Someone gave me Season 1 of the 1960-1970s TV series called Bewitched which is quite popular in the housewives' circles. I finished watching it today and decided to write a blog post about it.
My regular readers must have noticed that I'm often posting book and film reviews. The reason for it is that I'd like to promote some quality entertainment since what we typically have to deal with now, is often so trashy.
So what about Bewitched? Years ago I used to read a homemakers' forum where the women were swearing by it. This TV series is a story about a witch by the name of Samantha who marries an ordinary man working for a big advertising agency. Witches in the series are shown as some sort of supernatural beings with extremely long life, not as normal human beings who studied witchcraft. They normally don't intermarry with humans, thus the series makes all sorts of hints about mixed marriages (this being 1960s and all).
Samantha's family is not thrilled with her marrying Darren and her mother constantly pops in and plays all sorts of tricks on her unfortunate son-in-law, some of them pretty sadistic (there is, of course, a double meaning behind it, what man doesn't think at times his mother-in-law is a witch?)
Samantha, on the other hand, is determined to play the role of a typical suburban housewife, not relying on witchcraft, as she promised to her husband on her wedding day, the promise which she continually keeps breaking. That's the basic plot of the story.
On the plus side, the show positively depicts housewives and the woman's role in the family, it gives a glimpse into the 1960s society when people still were neighbourly, wives dressed up for dinner and the homemaker was still a respected career choice. Samantha withstands her mother's constant negative remarks about her choosing domestic drudgery as opposed to living a life of glamour, she is determined to create a peaceful, cosy domestic environment for her husband and demonstrates sympathetic understanding when he is late home for dinner because of the office troubles.
The series stress the importance of mutual understanding between the spouses, keeping alive the romance and not taking each other for granted. The clothes and the interiors are beautiful and there is an element of the fairy tale in it all. On the other hand...
On the other hand, Samantha is a witch. All her family are witches and warlocks (which is actually a correct term for a male witch). Witches are shown as glamorous, sophisticated and cool, as opposed to mere mortals and actually, much better overall. Those humans who disagree are intolerant bigots who oppress minorities (that's when it all started). In one episode, Samantha and her three aunts even stage a protest against the hurtful stereotyping of a minority (i.e. witches).
Nearly all men in the show are horny as heck and Darren, despite being so much in love with his own wife, certainly is not an exception when it comes to showing attention to pretty girls. His boss who is several years his senior constantly keeps complaining about his wife getting too old and is shown at home reading a magazine with girls in bikinis.
Women are not portrayed much better, either. Nearly all single women are sexual predators who keep hunting after men, especially married men. Especially Samantha's husband. The topic of divorce is constantly discussed, with Samantha's mother Endora (I wonder if she was called after the Witch of Endor) doing everything possible to destroy her daughter's family. In one episode, she even brings Samantha's ex-boyfriend, a warlock with the looks of James Bond, to their house.
All men also drink. They drink at work and after work and at all hours and some of them get pretty drunk, too (which wasn't shown either in I Love Lucy or I Dream Of Jeannie). By the way, I wonder if the Mad Men was not a rip off of Bewitched, since there are certain similarities between the two.
Samantha is doing her best at home, but there is really no idea of a man being definitely in charge, like Ricky was in I Love Lucy. In the series about Jeannie, she actually called Tony Nelson her master and had to obey him. In Bewitched, it looks like Darren constantly needs to learn a lesson about how to behave towards his wife, and more often than not, he makes a fool out of himself.
However, what did it for me, was the episode when Samantha conjured the spirit of the dead to scare the neighbour lady. As a Christian, I couldn't in good conscience keep viewing it so I got rid of the DVD and I'm not planning to watch Season 2. So at first I wasn't sure whether to post a review but then decided to go on with it. I realise that your standards may be not the same as mine, but at least, you can now make an informed choice whether to watch it or not!