Director: Joseph Pevney
Writers: James Allardice, Tom Adair, Joe Connelly, and Bob Mosher
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Don Rickles, and Joyce Jameson
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 2/18/1965
After learning of a parents’ night at Marilyn’s school, Herman and Lily ask their niece why she didn’t invite anyone to accompany her. Marilyn explains that the event would involve dancing, which was never one of Herman’s strong points. In order to avoid disappointing Marilyn, Herman takes dancing lessons from two con artists known as Happy Havemeyer (Don Rickles) and Miss Valentine (Joyce Jameson), both of whom manage to trick their newest patron into signing up for ten years of classes. Predictably, Herman doesn’t realize he’s been conned and instead believes that the school wishes to employ him as an instructor.
Similar to “Lurch Learns to Dance,” “Dance with Me, Herman” plays off the humorous concept of having a Frankenstein-esque character emulate the dancing trends of mid-1960s America. Unlike the aforementioned episode of The Addams Family, however, The Munsters entry discussed in this review fails to fully realize its potentially amusing premise.
When dancing for the first time, Herman succeeds in lighting the house on fire, knocking a coffee table on its side, and getting his head stuck between the strings of a harp after tripping over the living room couch. These mishaps alone make “Dance with Me, Herman” worth watching, even though many lackluster sequences are present.
In early scenes, Herman’s clumsy and downright hazardous attempts to dance like Gene Kelly will amuse fans of screwball comedy. Unfortunately, the writers decided to switch gears halfway through their narrative, choosing to emphasize the antics of a scam artist and his partner over Herman’s hilarious dancing routine. Had the creators of this episode followed the formula that was previously implemented in “Lurch Learns to Dance,” perhaps a more focused plot could have been crafted around the premise outlined above.
Also disappointing is the fact that Don Rickles’ talents as a comedian were underutilized during his interactions with Fred Gwynne. While a memorable conclusion could have resulted from Happy Havemeyer’s eventual confrontation with the Munster patriarch, Rickles’ characteristic insult humor comes across as excessively cruel when directed at Herman.
A clever but forgettable episode, “Dance with Me, Herman” will appeal to diehard fans of the eponymous character. That being said, Rickles’ poor chemistry with Gwynne may disappoint those who admire the comedic abilities of both actors, while a scattered narrative further hampers the quality of this installment.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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