American Monsters

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"American Monsters"

I’m not usually exceptionally fond of either contrarianism or remakes, but I’m going to buck a trend here and say I’m kind of excited about a darkish reboot of The Munsters. We’re certainly seeing a bit of a trend towards the horrifying on television this fall: if American Horror Story can sell people on Connie Britton eating brains, I guess anything is possible. And Grimm is doing something I appreciate, increasingly partnering up straight-man-to-the-point-of-invisibility Nick with a Big Bad Wolf. But both Ryan Murphy’s wannabe-transgressive drama and NBC’s semi-bland procedural essentially use monsters in the same way, to test the extent to which there’s a bit of a wild thing inside all of us normals before reasserting our essential humanity. Instead, I’d like to see a show about what it’s like to be a monster in America, something as proudly but a little less triumphalist than The Addams Family. What does it mean to grow up really, profoundly different, without the promise of a big-city gay community or the rise of hipster glasses as a fashion trend to power you through? What does it mean to find your community — and your family — and what would you do to protect it from outsiders? America’s pretty quick to kill or assimilate the things it sees as monsters. We’re less good at making art that at the things we can’t eliminate easily or decisively.

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