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"GEORGE WASHINGTON ZAPPED HERE" (Part Two)


Remember when you were in high school and there was that last week before summer vacation? Finals would be done and there'd be nothing to do in class except sign yearbooks and clean out your desk. You'd already mentally checked out and yet you STILL had to show up every day for attendance. At this point in the run, it seems the "Bewitched" cast felt the same way, with Miss Montgomery leading the revolt by giving the impression she'd rather be cleaning out her dressing room than be on camera.

Stretching out an already tired plot, this 2nd installment delivers more of the same that was featured in Part One: a weak script, a freak Esmerelda, and dialogue repeated at least once every season before it. So instead of trying to pay attention to the plot, amuse yourself by watching just how annoyed everyone seems to get with whomever they're in a scene with. A few lowlights: Montgomery barking at Darrin ("Now you've done it!"), berating Darrin ("Well, don't just stand there!"), and then going so far as to give an unpleasant sneer to Martha Washington (before a fade out). Not to be outdone, Sargent delivers his own out-to-lunch performance (after the Father of Our Country gives a nice speech about standing up for his rights and wanting to defend himself in court, Sargent simply reacts to the President's patriotism by... shrugging his shoulders as if to say "whatever!") Other unintentionally comic moments: Sam cooking breakfast only to become suddenly annoyed the moment Darrin enters the room; Sam's reply of "Right on!" to the totally-stolen dialogue of "If he isn't George Washington/Benjamin Franklin, he ought to be!"; Liz delivering her courtroom defense of Washington as if she's auditioning for "A Case of Rape"; and a true Betty Ford moment featuring Darrin and Samantha desperately drinking huge tumblers of scotch BEFORE they go to court that AFTERNOON!

Jane Connell gives an eagerly solid performance as Martha Washington, but in doing so stands out like a sore thumb. Her performance is so fresh and vital, everyone has no choice but to look at her like "Didn't you get the memo, Jane? We don't work so hard anymore!" But to be fair, the one nice scene to be found in this is between Miss Connell and Montgomery (who genuinely seems to have an appreciation for Miss Connell's acting prowess and appears relaxed around her): Demonstrating modern kitchen conveniences, Samantha and Martha have a lovely moment together while later when Martha remarks, "Come, come Mrs. Stephens. George will think I've been rude", Liz watches Jane with affection and interest at the nice delivery of the line reading. Again, a moment of truth in Liz's performance, and a flashback to the days when she played Samantha with heart.

All said and done, there is one defining moment that has to be seen to be believed which, in my opinion, sums up the entire atmosphere on "Bewitched" in these final days. In the final tag before the end credits, watch the fade out closely. VERY closely. Just as the picture begins to fade, you can visibly see Dick Sargent maneuver his right hand down to Montgomery's -- posterior -- to which he then GOOSES her. The look on her face goes from a millisecond of complete surprise to a bug-eyed snarl that, perhaps thankfully, fades out before we get a chance to witness what she did to him next. Let's just say this: she doesn't look amused. 'Nuff said!

FAVE LINE: Dialogue you wouldn't have heard in the 60's:

Martha: "At least the bed has not gone out of fashion."
Sam: "Oh, no! It's more popular than ever!"

LOOK FOR: In the opening recap of Part One, the scene of George brandishing his sword is from a different camera angle than what is shown in the original. The end of the recap shows a few seconds of footage after the freeze that initially ended Part One.

SIGN 'O THE TIMES:Samantha's "Zodiac" incantation. Circa 1971, America had a pop culture obsession with all things horoscopical. Remember the free psychedelic match books that had zodiac signs on them?

© Review Copyright 2001 by SCOTT VIETS

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