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Bewitched: More than just a fun TV show

Updated on June 8, 2015
Bewitched.
Bewitched. | Source
Bewitched. Popular TV show.
Bewitched. Popular TV show. | Source

Bewitched: Classic TV portraying issues of the day

I watched this TV show every Friday at six o'clock when I was a kid in England.

My weekly treat was a sixpenny bar of Cadbury's chocolate and that, along with a funny TV series, created a perfect half-hour. I loved the antics of Samantha the witch, especially when she was outwitting everyone.

There's lots of fun for kids and adults

I couldn't resist when I saw that the complete series was available on DVD. But watching it again, I didn't realize back in the days when I watched this series as a child in England, that I was actually watching a TV show that was making several social commentaries.

It's only when I look back and watch the episodes again that I realize their significance.

Watching as a grown up

One of the first issues that was being tackled, I realized, was that of race. When the series started in 1964, there were still some states in the USA that - unbelievable but true - didn't allow inter-racial marriages.

In the series, a gorgeous young witch (Samantha) marries a mere mortal (Darrin) and much of the show is about their adjustments and the disapproval of her family; specifically her mother, Endora. Seeing it now, this was a barely-veiled way of tackling the issue of mixed marriages.

A woman's place...

Even though I was a kid, I was irritated by Samantha's apparent domestication and housewifely devotion. Watching the show now, I'm aware that it was tackling another issue of the day - the role of women in society.

Although Samantha appears to be a subservient housewife, in fact she is a lot stronger than her husband with skills (albeit witchcraft) that her husband doesn't possess. An interesting concept for those times. She certainly wasn't 'the weaker sex'.

Subcultures

With the presence of the witches, the series explored the idea that even in an ordinary suburban American background there are people who don't conform to the accepted way of life.

This too was an issue in the 1960s. The gay rights situation was starting to bubble, Hippies were protesting. Various counter-culture groups were becoming established. This series, thanks in part to the nosy neighbor next door, was promoting the idea of 'live and let live' and the thought that the structured establishment could be challenged.

Non-marital relationships

Samantha's mother frequently appeared on the show and from time to time, so did her father. It was evident that they were not married. These were lovable characters and helped to show the audience that the established way Americans tried to live weren't the only options in life. Samantha and Darrin might have opted for the traditional way but the series showed that there were other options.

Consumerism

Darrin worked as an ad man in a Madison Avenue advertising agency. He played the typical corporate game, being subservient to his employer. Many of the episodes referred to his clients and their importance, plus the necessity of designing ads and copy that would be successful in selling often unnecessary products. Gently, the show was poking fun at the rather ridiculous state of consumerism in the United States at that time.

Watch with new eyes

Once you're aware that these issues and others of the day were dealt with using comedy and gentle satire, you'll see the episodes differently.They are still enormous fun but it's just as enjoyable to watch out for underlying themes.

Bewitched: The Complete Series
Bewitched: The Complete Series

This is the entire series in one package. There are a total of thirty three discs and you can follow the series from 1964 right through to 1972.

The first series, which was shot in black and white, has been colorized. This DVD collection keeps us entertained for hours.

 
Source

The video I wanted to show you has been removed from You Tube, but it was such a good example so I'll describe it instead. It shows the stress and strains of being an ad executive, the futility of the job (selling soup) and, unbelievably, the fact that Darrin thought that Samantha has used witchcraft when actually she has simply used her (female) brain.

Darrin has been up all night trying to create an ad campaign for soup. Whilst he's in the shower, Samantha - NOT using witchcraft - comes up with her own ideas which are much better than his.

He assumes witchcraft created them...

Gently and with comedy, the show was pointing out that 'mere women' actually don't need witchcraft - or any other strange powers - to compete with (and beat) the men in their lives.

However, the video below is a typical example of the show. It is a full episode.

© 2013 Jackie Jackson

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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @MelRootsNWrites - I was exactly the same. I just thought it was an entertaining show but it's so interesting watching it now with an adult eye.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 

      3 years ago from California

      I saw this show many times as a child and teen. I don't think I once thought there might be underlying themes that reflected the times. I remember being frustrated with the show as a budding feminist. It was clear Samantha was smarter than the whole lot of male characters on the show. Now, you've given me something to think about. Interesting how a simple show can reflect the attitudes and conflicts of the times in a subtle way.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @WeeCatCreations - that's exactly what I do now. I was just a kid when I first watched them and it's fascinating to watch them now. I see every episode in a different light now - but they are still such good fun :)

    • WeeCatCreations1 profile image

      Susan Caplan McCarthy 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      I loved watching this show when I was growing up. Thank you for the intriguing observations that make me want to watch the show again as an adult.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Arachnea - thanks! It's interesting when you look at it in a different way, isn't it?

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 

      3 years ago from Texas USA

      i loved bewitched. i'll be back to read more.

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Corrinna-Johnson: :)

    • Corrinna-Johnson profile image

      Corrinna Johnson 

      4 years ago from BC, Canada

      Being a 1970s baby, I loved watching reruns of the show when I was younger. Thanks for the memories!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Brite-Ideas: I know what you mean. I used to get so frustrated when she was baking a cake or something 'just wiggle your nose' I'd yell at the TV :)

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      The role of women certainly has changed from 1960s hasn't it - don't know if it bothered me when I was watching the show as a young girl, but I do remember thinking how awesome it would be to have that power!

    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sousababy: The mother is fabulous - so sarcastic, but honest. Yep, just a wiggle of the nose and we're 'equal' :)

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 

      4 years ago

      Imagine that - all with a wiggle of the nose and a woman is (almost) an equal. (Still can hear that little jingle in my head). Samantha's mother certainly entertained me. Thanks for the memories . . I think you're right about it portraying outcasts in society. Such a great show.

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