The Creepy Way ABC Decommoditized The American Family

One of the defining characteristics of a commodity is when a unique feature becomes so common, that consumers feel they can easily interchange it with other alternatives on the market and not notice a difference.

In television, there is no bigger commodity than the American Sitcom, yet networks continue to crank out this commoditized content in hopes of somehow striking a chord with the viewing audience by changing a small ingredient here and there to try and make it “different.”

In 1964 ABC took a chance and aired something truly unique, a show that purposely flipped the script and challenged everything the audience knew about the typical American family. A show that spawned a character so perfectly differentiated he quickly became an idol to me.

When the sky was blue, he called it gloomy. When it was dark and stormy, he’s packing for the beach. Rain, well rain was just heavenly.

Independently wealthy, gorgeous wife, tight-knit family and hobbies galore. Who had it better than Gomez Addams? 

Gomez had all the makings of a supervillain. An outlier in a big creepy house who not only looked different physically but was also philosophically and fundamentally unlike everyone else on the planet.

YET, Gomez relentlessly welcomed every one of every lifestyle with open arms even when they were outright opposed to his… which was pretty much always. His grasciousness never felt forced, underhanded or like pandering because Gomez was authentic… a key ingredient in being a differentiator.

Gomez’s super power was inspiring authenticity. He gave courage to other outliers to differentiate themselves in the pursuit of success.

With the first US sitcom starting in 1926, we are approaching 100 years of this style of entertainment. 1000’s upon 1000’s of character’s later, its Gomez and his family of differentiators that continually are brought back from the dead in the form of feature films, Broadway musicals, animated series, video games and more even a new Netflix series. 

Why? I think it’s because as outlandish as they seem to be there is at least a little bit of the Addams in every one of us. Deep down you’re either rooting for the differentiator or you’re wanting, waiting or destined to become one.

So, I close out this video with the Addams Family mantra and very suitable war cry of

“Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc”

Roughly translated: We will gladly feast on those who would subdue us.

Snap Snap.

Jesse James Wroblewski

Differentiation Consultant

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