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Headscratchers / Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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  • How come Sabrina can use her powers to change the laws of alchemy and allow base metal to become gold, but couldn't clean soda off her homework?
    • One of the few consistent rules of magic on the show is that witches can't magic their way out of Life's Lessons. Be careful with your work and actions have consequences might have been Life Lessons there.
      • That just raises further questions. Let's say that rule didn't exist. She wouldn't be as likely to learn that lesson, right? But what exactly would be the problem with that? If that rule doesn't exist, then that would mean she could just magic her way out of all her problems. And for any problem those life lessons might help her with, wouldn't magic be a much more effective solution? That rule seems to serve no purpose but to encourage learning the solution to a problem that only exists because of that rule. It's easy to think of magic as something special, almost like "cheating" in a way, but really, what's wrong with it? It's just another tool for solving problems, and it just so happens this one is the easiest solution to a great many problems. Just because there's people in the world who aren't fortunate enough to have, say, running water, doesn't mean there's any reason the more fortunate among us need to get used to squatting over holes and using a well. It's perfectly fine to be dependent on something if it makes your life easier and it's something you'll always have. What's so different about magic?
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    • The Witches Council are all sadistic asses who enjoy watching her suffer.
    • If I recall that episode, she gets in trouble with the Witches' Council for altering the laws of the universe. So she can but she's going to get in trouble for it.
  • Did they ever explain why Sabrina keeps trying to utilize magic to solve mundane problems? I mean sure the meta reason is we need her to be dumb for the show, but is there an in-show explanation?
    • Based on the way other witches act (Cloud 10, any number of Sabrina's relatives), Hilda and Zelda are something of an oddity in that they deal with mortal problems in mortal ways most of the time. I think the show inadvertently shows that the witch race is, as a whole, as irresponsible and feckless as Sabrina is, training program and witches' licenses nonwithstanding.
    • When your choices are either do things the slow and hard way, or to just use your magical powers to make a problem disappear instantly, which would you choose? Also, you have to take into account that Sabrina is a teenager, and considering how reckless most teenagers are with mundane things, imagine how much more reckless they'd get if you let them magical powers to use in any way they see fit?
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    • I agree with the above two, but do find it odd especially since she only got those powers as a teen and was perfectly fine until then without them.
    • But Sabrina is shown as being quite lazy through-out the series. At least one episode focuses on her procrastination and in general she seems quite willing to take short-cuts over anything.
      • The fan-explanation seems to be that the main reason Sabrina's powers always end up blowing up in her face is because she lives in the mortal realm. If she lived in the witches' realm, she could be as hedonistic and frivolous with her powers as she wanted.
      • The real problems are that Sabrina is a sloppy spell caster and is lazy when it comes to studying up on magic so she doesn't know any of the magical loopholes and traps until she steps into them. If she actually learned how to use her magic properly she could be as lazy as a normal witch, or as lazy as her aunts would allow.
  • In one episode we get the hamfisted Aesop that Sabrina is such a perfect person that she excels in everything except fulfilling her "girlfriend duties" (It's Not What It Sounds Like, it's stuff like making posters and cookies for Harvey). Her aunts suggest that she breaks up with Harvey to concentrate on other stuff, and she reluctantly agrees. Cue a few episodes of Harvey dating other girls in front of a jealous Sabrina, and they get back together. Um, did she suddenly get less busy? Or was all that other stuff just piled on in a totally arbitrary manner to pull off a "they break up and get back together because the writers have run out of ideas" plotline? Probably.
    • She did become less busy, she stepped down as editor of the paper and other things. And they didn't really break up so much as she had to see less of him. She just got things under control and ended up with more spare time for him.
  • Seriously, what the hell happened to Jenny and Dreama? They were Sabrina's best friends, and then they just vanished. Did we even get any kind of explanation for either of their disappearances?
    • Odds are Dreama fixed her magic problem and just went home, she was there for tutoring, not school or anything, so once her problem was fixed there was nothing keeping her there.
    • As NightmareFuely as it sounds, this is one of the few series were it's safe to say "A Wizard did it"... or a Witch...
    • Let's not forget Valerie either! I was a little sad to not see any of these at the end.
      • Valerie at least got an explanation - her family moved to Alaska, and though she'd planned to stay with Sabrina, she decided to stay with her family. Though they could have at least namechecked her in the finale...
    • The novelization Witch Way Did She Go? has Sabrina encountering fantasy versions of her three friends. She says that Jenny "just sort of went away", implying they lost touch. She says something similar about Dreama, but since there's a massive Time Skip between Seasons 4 and 5, you can assume her magic problems were solved.
  • Sabrina graduating from college after two years. I didn't get the feeling that she was nearing any sort of graduation or program completion at the end of Season Six. It actually feels like the creators saying "we need to change half the cast, so we're changing the premise; screw continuity." It bugs me.
    • That was actually explained as there being a time jump. Don't know how, but it was there.
    • I'm afraid not. I read the transcripts for the last two episodes of the sixth season, no mention of any graduation or the like. The seventh season literally starts the minute the sixth season ended. Here and only here does Sabrina explain that she's graduating soon. Yes, there's probably a time jump covering the aunts moving out and Sabrina moving back in to the old house, but it can't be more than a month or so. Nope, the writers just pulled a graduation out of hammerspace.
      • The very beginning of the first episode of season seven, before the opening credits, Sabrina tells the young Aunt Zelda that she is due to graduate soon.
      • You just have to assume the couple of seasons that show her at college are actually covering more time than first appears.

  • Why did Hilda and Zelda never warn Sabrina about any of the dangerous magical problems and loopholes until after she'd already caused them? At the very least the pancake addiction should have been addressed as soon as it became clear she was a witch
    • What more could they do other than say "Study magic and read your magic book" every episode for years? The pancake thing probably needed some extra warning, but it's not like they weren't trying to teach her.
    • In the pancake episode Zelda does at least say "we should have told you a long time ago", implying the aunts didn't know how to bring it up.
    • Well it's not that unreasonable to think. Hilda and Zelda are hundreds of years old, and there's lots of things about being witches that they take for granted. They've never had to deal with someone who needs everything explained to them. In the pen pal episode Zelda says "everyone knows" that capitalising Pen Pal means you get one from the penitentiary, so she just assumed Sabrina would have as well.
      • As an example there was the whole rule about how saying something three times in a row makes it happen. That could have caused a lot of damage if Sabrina was more prone to whining.

  • Why was Sabrina living with Hilda and Zelda to begin with? I know they volunteered and loved having her there but why was her dad not dealing with her training at first? I know later on they came up with an excuse for it but at first he was just living in the magic book with no real reason to not be helping or taking care of his daughter.
    • I know she can't see her mother and I think she lived with her while her dad was just ambiguously M.I.A.
    • Her father was off in the Foreign Service. It was just a lot more foreign that she knew.
    • Sabrina was previously living with her mother, while Edward was in the Other Realm's equivalent to the Foreign Service. As she neared her sixteenth birthday, she'd be coming into her powers, meaning Diana was in danger of being turned into wax. Hilda and Zelda offered to have her live with them so she could be trained with her powers. The cover story was Diana going on a dig in Peru, and Sabrina could live with the aunts while she finished school.

  • Why didn't Sabrina know about magic? Her dad and aunts were witches and she spent 10 years with him, at least, and spent the last five summers with Hilda and Zelda. They knew there was a good chance she'd become a witch too so why keep her completely in the dark about her, extremely dangerous, powers?
    • Edict by the Witches Council, perhaps? Despite wanting to warn her about what would happen if she failed the first test for her permit, Hilda and Zelda were bound by the rules to keep her in the dark. It's just as likely that they have a rule against telling young witches (or just half-mortals) about their powers.
      • Why would they have any rules about telling people that they have supernatural powers? There's a reason why we tell children about fire, so something stupid and utterly avoidable doesn't happen.
      • The Witches Council rather clearly has a bias against mixed marriages of witches and mortals. It may be a form of discouragement to anyone attempting to even get involved with a mortal, you know, on top of the whole 'ball of wax' crap. If they redtape the hell out of any half-witch/half-mortal child, there's reason right there not to, at the least, reproduce with mortals, because of the barriers they impose on them. It's not nice or reasonable, but show me a governmental body that functions that way.
    • If she has to live in the mortal realm, there's no reason to tell a child about special powers they might have (maybe they would never emerge) until they grow to be more responsible or until they get their first levitation and it's unavoidable.
    • Yeah maybe there's no guarantee she would get her powers at sixteen (Muggle Born of Mages perhaps) so they have to wait until she's that age before they know she's got them.

  • "You have magical powers, and when a witch turns sixteen she can use them!" Yea, wow that's funny seeing as flashbacks to Hilda and Zelda as children as well as cousin Amanda and her little sister seem perfectly able to use magic. Is it ever explained that maybe just half-mortals must wait until they are sixteen?
    • It's mostly implied through the simple fact that Hilda and Zelda warn Sabrina about Amanda having stronger magic than Sabrina in her first appearance. So, yeah, it's because Sabrina's half-mortal that she can't use magic until she's sixteen. Likely more of the Witches Council's issues with half-mortals.
    • I have a theory that full witch children are granted powers by their parents, which is why Marigold's children are seemingly powerless after she loses her powers but Amanda appears later on with her full powers, likely after she reached the age she could us them herself. We have seen instances where Sabrina granted her powers to others before, though usually by accident (both her teacher and Valerie at least).

  • How was Sabrina supposed to solve the rebus about her family without any clues? They were all treating her as if she was lazy (which, granted, she actually was), but there wasn't anything she could have done. It's not like it was just a riddle, and she could ask for another hint. You can't solve a rebus without pictures! And I wasn't under the impression that they would have just given her pictures if she had asked nicely.
    • It actually is shown a few times that she can just contact relatives and ask for clues, she's just lazy about doing that as well. Also, if she'd solved parts of it she could have started guessing. Sure she didn't get the twine clue until the end but "Every member of the Spellman family has a..." only has so many potential outcomes.
    • In fairness to the original poster, though, the Family Secret was "Every member of the Spellman family is born with a..." which has many more possible outcomes (a second head? A tail?). There was also two instances (with Father Christmas and the pirates) where the clues were given to Sabrina by relatives she didn't know she was related to—how do you contact people when you don't know they exist? Secondly, in the one instance where she did try to call someone (her Aunt Dorma), she almost killed Zelda and Hilda while dooming herself to a life of perpetual drowsiness. And finally, several of the clues to the rebus were redundant: the phrase "Spellman family," which you'd expect to be featured in a secret about the Spellman family, took up four individual clues. They could have at least given Sabrina the twine first!
    • If you recall the Aunt Dorma episode, Sabrina called her without asking her aunts about her. There's nothing stopping Sabrina asking the aunts who she should contact - and relatives regularly visited the house specifically to give her clues. Cousin Susie also gives her another clue saying "we all have good parts and bad parts" - so yeah, Sabrina was pretty lazy.

  • In one episode Zelda nearly loses her job at school after they contacted Harvard and found out that the only Zelda Spellman to go there was centuries ago. In order to keep her job Zelda goes through a montage of filing reports and making experiments so she can be accredited. Ignoring the oddity of how that would let her keep her job, why doesn't she simply use her powers to go to Harvard and rearrange things so someone from Harvard could just call the school and tell them that it was a simple clerical error. It isn't as though Zelda didn't earn the degree in the first place.
    • I think Zelda was at first in denial about being fired. It took a Breaking Speech from Salem to get her to admit how upset she really was. So maybe by that point she just didn't think of it.
    • Remember, this is Zelda we're talking about. If there's a choice between solving the problem with a wave of her finger or doing things legitimately with hard work she's going to choose the hard work.

Why are there so many Brady Anderson fans in Massachusetts?
In "Sabrina Through The Looking Glass", both Hilda and Mr. Poole the biology teacher are huge Brady Anderson fans. This isn't so bad until you realize that the series takes place in Massachusetts, home of the Boston Red Sox, a major rival of the Baltimore Orioles, the team Anderson plays for.
  • Maybe one of the writers saw Anderson's Red Sox baseball card(from 1988) and assumed he still played for the Red Sox.

Sabrina's mom
In the Season 5 (or 6 maybe) episode "The Whole Ball of Wax", Sabrina looks at her mom by accident and causes her to turn into a ball of wax, supposedly in accordance with the curse she's under. However, the curse is only supposed to last for a two year period and this episode takes place after that amount of time has passed. What gives?
  • Yeah, I thought it was only two years that Sabrina couldn't see her mother. I was wondering why she didn't see her mother in the latter years. The show pretty much lost me during the college years, so I didn't realize that the law was still in effect. As someone who has a very close relationship with her mother, this aspect of the show has always bugged me.
    • It's made especially bad since it's made vey clear Sabrina should be able to see her mother without consequence once she earns her Witch's Liscence, a process which took her all of seasons 2 and 3, which means it should have been after the two year period anyway.
    • The Witches Council are all sadistic asses who enjoy watching her suffer.
    • The Witches Council are different in season 6. Since they're not seen after season 3, after which Sabrina turns eighteen maybe that's when they got replaced. Somehow the new Council decided to keep the decree going.
      • Or forgot to end it. Other Realm bureaucracy is often slow and inefficient.


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