8/12/13

The Boob Tube #47 : Bewitched (Season 8, Episode 9)


I love Bewitched, but for years it sort of rode on the same story-line  Darrin hates magic, but magic ends up saving his stupid job.  Like The Beverly Hillbillies, The Munsters, and I Dream of Jeannie, the show had a basic gag that it milked season after season, with very little variation. 

This isn't necessarily a bad thing - as long as the show is funny and entertaining, it shouldn't matter too much. It wasn't until All in the Family came along that the "wacky" and redundant sit-com fell out of favor with the maturing Boomer audiences.  Thus, Bewitched and many shows like it found themselves at the end of their run around the early seventies in favor of more "adult" platforms (i.e. Mary Tyler Moore over Get Smart).

So, Bewitched was on its last season in 1971.  It's actually my favorite season - it's still as redundant and silly as ever, but with a nice seventies vibe.  Let's walk through a very special episode, shall we?  It's called "A Plague on Maurice and Samantha" and it aired Wednesday evening November 10, 1971 (Just a couple days after Led Zeppelin released their fourth album).



The episode begins: Samantha is frustrated because her magic powers seem to have disappeared.  She can't even make the flower arrangement wilt.  Douche-bag Darrin will be happy for sure, but Sam's still upset.


Endora arrives to give Sam hell about it.  Honestly, I don't know how Samantha kept her sanity having to deal with both the nosy, meddling Endora and the neurotic, dickhead Darrin.

Samantha informs Endora that Doctor Bombay has determined (using his "computerized hexometer") that her loss of magic is due to her co-habitating with a Muggle..... er, excuse me, a "mortal".


At this point we get a pretty damn good look at the Stephens living room (and we also get a pretty damn good look up Sam's skirt, but that's neither here nor there).  It seems Sam's father, Maurice, has also been alerted to her predicament and arrives with great fanfare.


He drives into the living room chauffeured by Urich (another play on Shakespeare - the episode title is a play on a line from Romeo and Juliet). After a brief speech from Hamlet, Maurice is kissed by his daughter (a major plot point... as we'll learn later).


I've brightened this frame so you can see the goof.  You can see there is no ceiling, and you can also glimpse a hinge where the wall could be separated to allow for the vehicle entry.

Maurice is played by Maurice Evans.  Evans was the landlord and confidant of Rosemary in Rosemary's Baby.... another story of the occult and feminine affliction - but a bit more dark.


So, Sam and Endora enjoy breakfast the next day on the patio when they receive another visitor, Doctor Bombay, dressed in a bio-hazard suit.  He delivers the news that Samantha has PERIMERIDICTAMITUS.  Worst of all, it's transferred by kissing.  Thus, her father is now afflicted as well.


So, here's the Cliff's notes outline thus far: (1) Sam has contracted Perimeridictamitus by living with mortals too long, and (2) It is spread through saliva which she has exchanged with her father, Maurice. Got it?

Doctor Bombay explains that Sam must now take his prescription to the Postlethwaite's Potent Potions.... and this is when things get weird.


The apothecary chases Samantha around the room in a painfully long scene of cat-and-mouse.  She shuns his advances, but he keeps coming.  She dodges and runs, but he keeps coming.  He won't stop until he gets what he wants.



Finally, he grabs her and she must agree to a kiss before he'll give her the anti-toxin.  She submits and the scene fades to canned laughter.

On a side note - I knew I remembered the Love Boat's doctor behaving this way before.  He was too straight-laced on the actual show to ever behave so lecherously..... so where did I see it?  Oh, yeah...

 .....MAD magazine!

Anyway, on with the story.


Back at Darrin's office things are about to get similarly perverted.  Maurice, now without his magic powers, wants to see how the other half lives and visits Darrin's workplace.


As with all office spaces in the sixties and seventies, it comes equipped with hot secretaries, of which Maurice instantly starts hitting on.  While not as awkward as the previous sexual assault scene, still a bit creepy.

She's played by Susan Hathaway, who has absolutely nothing else in her filmography on IMDb.


But it just wouldn't be a Bewitched episode if it didn't include Darrin failing horrible at his job and being bailed out by magic.  Darrin must be the worst ad man in history.

In this case, Darrin is going down in flames with his client (played by J. Edward McKinley, who played a client on this show ten times), only to be saved by the Shakespearean tongued Maurice.


And so it ends.  They have the anti-toxin and Darrin miraculously still has a job.  Everyone's magic is back (including Endora, who'd been kissed by the wily Maurice), so ultimately nothing changes.  Thus, we can now repeat the whole story-line again next Wednesday evening on ABC.


Buy Season 8!


21 comments:

  1. Has anyone noticed that the TV is positioned in the Stevens' living room in such a way that neither the chairs or the sofa face it? Its just in sort of a random place.

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    1. Many living rooms were arranged that way, because the TV was not the most important thing in it. They were set up for conversation. Hell, my parents' living room never ever had a TV in it - that's what the family room is for.

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    2. Placement of TVs seemed to pose a problem in 60s sitcoms in general. Even in "I Love Lucy" when it was relevant to the plot that they watch TV, one just suddenly "appeared" in their living room, never to be seen again. Granted that was the 50s, when TVs were not as common an item as they later became. But even on shows like the "Dick Van Dyke Show" a TV would just occasionally appear in the living room, only to vanish again when no longer relevant to the plot. This "appearing and disappearing television" phenomenon was pretty common in sitcoms of the 60s and 70s.

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    3. The "appearing and disappearing Salami" phenomenon was pretty common in your mother's bedroom when your father was at work.

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  2. I love the very early seasons of Bewitched. This one definitely has the "new 70s vibe" going on and it threw me, as a kid, even though I was living it. LOL

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  3. Maurice Evans also played Dr. Zaius on Planet Of The Apes, and the Puzzler on the Batman TV show. What an awesome resume!!

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  4. An upskirt is always a good inclusion.

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  5. Love the asides you include, like the MAD cartoon.

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  6. I can't help but think that you threw that MAD Magazine page in as a test to see who's paying attention, as the lecherous apothecary in that episode of "Bewitched" is played by Bernie Kopell, who also played Doc in "The Love Boat". Do I win anything for that? :)

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  7. NICE POST, I remember this episode, classic sh*t!! Isn't that Bernie Kopell as the pharmacist? (guy who played Zeigfried in some Get Smart episodes)

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  8. She was so perfect. I really miss her.

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  9. I remember this episode. After Maurice loses his powers he has to shave "the mortal way" which is a novelty for him. He says "it does give one's skin a bit of a tingle". :-)

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  10. I love Bewitched. I love the inconsistencies of the show too. The staircase in the last picture was actually a fake staircase leading to no where. The steps of the stairs were actually made narrower and narrower as the steps go up to give the illusion of the stairs ascending. If the staircase was real where would it lead to? The upstairs floorplan wouldn't allow for those stairs. Also, who completely redecorates their house three times in eight years? I am still not sure why they added the room off of the kitchen and the stairs in the kitchen after the set burned down after season six. Why wouldn't they just rebuild it like it was before the fire.

    I do love the 70's vibe in the last two seasons but I also love the interior of the house in season one and two and seasons three through six. The couch in seasons one and two is bitchin. I live in a house built in 1973 and I actually remodelled my house based on Bewitched seasons three throught six and That 70's Show.

    The living room is the same living room used in the Gidget movie. Furniture and all. Also, Major Bellows house in IDOJ ( I Dream of Jeannie) is also the Stevens house in Bewitched. From what I've read, IDOJ and Bewitched props (magazines, lamps, etc.) were often stolen from one set and used on the other set. There was even a "fight" over IDOJ using the same special effects crew (The Albane company) as on Bewtiched which led to a different company doing the special effects on Bewitched.

    Anyways, I love this crap. Keep it up.

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  11. I remember one episode of I Dream of Jeanie when Tony & Roger had to sneak into Dr. Bellows house
    & it was the same set up as Bewitched.

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  12. So...Samantha was immortal?

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  13. Worst adman ever? Oh, now. What about the guy who came up with the "Head On!" commercials?

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  14. Samantha was a fine-looking woman, for a witch. But I would prefer being married to Jeannie. She knew who was Master in the house!

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  15. Susan Hathaway may have been a REAL secretary, pressed into service. Hey, it happened.

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  16. FlyingEthan...the BEWTICHED set was also used as the house for Jerry Lewis and his family in HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.


    (my WV is "69 oogrampa"

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  17. LOVE the last season! Samantha is just … MAN!

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