Summoned by Samantha to help save a willow tree, Dr. Bombay soon lives to regret the goof he makes when, during his incantation, Sam's the one caught in the spell -- causing her to cry or laugh uncontrollably whenever the wind blows. Dr. Bombay (perhaps sympathizing with the viewers) seems to sum up the entire experience with six little words: "It DOES get on one's nerves!"

This is not one of Montgomery's better performances and may, in fact, be her ONLY weak episode within the first seven seasons! With a nightmare of a script that asks for an actress to cry and then laugh sporadically and, even worse, for no reason whatsoever, she certainly tries her darnedest but somehow misses the mark by just-this-much. Famously adept at handling ANY acting challenge, Liz has the intricate task of having to be FUNNY while crying -- something Lucille Ball mastered brilliantly -- but seems uncharacteristically self-conscious here. Her laughing bouts fare better but often tend to have an annoying witch-like tenor that do "get on one's nerves."

Contributing much to the annoyance factor is Gladys Kravitz. Barging onto the opening scene ranting about a petition and a dying tree being a "menace to the community" is not simply over the top but rendered completely ridiculous when later she's seen actually trying to COMFORT Sam for losing the tree! Say WHAT?!?!

David White and Dick York come across better, especially White in his laughing fit with Liz (where we actually see tears in his eyes) and Paul Sorensen does a nice turn as a lumberjack, but it's George Tobias as Abner who ends up getting all the laughs with his standard zingers -- the only breaths of fresh air amid abundant breaking of wind.

FAVE QUOTE:GLADYS: "Abner, Darrin Stephens is talking to a strange woman!"
ABNER: "So what? I'm listening to one!"

GUEST STARS: Sharon Vaughn (Elaine Hanson) begins her first of four episodes, all of which air within four months! She was a contract player at Columbia who also appears in the movie version of "Funny Girl" as the "Autumn Bride" Ziegfield Girl. She also appears in the episode immediately following this, "Instant Courtesy".

© Review Copyright 1999 by SCOTT VIETS

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