"DOUBLE, DOUBLE, TOIL & TROUBLE"
Also known as the "pie fight" episode, this is classic "Bewitched" in one of its finest half-hours.
Picking up where "Long Live the Queen" left off (originally aired three episodes earlier but filmed around the same time) we find Samantha's reign as Queen of the Witches still in full swing as she holds true to her promise to conduct royal covens strictly after midnight. Of course Darrin has to wake up and ruin everything so what's a mother-in-law to do? Enter Serena (in her first color episode) to impersonate Samantha and you've got one of "Bewitched's" most winning plot devices -- the "double" show where we get to see Liz play Serena playing Sam.
Everybody gets a chance to shine here with wonderful writing affording some great comedic scenes: Gladys finally gets blatantly terrorized by "Sam" for being too nosy; Darrin's forced to re-examine whether or not he's been asking too much of Sam all along; and most surprisingly, in an unusually sexy scene, Larry hints just how much he may really be turned on by Sam! Add a TON of witchcraft, some fun different looks for "Sam" (Mod? or Dumpy Housewife?), Liz singing Sondheim ("I Feel Pretty") and a personal favorite line reading (Sam: "WHAT IS IT?!?!) and you've got just about something for everyone.
Even something for the critics who complain about Samantha's decision to live the mortal life and to live with a man who refuses to let her use her witchcraft, this episode may provide some temporary comfort ... although we know it's really Serena, there's a definite release in seeing "Sam" turn unabashedly zap-happy all the while telling Darrin exactly where he can shove his mortal life and it's in those moments that Liz is in her element! Instead of hitting us over the head with an obvious "impersonation," Liz simply raises an eyebrow, flares a nostril and stands slightly taller with a haughty air -- masterfully conveying without uttering a word who's really underneath that blonde hair!
Of course all this adds up to the piece dé resistance, that which really makes this episode stand out -- the famous PIE FIGHT! In an unusual move leaning towards what's recognized as classic slapstick (something which "Bewitched" for the most part steered clear of) Bill Asher's "I Love Lucy" roots pop up as Darrin and Sam engage in a "pie in the puss" tag which sends both of them laughing so out of control (and character!) that Liz herself had to re-dub her lines over the original soundtrack. Moments of unabashed spontaneity like this are hard to find in a show as polished and skillfully crafted as "Bewitched" and the rare glimpse of Liz and Dick breaking character as they joyfully act like kids in a food fight is simply the icing on the cake (or pie in this case) on an already classic "Bewitched."
FAVE QUOTE:Larry: "We talked a little."
Darrin: "Did you get anything out of her?"
Larry: "Yes... but she didn't TELL me anything!"
LOOK FOR: In a bit part, the Harem girl in Sam's Royal Court is Ellen Weston, who goes on to play Contessa Pirahna in Episode #245 and goes on to an even bigger career as a writer for several important TV Movies of the 90's; In the pie fight sequence, both Liz and Agnes can be seen "eyelash-less" sporting less make-up (for obvious reason!); The "Mod Sam" is a preview of what Serena will become in her hippie "Iffin" incarnation (Episode #128); Watch both Endora and Serena get their pies with much force, causing Serena's wig to nearly fly off and causing Aggie to look like a very unhappy camper!
GERALD WATCH: In Sam's Royal Court, he's last in line to come through the wall.
OOPS!: Big-time flub!... Sam comes into the house with the pie and makes a point to place her purse on the hallway table only to be seen in the next shot carrying it with her as the prop she needs to drop!
CUT!: Many syndicated versions of this episode have edited out many classic lines, including the Larry/"Sam" scene which is heavily truncated. In the original, just as "Sam" and Larry start to show their lustful attraction, Endora pops in telling Serena to lay off him. It's a wonderful scene... when seen in its entirety!
© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS
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