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Season 1, Episode 7: The Witches Are Out

Episode originally broadcast on 10-29-1964. See the TV.com episode guide.

Cm Capture 3The delightfully frumpy and frazzled Aunt Clara makes her first entrance into the series in this seventh episode. This time it's through the front door, her confused spell having landed her in the middle of the freeway. It's immediately clear that her impoverished powers are a problem, though that's not the principal issue of the episode. Clara has arrived for a meeting with Samantha and two older witches, Bertha and Mary, about the annual misrepresentation of witches that characterizes the Halloween season.

The four of them kick around some ideas. Mary suggests they out themselves. Bertha suggests that witch acceptance has to start with the young:

"I personally think it all begins with the children. Someone ought to rewrite those fairy tales. Well, you know: Show Hansel and Gretel for what they really are: a couple of pushy kids going around eating sweet old ladies' houses."

And Sam thinks that Darren's advertising background makes him ideally suited to help their cause.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Sam, Darren's just been asked by a client--Mr. Brinkman (Shelley Berman), a purveyor of Halloween candies--to create an ad campaign for his product featuring a "highly identifiable trademark" -- i.e., a long-nosed, wart-ridden witch.

Later that day, when Sam sees Darren's initial drawings for the campaign, she's infuriated. Darren doesn't understand her anger initially, which leads to a fight. She tells him that he's prejudiced and that "Mother was right": Endora had told Sam in the first episode that mortal prejudice against witches would be an issue in the marriage.

Cm Capture 6Eventually Darren is persuaded, rips up his drawing, and presents a sexy witch campaign to Brinkman--who's not pleased. Worse, Brinkman thinks Darren's nuts when he suggests that witches could be offended by a negative portrayal of themselves. Darren's compelled to repeat his comments to Larry Tate, and he rather heroically stands up for his anti-ugly witch stance without, of course, explaining the reason for it. But he loses his job over it--not for the first time (he quit in episode 3). His work situation provides the impetus for a witch-Brinkman confrontation.

With a view to getting Darren his job back, the girls--Sam, Clara, Bertha, and Mary--march on Brinkman's bedroom with signs ("Witches are people too!!") and, finally, scare him into reversing his position. Darren gets his job back, and Brinkman uses Darren's ad campaign. The campaign, we're later told, is a huge success, because, Larry says, "Mothers and children don't buy Halloween candy. Fathers do." And fathers, naturally, buy candy advertised by sexy cartoon witches. I find this very hard to believe--the fathers buying candy bit--but it allows the show to make its point: advertisers needn't stoop to negative stereotypes; by not doing so they're not only doing the right thing, they're doing something that's good for their bottom line.

This episode offers an interesting plot, of course, because of the real-world issues of racial stereotyping and discrimination. But Darren points out the problem of a too-easy analogy: most people don't believe in witches, he notes, so how can they be discriminating against them? So, serious societal issues are here translated into the fantastic, non-threatening world of small-screen comedy. They're kicked around and solved, at least in a small way. Perhaps societal tensions are thereby eased. Or perhaps the audience leaves the den having unwittingly engaged in some internal debate about the issues at hand. Comedy does have its serious side, after all.

Comments

Darlie

Hi Debra,

I enjoyed your review of Dick York's book so much I decided to check out your awesome blog here. An LA artist and a huge Bewitched fan so it's wonderful to read a blog someone so obviously well read .

Darlie

Debra Hamel

Thanks for dropping by, Darlie! I'm glad you enjoyed the review, too.

Douglas

Whose idea was it to have the witch revealing a little bit of her tushy?

Debra Hamel

Hey, Darren drew it; I didn't.

arfies

Hi Debra- just when I thought I've found everything on the Web "Bewitched"-related, here's this blog (originally found through the review of Dick York's autobiography, which I love). I hope you keep it up, as I'm really enjoying this blog!

Debra Hamel

Thanks, arfies! I obviously hadn't updated in forever, but I do want to in future. It just takes more work than I would have supposed, blogging each episode! But it can be a long-term work, I guess.

Thanks for stopping by.

arfies

My pleasure! By the way, have you ever seen harpiesbizarre.com? It is *the* Bewitched site out there. :)

Debra Hamel

Thanks! I'll check it out and add a link.

ClubPenguin

It just takes more work than I would have supposed, blogging each episode!

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About the blogger: The mother of two preternaturally attractive girls, Debra manages her online universe from her subterranean lair.... Read more.