Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bewitched Season 4: Humbug Not to be Spoken Here (1967)

I went in expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. Actually, this was kind of engrossing. I haven't seen a full episode of Bewitched since... well, since I was far too young to remember it.

Among other aspects, I was kind of surprised by the show's portrayal of Samantha's magic, which she secretly uses against her husband's wishes. For some reason, I'd assumed this would be portrayed as a negative (i.e.: the man knows best), but in reality, he was kind of a bumbling - though well intentioned - fool, while her powers were effective. Anyone know off hand whether her powers were intended as a metaphor for the squandered potential of women in the era? There was a genuinely touching interaction between her and her magical daughter at the end regarding their shared secret that hinted at some larger themes. Or maybe I'm reading too much into a light sitcom.

Regardless, the plot was sort of a Scrooge template, with Samantha standing in for any ghosts, and Santa Claus standing in for... well, really anything happening.

Santa's Workshop, while fairly generic, was decently depicted, and Santa himself was better than most depictions. My only real complaint was that the overall tone was more indicative of a kid's show: if it had pushed the envelope a little further, I think it would could have been an effective fantasy. Granted, that's a lot to ask of show of this nature in the 60's, but there was definitely the potential.

While it's not perfect, this is definitely worth watching if you're a fan of the fantasy aspects of the holiday.

Bewitched was streaming on Hulu earlier this year, but it's still also streaming through Amazon.

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