Remembering Mockingbird LaneBy RodneyHatfieldJr for Reviews
Oh, how history repeats itself. I have my news notifications set to deliver once a day, and today I had 22 items. 17 of them were pro/cons about the Rob Zombie remake, and I had flashbacks to 2006/07. Everyone was either excited or puppy-kicking mad that Zombie was remaking Halloween. One group raged that the last few Halloween movies were subpar and we needed to relaunch the franchise. However, the other side raged just as hard that Halloween was perfect and you could never outdo the 1978 version. And a small group in the middle who didn’t care either way.
Fast forward to 2021. We are repeating ourselves again. One group is ecstatic that Rob Zombie is giving us a Munster movie. While another group is angry that Zombie of all people is going to direct it. And we have the small group again, not really giving two cents either way. This had me thinking. How can we bring the two groups together? And it dawned on me. Mockingbird Lane. This version of the Munsters was created back in 2012 for NBC. Stop reading if you don’t like spoilers.
Back in 2011 with the success of family-oriented horror movies and TV shows, NBC ordered a Muster's remake for Halloween with an option for a series. They cast Jerry O'Connell as Herman Munster, Portia de Rossi as Lily Munster, Charity Wakefield as Marilyn Munster, Mason Cook as Eddie Munster, and Eddie Izzard as Grandpa. When people read who was cast, especially Herman and how he was to be represented: people lost their minds. Herman would not have the classic Frankenstein look, but a normal person with scars. News of the reimaging was few until the night of October 26, 2012, when it aired.
Herman represents Frankenstein's Monster, with visible scars and a heart that is the only remaining part of his original body; his wife Lily is a vampire, as is her father who is known as Grandpa; their son Eddie is unaware that he is a transitioning werewolf; and finally, there is Lily's niece Marilyn, the kinda normal member of the family, whose mother tried to eat her when she was a baby. Marilyn gives off a serial killer vibe.
The Munsters move to 1313 Mockingbird Lane (into a house of a Hobo Serial Killer) after Eddie attacks his Wildlife Explorers scout troop in werewolf form. Eddie thinks that the event was a bear attack. Grandpa and Marilyn both want to tell him of his true nature, but Herman and Lily want to wait. Eddie thinks there is something wrong with him and fears being a carnivorous monster like his grandfather and mother. Meanwhile, Herman's heart is dying because he loves too hard and needs a replacement. Grandpa (who created Herman for his daughter) plans to kill someone to provide a heart for Herman and a feast of blood for Grandpa. He first plans to kill their new neighbor, but Herman talks him out of it. Then the perfect candidate shows up, scoutmaster Steve, a widower and Eddie's new boy scout troop leader. Steve has fallen for Lily and loves her just as Herman does.
Grandpa invites Steve over to dinner to kill him. Despite the efforts of Herman, Lily, and Marilyn to prevent the killing, Steve dies when Grandpa causes him to fall down the stairs leading to the basement. Herman and Lily finally tell Eddie about his condition, which he nervously accepts. They adopt a pet dragon, Spot to watch over Eddie during his transformations.
I'm old enough to remember the Munsters reruns and all of its clichéd comedy setups. Herman and Grandpa getting into situations and find a way out every week. This "re-boot" fleshes out the characters and gives them life. While there were not as many laughs as in the series, there were enough. One of the best things about this re-boot is the fact that none of the characters is instantly recognizable as a parody of the famous Hollywood movie monsters like the original Munsters series. Yes, we know that Herman is a Frankenstein type of Monster, but he can fit into the real world in this show. Lily, Eddie, and Marylin could quite easily pass as "normal". In this version, Grandpa would just be seen as odd rather than looking like Dracula. And it worked.
It brilliantly mixes comedic, dark, horrific, and family elements together to form something grand. Why this was not picked up is beyond me. It hit all the points in being a solid TV show. I think more than anything it was made before its time. If this came out today and was passed up by the networks, then it would have been grabbed by one of the streaming services. Naturally, I would never review something without telling or showing you where to watch it.
For those of you interested: