"SAMANTHA'S BAD DAY IN SALEM"
Airing only 11 months after "Tabitha's Very Own Samantha" (#189), an inventive tale where Tabitha creates a robotic identical mommy, the writers revisit the Land of Stepford this time creating a fembot Samantha for Waldo, a lovesick warlock to play with.
Occasionally amusing but mostly uninspired, this episode is perhaps the weakest of the Salem installments. Unlike other Salem episodes which featured logical storylines inspired by the history and setting of Salem, this storyline has nothing to do with the location and quite simply could have been set anywhere. Hal England does his best in the dull role of Waldo while Anne Seymour turns in a delicious cameo as his Endora-esque mother who wants him to stop "pining over one skinny witch!" Liz Montgomery and Dick Sargent rise nicely above the material but it's David White who comes off the best -- his Larry Tate so perfectly acted it's too easy to take for granted just how genius his portrayal is!
With most of the scenes filmed back in Hollywood on poorly disguised sets (funny how every hotel room the Stephenses stay in has the same layout as their bedroom!) the on-locations shots that ARE inserted seem rather gratuitous in this by-now-way-too-long Salem saga. Fortunately, before you can say "Where's Waldo?" the episode following this ("Sam's Old Salem Trip" #208) ties up Sam and Darrin's Salem misadventures beautifully while bumping this little tale quietly into the ranks of "Also-Ran" episodes.
FAVE QUOTES: Sam: "Mother put me on the ways and means committee. She's the Chairman.
Darrin: "If she's the Chairman, it should be called the Ways To Be Mean committee!"
Waldo: "I just wanted to meet your husband and see what you saw in him."
Sam: "And now that you've met him...?"
Waldo: "What DO you see in him?!"
MELODY WATCH: Sitting at the table behind Darrin in the restaurant.
If you're skillful with the pause button on your VCR remote you'll see a nice shot of her as "Fembot Sam" when Liz, as the real Sam, walks past her.
© Review Copyright 1999 by SCOTT VIETS
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