Bewitched : Season 1 observations

Season 1 observations

I know these observations have been said before on the internet, probably here too at some point, but I just rewatched the entire first season over a short span of time and felt like posting some of my thoughts. It's always been one of my favorite seasons next to seasons three and four, but this viewing, for whatever reason, made it seem even better than usual. I didn't dislike any of the episodes, and even some of the more boring ones ("Red Light, Green Light", "Love is Blind", "Remember the Main") aren't terrible by any means, and the energy levels are high from all the actors.

One big thing I noticed this time is that Endora is really not all that hostile to Darrin. Besides their very confrontational first meeting and a few other moments, she mostly seems only mildly annoyed by Darrin, and Samantha's marriage to him. She even helps him a few times (trying to save him from Maurice, helping with the Perfect Pizza campaign, bursting the water system during the city council race, and helping Sam stop Cousin Edgar). She also brings Samantha all those traffic lights, I think partially to annoy them and partially to be actually helpful. The other witches that Darrin encounters (Aunt Clara, Bertha, Mary) don't seem to care that much about him being a mortal either. Even George the warlock, who is out to get Darrin at first, decides to date a mortal and brings Sam and Darrin champagne to celebrate. Maurice literally destroys Darrin, but he too seems okay with Darrin by the end of that episode.

Maybe it starts in season two, but definitely by season three, the witch society is incredibly more hostile towards Darrin and their marriage in later seasons. Hagatha, Enchantra and Endora are pretty heinous in the episode where they test Tabitha's powers. Gladys becomes more hostile too, so perhaps that all came with the change in producers and showrunners. Darrin also becomes far more hostile about Samantha and her family using witchcraft around him in later seasons. He doesn't exactly love when it happens in season one, but he doesn't flip out like he does later on, and even a few times he encourages it. To be fair, it does make some sense that he flips out more in later seasons, as by that point, a ton of horrible things have happened to him.

The Kravitzes seem to dominate for many episodes in the latter part of the season, appearing even more than Larry, it felt like. Gladys looking through the Stephens front window and seeing something crazy was wearing a little thin by the end of the season, but Alice Pearce was still wonderful and hilarious in nearly every appearance. As characters, Gladys and Abner were much wackier/sitcommy than, say, Larry and Louise, but they both had moments to feel more real and well rounded compared to later seasons. Gladys and Samantha having a casual conversation in the kitchen about how to keep the romance alive in marriage in "That Was My Wife" would have never happened in say, season seven.

The few moments I truly disliked were the ones where Darrin forbids or commands Samantha to do this or that (like not letting her go to her cousin's wedding), which happens here and there throughout all the seasons. I guess really, there's no reason his or any other character needs to be perfect, but I'm always a little disappointed when his character says such things. The ending of "Pleasure O'Riley" is also baffling. She's trying to run away from her physically abusive boyfriend throughout the whole episode and gets a restraining order against him, but then they get engaged at the end?

Anyway, there are lots of other great things about the season... the progression of Darrin and Samantha's relationship as they learn about each other, more realistic McMann and Tate storylines (we see actual other departments and employees besides Darrin, Larry and a secretary), Aunt Clara and Darrin's parents have touching and funny episodes, and Louise is great in her few appearances too. I know I'm mostly preaching to the choir here, but it's interesting to rewatch a whole season with fresh eyes if you have the time (and are stuck indoors due to winter weather!).

Re: Season 1 observations

Great post.

I tend to watch the first two seasons more than the others. Really enjoy season two.

Different show even more so for being black and white.

Agree with the Gladys encounters wearing thin.

Actually enjoy Red Light etc. Endora enjoys gathering up the signals. So cool to have the powers to play around like that.

Re: Season 1 observations

I agree, great post from the OP, although I think that "Pleasure O'Reilly"
is not just weak, but among the very worst episodes ever aired. Kip
Hamilton was DREADFUL (rare for this series), and the "celebration" we're
supposed to feel when Pleasure reunites with her ABUSIVE boyfriend is
beyond dated - it's horrible. Abner needs dental work because of this
sick jerk. Awful.

I value season three as the best of the series, mainly due to the range
of scripts, Marion Lorne's seemingly endless guest appearances, the makeup,
and, finally....York's transition from talented leading man to comic

He deserved the Emmy WAY OVER Don Adams.

Re: Season 1 observations

Another great post.

Agree all the way, especially about Pleasure. The whole Ep is cringeworthy.

Seasons 1-3 are the best. Each has it's merits. Never considered makeup but you're right the more I think on it. Same re York.

All involved were successful in making their world real to me and the remaining seasons kept me coming on the basis of those 3.

Re: Season 1 observations

Thanks Phoebe!! Honestly, I enjoy Darren and Endora's relationship very much in 1 and 2. It was textured - not the cartoony-big constant insult-slinging that it became in Season 3 and after. Great post!

Re: Season 1 observations

Thanks for responding, everyone. I'm about 3/4 through season three now (because I know you all have been waiting with bated breath!) and the Endora vs. Darrin hostility is through the roof in some episodes. I'm not sure if they actually planned this, but from an "in-show" perspective, Endora may be more prone to more frequent meanness because Tabitha has been born and the marriage is really permanent now. Endora also tries to kidnap Tabitha and strip Aunt Clara of her powers, so maybe she was just having a bad year!

But yes, I agree that season three is a great season too. There are still a few episodes that are just okay to me, but mostly they are good or great. Aunt Clara appearing throughout the season is wonderful as gbennett points out, compared to season two where she's just at the beginning (I think gbennett mentioned Marion Lorne had a heart attack in real life). Season three also has my favorite arrangement of the theme song in the closing credits. It will never make sense to me that Montgomery and York never won an Emmy. Lucille Ball beating out Liz twice is crazy, especially during that point in Lucy's career. I will admit that I haven't seen all of season 5 and 6 of The Lucy Show, but I've viewed all of seasons 1-4 on DVD, and 4 was painful to get through.

I'm really disappointed to see that the IMDb boards are going away. Active boards like this were always fun to read, and I always liked being able to go to the board of any movie or TV show from the dawn of cinema that I had just watched to see if others had posted about it or asked questions. I can imagine the trolling on board for super popular new movies or celebrities, but it's a shame for everything else like Bewitched.

Re: Season 1 observations

Phoebe, you are one of the posters I really enjoyed reading. You didn't
post often, and - like today - always seemed to post on Saturdays. You
never resorted to hostility or trolling, and always posted intelligent

Such a drag that we are all losing this.