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Season 1, Episode 5: Help, Help, Don't Save Me

Episode originally broadcast on 10-15-1964. See the TV.com episode guide.

This is an interesting episode because it's the first which revolves around an advertising campaign Darrin is working on. Sure, we met Rex Barker in episode 3, but Darrin's work on the Barker campaign was not central to the story. This time around Darrin is feverishly trying to come up with a campaign that will keep "Old Man Caldwell" (played by Charlie Ruggles) of Caldwell's Soup from going to another advertising agency. Darrin's stuck for ideas. He's stressed out. When we encounter him he's, well, very un-Darrin Stevens-like--smoking and unkempt and his shirt's untucked. He's been up all night:


This is how he looks when Sam finds him. Then he hurries to take a shower (which strikes me as unusual for a 60s sitcom, what with its implication of naked bathing, but perhaps I'm wrong). It may be the fastest shower known to man: from the time Darrin walks into the bathroom to the time he emerges, 39 seconds elapse.

While Darrin's rinsing off, however, Sam takes a look at  his work, and we get to see some nice shots of the sort of ads that put McMann and Tate on top:



Sam tells Darrin what she thinks

Samantha: "I think those layouts are cute."
Darrin: "Cute? Uninspired, pedestrian trash, that's what they are. But they're close."

Again, I may be wrong, but it seems to me that no one would speak of "uninspired, pedestrian trash" on a sitcom anymore. The phrase seems to imply a fairly literate audience.

Now comes the shocking part. While Darrin's in the bathroom, changing into his suit, Samantha takes another look at his drawings. The drawings he's been up all night working on. And without so much as an "is it okay if I deface your work?" she picks up a thick marker and starts making changes to them. Okay, sure, she's got some good ideas--and he's initially delighted and then upset because he assumes she's done it by magic, and then she's upset because he thinks she's lying and that she has no innate, non-witchy imagination--but the point is: you don't take a marker to someone's artwork, especially when he's got to show it to a client at lunch time.

Screenshot4Screenshot5-1The marital discord goes rather far in this one. Darrin's unfair to Sam, as usual, and only recognizes he's wrong after the fact. (Of course, Darrin doesn't realize he's wrong until some external event proves it; strangely, Sam never seems to find this in the least offensive.) Sam dons witch robes and takes off with her mother. Darrin goes to work unshaven and maybe even under the influence. In the end, of course, it all works out: Caldwell, it turns out, doesn't like her ideas. Which implies that they're not magical.

At Darrin and Larry's meeting with the client we get this charming bit of dialogue:

Caldwell: "It has no good old-fashioned romance in it."
Darrin: "You mean, you really don't like it?"
Caldwell: "No warmth. No love. No sex."
Larry: "Sex?!"
Caldwell: "Well, I don't suppose there are many of us left who look upon soup as having sex appeal, but I do. I always will."

I just love that last episode of Caldwell's.

The episode ends in an interesting way. Sam says something that gives Darrin another idea for the Caldwell soup campaign, and it emerges (in a conversation between Sam and Endora) that she planted that idea on purpose, although she pretends to him that it's all very innocent. She's manipulating him, in other words, while playing dumb. It's an example of how she wields a sort of quiet power--stroking his tender ego, being the more mature of the two--despite that he's the ostensible pants-wearer of the family. So maybe Darrin isn't wrong to doubt her earlier on....

A colorized version of the episode, in three parts, is available on YouTube (see below). Feel free to share your thoughts about it in the comments.

Some random comments:

  • The episode does not start with a voice over.
  • Having referred to Diogenes in the last episode, Endora now lets us know she acquainted with Julius Caesar.


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