Friday, October 22, 2021

Power Rankings: The Munsters!

This might be the most ludicrous attempt yet in our exclusive series of power rankings. Because there are so many incredible characters? Er, not quite. On the contrary, the series relies on a small core of individuals, and it's hard to fill out a credible list of 10, not to mention the obvious separation at the very top.  The lack of recurring characters on The Munsters (Sorry to Herman's boss Mr. Gateman, who just missed the list) means we had to break our rule and include several people with a mere one appearance. 

With all that in mind, we're doing it! The Munsters episode of the podcast this season was our first official look back at the pre-BOTNS era, so we want to pay tribute to the series with an arbitrary ranking of the characters! We will incorporate The Munsters Mini-Movie but not other movies, Munsters Today (still waiting for you to let that one out again, NBCComcastUniversal), etc. So, no, Roger from Munster, Go Home, played by Original Genius Robert Pine, is not eligible.

And remember how this works: This given week, if these characters were to face off against each other on a neutral court in Transylvania, who would win? Let's get after it because this might be a road after the top several entries!

1) Herman Munster: The top spot is a battle between two individuals, and while I won't argue with anyone who wants to put Grandpa at #1--I mean, it's Al freakin' Lewis--this is Fred Gwynne's show without a doubt. Even Grandpa is funnier in his scenes with Herman due in part to Gwynne's reactions.  Yet Herman itself is a hilarious and memorable character in his own right, which is a great achievement considering he is based on an even bigger icon--and I don't mean Francis Muldoon.

2) Grandpa: And give Lewis credit because he is also amazing in his own right while serving as the perfect foil for son in law Herman. He's one of the great supporting characters in sitcom history and a solid runner-up to the star of the show.

3) Lily Munster: No disrespect to Yvonne De Carlo nor to the rest of the cast, but there is a huge dropoff after the top two. It's through no fault of the supporting castmembers; the creative team just figured out what the heart of the series was and ran with the dynamic duo (Hey, maybe someday we should do Batman...). De Carlo did have some spotlight episodes, and Lily had her share of good lines, but many times she was more of a point guard, distributing assists to the heavy hitters.

4) Eddie Munster: I'm on record as having been irritated by many child characters when I was watching reruns as a child, so I give Butch Patrick his props because Eddie was one of the better ones out there. Many of the show's best episodes revolve around Eddie, so he earns his number 4 slot.

5) Marilyn Munster: Beverly Owen...Pat Priest...Talk about "thankless role." Marilyn was fine, but she barely got more than the one-joke premise of her being the outcast of the family--a good joke, but Marilyn is this high due to her status as regular and the overall lack of depth.

6) Spot: The faithful family pet got his chance to shine in 1973's The Mini-Munsters, the only core character to get a boost from that Saturday morning movie (I wasn't a big fan of the teenage rockin' Eddie).

7) Uncle Gilbert: If there's one character whose underuse is abominable, it's Uncle Gilbert, whose reveal in the one episode in which he appears is one of the great moments in the show's history.

8) Dr. Dudley: The Paul Lynde version of the Munster family doc is the one that gets him the eight spot, but Dom DeLuise did take on the role in the second season.  Lynde's 3 appearances helped establish the role "civilians" would play in the series.

9) The Raven: He's just like one of the family! In this family, the ability to land a wisecrack or 3 comes in handy. Mel Blanc's voice helps make it a memorable part of the household.

10) Uncle Charlie: That handsome devil may look like Herman, and he may kinda sound like him, but he ain't no Herman. However, he's kind of a likable rogue, right? Twin brother Uncle Charlie's spot makes "Knock Wood, Here Comes Charlie," one of the standout installments of the classic sitcom.

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