"GEORGE WASHINGTON ZAPPED HERE" (Part One)
"Find the rhyme that goes with buckle.
Tuckle, Wuckle, Duckle, Chuckle.
Come on, George, and look alive...
I begin to weary of this jive!"
Yes, Esmerelda, we ALL begin to weary of this jive, ironically enough right after you utter this nonsense. Tuckle Wuckle?! Duckle Chuckle?! What IS that?!
By now, the very notion of Darrin and Samantha even allowing a Whacked-Out Esmerelda (and getting worse with each episode!) to be left alone with Tabitha is enough to leave any viewer unsympathetic to whatever plight they find themselves in. Especially when the plight they find themselves in is a "retelling" of what was not a great episode to begin with ("My Friend Ben"). Compared to this, the Benjamin Franklin episodes now seem like nostalgic classics from a bygone era when "Bewitched" was still bewitched.
The plot of conjuring up George Washington (Will Geer playing the role like Grandpa Walton in a powdered wig) and the wacky adventures that follow are all forgettable. This episode actually serves more as a study highlighting many of the reasons why "Bewitched" was already beginning to nail down the lid on its own coffin. And it's all there, unfortunately, in Miss Montgomery's performance.
Whether rolling her eyes while hissing "Esmerelda, go into the kitchen and work on that you-know-what" or bugging her eyes with a stern "I CAN'T DO THAT!" (in response to Darrin's plea for her to help Esmerelda), Samantha is now portrayed as not only charmless but at times, a little scary. When Esmerelda intones her familiar whine of "I'm a rotten witch!", Samantha doesn't jump to her defense but rather nods in agreement! When George Washington announces that he's actually 240 years old, Samantha doesn't look hapless -- she looks downright p*****! In fact, Samantha's trademark twitch of a nose seems to have been replaced by a curling of the lip. (Interestingly enough, Samantha uses NO witchcraft in either this episode or its second part!) Most telling of all, when Darrin leaves for the office we watch Samantha follow him to the front door, only to have him simply walk out with a "bye-bye" and... NO KISS!
The old comforts are gone and so is the magic.
FAVE LINE:Sam: "I am a witch. So is Esmerelda and she got you here by mistake."
George: "A witch? Well, maybe HER ... but certainly not you!"
GUEST STARS: Thad Geer (Hippie #2). Hmmm... do you think he could be related to Grandpa Walton?
LOOK FOR: The one effective moment: George Washington says to Samantha upon learning that she is a witch, "...even in the 20th century people are not prepared to accept you?" to which Samantha gives a telling, sad glance almost to herself and then to Darrin. Very nice touch, summing up years of unspoken repression Samantha (and most minorities feel even today) nicely conveyed by Miss Montgomery with just a look.
© Review Copyright 2001 by SCOTT VIETS
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