October 24th: Bewitched

Endora, Endora, Endora!

Humans are weird, compelled by instincts that have been carefully calibrated through years of natural selection, all of which have been thrown into discord with the advent of the Spinning Jenny and the Google searchbar. Our culture has exponentially accelerated in its amorphous way since the Industrial Revolution, leaving these base, lizard-brain compulsions to find their place in this new world.

One such compulsion is the concept of "taking sides," and here is where we begin; for whatever reason, I have always felt like I needed to make a choice between Samantha Stephens and Jeannie. This is primal, this is silly, and this is completely unnecessary, but even as a boy, I knew that the two could not coexist in my heart. And so, I have always been a Bewitched man.

Bewitched

Come on, it's Elizabeth Montgomery rearranging the world around her at will, and being a real class-act about it the entire time! Her family... not so much, but Sam was always the coolest/hottest woman on the block. And let's be real, the "Yes, Master," idiocy of I Dream Of Jeannie is the fucking worst. Like, Night Court bad.

So let's journey back, back, deep into the 1960s (the early seasons somehow posthumously colorized, which was surprising to see, but pleasant enough to look at), when magic was as competitive as it has ever been. My guess is that Sam was totally a Gryffindor.

Space: Patterson, NY
Time: October 28th, 1965
Episode: "Trick Or Treat" Season 2, Episode 7

You know you're in for a good time when Endora shows up early in an episode. Not that we really care, but she becomes upset when Samantha can't go with her to a volcano ceremony because she has to host the Tates and one of their clients for a dinner soiree. Endora hates it, just as she hates the negative portrayal of witches-as-stereotypes, which was a popular theme throughout the show.

Let me share ith you that this is my favorite TV house - if I could pick one to live in, it would be this one. The only thing that could make this home more 1965, is if their bed was sunk into the floor like John Lennon's in the movie Help! The mod furniture, the bizarre collection of art on the walls, the carpet like a smooth putting-green... that is the life for me.

At this point, I feel it only proper to give Darrin some time in the spotlight.

Darrin Stephens: The Very Model of a Modern Major Minor Modern Man

So we all remember Darrin, correct? Let's take a look at him to refresh ourselves:

Yes, there he is, all gamey and filled to the brim with tics... Here's the thing: I know that Darrin Stephens was very much a man of the 1960s - shit, just look at that suit. And he works in advertising? That was a very 1960s profession. And while Bewitched is mostly about the Sam and her posse of magic-slinging gals, let's consider how this affects Darrin, and if we would do anything differently were we in his hair-oils.

If you look at synopses of the massive 36-episode run on Season 1, you'll note that it was very Samantha-heavy, as it ought to be; the trials and tribulations of Bewitched are those of Sam and her attempts at assimilating into the mundane lives of mortals. Cruising down the list of plots to Season 2, suddenly everything is about Darrin and teaching Darrin a lesson or mixing something up and ruining Darrin's life in one magical way or another.

If he's not being turned into a chimpanzee, he's being turned into a pregnant man, or being sent off to find some ingredients for a brew that will save his wife's life, or being messed with by a cackling Paul Lynde. And I ask you: would you marry a lovely witch if it meant Paul Lynde suddenly had access to your living room and could come and go as he pleased? No, you would not, but Darrin did. And he must be in it to the end, because that is a massive sacrifice to make in the name of love.

Look at him here, being a good sport, and doing his part for Halloween '65, with a little help from his friend, 60s-suit.

One of these trick-or-treaters is actually Endora, who has changed herself into a girl, as played by a young Maureen McCormick, better known as the eldest, most condescending Brady-sister:

Because Marcia always gets the best one-off bit-parts - Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Anyway, Marcia/Endora put a werewolf hex on Darrin for doing his job and abetting the Halloween party supply impresario who will be joining them for dinner.

It takes Samantha about 5 seconds to figure out what's happened, but wouldn't you know it, it's almost time for them to host their dinner party!

And what does Darrin do (not to be confused with What Darin-Do)? He does what all of us would do, and runs upstairs to shave his fingers.

This is a monumental disaster that could derail his entire career, and yet he takes it in stride. Naturally, we all know that shaving-alone is not enough to break a werewolf curse, and before you can say, "Hey, shoot that nervous ad-man in the heart with a silver bullet!" he's full-wolf:

Of course, Halloween party-supply guy loves it, thinking this is all some fun holiday prank, but Darrin is mortified by the entire situation, all sovereignty having been stripped from him by a saucy Agnes Moorehead.

However, there are only so many minutes in a half-hour sitcom (26, in fact), so it's only a matter of time before Samantha gets Endora to turn him back, leaving him to wonder what horrors will be inflicted upon him in days to come. He is found, like all modern men are, in a dark linen closet, sweaty and chewing on fabrics.

Here's to you, Darrin! Maybe you were a dick sometimes, but I think we can all agree that between this and the Paul Lynde-thing, you did not deserve such a fate. At least he has that awesome house and that awesome Elizabeth Montgomery to go home to and comfort him after a long day of being manipulated by forces beyond his comprehension. We raise our martini glasses to them all in tribute.