"BE IT EVER SO MORTGAGED"
The first "official" episode independent from the pilot, "I Darrin, take this Witch, Samantha," (which was filmed a year earlier) wisely picks up where that episode left off...newlyweds adjusting to married life. This episode is crucial for it sets the entire tone of where the show is headed and indeed stayed in its plot structure for 8 years: 1. We are introduced to the tension between Darrin & Endora before they've even met. 2. The meddling neighbor who witnesses the magic yet no one believes her. 3. Sam caught between witchcraft/mortal worlds. 4. The introduction of the famous Stephens house!
A lot of information is passed on to the viewer without being too overwhelming. The writers masterfully take their time and in a moment of pure brilliance, hold off even on Darrin actually meeting Endora (also affording a great comic bit with Darrin being introduced to Gladys by hugging her and calling her, "Mom!").
The plot in and of itself is very simple: Darrin and Sam buy a house. But the episode is far more complex than you realize at first -- it's overflowing with character analysis and slice-of-life tidbits on newlyweds. Examples of this are found in many wonderful moments such as Darrin 's excitement describing what it'll be like to own a house; Young wives who have yet learned how to cook; And especially one of my all-time favorite moments from the entire 8 years: Endora and Sam walk into the kitchen discussing newlywed stuff like any mortals would and we forget for a moment they're witches but the writers immediately contrast it in Endora's statement to Sam, "We're quicksilver, a fleeting shadow, a distant star..." Not only are the incantation-like words absolutely gorgeous but so is the haunting musical underscore. The camera stays on a wistful looking Sam who likes what she hears, smiling, knowing it's a part of her world that she doesn't quite want to give up...Liz is particularly beautiful during this moment and her reaction is truly lovely.
Other nice moments include the "instant decorating" mother/daughter bonding scene; Gladys excitedly boasting to Abner about Darrin: "That's the one who kissed me!"; Sam laughing to cover Endora's laugh which Darrin overheard; And LOTS of magic!
Speaking of the magic, it's one of the things that definitely is a work in progress here. Although they use a lot of it, the editors still don't quite have a handle on making the appearing/disappearing look totally smooth yet.
The sound effects too are in their infancy. What would later become a hallmark of "Bewitched" sound effects -- a musical "gliss" accompanying the hand gesture followed by the "ding" or "boing" once the object appears (in essence, two sound effects) is not quite discovered yet. Here, when Endora and Sam wave, there is no sound effect to accompany it, only a soft "ding" once the object disappears or appears. This takes a little of the musical "button" or excitment away from the special effect. But hey, it's only their SECOND episode and we know they eventually get it all right!
FAVE QUOTE: Sam: "You sure you had enough breakfast?"
Sam: "You wouldn't have preferred eggs or something like that?"
Darrin: "No, sweetheart...the CAKE was just fine!"
LOOK FOR: Liz looking VERY, VERY PREGNANT when the broom is sweeping itself and also in the final scene walking into the house.
© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS
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