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YMMV / Bewitched

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Darrin was actually very insecure and felt the need for personal accomplishments to justify himself. It is notable that on several occasions Samantha's family hatched plans to grant Darrin magical powers so that he could better fit into the world of witches. But in the end he always rejected these in order to remain "normal". Interestingly, this was because he was shown to lack restraint when it came to the matter of misusing magic when he actually had access to it. Yet not only did he expect Samantha to exercise much greater restraint, but she very often actually did so. Both actor Dick York and associate producer Richard Michaels have offered their own views on Darrin's feelings towards Samantha and her witchcraft. Michaels' opinion seems to be similar to that of the above mentioned, in that Darrin, "Was a square" and didn't want Sam to use her witchcraft because he didn't want her to embarrass him. York argued that Darrin didn't want anyone to find out about Sam being a witch because he didn't want others to try taking advantage of her and using her to fulfil their own gain, or even try and take her away from him (something that was explored in York's favorite episode, "I Confess").
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    • It could be argued that Endora, Maurice and Samantha's other relatives had legitimate concerns about her marriage to Darrin. Given the much greater lifespan that witches and warlocks have, there was an obvious problem of how Samantha would cope with Darrin dying of old age in what was, to them, a very short amount of time. This concern also extended to their children, since a mortal child would likewise not live very long by witch standards. To them it might seem equivalent to marrying somebody who is dying of a terminal illness, and which could be spread to any children they have. Most grandparents would find the idea of their grandchildren dying long before they do horrifying. That is before one even factors in the idea that lacking magic is a handicap to their minds. Thus their desire for Tabitha and Adam to be a witch and warlock is not just Fantastic Racism, but genuine worry about how long they will live.
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    • Some consider the show is about class warfare. The witches represent wealth (which can command anything, just like magic). Darrin loves Samantha, but doesn't want to look like a gold-digger, least of all to himself. Unlike Blondie Bumstead, her family didn't disown her, but they're also not like Carter Pewterschmidt who is happy to see his daughter swing in the wind with her poor, working-class husband. They don't hate mortals/the poor, it's just that mortal/poor person ways (like working for a living) simply aren't for folks like them, and Endora knows it. Even early on, she expresses concern that Samantha can even remain happy in her new, downgraded circumstances, and indeed worries that Sam is just "going through a phase".
  • Anvilicious: The Christmas special "Sisters at Heart" was initially criticized by Southern, heavily conservative audiences who saw its heavy-handed anti-racism message as liberal propaganda.
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  • Badass Decay: Samantha. She starts out the series as a rather cocky confident fiery woman, who is willing to risk setting a murder-happy jealous quarterback on her own husband, just to protect the next door neighbor she barely knows. By the final season, when faced with the potential kidnapping of her son by her own mother and aunts, she has to beg her father for help in the few seconds they allow her to speak.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Darrin and Endora. Those who support Darrin think that Endora is an Evil Matriarch who is prejudiced against mortals and sadistically tortures him for no good reason while Endora's supporters see Darrin as a Politically Incorrect Hero who deserves every bit of supernatural torment that Endora throws at him (and more). Then there are those who support both. It doesn't help that Darrin and Endora have legitimate reasons for being irritated by the other and that both of their negative traits got turned Up to Eleven as the series progressed thanks to Flanderization.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Aunt Clara, you can't help but love her.
    • Uncle Arthur was only in about ten episodes, though some fans feel like he's been in more because Paul Lynde was so hysterical as him.
  • Fair for Its Day: The show comes across as very politically incorrect to modern viewers, but back in the 60s, it was quite progressive. It was one of the first shows to portray a married couple sleeping in the same bed, and while the topics of racism and sexism were rampant, the show was usually pointing out how wrong the views were and with the characters either getting their comeuppance or learning their lesson and changing their ways. Unfortunately, these aspects were downplayed as time went on.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Seasons 6-8 (the ones with Dick Sargent as Darrin) are often disregarded by Bewitched fans. Even fans who don't think Sargent was bad in the role (or at least don't mind him) prefer to forget these seasons due to being the ones where the show recycled their own scripts, most of the time not even bothering to try to change any details to cover it.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This show's popularity in Japan spawned the Magical Girl genre.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Often times because of certain scheduling constraints, episodes of shows may be filmed/produced out of order. The first episode filmed when Dick Sargent played Darrin was "Samantha's Better Halves;" Dick Sargent once confessed that he felt uncomfortable with Samantha's line, "I only want one Darrin!" and even Elizabeth Montgomery said she was upset the writers put that in, considering the circumstances.
    • The first Halloween Episode, "The Witches are Out," had Samantha protest advertising's use of demeaning stereotypes of ugly, evil witches. Later, the cast of Bewitched would advertise Aunt Jemima's pancakes and syrup,note  products which fell under heat from civil rights groups because of the Mammy mascot.
    • Its frequently referenced that witches live much longer than mortals and an early episode even deals with Darrin coming to terms with the fact that he will be in his 70s while his wife is in her twenties. Neither of the actors who played Darrin nor Elizabeth Montgomery would live to see their 70s, much less a supernaturally long life.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • There is an episode called "Charlie Harper, Winner".Explanation 
    • One early episode had an Imagine Spot in which Darrin imagines his future children with Sam, including a witch-daughter named Little Endora. If you consider Passions canon to the series, Sam and Darrin would later get a granddaughter named Endora.
    • One episode has Larry convince Darrin to hire a maid for himself and Samantha, by discussing the helpfulness of his own maid, named Esmeralda. Sam and Darrin enlist a witch maid named Esmeralda in the last few seasons, but she proves incompetent. Made more hilarious in that Alice Ghostley, the actress who played the witch maid Esmeralda, actually guest starred in that episode as a (mortal) maid that the Stephenses hire temporarily, and even goes to the Tates' house to help with a dinner when their Esmeralda falls ill.
    • An early episode titled "That Was My Wife" had Samantha experimenting with her appearance by wearing a black wig (which results in Larry thinking that Darrin was seeing another woman). The very same one that Elizabeth Montgomery would wear as Serena later on and might have inspired the character's creation.
  • I Am Not Shazam: People have been known to refer to the central character as if her name were Bewitched instead of Samantha. "Did you see that episode where Bewitched and her mother went to Paris?"
  • Jerkass Woobie: Darrin, despite his misogynistic attitude (from a modern perspective at least), didn't deserve half the crap he got from Endora, as she constantly uses her powers to make life hell for him. The writers of Family Guy seem to hold this viewpoint, as they did a Cutaway Gag where Darrin uses holy water on her.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The concept of a tight-knit underground community and its tense interactions with mainstream society has long had resonance for gay viewers. Elizabeth Montgomery was a vocal gay rights advocate, and the show had prominent gay cast members, like Dick Sargent and Paul Lynde.note 
  • Recycled Script: By the end of its run, the show was recycling its own scripts.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Raquel Welch appeared as a stewardess in the Season 1 episode "Witch or Wife" (which was in fact just the 8th episode of the show overall), two years before her Star-Making Role in One Million Years B.C..
    • Maureen McCormick appeared in the Season 1 episode "And Something Makes Three" in a fantasy sequence imagined by Darrin as his and Samantha's witch daughter who they named after Endora, and in the Season 2 episode "Trick or Treat" as Endora transformed into a little girl through witchcraft, both before her Star-Making Role as Marcia Brady in The Brady Bunch.
    • Adam West appeared as Darrin's friend Kermit in the Season 1 episode "Love Is Blind". It was broadcast in December 1964, less than two years before his Star-Making Role as Batman.
    • Peggy Lipton appeared as a secretary in the Season 1 episode "Your Witch Is Showing".
    • Richard Dreyfuss appeared as Rodney, a young warlock with a crush on Samantha, in the Season 2 episode "Man's Best Friend", roughly a decade before his most famous roles in American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and The Goodbye Girl.
    • Isabel Sanford appeared as Aunt Jenny in the Season 5 episode "Samantha Goes South for a Spell".
  • Seasonal Rot: The Dick Sargent episodes in particular are victims of this. Aside from the switch, the writing quality declined and many early episodes were recycled into "new" ones.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The Tabitha spin-off, among other things, retconning Adam to be a mortal (as well as Tabitha now being the younger sibling) despite the pilot showing him to be a warlock. Apparently, the original audience was also upset that Tabitha and Adam were suddenly adults.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: Averted with I Dream of Jeannie, which was wildly popular despite people involved in it admitting that it ripped off Bewitched. Played straight with the failure of Tabitha, which resulted from its similarity to The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Darrin's behavior seems remarkably jerkass and repressive to modern sensibilities. In particular he seemed very hostile to the idea of Samantha acquiring a "career" as Queen of the Witches and states it in pretty much those terms, actually denouncing her comparison to the U.S. presidency on the grounds that no president has ever been a wife and mother. Samantha and Darrin both frequently state that, as a wife, she cannot go places or do things without her husband's permission. This applied even on weekend days where Darrin was going to play golf. Depending on whom you ask, he got either better or worse when Dick Sargent came on as Darrin.
      • In the same vein, most modern viewers don't understand Darrin's disgust towards Samantha being a witch or why he is so hellbent on keeping her powers a secret. In fact, a lot of people would find the idea of their spouse having magical powers to be awesome. When Endora tells Darrin that he doesn't accept his wife for who she is, most people these days unanimously agree with her.
      • Hell, the very idea of a female magical being repressing a natural (or rather, a supernatural) part of herself just to appease her husband would be frowned upon today. If a similar premise were used for a modern TV show, the husband would almost certainly be portrayed as a villain.
    • Just in the third episode, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog," McMann & Tate's latest client becomes so aggressive with Samantha (despite knowing she's Darrin's wife), he basically does everything short of raping her. Samantha turning him into a dog (ironically, the man's name was Barker) didn't help matters; after Samantha explains to Darrin why she turned Barker into a dog and tells him he attacked her, Darrin blames it on the nightgown she's wearing at the moment. (Some of Samantha's nightgowns, and other lingerie, were somewhat revealing by '60s standards, but still.) It wasn't until Darrin finally caught him in the act of trying to have his way with Samantha that he knocked him out. Later still, when Barker arrives at the Stephens' house to actually apologize, neither Darrin nor Samantha really accept it.
    • Blink and you'll miss it, but on one occasion Larry proudly boasts that they never should have let women vote.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: In an early episode, one of Darrin's clients requested an ugly old witch as the mascot for his brand of Halloween candy. This is treated as being terribly racist, and Samantha later invades his dreams to teach him a lesson about tolerance. While he is very forceful on the matter, the fact remains that he is being punished for insulting people he didn't even know existed to begin with.
  • What an Idiot!: You'd expect Darrin to learn to bite his tongue in front of Endora and Samantha's other relatives. But he doesn't and keeps getting spells cast on him.


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