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Season 1, Episode 1: I, Darrin, Take This Witch, Samantha

The first episode ever of Bewitched, broadcast originally on 9-17-1964. See the TV.com summary.

Bewitched-1This episode--in black and white, of course--begins with a voice over that describes how Darrin and Samantha came to meet (in a revolving door) and court (by kissing in a decidedly non-passionate fashion in a variety of settings). The action of the episode begins with Samantha brushing her hair in their newlywed hotel suite (because brushing one's hair before honeymoon intercourse was what one did in the 1960s). At once we are introduced to one of the conflicts that will anchor the show: Endora makes her first entrance, through a window. She's aware that the wedding has taken place, though not yet of Darrin's mortal status, and she is already against it--perhaps because, as she later claims, Samantha is young and inexperienced. When Endora discovers that Darrin's a mortal, she predicts that Samantha will meet prejudice from his ilk. She repeatedly pops Darrin, bathrobed, into the hotel lobby so as to postpone his entry into the bedroom. And so begins her series-long antipathy toward her son-in-law, whom she has yet to meet.

A second conflict of the series is also set up in this first episode: once Samantha tells Darrin that she's a witch, and proves it to him, she promises that she won't do magic anymore. Of course, she will, and she does soon enough, when they're invited over to dinner at Darrin's ex-girlfriend's house. Sheila is clearly trouble from the start: she slides into Darrin's office at McMann and Tate headquarters, all coquettish, and kisses Darrin full on the lips (it looks like), despite that she knows he's now a married man. Then she does her best to make Samantha look bad at dinner. She's a bad, bad woman, and Samantha is right to give her her due. What's shocking, of course, is that in his pre-Sam years Darrin was dating this creature. And he was apparently some kind of globe-trotting playboy, too. Very weird. (Interestingly, when I Dream of Jeannie came along, Anthony Nelson likewise had to deal with an old flame right after finding Jeannie on a beach.)

The dynamic between Samantha and Darrin is very interesting. Already we see that, whatever her supernatural powers, she is the subordinate partner in the marriage. After the shock of discovering that his wife's a witch, Darrin spend a good deal of time contemplating how he'll deal with it. He finally announces to his relieved wife that he's going to keep her, despite it all, and she is delighted. She promises in turn to be "the best wife a man ever had." Yeesh. (Darrin lists her wifely duties--house-cleaning and the like. Interestingly, among them will be going to his mother's house for dinner every Friday night. I wonder how that got decided. Was it just assumed that that's what married couples did?)

Some random comments:

  • We don't know what Samantha's age in the show is, but Elizabeth Montgomery was 31 when the series premiered, and Dick York was 36.
  • Samantha casts her first spell of the series, to get rid of Endora, and it's a mangled bit of pseudo-English ("queavy quavy, English navy"), whereas later spells tend to be pretty simple rhymes.
  • Darrin requires proof of Sam's witchiness before he'll believe her because, he says, he's "from Missouri." Was there a time when that "show me" line was fresh?
  • Samantha tells Darrin she's not a very experienced witch and can only do little things. We'll see how long that lasts.
  • There is an enormous amount of attention given to drink in this episode: when Darrin is popped into the hotel lobby, he assumes he's drunk; he needs a drink upon learning that Sam's a witch; he thinks that getting a drink in a dry state might be an advantage of having a witch for a wife; he meets a friend at a bar to talk about Sam; he later talks to a bartender about his problems. All in one episode. It's amazing the guy can hold down a job.
  • No secret is made of the couple's hot sexuality. Not only the aforementioned kissing, but the show ends with the two of them heading off to bed. Impending sex is, in fact, the motive for Sam's next failure of will: she cleans the kitchen by witchcraft so she can follow Darrin upstairs as soon as possible.
  • Darrin addresses the camera directly at one point, breaking the fourth wall: "So my wife's a witch. Every married man has to make some adjustment." I was surprised to see it.

Comments

flirting tips

We never find out Sam's age? Ever? She could be 300 years old for all we know, lol!

Debra Hamel

I'm not sure about ever. I bet there are clues later on in the series. She is made out to be youngish in this episode, but as you say, for all we know that's 300 years old :)

ClubPenguinCheats

I bet there are clues later on in the series.

kirksroom

"It's amazing the guy can hold down a job."

Lol. It was the 60s. Have you ever seen Mad Men?

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