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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Besotted by Bewitched

Television shows I watched as a kid had more of an impact on me than I realized at the time. I knew I loved certain shows but who knew that thirty years later I’d dress up as a character from one of those shows? I’m talking Bewitched, people, and if you aren’t familiar with Bewitched:

1)      This is unacceptable!

2)      You’re missing out. It was adorable!

3)      Go to Youtube right away and watch a few minutes.

Anyway, the other day Bewitched popped into my head, just like Samantha the witch magically pops into rooms on the show. Actually, Samantha uses her witch powers reluctantly. She is married to a mortal, Darren, who is as straight-laced as they come and wants a normal life with a normal wife. (But that wouldn’t make for good television, now would it?) Each episode includes the conflict of Darren’s mortal world and Sam’s witch powers. Inevitably, something happens and Sam opts to use her powers for good, and with the twitch of her nose, she remedies the situation. Sam’s cousin Serena often pops into the episode, bringing with her the promise of trouble. Unlike Samantha, Serena is happy to use her witchcraft to her own advantage, and in questionable ways. To add to the fun, the actress playing Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) also plays Serena.

Remembering Bewitched, I had a vivid memory of the character Serena, who is the fun-loving foil to her cousin Samantha. Sam is dependable, moral and down-to-earth. Serena is scheming, mischievous and devious. I liked Sam but I think Serena made a lasting impression on me because of her spunk. I was a tween when I first saw reruns of the show, and I must have taken mental notes about what kind of grown-up I’d like to be someday.  Serena had a lot more fun than most adults. With her teased hair, dramatic makeup, funky and feathered clothes, and heart-shaped beauty mark near her left eye, she was cool. Daring! Fascinating! I love that the writers or producers gave the show’s wildest character a name that means tranquil. Good use of irony.

Fast forward thirty years. I realize that with my short haircut, I look (and feel) more like spunky Serena than I used to. I decide a photo session in tribute to this playful character is in order. I channel Serena and the results are quite fun!

Bewitched ran from 1964 until 1972, making it one of the longest-running sitcoms in ABC history. Its popularity with audiences led to the airing of many reruns after the show wrapped. It was during the 1980s that I discovered the reruns and fell under the spell of this charming show. Apparently I’m not the only one who remembers the show fondly. There are websites dedicated to the show and its characters. The series’ appeal also led to a Bewitched movie in 2005, starring Nicole Kidman (whose physical resemblance to Montgomery was spot-on).

It’s been nearly twenty years since Elizabeth Montgomery passed away. But Bewitched remains a favorite television memory for its fans, and its charm lives on. Good tv stays with you that way.

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