and here's why every kid could use an uncle just like him.
No Childhood Would Be Complete Without Mischief
Rules are there for a reason. They're intended to keep us safe, blah blah blah. Limits are also meant to be tested, however, and uncles like Uncle Fester help kids to break the rules, but within reason.
One could argue that letting Wednesday and Pugsley play with poison doesn't qualify as "within reason," but both kids survive their childhoods with their self-esteem and all their extremities intact. Close enough.
Fun uncles are like the more chaotic version of grandparents. They let you get hyped up on sugar just like grandma, and follow it up by helping you build a dirt bike course with old junk from the garage that isn't even remotely structurally sound.
Uncle Fester Teaches Kids Not to Judge a Book by Its Cover
Look at Uncle Fester. Now look at Mary Poppins. Now look back at Fester. Who would you hire as a babysitter? It's not a tough call, but maybe it should be.
Everything about Uncle Fester shouts "stay away," but behind the dark clothing, pallid complexion, and propensity for illegal activities, he's all about family.
In the latest "Addams Family" remake, he also has some welcome character development. This time around, he's on the run after robbing a bank. How many uncles do you know that would risk jail time to show up for their teenage niece? He's unconventional, but he's present.
He Also Proves That the Line Between Good and Evil Isn't Black and White
Unconventional might be an understatement. In the earlier ideations of Uncle Fester, he was a bit of a screwup. He was a little too creepy and kooky even by the Addams Family standards.
Even in Netflix's "Wednesday," he walks the line, trying to eat a student's colony of live bees and hiding in a pile of stuffed animals in a teenager's room. Creepy is right, but he chooses the moral high ground when it counts.
While we're not keen on our kids hanging out with creeps, it's also valuable for them to learn that people aren't either good or bad. Nice people can look intimidating, and scary people can look nice. Being a good judge of character is tougher than it sounds.
Uncle Fester Demonstrates That Sibling Rivalry Isn't Necessary
Uncle Fester is Gomez's older brother, and he lacks many of Gomez's more appealing characteristics. He doesn't have a great head of hair, he's shorter, and his personality is more spooky than suave. He could be bitter and jealous, but he knows he has something to offer that his brother doesn't.
Because of that, he doesn't bother trying to compete with his younger, more traditionally handsome relative. He does his own thing. He's the black sheep of the family, but the family wouldn't be complete without him.
Despite His Quirks, He Has His Priorities Sorted Out
What's the number one job of any caregiver? To keep their charges safe. Uncle Fester does that with Wednesday and Pugsley.
He gives them enough space to have fun and test their limits, but he always appears when they need help.
We're not sure how he does it, but he does, and that's the point.
He Has a Huge Imagination
Half the point of having a cool uncle is that they're part kid themselves. Uncle Fester doesn't take himself, or life, too seriously. He's able to engage with Wednesday and Pugsley like an equal, both in respect and adventurousness.
If your idea of a perfect uncle is the kind that sips a beer while supervising the pool and BBQing, keep looking. Uncle Fester will be in the pool helping the kids test potions on each other.
It's ethically debatable, but so much more fun.
Uncle Fester Is a Fun Uncle, but a Respectful One
One of the few drawbacks of handing your kids off to your brother for the afternoon is wondering if he'll enforce any of your rules, or let the kids run utterly wild. Morticia and Gomez have unconventional rules to begin with. Running with scissors is encouraged, as is playing with your food. And dynamite.
Uncle Fester does let Pugsley and Wednesday play with toys that most parents consider hazardous waste, but he also respects Morticia and Gomez too much to go against their wishes when it comes to their children.
That's more than can be said for a lot of relatives, for sure.
Having an Indestructible Uncle Comes in Handy
The Addams uncle has some bizarre behaviors and habits. For example, his shower is always set to the custom "scalding" setting, and he has a tendency to be magnetic and have metal objects stick to him.
Uncle Fester also has an especially hard head, allowing things like cannonballs to bounce off of his head seemingly harmlessly and putting his head in a vice for fun.
Every Fun Uncle Needs a Few Tricks Up Their Sleeve
Regular uncles try to impress kids with a coin behind their ear, or a cheesy card trick. Uncle Fester has 110 volts of electricity, and if he can power light bulbs, he can probably charge phones too. Instant favorite.
He's also magnetic. Not sure how useful that is in real life, but it's an amusing party trick. Not too many kids can stick their favorite drawings directly to the recipient.
Uncle Fester Proves That Being Part of a Family Is a Choice
Fester first appeared in the original Addams Family sitcom in 1964. At first, he couldn't recall which side of the family he was from. For a while, he was convinced he was Morticia's maternal uncle. When the series was turned into a movie in the '90s, Uncle Fester believes he's actually Gomez's older brother.
23 and Me could clear that up, but that's not the point. Uncle Fester isn't positive that he's even a blood relative of Pugsley and Wednesday, but he chooses to be there for him without question. That's how you know someone's really part of the family.
They show up.
Uncles Offer Something Parents Can't
Parents are irreplaceable, but there are some downsides of the gig. As a parent, you can't be your kid's friend. As an uncle, you have the unique opportunity to be part mentor, part bestie.
If you don't have kids of your own, you have plenty of energy stored up to spoil your nieces and nephews with crazy adventures that their parents are probably too exhausted to deal with.
Thanks for the inspiration, Uncle Fester.
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