"NO ZIP IN MY ZAP"
Extremely entertaining from beginning to end, this tightly paced episode is a winner with its change of pace script, sharp editing and beautifully integrated subtle moments.
In an opening scene which is darn near perfect, a lot of exposition is required to get the plot rolling (Darrin landing a new account and the eventual loss of Samantha's powers). Instead of rushing through it, time and detail has been given to balance the vital plot points with very real and lovely slices of everyday family life. Two particular moments pinpoint why "Bewitched" often hits emotional nerves: As Darrin excitedly relays the details of his accomplishment, the camera pauses on a beaming Samantha who says with pure sincerity, "I'm so proud of you," as the theme music wafts quietly underneath. A wonderful moment. Later, Tabitha enters the bedroom as the camera makes a point to show Samantha's loving reaction to seeing her toddle in with a "Morning, Mommy!" Though not necessarily important to the plot, it's attention purposely given to reaction shots like this which endear the Stephenses to the viewer even more.
There's loads of imaginative witchcraft including Sam's levitation and the later chaotic "dam bursting" (even Sam's flopped attempts at re-assembling the dishes or trying to levitate the tongue depresser are creative!) Darrin's drunk scene is a comedic gem ("I only had TEE Mar-TUNIES!") and the last scene is one of the best ever with its surprise ending.
Once again, "Bewitched" proves here to be ahead of its time. Written before Womens Lib, Barbara Avedon's script has fashioned in the M.J. Niles Munster character a woman who runs a huge corporation. Remembering this IS the mid-1960's, Larry and Darrin's caveman sensibility that a woman couldn't possibly be "Up on the big board" must be forgiven. Nevertheless, Miss Avedon does get her feminist point across in the guise of Mala Powers, cast perfectly as "Niles Munster," as she prophetically remarks, "It's hard to keep up in business, work and take care of our children at the same time" -- an issue which in 1967 was virtually ignored. Once again "Bewitched" proves why it remains timeless.
GUEST STARS: Mala Powers played Roxanne to Jose Ferrer's 1950 film version of "Cyrano de Bergerac." (She also looks a great deal like another "Bewitched" guest star, Joan Hotchkiss!)
LOOK FOR: Quick edit when Darrin turns his back as they stopped the film to place the fly on his nose before he turns around again.
More extras in the elevator scenes than you'll see in the entire 8th season!
Sneaking another one past the old censors...Darrin's final line: "We can always make up tomorrow night!" (Hmmm...didn't catch THAT one as a kid!)
© Review Copyright 1997 by SCOTT VIETS
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