Elizabeth Montgomery stars as Samantha, the wife of ad executive Darrin Stephens. She's not the average housewife. In fact, she's a witch, with the power to warp reality as she sees fit. After she revealed the truth about herself to Darrin on their wedding night, Samantha promised him to suppress her powers and try to live a normal life, but she can't help using her powers when she or Darrin are in a jam. With a twitch of the nose, she can make something magical happen and throw Darrin and the rest of the mortal world into a tizzy.
While Samantha generally abstained from magic as per her husband's wishes, her family felt no such loyalty. Witches and warlocks popped into Sam's life on a regular basis, and gleefully mucked up the lives of mortals, both intentionally and unintentionally. Not helping was the fact that all of them wanted Sam to forsake the mortal life for full-time witchcraft. Endora was Samantha's mother and the ultimate vicious mother-in-law, not thinking much of mortals like Darrin. Endora was the most common instigator of plots, and trying to reverse one of her spells before any mortals found out was often the driving force for a given episode. Maurice was Samantha's father, and the rest of the magical family included practical-joking Uncle Arthur, fun-loving Serena and forgetful Aunt Clara. Esmeralda was added later in the show's run as a slightly inept witch housekeeper. She was a timid soul and would vanish into thin air if addressed in a harsh tone. A physician character, Dr. Bombay, was added to the show in 1967.
A frequent unintentional witness to Samantha's magical antics was Larry Tate, Darrin's boss. Among the other inhabitants of this bewitched world were Larry's wife, Louise, and the Stephens' next-door neighbors, the Kravitzes, nosy Gladys and long-suffering Abner. Samantha and Darrin would later have two children, Tabitha (spelled Tabatha in the credits until Season Five) and Adam. Tabitha had her mother's powers, but Adam seemed to be mortal (much to Darrin's relief) until he developed them near the very end of the series.
The show, which could have been forgettable fluff in lighter hands, was buoyed by intelligent writing and sharp performances, and as a result, Bewitched became a favorite with critics and audiences and even won a few Emmys.
Over the years, many people have criticized Darrin's hatred of magic, but not all of it came from his reactionary fear of non-conformity; he also could never have survived in Samantha's world due to his lack of magical powers. The first time he met Samantha's mother, she threatened to kill him, and the first time he met Samantha's father, he did kill him — but Samantha persuaded her father to bring Darrin back to life a few minutes later. It would only take a slight change in approach to make most of the Bewitched storylines into terrifying horror stories. Yet through all the hexes and curses and involuntary shapeshifts, Darrin remained loyal to Samantha, and vice versa.
The tension between the mortal and supernatural worlds, and Samantha's precarious balancing act between the two, formed the backbone of all the episodes. On any given episode, Samantha might try to keep the peace with her father when he discovered Darrin was a mortal, or Endora might decide Darrin needed a sense of humor and put a hex on him to make him crack jokes uncontrollably. These premises might have seemed simple on the surface, but they quickly achieved complexity when worked through the show's intricate web of character relationships, and just about always ended on a lesson about accepting one's family, no matter how bizarre or embarrassing they may be.
The show's scripts were always solid and utilized a consistently high level of imagination when working the supernatural elements into the story. In one show, Esmerelda was asked to make a Caesar salad and accidentally conjured up Julius Caesar himself. The show's ensemble was tight and funny, and their across-the-board chemistry both brought the stories to life and made the material believable. The show also had a rare consistency of style and tone, thanks to the fact that the show had one regular producer and director, William Asher, to guide the actors through their paces. It is interesting to note that Mr. Asher was the real-life husband of Elizabeth Montgomery, Samantha Stephens herself.
Bewitched experienced many casting changes during its long run. Kasey Rogers replaced Irene Vernon as Louise Tate in 1966, and Sandra Gould replaced Alice Pearce as Gladys Kravitz the same year. Tabitha was played by no fewer than three sets of twins: Heidi and Laura Gentry and Tamar and Julie Young all played Tabitha throughout much of 1966, but were replaced permanently by the duo of Erin and Diane Murphy. (Eventually Erin Murphy took over the role entirely.) But the most noticeable replacement (and one of the most famous in TV history) occurred in 1969 when Dick Sargent replaced an ailing Dick York as Darrin. Usually having multiple changes like these are detrimental to a show's quality, but Bewitched managed to weather all the changes with nary a hair out of place.
The show ended its run in July 1972 after eight seasons, having won Emmys for Asher's direction and Marion Lorne's performance as Aunt Clara. Montgomery was nominated five times for her work as Samantha, but never won. Just the same, she will always be remembered fondly by television viewers for the role of Samantha Stephens.
Tabitha, a Spin-Off series built around the now-grown daughter character (played by Lisa Hartman Black; Liberty Williams in the first pilot episode), was aired on ABC during the 1977-78 season, bringing supernatural comedy back to the small screen, at least for a while. Dr. Bombay, Abner Kravitz, and Gladys Kravitz's actors reprised their roles as guest stars here, but Samantha and Darrin did not appear as their actors declined.
In 2005 a movie adaptation hit the big screen, and approached the subject matter from a direction never before tried: instead of merely adapting the series for the big screen, it was a comedy about adapting the series for the big screen. The twist? A real witch of the Bewitched mold (Isabel, played by Nicole Kidman) was cast as Samantha ("I wasn't allowed to watch Bewitched. Daddy said it was racist.").
Bewitched has been dubbed into dozens of languages for distribution all around the world. In addition, the series has been remade many times in foreign markets, most notably on Japanese TV in 2004 as Oku-sama wa majo — literally, My Wife Is A Witch but subtitled in English Bewitched in Tokyo. Furthermore, Bewitched is credited as a major influence on the very first Magical Girl anime, Sally the Witch (Mahōtsukai Sally, broadcast 1966-1968), making it the ultimate ancestor of all Cute Witch characters in Japanese animation. More recently, explicit homage was paid to Bewitched by the anime Oku-sama wa Maho Shojo: Bewitched Agnes (2005). Finally, the rights to Bewitched have been owned since 1989 by Sony, a Japanese company; this is coincidental (it was a side effect of their purchase of Columbia Pictures), but certainly fits, given the series' popularity in Japan.
This series provides examples of:
- Absentee Actor: Dick York missed several season 5 episodes, due to the chronic back pain that would lead to his retirement from the series and replacement by Dick Sargent in season 6.
- Aerith and Bob: While the male family members have mainstream names like Darrin, Maurice, Arthur, and Adam, this trope applies to the female family members. Endora, Hagatha, Enchantra.... and Clara, the only name in the group that anybody had ever heard before. Samantha, Serena, and Tabitha are somewhat common now, but weren't when the series began. The series is what popularized those names.
- Alliterative Name: The protagonist, Samantha Stephens. Darrin's ex, Sheila Summers, also qualifies. Think Darrin has a thing for the letter S?
- All Part of the Show: The most commonly-used explanation for whatever magical wackiness was going on in any given episode: it was all part of Darrin's latest creative advertising campaign.
- Alpha Bitch: Sheila Summers, Darrin's evil ex-girlfriend, is a rare adult version of this. She even pulled It's a Costume Party, I Swear! on Samantha. Twice!
- And Starring: "Agnes Moorehead as Endora." Starting in Season Six, "And David White as Larry Tate."
- And You Thought It Was a Game: In "Samantha goes South for a Spell" Serena has an affair with a warlock. When his wife tracks her down to Darrin and Sam's house, she curses Sam with amnesia and sends her to turn-of-the-century New Orleans. At the end of the episode, Darrin faints when he's told that his rescue of Sam included a sword fight with a Southern gentleman.
- Animated Credits Opening: By Hanna-Barbera.
- Assembly Line Fast-Forward: In "Samantha's Power Failure", after declaring solidarity with Sam when she refuses to disavow her marriage to Darrin and is stripped of her powers, Serena and Arthur are likewise stripped of their powers and are obliged to take jobs in a malt shop coating frozen bananas in melted chocolate and crushed nuts on an assembly line. Things go smoothly at first, but when the conveyor belt speeds up, their futile attempts to keep up lead to Serena and Arthur themselves getting covered in chocolate.
- Backhanded Apology: Maurice and Endora pretty much every time they have to apologize to anyone.Maurice: I apologize that your abominable behavior had so exhausted my patience that I was goaded into a slight transgression.
Endora: I regret my slight transgression of the other day, but only because my daughter insisted.
Darrin: That's an apology?
Samantha: For Mother it is.
- Baleful Polymorph: A staple of the show, with various regulars and guest characters being hit with this.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In the episode "Twitch or Treat" baseball star Willie Mays is shown to be a warlock.
- Big Blackout: "The Short, Happy Circuit of Aunt Clara." It was something of a Historical In-Joke at the actual blackout of the entire east coast in 1965 (apparently, that was Aunt Clara's fault — she tried to magic a piano upstairs by saying "I wish that you were light").
- Breaking the Fourth Wall:
- From the pilot episode:Darrin: [looking right into the camera] So my wife's a witch. Every married man has to make some adjustment.
- From the second episode, "Be It Ever So Mortgaged":Endora: [looking to the audience] Believe me, it'll never work.
- From the episode, "Witch or Wife", Endora looks at the camera and says proudly, "That's my gal!" after Samantha joins her to travel to Paris. Later in the episode, while enjoying a glass of champagne riding atop a transcontinental airliner, Endora says to the camera "It's the only way to fly!"
- Several character's reactions to supernatural incidents include looking at the camera.
- From the pilot episode:
- Breakout Character: Tabitha; she had two spin-offs focused on her and became a main character on Passions. Some people even mistake Samantha's name for Tabitha, probably because it sounds like a witch's name.
- Brought Down to Normal: Samantha became unable to use her powers in one episode, after spending so long trying to act like a mortal. Endora and Dr. Bombay try to unclog her powers by levitating her, but Darrin interrupts to accuse Sam of magically helping him without his permission. She then starts performing uncontrollable feats of magic.
- It's also revealed that the Witches' Council (the governing body of the magic world) can do this as the ultimate punishment. In one episode, they try to strong-arm Samantha into disavowing her marriage to Darrin; she refuses, and they remove her powers while they debate the case. Uncle Arthur and Serena support Sam and have the same problem.
- This also seems to happen gradually to magic users over time, if Aunt Clara is any indication—she becomes forgetful, and her powers fade as well (although it's never made clear if her abilities are actually weakening or if she simply can't remember how to use them properly).
- Cannot Tell a Lie: In a couple of episodes (one of them the last episode), enchanted items are used to force characters to be absolutely truthful.
- Character Celebrity Endorsement: The cast members often promoted the sponsors' products — such as the Chevrolet Impala, Quaker Instant Oatmeal, and the Kodak Instamatic camera — as their respective characters.
- Characteristic Trope: It's pretty much a given that any work featuring a female witch trying to live a normal life will bring back memories of Bewitched, to the point of giving it the occasional Shout-Out.
- Characterization Marches On: Happens with the aforementioned "Dick Switch" - at the beginning of Season Six, in an attempt to make the transition between Dick York and Dick Sargent as Darrin as seamless and unnoticeable as possible, producer/director William Asher confessed he tried to get Sargent to act in a more animated fashion to reflect York's performance; when this didn't work well, they let Sargent act the part in his own way. Because of this, Darrin, while still easily flustered by the chaos from Samantha's family, was considerably more mellow by this time (something York actually hoped would have happened eventually anyway).
- Color Me Black: At the end of one episode, Samantha uses magic to cause a racist to see everyone around him as black — including himself when he looks in a mirror.
- Comic-Book Adaptation: A rather long-running spin-off from Dell Comics.
- Contrived Coincidence: Somehow, Darrin's advertising account of the week almost always just so happens to sync up perfectly with whatever magical plot Samantha is trying to solve. For example: Darrin buys a bunch of teddy bears thinking that Endora turned Larry into one. Turns out he's working on a honey campaign!
- Creator Cameo: In "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall", Darrin holds up traffic by admiring himself in the rear view mirror (thanks to a vanity spell by Endora). The motorist behind him yelling, "Let's go, gorgeous!" is producer/director William Asher.
- The Soap Opera Passions (1999-2008) features Juliet Mills as Tabitha Lenox, a genuine witch whose daughter is named Endora and whose parents are a mortal named Darrin and a witch named Samantha. Furthermore, Bernard Fox has made two appearances on the show as his Bewitched character, Dr. Bombay.
- Incidentally, Mills also starred in "Nanny and the Professor," a less memorable fantastic sitcom about a nanny with ESP. It lasted three seasons, airing around the same time as "Bewitched."
- Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York voiced prehistoric versions of Samantha and Darrin in an episode of The Flintstones.
- The Soap Opera Passions (1999-2008) features Juliet Mills as Tabitha Lenox, a genuine witch whose daughter is named Endora and whose parents are a mortal named Darrin and a witch named Samantha. Furthermore, Bernard Fox has made two appearances on the show as his Bewitched character, Dr. Bombay.
- Cute Witch: This show is the ultimate ancestor to all the cute witches in anime.
- A Day in the Limelight: Serena gets one in "Serena Stops the Show." This is somewhat offset by the fact that she is already played by the star of the show.
- Defector from Decadence: Witch society is shown to be very hedonistic and impulse-driven, since every whim can instantly be fulfilled by witchcraft. It's strongly implied that a distrust of this attitude contributes to Darrin's anti-witchcraft stance (the so-called Protestant work ethic). Sam seems to go along with him out of a desire for a more meaningful sense of accomplishment in her life.
- Dinner with the Boss: Darrin has dinner with his boss Larry a few times. It helps that Samantha and Louise, Larry's wife, are also friends.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Throughout its entire run witches were used metaphorically for plots that otherwise might not be acceptable for television of the time. Occasionally the characters lampshaded it for the audience; Darrin mentions that he and Sam are in a "mixed marriage," and in one Halloween episode, Sam is noticeably upset by the ugly witch stereotype she sees, explicitly calling witches a "minority group."
- Dom Com: The series revolves around the Stephenses' home and family.
- Dub Name Change:
- In the French dub, Darrin was changed to "Jean-Pierre", Larry Tate was named "Alfred" and Gladys Kravitz "Charlotte".
- In the Brazilian Portuguese dub, Darrin was renamed as "James".
- The Eeyore: Esmerelda, in spades. She would vanish into thin air if addressed in even the slightest harsh tone.
- Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity: Samantha is hundreds of years old, yet she acts like the young woman she appears to be — especially in early seasons, where she is more demure and less assertive than in later ones. Serena is an even more extreme example, as she is roughly the same age as Samantha but behaves very much like a teenage girl.
- Enemy Mine: In the two-parter "How Not to Lose Your Head to King Henry VIII", Darrin and Endora agree to set aside any differences they have to rescue Samantha after she goes back in time and loses her memory for breaking a curse that another witch cast on a nobleman.
- Enslaved Tongue:
- Sam's mother puts a spell on Darrin that causes him to start talking like a three-year-old — right in front of his boss!
- On another occasion, she casts a spell that causes him to constantly speak in cliches.
- Everybody Owns a Ford: A Chevrolet in this case. Not only did the car company sponsor the show, the theme show was the 1965-66 commercial theme song for Chevrolet cars.
- Evil Twin: Averted with Samantha's identical cousin Serena. Yes, she's kooky and doesn't much like Darrin, but the rest of Samantha's family is the same way. She's certainly not evil.
- Faking Engine Trouble: In "My Grandson, the Warlock," Maurice takes the Tates' baby, Jonathan, mistaking him for Samantha's newborn; when Darrin picks the Tates up at the airport from their vacation, Samantha and Endora have him stall for time while they try to locate Maurice. Among the many different stalls Darrin pulls is engine trouble.
- Fantastic Comedy: The show is about a marriage where the wife is a witch.
- Fantastic Racism: Witches and mortals really don't get along.
- Serena went back and forth, as did Uncle Arthur. They looked down at mortals, but did not appear to be totally contemptuous of them, and sometimes sided with Sam and Darrin. Uncle Arthur does admit in one episode that he genuinely likes Darrin, while Darrin considers him to be the "best friend he has in Sam's family".
- Endora was flanderized to have nothing but contempt for mortals. Early episodes highlighted the fact that Endora was genuinely looking out for Samantha's best interests, and that her enmity toward Darrin was Nothing Personal. Whether she was trying to drive him away or merely testing him to see if he could handle marrying into a family of witches is anyone's guess. Occasionally Endora will use her magic to help Darrin (and by extension Samantha and the children — Larry normally being the victim/subject of her spells in these cases) with the usual unintended consequences.
- Samantha's family may have hated him and used magic to torment him, but Darrin himself often shows his true nature by thinking magic is unnatural, wrong to use in any circumstance. He routinely tries to repress that part of her nature, no matter how trivially she uses it. Elizabeth Montgomery herself has stated that the show was prejudiced.
- Averted with Aunt Clara. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body, and Darrin shows genuine affection for her.
- Female Feline, Male Mutt: Whenever a cat shows up chances are it'll be a woman under a spell or vice versa. It even happens in the opening titles. At least twice, a male mortal or a warlock appears as a dog. Especially egregious when big ginger toms are used.
- Flashy Teleportation: Whenever a witch or warlock teleports (or "pops" as they call it), a sound is heard, usually a "ding!" but in Serena's case, a guitar noise. It's the usual way that witches and warlocks get around. They could also do this to other people, either sending them elsewhere or bringing them to the witch, which sometimes led to instances of Inconvenient Summons. It also worked through time as well as space with a little a extra effort. No distance limitation was ever shown, and travel at least to other planets was possible. Although in one episode where Endora sent half of Darrin to Japan, she complains that bringing him back will be difficult because she zapped him across the International Date Line.
- Forgot About His Powers: While Samantha can use magic to hold people in place with them having no memory of it afterwards, in most situations where Samantha and/or Darrin need to stall for time or stop someone from doing something, she will try just about anything else to keep them occupied.
- Forgotten Theme Tune Lyrics:Bewitched, bewitched, you've got me in your spell/Bewitched, bewitched, you know your craft so well/Before I knew what you were doing, I looked in your eyes/That brand of woo that you've been brewin' took me by surprise/You witch, you witch! One thing that is for sure/That stuff you pitch, Just hasn't got a cure/My heart was under lock and key, But somehow it got unhitched/I never thought my heart could be had/But now I'm caught and I'm kind of glad/To be — bewitched!
- Friendly Enemies: Samantha and the original Gladys Kravitz (as played by Alice Pearce) had this kind of relationship. While Gladys normally attempted to expose whatever secrets Samantha was hiding (and Samantha was covering up whatever she saw), a few episodes showed that they could work together and even be friendly. For example, when Abner comes to stay with the Stephenses after a massive fight, Samantha genuinely tries to comfort Gladys, who in turn breaks down and reveals how hard it's been for her. The women team up to try to get Abner back, and when they finally succeed with some magical assistance, Gladys sincerely thanks Samantha — even, in a surprising moment, offering to leave her alone and give her and Darrin some privacy. Considering how nosy she was, that's a massive compliment.
- Endora and Darrin could occasionally come across this way, at least in the early seasons. In the episode where Tabitha is born, the two genuinely share a moment of joy together in the waiting room.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Massively, massively averted. Among the most-remembered secondary aspects of the series is that almost every dinner party is accompanied by alcohol (usually martinis). And given Darrin's frustrations, it's no wonder he hits the bottle often.
- George Jetson Job Security: Darrin, which is peculiar given how often it is said that he is very well-respected in the advertising business, and presumably would get snatched up by another agencynote if McMann & Tate ever did fire him for more than a few hours.
- George Lucas Altered Version: Sony released colorized DVDs of the first two seasons in 2005.
- Girls vs. Boys Plot: In their crossover with The Flintstones, Fred and Barney challenge Wilma, Betty and their tag-along new friend Samantha to a bunch of camping activities expecting to win, but thanks to Samantha's magic the girls have it all easy and the boys get an extremely absurd Macho Disaster Expedition.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Tabitha and Adam. While witches and warlocks look human, their innate magical powers and vastly longer lifespans put them safely outside of the mainstream human species. Samantha and Darrin's marriage, and the children they produced, were the subject of considerable controversy amongst witches (and probably would have been among humans had the truth about them been known).
- Halloween Episode: Appropriately enough, the show had five of them. There were also five Christmas Episodes, two St. Patrick's Day episodes, a Thanksgiving Episode, a Valentine's Day Episode, and even a Washington's Birthday episode. Apparently the producers really liked their holidays.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: McMann of McMann & Tate was seen on-screen in only one episode.
- Heroic BSoD: Abner experiences one in a hilarious moment when watching a neighborhood fashion show. He sees a woman modeling an eye-catchingly beautiful dress, only for the woman to turn around and reveal herself as Gladys.
- Historical Rap Sheet: Bumbling Aunt Clara causes the Northeast Blackout of 1965 when she tries to use magic on some candles.
- Honorary Uncle: This seemed to be the case with Samantha's many, many family members. While Endora and Uncle Arthur were definitely brother and sister, it was extremely unclear exactly how people like Aunt Clara (who seems to be older than Endora, making her Samantha's great-aunt—but no mention of her sister, and thus Endora's mother, is ever made) and characters like Cousins Pandora and Henry or Aunts Hagatha and Enchantra were related to one another. As such, it's probably this trope, with family members simply addressing one another by whatever familial sobriquet is most appropriate.
- Hot Witch:
- Samantha Stevens is a blonde with legs to die for, and several men through the series remark how outstandingly attractive she is. She's also a witch who comes from a supernatural world and she has the power to warp reality in the mortal world.
- Serena (also played by series star Elizabeth Montgomery in a dual role) is an equally hot brunette witch, who is Samantha's identical cousin. She is more prone to cheerfully flaunting her hotness than Samantha.
- In one episode, Darrin comes up with a traditional "old crone" witch silhouette as a mascot for a candy company client. Samantha is offended and convinces Darrin to go with a sexier witch silhouette, which looks like Samantha in the Animated Credits Opening. Darrin is fired because the client liked the old witch look more.
- Housewife: Samantha, to Endora's considerable ire. Especially since there was no real reason, other than Darrin's anti-magical prejudice, that she couldn't complete every single household chore with a twitch of her nose and then spend her days enjoying the leisurely pursuits common among witches. To be fair Samantha herself seems committed to living a 'normal' mortal life.
- Inept Mage: Aunt Clara's and Esmerelda's spells lack finesse, frequently causing them to backfire and produce an effect other than intended. In Aunt Clara's case, it was a condition of her advanced age, while Esmeralda was simply too nervous and forgetful to get things right.
- Injured Limb Episode: Zigzagged for one episode. Clara conjures up a newspaper, but it is dated for the next day and has an article about Larry Tate breaking his leg. Darrin, Clara and Samantha travel to the next day to prevent Larry from breaking his leg but it turns out that the newspaper was from the same date but ten years ago and Larry's leg had already gotten broken and healed.
- Involuntary Shapeshifter: Darrin pretty much became an honorary one after being transformed by Endora, Maurice, Serena, and other witches and warlocks throughout the series.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: "If They Never Met" has Samantha entering an alternate reality where she and Darrin never met.
- I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Elizabeth Montgomery and David White appeared together in the infamous The Untouchables episode "The Rusty Heller Story," in which Elizabeth played the titular southern prostitute while David played the sidekick to the detective she was involved with.
- Jail Bake: One episode had a case where the cake was magically conjured by accident.
- Endora more than likely would already be insufferable to deal with as a mortal. But the fact that she has an almost limitless supply of magic makes dealing with her hell, as Darrin was fully aware. On those occasions when she lost her powers, she would pitifully manipulate him into waiting on her hand and foot. You know, like an ordinary mother-in law.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Earlier episodes highlighted that Endora's main motivation for her attitude towards mortals was concern for Samantha and the children. The character underwent Flanderization as the later seasons progressed, making her more of a pure Jerkass.
- Large Ham: Maurice. Dear Lord, Maurice. Also, Dr. Bombay and pretty much everyone on the supporting cast.
- Laugh Track: The series had one, as an example of the height of laugh track abuse from the 1960s and early 1970s. The Latin American dub mercifully removed it.
- Likes Older Men: Serena clearly does, as evidenced by her flirting with Larry Tate and others.
- Literal Genie: Many spells go off exactly as specified, not as desired.
- Magic A Is Magic A: The show had surprisingly consistent rules for magic in an era where Negative Continuity was almost the rule for sitcoms. Among the ones we saw:
- Often, only the mage who originally cast a spell can reverse it (this was the Hand Wave given to explain why Sam didn't simply make whatever weird object or person Endora, Uncle Arthur, or Aunt Clara had summoned disappear). Furthermore, the witch or warlock in question had to use an incredibly specific counterspell, or it wouldn't work.
- When a magic user could interfere with another's spells, they had to know the exact one that had been cast. In one instance, Samantha's puckish Cousin Henry turns an overbearing salesman into a mannequin while she and Endora were distracted; the two older witches couldn't reverse the hex until Tabitha showed them what curse Henry had used in the first place (getting in a great example of You Didn't Ask when questioned why she didn't speak up sooner).
- Certain magic spells required physical gestures, while others were purely verbal. One episode sees Endora transforming a tin soldier into a life-sized living doll to keep an eye on Tabitha for her; Tabitha promptly repeats the physical action her grandmother used and turns her entire toy collection into giant playmates.
- Magic Feather: In one episode, after being belittled by Mr. Tate one time too many, Darrin began to lose his confidence and considered quitting. The next morning, Samantha offered him a "magic potion" (actually just a glass of orange juice) that she said would increase his self-confidence. At a meeting with their new client, Darrin showed him the ad campaign that Tate had previously dismissed as unprofessional, and the client liked the new campaign. Samantha later admitted to Darrin that she didn't use any magic on him.
- Magical Gesture: Samantha's famous nose-wiggling. Other witches like Endora tended to have a different style however. A young Tabitha, unable to twich her nose on her own, was seen forcing it to move with her finger, later switching to moving her crossed fingers up and down.
- Make a Wish: Endora gives Darrin (without his knowledge) three wishes, in order to prove to Samantha that he wants a fling. Although there are some wacky hijinx, Darrin doesn't actually use them until the end of the episode. note
- The Masquerade: Concealing the magical goings-on in the Stephens household is a recurring theme in most episodes. It is complicated considerably by Endora's flair for the dramatic, as well as uncontrolled outbursts of magic from characters such as Aunt Clara and Tabitha.
- Match Cut
- MayflyDecember Romance: Darrin and Samantha, the latter of whom has already lived longer than who only knows how many generations of Darrin's ancestors.
- Meet Cute: Samantha and Darrin got together after bumping into each other everywhere. This was lampshaded by the pilot's narrator:Narrator: [after showing Samantha and Darrin bump into each other several times] So, they decided they'd better sit down and talk this over before they had an accident.
- Ms. Fanservice: Notice how Elizabeth Montgomery's skirts kept getting shorter and shorter in the last few seasons (and her bra straight up disappeared in the last season). Cranked Up to Eleven whenever she played Serena.
- Carol Wayne as the titular Bunny in "A Bunny for Tabitha", accidentally created during one of Uncle Arthur's magic tricks.
- Mundane Utility: Witchcraft works just fine for doing domestic chores, and at one point Samantha even uses it to reassemble and repair their television when the repairman tries to cheat her by inflating how much work will be involved. However, Darrin strongly disapproves of her doing this sort of thing, which could be seen as somewhat Jerkass. While plenty of people enjoy cooking, decorating and gardening, almost nobody enjoys dusting, vacuuming or doing windows.
- MuggleMage Romance: The muggle-mage marriage between Darrin and Samantha, and all the issues that can come with it, form the basic premise of the show.
- Muggles: Pretty much any "mortal" that the Stephenses come across. The Kravitzes and the Tates are the most prominent.
- Naked Apron: They actually pulled this off in "Bewitched, Bothered, and Baldoni," when Venus becomes the Stephens' maid.Sam: When I said, "Put on an apron", I didn't mean just an apron! Now why don't you be a good girl and go out... [Venus starts to turn around] backwards! And we'll make sure you get a uniform to go with that apron.
- New Baby Episode: In one episode, Samantha, who had been pregnant for a few episodes, has her baby, and it's a girl. Endora insists on naming the baby Tabitha (which does end up being her name) and Serena is mistaken for an adult Tabitha by Darren.
- Nosy Neighbor: "Gladys Kravitz" entered the American lexicon as a shorthand for a busy-body who gossips about their neighbors.
- Not Me This Time:
- Happens in quite a few episodes, as Darrin usually assumes that his troubles are being caused by Endora. Endora claims to be innocent, or doesn't show up in the episode at all, and later it turns out to be someone else screwing with Darrin — or the problem was completely mundane with no magic involved. The Season Two episode "My Boss, the Teddy Bear" exemplifies this trope. Larry does a good deed for Endora, and she's so touched that she decides to reward him by conjuring up a teddy bear he's been trying to get for his son. When Darrin sees the bear in Larry's office and hears Endora dropped it off, he automatically assumes that Endora's transformed him into the toy. Given that Endora's done similar things in the past, it's somewhat understandable, but it's still a knee-jerk reaction.
- It wasn't just Endora, either—Darrin often assumed that any strange goings-on in his life were caused by magic. The first season in particular is rife with this. In "Your Witch is Showing," he thinks that an obnoxious new assistant is a warlock who's trying to ruin his career (he's actually just a jerk, and Darrin's own habits are to blame for some of the problem); in "The Cat's Meow," he's paranoid that Samantha has transformed herself into a cat to spy on him when he's on a business trip to Chicago (it's just an everyday house cat...although a large heron that's seen throughout the episode turns out to be Endora in disguise); in "Help, Help, Don't Save Me," Samantha comes up with some catchy advertising slogans for a new client, and Darrin immediately accuses her of using witchcraft, because there's no way she could have come up with them herself (she did). But "Love is Blind" is the biggest offender: Samantha's mousy friend Gertrude wants to find a boyfriend, and Darrin's client Kermit, a handsome artist (played by Adam West) is smitten with her. Darrin quickly accuses Gertrude of being a witch and putting Kermit under a love spell. This one gets a reaction from Samantha, who's understandably angry at her husband for his accusations—Gertrude isn't a witch, and magical beings don't have the power to mess with love.
- Obnoxious In-Laws: It's probably easier to count the number of episodes in which a relative of Samantha, not liking that she's married to a mortal, casts a spell to make Darrin's life hell (even Aunt Clara, meaning well but scatter-brained, was not exempt from this).
- Obsessively Normal: Darrin insists that Samantha hide her magic powers, not because of any moral objections to witchcraft or any fear of her being persecuted, but solely because he is obsessed with being "normal".
- One Scene, Two Monologues: A Running Gag with Darrin and his bar buddy Dave. Darrin always tells Dave everything about his life, including the fact that his wife is a witch, and Dave obliviously continues rambling on about something else.Dave: The sea of matrimony is beset with hidden shoals and reefs.
Darrin: I just found out Samantha's a witch.
Dave: And it takes tolerance and understanding to find the channel of true love!
Darrin: I didn't believe it until she started moving things around.
Dave: Marriage is a partnership where two people, side by side, face life's obstacles together.
- Only One Name: Samantha's family apparently does have a surname, though it is never given. Endora tells Darrin when the two first meet that he'll never be able to pronounce it. A 1965 Dell paperback novelization gives her maiden name as "Dobson," but this is not canon.
- Outnumbered Sibling: Harold Harold, Samantha's driving instructor (Paul Lynde, pre-Uncle Arthur). He had four older sisters (by the time he was born, his mother exhausted from coming up with names for the babies), all of whom are married, and as such, has four brother-in-laws who take turns hiring and firing him in a vicious cycle, hence his insecurities. In fact, his father apparently had himself committed from living in a world of little women.
- Out Sick: A variation when Darrin cannot come to the office, not because he's sick or injured, but because he's been turned into a chimpanzee.
- Panicky Expectant Father: Darrin while waiting for Tabitha's delivery.Man: First child?
Darrin: How could you tell?
Man: You're smoking my pipe.
- Panty Shot: With Samantha wearing much shorter skirts in the later seasons, it was almost unavoidable (though also arguably unintentional) for viewers to catch a brief glimpse of Samantha's panties.
- Perspective Flip: Endora retells Hansel and Gretel as a story about a nice witch who had to deal with two gluttonous children vandalizing her gingerbread house.
- Power Incontinence: Aunt Clara, and later on, Esmeralda. When Esmeralda sneezed, strange objects would temporarily appear, and hilarity would ensure. Also, when she became nervous (and she was nervous a lot), she would become invisible.
- Promoted to Opening Titles: David White as Larry Tate, beginning in Season Six.
- Pretty in Mink: A few episodes had furs, since for witches, it was just a matter of making one appear.
- Prone to Tears:
- Uncle Arthur is a mild example of this: it's not unusual for him to disappear to "pout" if Darrin says or does something to upset him, or even engage in almost childish disputes with Endora if he doesn't get his way.
- In, "Weep No More My Willow," Samantha finds herself under a spell as a result of a mistake on Dr. Bombay's part: he tries to cure her dying willow tree, only for her to start crying uncontrollably whenever the wind blows.
- In, "Samantha Loses Her Voice," Louise is on the verge of collapse, and intends on divorcing Larry... all because he didn't choose her to be on his volley ball team.
- Esmeralda: she falls apart (literally fading away) at the slightest hint of criticism.
- Reality Warper: Basically the way witchcraft operates. Obscure rules and restrictions frequently had to be introduced, because otherwise witches and warlocks were shown to be able to do nearly anything they wanted.
- Really 700 Years Old: Exactly how old Samantha (and her relatives) are is left vague, but she is implied to be centuries old. At the very least, old enough to have had a romance with Sir Walter Raleigh.
- Recycled In Space: Tabitha and Adam and the Clown Family, a 1972 Saturday Morning Cartoon by Hanna-Barbera.
- Satire: Although the series seldom questioned the sexism of its time, it tackled sexism subtly in that Samantha was never once portrayed as less intelligent or capable than Darrin, witchcraft or not. Unlike I Dream of Jeannie, in which Jeannie was (nominally) subservient to her Master's wishes, Sam was never anything less than Darrin's partner. Theirs was a very egalitarian marriage, which is why Sam refrained from using magic unless necessary — not out of obedience to her husband, but out of respect for him. It also continually satirized suburban conformity through Darrin's desperation to appear identical to everyone else, social snobbery through Darrin's parents, and racism both through Darrin's attitude about witches and Endora's prejudice against mortals. With mixed results, the series often satirized obsessive consumerism through Darrin, Larry Tate, and the advertising client of the week; Word of God is that the producers and writers wanted to satirize consumerism more intensely but were forbidden to do so by the network and the series' commercial sponsors. Corporate careerism was sent up by Darrin's near-slavish deference to his employer. And some people claim to find a subtle satire of homophobia, primarily through Uncle Arthur, as many of the people involved in the series are now known to have been gay and/or gay-friendly. Plus the very premise of an "invisible" subculture of unusual people, existing alongside the everyday world, encouraged gays (and others) to identify. It helped that Endora was just about TV's first Drag Queen, in look if not in... parts.note
- The Scrooge: In the Christmas Episode, "Humbug Not to Be Spoken Here", McMann & Tate's latest client, Jesse Mortimer (who is the very wealthy president of an instant soup company), is pretty much this trope personified, describing Christmas as being nothing more than crass commercialism, and expressing that opinion that Christmas is just another day to him. Meanwhile, Larry teeters back and forth on the fence, but it's mainly because he desperately doesn't want to lose the Mortimer's Instant Soup account, even if it means having a meeting on Christmas Eve.
- Endora's name is a reference to the Witch of Endor in The Bible.
- In "Samantha's Power Failure," Serena and Uncle Arthur get a job at an ice cream plant, preparing frozen chocolate covered bananas, where at one point, the conveyor belt speeds up, much like what Lucy and Ethel dealt with in the famous "Job Switching" episode of I Love Lucy; it's very possible that it was deliberate, as William Asher directed those specific episodes of both series.
- Some of My Best Friends Are X: Darrin occasionally pulls off a variation of this trope to Samantha (eg. "I'm not prejudice against witches. I married you, didn't I?") when ever he says something discriminatory against witches. Samantha always shoots this down (and perhaps rightfully so).Samantha: Oh, look at you! Taking the poor little witch in!
- Spell My Name with an "S": Oftentimes, people have misspelled the Stephens' name as Stevens. Somewhat lampshaded in one episode where a stuck up female client keeps referring to Darrin by pronouncing his last name the way it's spelled, "Mr. Steffens".
- Spin-Off: Tabitha
- Standardized Sitcom Housing: Bewitched is one of the most famous aversions. The front door was stage right with a foyer, the stairs descended into the middle of the main room, dividing the living room from the dining room, and the kitchen was a separate room (with shutters dividing the kitchen from the dining room). A hallway leading out of the left hand side of the foyer led to Darrin's study/home office, a side door to the house and a second door into the kitchen. The living room was off the right hand side of foyer and had large glass doors along the back wall that opened onto a patio. There was also a half-bath downstairs.
- Stop Trick: Sometimes they sprang for effects like smoke bombs or thunder and lightning, but usually this was used to depict people and objects just appearing and disappearing. Eagle-eyed viewers can see the actors and props in two slightly different positions between takes.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
- Esmeralda can be seen as a younger and somewhat more neurotic version of Aunt Clara.
- Depending on the Writer, and the situation at hand, Larry often ends up in the crosshairs of the chaos brought on by Samantha's family in episodes where Darrin is absent.
- The episode "Samantha's Shopping Spree" features a prank-loving, wisecracking warlock relative of Samantha's—no, not Uncle Arthur, a one-time character named Cousin Henry. The writing is so based around Arthur's style of humor (and Arthur himself is even name-dropped in the episode, with Sam initially thinking that Henry's jokes are her uncle's work) that it comes across as Paul Lynde not being available for filming.
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: In "Maid to Order," Samantha hires Naomi, a sweet but incredibly klutzy woman, as a housemaid at Darrin's insistence that she rest during her pregnancy. Naomi is only able to succeed with magical help from Sam, and is incredibly grateful to the Stephens for their kindness and patience with her (she's fully aware of her own clumsiness and only took the job because she desperately needs money to fund her son's medical schooling). In the end, Naomi ends up quitting before the Stephens can fire her, as she knows that they deserve better than her. Before she leaves, though, she is able to determine the exact percentage of her salary that they should withhold for her mishaps in her head within a matter of seconds. Samantha realizes that while Naomi is a lousy maid, she'd make a great number cruncher, and convinces Darrin to find her a position in his advertising firm's accounting department. So because of her honesty and kindness in quitting, Naomi gets a better-paying job that will use her natural gifts—and Samantha gets to run her own household again.
- Take That!: "Three Wishes," an episode that showed how NBC stole some great ideas.
- Theme Naming: Like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the majority of female witches on the show had first names ending in the letter "A"—Samantha, Tabatha, Endora, Aunt Clara, Esmeralda, Pandora, Bertha, Hagatha...the only witch who had a non-A name ending was Mary. Sabrina and this series set this as a precedent: both the live-action Sabrina and Wizards of Waverly Place continued the trend of witches having "A"s at the end of their names.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: Happens when Gladys and Abner Kravitz get into a huge fight, and Abner stays with Darrin and Samantha for a few days, refusing to patch things up with his wife. Made even worse when Abner's snoring keeps them both awake at night, combined with his odd love for brussels sprouts. Samantha eventually gets involved by making them both dream about the day Abner proposed. When they wake up, they both run out the door and into each other's arms.
- Time Stands Still: Often used by Samantha or other witches or warlocks when things were getting out of control and they needed some breathing room to figure out what to do.
- Time Travel: Most notably to Salem, MA at the height of the witch trials.
- Tomboyish Name: Darrin usually addressed Samantha with the nickname "Sam."note This ends up working against him in "Samantha Goes South for a Spell," when Darrin tries to retrieve an amnesia-struck Samantha sent back to 1868 from getting married to a wealthy plantation owner.Samantha: He called me... "Sam"...?
Rance Butler: Obviously, the man's a fraud. What kind of a name is "Sam" for a beautiful young lady?
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Gladys Kravitz after Alice Pearce was replaced by Sandra Gould. She went from a well-meaning but nosy neighbor to an out-and-out antagonist to Samantha.
- The Trickster: Uncle Arthur.
- Trope Makers: Bewitched is said to have inspired the first Magical Girl animes: Mitsuteru Yokoyama's Mahotsukai Sally (Sally the Witch, 1966-1968) and Akatsuka Fujio's Himitsu No Akkochan (broadcast 1969, but its manga predates Mahotsukai Sally). Yokoyama explicitly said to have adapted Bewitched's concept for a younger audience, while Akatsuka merely says he was "inspired" by it.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: This is somewhat justified for Dick York's Darrin, in that his terrible health problems, which is what ending up causing him to leave the show, took its toll on his appearance. For that matter, Darrin's wealthy, catty ex-fiancee was played by Nancy Kovack,◊ real-life winner of eight beauty titles.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Samantha's cousin Serena, also played by Elizabeth Montgomery.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup: Endora wears far too much makeup, which is commented on in-universe.
- Unfazed Everyman:
- Darrin. Aside from being married to a witch, a lot of episodes shown that Darrin's life would have been plagued by the supernatural even without Sam. He had been cursed by nymphs, was once sought after by a youth-stealing witch, possessed by ghosts, and his family once owned leprechaun servants.
- Also neighbor Abner Kravitz. One of the reasons his wife Gladys could never convince him that there was something unusual about Samantha, is that on the rare occasions he did see something strange, he didn't regard it as out of the ordinary. For example, in one episode, Samantha's Dr. Bombay gets turned into a horse. While waiting to be turned back, he passes the time by playing a game of chess. When Abner finds out there's a chess-playing horse at the Stevens house... he challenges it to a game.
- Useless Superpowers: The most common manifestation was the alleged inability of one witch to undo a spell cast by another witch. This explained why Samantha could not simply dispel whatever effect that was causing a given problem.
- Vocal Evolution: Elizabeth Montgomery's voice for Cousin Serena was originally just a slightly deeper version of her regular voice, but she kept hamming it up further and further with each new appearance.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?:Darrin: If we don't hurry soon, we're going to name the baby Freeway, because that's where we're having it.
- Witch Species: The witches were not mortals who learned to do magic, but rather a separate supernatural race with inherent magic powers.
- With Friends Like These...: It's important to note that Uncle Arthur genuinely did like Darrin, and did occasionally go to bat for him against the rest of Samantha's family, despite the fact that Arthur also saw Darrin as the perfect butt of so many of his pranks and jokes.
- Wizards from Outer Space: Witches and warlocks definitely spend a fair amount of time on other planets, where they can relax without mortals poking around. Darrin has a panic attack when, while watching an Apollo Moon landing on TV, Sam expresses disinterest because she has already been to the Moon. In another episode, Serena is responsible for organizing "The Cosmos Cotillion", a social event hosted somewhere in outer space. We know this from the incantation she uses to return the mortal musicians performing at Samantha's insistence:Serena: "Back from the Cosmos, return to your planet..."
- Wizards Live Longer: While they definitely do age, at what rate is never really made clear. Most witches and warlocks (including Samatha) are casually mentioned to be centuries old. This is a point of some concern to Darrin when it dawns on him that Samantha is not going to age the way that he will. note
- World of Snark: Darrin and Endora are the snarkiest, with Abner right on their heels, but even the minor characters are mostly snark.