Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Douglas Tibbles
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Val Avery, Leonard Yorr, John Lawrence, Bella Bruck, Edward Mallory, Henry Hunter, John Zaremba, Howard Wendall, Robert Miller, Jon Silo, and Ed Reimers
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 9/23/1965
During an afternoon picnic at Paradise Cove, Herman decides to try his hand at scuba diving. Herman is then captured by the Russians and classified as a “wery waluable anthropological find.”
By accentuating Cold War commentary with idiotic Munster puns, “Herman, the Master Spy” makes delightful use of a classic trope. Additionally worth praising are the lengths to which Grandpa and Lily go in order to rescue Herman, an aspect that exemplifies the familial loyalty inherent to this series.
Upon boarding the enemy boat, Herman assumes that a communication barrier exists between himself and his Soviet comrades—a comedic device that sets the stage for plenty of good, clean misunderstanding humor. Most notably, Herman offers a greeting in both Spanish and French, prompting the Russian crew—at least several of whom are eventually revealed to speak fluent English—to believe that the “sea monster” has a language “all his own.” Also entertaining are the Soviets’ wild attempts to rationalize the existence of Herman; specifically, the Munster patriarch is at first categorized as a missing link between fish and man, only to later be mistaken for a hideously disguised American agent.
Though initially clever, Herman’s antics on the Soviet trawler become quite silly over time.
“Herman, the Master Spy” effectively satirizes both superpowers involved in the Cold War, thereby avoiding the appearance of an American propaganda piece.
While leading the Soviet officers in song and dance, Herman encapsulates the absurdity of his interactions with “normal” members of society. For this reason, “Herman, the Master Spy” should be viewed by fans of The Munsters.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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