Written by: Matt Molgaard
Original Air Date: October 8, 1964
I’ve got to make it known: This is one of my favorite episodes of The Munsters. “A Walk on the Mild Side” touches down on some very realistic issues, which plays as something of a contrast to the general concept of the show as a whole. Financial burdens and criminal profiling are prevalent themes and that taps a nerve with me, as they’re both extremely germane issues today, 50 years after the debut of this episode. To know the maniacs behind the classic show were not only fully aware, but willing to speak on a few of society’s profound hiccups in a still insanely sensitive and politically correct United States leaves me feeling quite appeased. It’s nice to see a fearless approach to realistic matters… and it’s extremely interesting to see that the problems of yesteryear are still quite applicable today. This episode is an episode that truly defines the term ahead of its time, though in truth, I wish that wasn’t the case. Wouldn’t it be lovely to live in a world where we weren’t forced to pay $4 for a gallon of gas, or worry about being pulled over by ignorant police officers who’ve reached the conclusion that we’re hardened criminals based solely on the color of our skin or the attire we choose to wear?
Yeah, that would be nice. But if “A Walk on the Mild Side” proves anything, it proves that we’ll probably never see that ideal come to fruition. Existence is expensive, and unwarranted judgment isn’t going anywhere.
This specific story sees Herman struggling with insomnia. The poor Munster just can’t get any rest, so in an attempt to rectify his sleep snags he opts to take late night strolls through Midcity Park. The idea of winding down courtesy of a little exercise and fresh air works quite successfully for Herman’s sleep troubles, but it ignites terror in town as a handful of locals spot the massive man roaming about in the middle of the night, naturally freaking out at the sight of him. The police are alerted by numerous concerned residents and the next thing we know Herman’s making newspaper headlines. Herman doesn’t realize the articles and neighborhood concern centers on Herman himself. But here’s where it gets tricky: There actually is something of a monster lurking in the park. He wears a stocking over his head, and attempts to steal the hard earned cash of innocent bystanders. He’s also about to run into the hulking Herman, and there’s only one way that can go!
There are a series of top notch moments in the third episode of The Munsters. The irony on display is fantastic, some amazingly relevant issues are tackled and we even get a quick stylistic detour. At one point we break the fourth wall as the commissioner turns to face the camera inquiring, “Why couldn’t I have been a fireman, like my mother wanted me to?” It’s genius. So is the willingness to throw a man of the law in full drag. Wildly bold stuff here! If you’ve never taken the time to investigate The Munsters, force yourself to reserve 25 minutes. And when you’ve got that 25 minutes all reserved and you’re contemplating just where to begin, forget episode one – move right on over to episode three. If you’re in search of a timeless chunk of television greatness, you’ve found it. This is a classic piece that’s bound to convince new and or younger viewers that this vintage show passes the test of time, and then some.