The Munsters Episode 39: Herman’s Child Psychology

General Information

Director: Ezra Stone

Writers: Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher

Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Gene Blakely, Michel Petit, Bill Quinn, and Lee Henry

Composer: Jack Marshall

Air Date: 9/16/1965

 

Overview

Eddie is convinced by friend Charlie Pike (Michel Petit) to leave home, prompting Herman to employ “child psychology” that he learned from Leave It to Beaver. the-munsters-hermans-child-psychologyAfter Herman’s chat with Eddie predictably backfires, the big oaf scours a nearby cave while searching for his son and returns with the offspring of an escaped circus bear.

When contrasted with the kind and patient responses of Herman, Lily, Grandpa, and Marilyn, Eddie’s bratty, rebellious attitude may induce cringing from audiences of a sensitive inclination. Fans of The Munsters are nevertheless advised to view this episode, which derives comedic value from another one of Herman’s idiotic blunders (i.e. mistaking a baby bear for Eddie).

 

Pros

For providing Yvonne De Carlo with an opportunity to showcase her exquisite singing voice, the Munster family’s macabre rendition of “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree” should be commended.

 

Cons

By overemphasizing Olga the Waltzing Bear (actually Janos Prohaska in a cheap costume) and her interactions with the Munster patriarch, “Herman’s Child Psychology” will the-munsters-hermans-child-psychologylikely elicit groaning rather than hysterical laughter as intended. Also problematic is the fact that Olga agrees to befriend Herman, a plot twist that borders on absurd even by the goofy creative standards typical of this series (if Olga—a 500-pound bear willing to defend her cub at any cost—had instead panicked and run away upon sighting Herman for the first time, an ending more consistent with The Munsters’ traditional style of humor might have ensued).

 

Analysis

Though justified by peer pressure, Eddie’s reprehensible behavior serves only to undermine the wholesome values exemplified by the Munster family. the-munsters-hermans-child-psychologyThat being said, a display of reconciliation in the final scene will appeal to those who admire the Munsters for their loving, albeit kooky, relationships with one another.

 

Concluding Comments

A silly episode, “Herman’s Child Psychology” forgoes a clever, coherent approach to storytelling in favor of jumping randomly from one asinine situation to the next. Viewers who enjoy crude special effects may, however, find amusing Olga’s reaction to Lily, who mistakenly accuses Herman of philandering with the bear.

 

Overall Quality: 6/10

 

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