“The Munsters” is one of the most beloved TV series of all time. While it only ran for two seasons, each of which boasted 30-plus episodes, the family residing at 1313 Mockingbird Lane wormed their way into our collective hearts. Whether it was Herman’s (Fred Gwynne) antics or Grandpa’s (Al Lewis) latest money-grubbing scheme, the show retooled typical sitcom conventions by running them through a very spooky lens. The entire cast, which also featured Yvonne De Carlo (Lily), Pat Priest (Marilyn, who was originally played by Beverley Owen before she left the show), and Butch Patrick (Eddie), displayed pin-point comedic timing and magnetic onscreen charm. It’s no wonder that “The Munsters” has endured as a timeless relic decades later.
With the release of Rob Zombie’s technicolor film adaptation, we thought it was time to celebrate the Munster legacy. Below, we’ve compiled the 12 best episodes, ranging from the heartwarming to the truly absurd. Like many shows of the era, including “I Love Lucy,” there’s nary a dud in the bunch. So, we certainly had our work cut out for us. Have a seat, curl up with Spot, and let’s get to it, shall we?
Far Out Munsters (Season 1, Episode 26)
Popular garage band The Standells plays a pivotal role in this standout episode. “Far Out Munsters” lives up to its totally groovy title in more ways than one. When the family is approached by a representative for the band, Lily and Herman are reluctant to rent out their home Airbnb-style. However, the band makes it worth their while, and puts them up in a lavish hotel.
Naturally, everything goes wrong, our favorite ghoulish family returns home to find the band is having a party. Thinking they’re dressed up in Halloween costumes, The Standells invite the family to perform. Herman takes the stage for an improvised spoken word piece, while Lily plays the harp and shows off her incredible pipes. Needless to say, the party turns out to be exactly their speed, and they quickly befriend the musical group.
“Far Out Munsters” has all the charm and quirk we’ve come to expect from the show. It’s also a marvel to hear Yvonne De Carlo, a veteran of stage and musical theater, sing her heart out in such a spooky setting.
A Walk On The Mild Side (Season 1, Episode 3)
Bills are mounting, and Herman has never been more stressed. To clear his head, he takes leisurely midnight strolls through the park. Several neighbors spot him on one of his walks and call the police, claiming they’ve seen a brutish monster traipsing through the neighborhood. The police are also on the lookout for a masked purse snatcher who has been terrorizing the community, so this brings everyone out of the woodwork.
A cop decides to be a decoy and dresses up as a woman. During his stakeout, the purse snatcher attempts to mug him, but Herman happens upon the scene and saves the day. The purse snatcher, wearing a stocking over his head, is identified as the so-called monster, and the force gives the policeman-in-disguise full credit for saving the day. Meanwhile, Grandpa tinkers with a new enlarging gadget and accidentally shrinks Eddie in hilarious fashion (think “Bride of Frankenstein”).
As a very early episode in the show, “A Walk on the Mild Side” leaves quite an impression. It’s silly, endearing, and the comedy undeniably sticks the landing. It’s everything you want in a “Munsters” episode.
Herman The Rookie (Season 1, Episode 29)
While playing with Eddie, Herman knocks a baseball eight blocks, and it hits a talent scout for the Dodgers. The agent has been on the hunt for the team’s next superstar player and approaches Herman to sign up for the team. During tryouts, Herman proves he’s more than up to the task, knocking home run after home run and even displaying his apt outfield skills. The other players are so impressed they even ask him for autographs.
Once proper practices start, it turns out that Herman’s supernatural strength is too much for the sport, and he wreaks havoc on the field. From tearing up the astroturf to literally backing into and through the chain link fence surrounding the field, it’s a total catastrophe. Herman is just too much of a force of nature, and he’s abruptly dropped from the team. The last scene comes full circle. Once again playing with Eddie, Herman punts a football another eight blocks, and it pummels a football team agent.
One of the more outlandish scenarios, “Herman the Rookie” works on very level with some wonderfully laugh-out-loud moments.
Lily Munster, Girl Model (Season 1, Episode 33)
Lily feels left out when she notices that Grandpa, Herman, and Marilyn all have hobbies and are busy with their outside lives. Home life doesn’t seem to keep her fulfilled much these days. “I’m just not going to sit around here and deteriorate,” she laments before declaring her desire to get a job. She pours through the classifieds and comes across job postings for a secretary, a nurse, and a bus driver, but nothing seems to work out.
A bit deflated, she eventually stumbles upon a call for fashion models at a local bouquet and schedules an audition. As it turns out, Lily is a natural when it comes to the runaway, and the couture owner is transfixed by her sense of style and the mystery that oozes from her pores. She lands the gig and prepares for an upcoming fashion show. Herman doesn’t necessarily have a problem with Lily working, but her burgeoning modeling career does not sit well with him. As such, he enlists Grandpa to turn him into a rootin’ tootin’ cowboy from Texas. He plans to attend one of Lily’s upcoming fashion shows, with Grandpa on his arm as a blonde bombshell.
Herman’s scheme seems to do the trick, making Lily super jealous. “Lily Munster, Girl Model” is a classic case of lack of communication in their relationship. In the end, both express their feelings, and all is well once again in the Munster household.
Love Locked Out (Season 1, Episode 24)
Believe it or not, but working at the local funeral parlor requires plenty of socializing. An upcoming office party has Lily concerned, but Herman promises to be home just in time for dinner. Well, things don’t go as planned. Much to Lily’s (justified) frustration, Herman drinks way too much and comes home after midnight. Even worse, Herman doesn’t apologize and is put in the proverbial dog house. Days go by. Sleeping on the couch is just not cutting it, but neither Herman nor Lily are willing to budge on the matter.
Instead, Lily suggests they go to a marriage counselor to figure things out. Both attend separately, and each is told the same thing: Apologize and be a better person. That only causes more friction, as they both would like to be perceived as the household peacemaker. To bring them back together, Grandpa hatches a plan and paints Eddie with small dots to give the illusion that he’s deathly sick with the measles. It works! Lily and Herman’s undying love for both one another as well as their son is enough to get them to be honest with each other.
The most fascinating aspect of “The Munsters” has always been seeing normal, everyday problems in a horror world. Despite their appearances, the Munsters are exactly like any other family. They fight, they make up, and they learn valuable lessons in the process.
Herman The Great (Season 1, Episode 8)
Feeling pressured to save money for Eddie’s college education, Herman moonlights as a pro-wrestler named The Masked Marvel. He keeps it under wraps, except when it comes to Grandpa, who helps him train and serves as his ring-side champion. Herman has the strength to be a champion, of course, but he’s a big ol’ bleeding heart. During his matches, his opponents plead with him and tell him an assortment of sob stories. Feeling bad for them, Herman throws his matches.
It all leads up to the final match of the season, during which Herman is drugged with sleeping pills by his opponent. Grandpa notices that Herman is off his game from the start. To distract the crowd, Grandpa casts a spell that makes the arena catch on fire. Herman removes his mask to make an announcement about what’s going on, and the crowd flees to safety.
Herman always tries to do right by his family, even if that means keeping his well-meaning endeavors a secret. His unconditional loyalty may lead him astray, or to do wacky things, but his heart is in the right place. “Herman the Great” exemplifies exactly how much of a teddy bear Herman really is, and why we love him so darn much.
Bronco-Bustin’ Monster (Season 2, Episode 3)
The Frontier Days festival is quickly approaching. Unbeknownst to Herman, Eddie enters his father into the bronco contest, believing him to never be a coward. However, Herman is absolutely terrified, and rightfully so. Lily has deep concerns as well, but Eddie tells his dad that he’s always been so proud of him. Herman can’t possibly back out now.
As he always does, Grandpa has a plan, cooking up a magical pill to transform himself into Herman’s talking horse for the upcoming bronco bust. However, what he doesn’t know is that a competitor has brought along an unruly steed named Volcano that will surely cost Herman the contest. They don’t know Herman very well, though; Herman excels with flying colors, staying in the saddle the longest and winning the grand prize.
“Bronco-Bustin’ Monster” is a must-see episode about those times when you just have to tell your kids no. Even children as adorable as Eddie need boundaries. Fortunately, Herman is Herman. He can withstand pretty much anything.
John Dee Munster (Season 2, Episode 9)
During an afternoon stroll, Herman wanders through downtown, where a few workers are lifting a safe into an apartment. The men accidentally drop the safe, and it knocks Herman unconscious. When he wakes up, he has severe amnesia and can’t remember his name. He’s swiftly transported to the police station and held until someone comes forward to identify him. When Lily learns the news, she calls the station, but is told she must petition the court for custody. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.
Believing himself to be Lily’s adoptive son, Herman becomes Eddie’s new pal, but it doesn’t go over too well. Eddie and Herman fight over Eddie’s toys, leading to a clash among the family. Days fall one into another, and it appears that nothing can bring Herman back to reality. One afternoon, though, Eddie climbs out onto the roof as he wants to try to get his kite even higher in the sky. The family freaks out; it’s enough to pull Herman back down to earth. He immediately recalls everything, and shouts for his son to return to safety.
Even when the scenarios are absolutely outrageous, “The Munsters” has a way of imparting heartfelt messages about family and love. “John Dee Munster” is no exception.
Eddie’s Brother (Season 2, Episode 27)
“Eddie’s Brother” may be the most true-to-life episode of the show’s whole run. After Eddie expresses his desire to have a baby brother, Herman attempts to be his pal. As you might imagine, it’s an utter disaster. Herman breaks Eddie’s toys — in the end, it’s just not the same as having a younger sibling.
So, Grandpa builds a child robot named Boris to give Eddie some companionship. Things go off without a hitch, at least at first. However, as the family gives Boris more and more attention, Eddie grows increasingly jealous of his new “brother.” Late one night, Eddie spies Herman reading Boris a bedtime story, and Eddie gets so upset that he dashes out the front door and hides in the tree in the front yard. Lily and Herman tear the house apart, desperately searching for their son.
With help from Spot, the family guard-dragon, they follow Eddie’s scent into the front lawn. Ultimately, Eddie was just feeling neglected and lonely. That’s nothing that a warm family hug can’t cure.
Happy 100th Anniversary (Season 2, Episode 6)
Herman and Lily’s 100th wedding anniversary is coming up. Both believe that the other has completely forgotten about it, and decide to go all out on presents. As a result, the bank receives two different checks worth $1,000 apiece. The clerks say that the Munsters have insufficient funds and return them, leading to Herman and Lily seeking part-time jobs to make some extra cash.
Answering job postings in the newspaper, Herman and Lily end up working as welders in the same shipyard, but neither knows exactly what the other is doing. Masked up and wearing welding helmets, they don’t realize that they’re working side-by-side, and begin flirting with one another. You can probably guess how this turns out.
Lily and Herman soon realize what’s going on and confront each other about flirting with another person. Marilyn points out that perhaps it’s fate, and that they simply fell in love all over again without realizing it. Even though it’s not literally the 100th episode of the show, “Happy 100th Anniversary” feels like a milestone nonetheless.
Just Another Pretty Face (Season 2, Episode 17)
Herman is always getting into trouble. While tinkering with one of Grandpa’s machines, he is electrocuted by a bolt of lightning and transforms into a “normal” person. That means that he loses his Frankenstein look and appears to be a commoner. Lily is absolutely devastated, and suggests that he get plastic surgery to correct the mishap.
On the way to the appointment, Herman dresses up with bandages (ala “The Invisible Man”). The doctor is concerned, and remarks that he can’t possibly perform such a complicated surgery. Doing what he does best, Grandpa uncovers Herman’s original blueprints and sets about recreating his son-in-law’s initial construction. In his lab, he straps Herman into a metal device and raises him into the air, directly reenacting 1931’s “Frankenstein.”
But things go wrong. Herman now has the body of a woman, and takes a part-time job as a cocktail waitress. Just as he heads out the door, however, he is struck by lightning and returns to his original form. “Just Another Pretty Face” might be straight-up silly, but it makes for great entertainment.
Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie (Season 1, Episode 9)
Herman’s twin brother pays an unwelcome visit in this essential season 1 episode. Charlie, a well-known conman, claims that he has invented a device that can extract uranium from seawater. It’s guaranteed to make the Munsters millionaires. His presentation is convincing enough, but Herman knows better than to fall for one of his schemes. However, Lily is too gullible and hands over $5,000 to buy the contraption.
Charlie then runs into their next door neighbor, Mrs. Cartwright, and decides to sell to her, too. In several hilarious bits, Charlie and Herman both have scenes with the widow, as she believes Herman is playing a not-so-hilarious trick on her. Grandpa, who has been recalibrating the device, eventually fixes the machine, and it actually does turn seawater into uranium. Charlie scams the family right up to the bitter end, but then the device explodes, covering him in soot and ash.
“Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie” is a goofy, entertaining, and endearing piece of television. After all these years, it remains the pinnacle of the show thanks to its top-notch gags and humor.
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https://www.slashfilm.com/1040916/the-best-episodes-of-the-munsters-ranked/ The 12 Best Episodes Of The Munsters, Ranked