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Analysis / Bewitched

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All the possible plots of the show Bewitched:

  1. Darren makes some member of Samantha’s family mad, and they place some kind of spell on him.
  2. Samantha has some kind of “witch disease” that makes her act in strange and inappropriate ways, and Darren has to explain this to the client, usually Charles Lane. Dr. Bombay must be consulted, and is called by incantation.
  3. Aunt Clara or Esmeralda try to cast an innocuous spell, but it all goes wrong because they have witch Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. Samantha has to do something with the witch’s council and somehow brings Darrin into it, grousing all the way.
  5. Some outsider to the witch side of the family (Ex: Gladys Kravitz) sees Samantha or another witch doing magical things and a convoluted explanation must be contrived.
  6. Tabitha innocently does a trick, not understanding that most of the people she interacts with are muggles, and everyone thinks she is gifted in some way—until Samantha can think of a convoluted explanation.

Things you can expect to see on Bewitched:

  1. Charles Lane as the client.
  2. Gladys Kravitz sees everything, and Abner Kravitz sees nothing.
  3. Phyllis Stephens sees everything and Frank Stephens sees nothing.
  4. If Larry Tate sees something, he’ll want a drink.
  5. Somehow the spell on Darrin will be explained as some novel and unique advertising campaign that Darrin has wanted to spring on the client, who will think it is a masterstroke of genius!
  6. Uncle Arthur’s visual puns.
  7. Gladys Kravitz (the Saundra Gould version) trying to spread malicious gossip about the Stevens and particularly Samantha.
  8. Dick Wilson (Mr. Whipple) will appear as a drunk.

Gerard Jones' sitcom history Honey, I'm Home! has some thoughts on the series that are worth quoting.

Bewitched was as antifeminist, antisexual, and procentrist as a sitcom could be. It was, however, peculiarly ineffective in selling its own point of view.... [Samantha] was tempted to use her powers often, usually allowed herself a little magical cheat. She wasn't resisting magic for her own happiness but for Darrin's. She helped him so often with his work and his personal life that we knew he'd never be able to survive without her.... Bewitched was a concession and a plea from American men to American women—or girls. "We know you'd be happier if you broke from domesticity and led the lives you secretly desire," said the men; "but we'd be lost without you. Stay in this life and take care of us poor inferior fellows... not for you sake but for ours."


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