Director: Ezra Stone
Writer: Dick Conway
Cast: Fred Gwynne, Yvonne De Carlo, Al Lewis, Pat Priest, Butch Patrick, Charlie Ruggles, Irwin Charone, and Francis De Sales
Composer: Jack Marshall
Air Date: 11/25/1965
In order to accept his promotion as a hearse driver, Herman must pass a standard driving test. When doing so proves difficult, Grandpa takes Herman to a rural DMV operated by Charlie Wiggins (Charles Ruggles)—an idiotic, visually impaired magistrate whose hijinks resemble those of Mr. Magoo.
By placing too little emphasis on the incompetent nature of its title character, “Herman’s Driving Test” fails to explore the full potential in Dick Conway’s premise. Fans of The Munsters will, however, appreciate Herman’s driving-course antics, brief though they may be.
In one scene, Grandpa attempts to quiz Herman on the basics of driving etiquette. Fed up with Herman’s inability to answer straightforward questions, Grandpa creates an intersection diagram and requires his son-in-law (represented by an X) to react to a pedestrian (represented by an O). Naturally, Herman assumes that Grandpa has challenged him to a game of tic-tac-toe and responds accordingly—an effective jab at Herman’s lack of focus, understanding, and intuition when faced with difficult problems.
While taking his road test for the first time, Herman zooms around a track in fast motion. In addition to remaining unfazed by the reckless behavior of his student, the driving instructor (Irwin Charone) compels Herman to employ greater speed than before—a suggestion that makes no sense coming from an otherwise competent teacher.
Prior to entering the Groverville Courthouse, Grandpa advises Herman to keep his fingers crossed. Interpreting Grandpa’s advice in a literal fashion, Herman proceeds to contort his digits by force, causing the joints in his hand to audibly crunch while grinding together. A disgusting effect for a family-friendly show, Herman’s “finger-crossing” will induce cringing from those of a sensitive disposition.
Despite bordering on hyperbolic, the determination displayed by Herman serves as a testament to his strength of character—much in contrast to the slothful, self-indulgent father figures featured in the majority of modern sitcoms.
“Herman’s Driving Test” is a mostly worthwhile episode of The Munsters. Especially amusing are the mishaps of Charlie Wiggins, which, though overplayed to the point of ridiculousness, will appeal to fans of small-town humor.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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