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"TV OR NOT TV"


Fearing baby brother Adam is learning violent behavior from watching a kiddie show called "The Steamboat Bill Show" (think "Jerry Springer" done with puppets), Tabitha pops herself into the TV program to help clean up its negative image.

Having grown up a lot while Darrin and Samantha were away on their Not-So-European vacation, Erin Murphy comes into her own on "Bewitched" with this episode. Seven years old, full of confidence and energy, Erin delivers delightfully as she officially breaks out of the "I was hired because I was a cute baby" trap so often seen in sitcom kids. Not only capable of carrying major storylines but at times practically stealing the show completely away from Montgomery and Sargent, Little Miss Murphy earns her much-deserved promotion to major cast member status, an honor she proves quite worthy of as evidenced in the many future episodes that feature her throughout this remaining season.

Otherwise so-so episode has some fun bits involving the "Steamboat Bill" segments (especially Robert Q. Lewis as the comedically manic "Mr. Director") and brief behind-the-scenes glimpses of the Screen Gems soundstages but gets bogged down by sluggish performances: Montgomery and Sargent, as if they really WERE in Europe, act as if they're both suffering from genuine jet lag while Kathleen Richards (Robin) mumbles out a lackluster recitation of the little lines she does have, ensuring her the award for "Least Charismatic Child Actor Ever To Appear on Bewitched." Thankfully, Erin Murphy enchants throughout, proving that she's now ready to take her place alongside the grown-ups...this time as full-fledged co-star!

GUEST STARS: Robert Q. Lewis (Mr. Director) appeared as Diego Fenman, Tabitha's equally tyrannical baby photographer, in Episode #75.
Wanda Hendrix (Helen Silverton) appeared in the Asher/Montgomery 1963 flick, "Johnny Cool."

GERALD WATCH: Perhaps Gerald's largest role on "Bewitched!" He plays Tabitha's make-up artist and even has lines!

MELODY WATCH: Wearing glasses, she's the one changing Tabitha's dresses while Gerald pleads, "Don't smudge her make-up!"


©Review Copyright 1998 by SCOTT VIETS

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