Bewitched

23 Jun

It’s here! My Season 1 Bewitched DVD set. 36 episodes! Boy, TV has changed a bit in the last 40 years, hasn’t it?

Well, that goes without saying. I happened to catch one of the old B&W episodes of Bewitched on my parent’s cable while I was out of town, and it was one of those *annoying* episodes where Samantha comes up with a great idea for one of Darren’s ad campaigns and he passes it off as his own without batting an eye and the episode ends with them hugging and her saying how she doesn’t want his job, she just wants to be the PerfectLittleAverageHousewife for her big super-star Ad Exec man.

WTF??

You’d be nobody without her, buddy.

It made me think twice about buying the DVD set instead of being patient and waiting for Netflix to notice it’d been released. But I’ve liked this show for a LONG time and have only caught episodes here and there in a totally RANDOM order and I wanted to see it in the order it originally aired for once. Plus, only $27.00 bucks.

I think what ultimately makes this show tolerable is despite the episode-ender “important lesson” lip-service to “You-man, me-little-wife”, the show ultimately subverts that message because Samantha’s heritage and strong personality won’t allow her to be an “obedient wife”. Not to mention the support she gets in her liberation from her family, which to a person look askance at the life she is trying to live (and not just the denying her magic, but also the submissive housewife routine as well).

I’m not saying this is a feminist show, ’cause I don’t think it is, at least not consciously. But it’s one of those shows like I Love Lucy that gets its energy and charm from the Wacky!Disobedient!Wife gimmick and says a lot about the transition in attitudes that were going on in pre-1970’s America.

The real reason I like the show is I have a soft spot for supernatural family stories.

Well, duh.

36 Responses to “Bewitched”

  1. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 8:47 pm #

    From what I remember I’m sure you’re right. I know I did like the show a lot as a kid.
    ANd man, 36 eppies? Joss owes us a lot of shows then.

  2. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 8:47 pm #

    From what I remember I’m sure you’re right. I know I did like the show a lot as a kid.

    ANd man, 36 eppies? Joss owes us a lot of shows then.

  3. buffyannotater June 23, 2005 at 8:54 pm #

    I think what ultimately makes this show tolerable is despite the episode-ender “important lesson” lip-service to “You-man, me-little-wife”, the show ultimately subverts that message because Samantha’s heritage and strong personality won’t allow her to be an “obedient wife”.
    Exactly, plus the show repeatedly and clearly shows that Samantha isn’t only smarter than Darren but more powerful than him as well…literally. She has talents that he’ll never be able to have, or even comprehend half of the time. And she passes that onto their kids also. So while the whole 60s zeitgeist necessitated the “wife stays in the home” happy ending, it did subvert it on a consistent basis. The whole concept of the show subverts it. It goes even further than I Love Lucy in that regard. Rewatching Lucy now it struck me, despite believing it to be a mostly non-feminist show for many years, that Lucy, in the end, always does get what she wants, and the audience is rooting for her to break out of the housewife routine, just like with Samantha. For every time Ricky tries to “teach Lucy a lesson she’ll never forget,” it’s completely forgotten by the next episode. She or Samantha may not get far by today’s standards, but it’s pretty impressive for the times they were both filmed in.
    Btw, I really want the Bewitched set! I grew up with it too. Blame Thank Nick at Nite. 😉

  4. buffyannotater June 23, 2005 at 8:54 pm #

    I think what ultimately makes this show tolerable is despite the episode-ender “important lesson” lip-service to “You-man, me-little-wife”, the show ultimately subverts that message because Samantha’s heritage and strong personality won’t allow her to be an “obedient wife”.

    Exactly, plus the show repeatedly and clearly shows that Samantha isn’t only smarter than Darren but more powerful than him as well…literally. She has talents that he’ll never be able to have, or even comprehend half of the time. And she passes that onto their kids also. So while the whole 60s zeitgeist necessitated the “wife stays in the home” happy ending, it did subvert it on a consistent basis. The whole concept of the show subverts it. It goes even further than I Love Lucy in that regard. Rewatching Lucy now it struck me, despite believing it to be a mostly non-feminist show for many years, that Lucy, in the end, always does get what she wants, and the audience is rooting for her to break out of the housewife routine, just like with Samantha. For every time Ricky tries to “teach Lucy a lesson she’ll never forget,” it’s completely forgotten by the next episode. She or Samantha may not get far by today’s standards, but it’s pretty impressive for the times they were both filmed in.

    Btw, I really want the Bewitched set! I grew up with it too. Blame Thank Nick at Nite. 😉

  5. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:27 pm #

    Even Star Trek: the Later Shows in the ’90’s gave us a 26-episode season.
    Of course, now that I’m writing two virtual series, I realize 22 is a *lot* of writing. And considering some of my favorite premium cable shows now are giving us meager 12-episode seasons, I’ll give Joss a break on the 22.
    ; )

  6. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:27 pm #

    Even Star Trek: the Later Shows in the ’90’s gave us a 26-episode season.

    Of course, now that I’m writing two virtual series, I realize 22 is a *lot* of writing. And considering some of my favorite premium cable shows now are giving us meager 12-episode seasons, I’ll give Joss a break on the 22.

    ; )

  7. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 9:29 pm #

    that’s true. We are getting less and less (cable shows being the worst offenders) of course they unlike us, have a stable of writers churning this stuff out

  8. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 9:29 pm #

    that’s true. We are getting less and less (cable shows being the worst offenders) of course they unlike us, have a stable of writers churning this stuff out

  9. cjlasky June 23, 2005 at 9:29 pm #

    “Bewitched” is a minefield of cultural signifiers. An onion of cross-generational sexual and social poses. Who is in control of the Stephens household? Sam? Darrin? Endora? Who defines “normality” for the Stephens family, and is either choice–the mortal suburban existence or the endless sybaratic party of the witch–an ideal?
    My memories of Bewitched start with the color episodes, and I was genuinely startled when I saw some of the S1 black and whites. Not because of the absence of color, but because Darrin seemed so much more open-minded, so much more thoughtful about Samantha’s abilities and how they impact his world view. By the time we got to S5 and the new Darrin, the character had already calcified into the popeyed, flustrered conservative adman that Samantha somehow found attractive.
    If you boil it down, the series was about “the woman behind the man”–how even the most talented man needs the little woman back at home to give him balance and straighten him out every once in a while.
    But the very outrageousness of the premise and Elizabeth Montgomery’s charm and beauty always subverted the theme. Darrin’s importance was diminished even as every episode stressed his primacy. (The text was clear, but so was the subtext.)
    And yet, Montgomery’s husband, William Asher, directed every episode, and was in firm control of the series.
    Or was he?
    Layer upon layer, people…

  10. cjlasky June 23, 2005 at 9:29 pm #

    “Bewitched” is a minefield of cultural signifiers. An onion of cross-generational sexual and social poses. Who is in control of the Stephens household? Sam? Darrin? Endora? Who defines “normality” for the Stephens family, and is either choice–the mortal suburban existence or the endless sybaratic party of the witch–an ideal?

    My memories of Bewitched start with the color episodes, and I was genuinely startled when I saw some of the S1 black and whites. Not because of the absence of color, but because Darrin seemed so much more open-minded, so much more thoughtful about Samantha’s abilities and how they impact his world view. By the time we got to S5 and the new Darrin, the character had already calcified into the popeyed, flustrered conservative adman that Samantha somehow found attractive.

    If you boil it down, the series was about “the woman behind the man”–how even the most talented man needs the little woman back at home to give him balance and straighten him out every once in a while.

    But the very outrageousness of the premise and Elizabeth Montgomery’s charm and beauty always subverted the theme. Darrin’s importance was diminished even as every episode stressed his primacy. (The text was clear, but so was the subtext.)

    And yet, Montgomery’s husband, William Asher, directed every episode, and was in firm control of the series.

    Or was he?

    Layer upon layer, people…

  11. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:36 pm #

    Before there was Nick at Nite, there was regular syndication on the independent (non-Network) stations. So I grew up with Bewitched as well. But it was so confusing because you’d see (what turned out to be a season 1) episode at 10 am, then (what turned out to be a season 4) episode at 10:30 am. There was no sense of “let’s show this in order”.
    Most of the episodes stand well on their own, so this was never a BIG problem, but as the years went by, I started noticing that Samantha and Darren’s relationship was different depending on what episode it was, and the whole “feel” of the show was different depending on what episode it was and that this had something to do with it being an earlier or later season. Plus society was changing so rapidly in the ’60’s that if you saw two episodes back-to-back from different seasons, it was like you were in another universe in each one.
    So despite the fact that most of the episodes are stand-alone and not “arcy” in any sense we’d recognize, I became more and more interested in seeing the episodes in their original order so I could see the evolution of the show through the social changes going on around them and through the changes in their personal lives (a new baby, a new neighbor, a new relative of Sam’s popping in).
    Owning these is going to be fun, fun, fun!

  12. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:36 pm #

    Before there was Nick at Nite, there was regular syndication on the independent (non-Network) stations. So I grew up with Bewitched as well. But it was so confusing because you’d see (what turned out to be a season 1) episode at 10 am, then (what turned out to be a season 4) episode at 10:30 am. There was no sense of “let’s show this in order”.

    Most of the episodes stand well on their own, so this was never a BIG problem, but as the years went by, I started noticing that Samantha and Darren’s relationship was different depending on what episode it was, and the whole “feel” of the show was different depending on what episode it was and that this had something to do with it being an earlier or later season. Plus society was changing so rapidly in the ’60’s that if you saw two episodes back-to-back from different seasons, it was like you were in another universe in each one.

    So despite the fact that most of the episodes are stand-alone and not “arcy” in any sense we’d recognize, I became more and more interested in seeing the episodes in their original order so I could see the evolution of the show through the social changes going on around them and through the changes in their personal lives (a new baby, a new neighbor, a new relative of Sam’s popping in).

    Owning these is going to be fun, fun, fun!

  13. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:40 pm #

    You want a show where the subtext constantly subverts the text you have no further to look than “Bewitched”. What I’m curious about is how much of that WAS intentional on the part of the writers/producers, and how much of it just came out that way subconsciously, or as a response to the changing social values, or as a result of Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead’s, et al’s acting.

  14. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:40 pm #

    You want a show where the subtext constantly subverts the text you have no further to look than “Bewitched”. What I’m curious about is how much of that WAS intentional on the part of the writers/producers, and how much of it just came out that way subconsciously, or as a response to the changing social values, or as a result of Elizabeth Montgomery, Agnes Moorehead’s, et al’s acting.

  15. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:43 pm #

    Well, we have a small stable over at the Season 6 project, but 22 is still a lot of work for us in terms of planning.

  16. neshaffer June 23, 2005 at 9:43 pm #

    Well, we have a small stable over at the Season 6 project, but 22 is still a lot of work for us in terms of planning.

  17. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 9:58 pm #

    true but you’re planning. I’m fairly sure that’s more than ME did on many occasions

  18. cornerofmadness June 23, 2005 at 9:58 pm #

    true but you’re planning. I’m fairly sure that’s more than ME did on many occasions

  19. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:00 am #

    What’s wrong with sexist sixties TV shows? I like “I Dream of Jeannie”….

  20. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:00 am #

    What’s wrong with sexist sixties TV shows? I like “I Dream of Jeannie”….

  21. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 2:01 am #

    If you have to ask, no answer I could give you would be the least bit informative to you.

  22. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 2:01 am #

    If you have to ask, no answer I could give you would be the least bit informative to you.

  23. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:26 am #

    It was intended in humor.

  24. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:26 am #

    It was intended in humor.

  25. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 2:30 am #

    I know. But I’m feeling a bit snippy today.
    ; )

  26. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 2:30 am #

    I know. But I’m feeling a bit snippy today.

    ; )

  27. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:52 am #

    Gotcha.

  28. randomways June 24, 2005 at 2:52 am #

    Gotcha.

  29. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 3:24 am #

    I actually like I Dream of Jeannie, too. Although I think I’ll wait for it to come out on Netflix rather than actually purchasing it.

  30. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 3:24 am #

    I actually like I Dream of Jeannie, too. Although I think I’ll wait for it to come out on Netflix rather than actually purchasing it.

  31. anomster June 24, 2005 at 6:18 am #

    the real difference:
    The Mutant Enemy staff was paid to write/edit/etc. those episodes as their full-time (&, I’m sure, sometimes more than full-time) work. We’re doing Season 6 for no money, in addition to our regular work, be it full-time, part-time, or freelance.
    Damn. We must be crazy.

  32. anomster June 24, 2005 at 6:18 am #

    the real difference:

    The Mutant Enemy staff was paid to write/edit/etc. those episodes as their full-time (&, I’m sure, sometimes more than full-time) work. We’re doing Season 6 for no money, in addition to our regular work, be it full-time, part-time, or freelance.

    Damn. We must be crazy.

  33. buffyannotater June 24, 2005 at 6:53 pm #

    I actually did see them in order, but with a catch. When Nick at Nite first got “Bewitched,” they only had the rights to the original black-and-white episodes, so those are the only ones I saw when I was young. It was years later till I found out that there even were color episodes! So on my first watching I missed out on most of the series and never realized it!

  34. buffyannotater June 24, 2005 at 6:53 pm #

    I actually did see them in order, but with a catch. When Nick at Nite first got “Bewitched,” they only had the rights to the original black-and-white episodes, so those are the only ones I saw when I was young. It was years later till I found out that there even were color episodes! So on my first watching I missed out on most of the series and never realized it!

  35. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 7:10 pm #

    Yeah, since most of the series was in color!
    My favorite confusion is when the actor playing Darren was one guy at 10 am and a totally different guy at 10:30 am.

  36. neshaffer June 24, 2005 at 7:10 pm #

    Yeah, since most of the series was in color!

    My favorite confusion is when the actor playing Darren was one guy at 10 am and a totally different guy at 10:30 am.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: