"SAMANTHA AND THE BEANSTALK"
Sixth season opener adds a few minor changes to the show -- Sam's "with child" and with... NEW HUSBAND! During its original run, pitchers of martinis couldn't be stirred fast enough as this episode single-handedly sent America into therapy as jaws collectively dropped to the floor and brains went "Huh?!" after the opening scene and credits flew by. Afterall, there's the "Bewitched" house and Samantha and Tabitha and...an actor who sort of looks like the other Dick but not really and she's calling HIM "Darrin" and, well... some still have yet to recover.
Tabitha, too, seems a tad confused. Though she's supposedly depressed and angry at the thought of having a new baby in the house...one has to wonder: acting as if she were sent away while Sam shopped for a new husband, an angry Tabitha runs away from home (and the strange man living there), switches places with Jack of the Beanstalk and proceeds to terrorize the land with a giant-sized ATTITUDE!
Whether managing to make the Giant's harp play the Stones, turn his golden eggs to yolk ("she wanted an omelette for breakfast!"), reduce the Giant to small-fry status or (most surprising of all) talk back to her mother ("NO!!!"), Erin Murphy is total hoot as she throws her weight around, insists on being chained and delivers nasty little warnings like "If you lose your temper, I'll make a no-no at you!" Hm... can you say "The Bad Seed?!" But then again, who can blame her?
Bobo Lewis as the Giant's wife is responsible for many of the episode's biggest laughs ("I only snickered once!"), Johnny Whittaker is appropriately "dopey lookin'" and actin' as the junior mod-clad Jack and Deacon Jones as the Castle Guard delivers his lines with...uh, well...all the talent you'd expect from a football player-turned-actor. Aggie makes an always-welcome appearance, Liz stays strong and steady, Erin proves to outshine her guest stars (Ronald Long only knows how to play ONE character) and Dick Sargent is...uh, well...the new Darrin.
From here on, "Bewitched" is a decidedly different show.
GUEST STARS: Johnny Whittaker was starring in his own hit show, "Family Affair" when this episode aired.
Bobo Lewis appears as the same type of character in "Hansel and Gretel in Samanthaland" (#238) and can be heard on the original cast album of the 1970's Broadway musical "Working."
NOTE: This was actually the THIRD episode Dick Sargent filmed as Darrin. "Samantha's Better Halves" was the first but William Asher deemed his performance too stiff to serve as a proper introduction and shelved that episode until halfway through the season.
©Review Copyright 1998 by SCOTT VIETS
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