"DRIVING IS THE ONLY WAY TO FLY"
CAUTION: Nervous Witch Driving! Highly entertaining episode finds Samantha trying to learn how to drive. But no one cares about that now – more importantly, this episode is about introducing Paul Lynde to the world of “Bewitched”. But not as Uncle Arthur! Like the soon-to-follow debuts of Bernard Fox and Alice Ghostley, Lynde is the first of the three to be featured on the show as a totally separate character than the one he would make most famous on the show, Uncle Arthur. Here he’s seen as Mr. Harold Harold, Samantha’s overly nervous driving instructor who chews on tranquilizers the size of rice cakes and wears a helmet usually only seen on little girls riding tricycles.
Extremely humorous, this episode at times borders on the harrowing – beginning with the very uncharacteristic impatience of Darrin towards Samantha while teaching her how to drive. Absolutely adorable in her confusion as to why the car’s gearshifts are labeled the way they are, Darrin turns “mean, high-handed and rude!” instead of enjoying her childlike excitement. But still it’s brilliantly executed in highlighting the cliché of males versus females in the arena of who’s better behind the wheel. Harold’s non-stop jittery state, Endora’s “prankish” tricks in the back seat of the car (who thought trying to literally drive someone crazy could be so fun?) and Sam’s driving lesson (which scarily enough reminds me of some of my own high school Driver’s Ed days!) will have you laughing your butt off while reaching for your own saucer-sized Valium.
This episode belongs to Lynde and Lynde alone. Montgomery graciously hands all of their scenes over to him and it’s easy to see here why the producers (and Liz herself) liked him so much they wanted him back on a regular basis. Lynde is a natural comic with one of the most unique personalities in the business. Unlike Lynde’s Uncle Arthur character, Harold is insecure, vulnerable and quite endearing in his desire to succeed at something. His gentle reaction to Samantha handing him his helmet back after he’s been fired is almost childlike and cute and no one else could put such a hysterical spin on one single word: “SELFISH!”
Lynde and Montgomery form an instant bond with this episode, a relationship that would last not only the show’s entire run but throughout the rest of their careers.
FAVE QUOTE: Samantha: “Would you like to join me in a cup of coffee?” Harold: “You think we can both fit?”
LOOK FOR: Must’ve been really cold when they filmed this: when Harold and Sam leave the house and walk to the car, notice breath coming out of their mouths.
OOPS: When the phone rings, Harold kicks the cup of coffee off the table. When Sam answers the phone in the next shot, it’s back on table!
©Review Copyright 2003 by SCOTT VIETS
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