If you are a mid-Baby Boomer born in the late 1950s, you probably have a memory of the mid-1960s as a Golden Era of live-action sitcoms for six-year olds, such as Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, Adams Family, Munsters, Green Acres, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched.
It’s not clear if it really was a halcyon era or if all six year olds look back fondly on the TV shows when they were six. In the defense of the former view, I don’t recall that many animated shows from the same era. (I was a big fan of Johnny Quest, though.)
I think it’s plausible that a lot of money and talent poured into sitcoms in 1964-65, creating a brief period of shows that appealed both to grown-ups and kids. “Bewitched,” for instance, started out as a relatively straightforward study of the sociological stresses of a mixed marriage. (Marrying a shiksa was a huge theme looming just below the surface in 1960s TV, although in Bewitched the allegory is kept ambiguous. Elizabeth Montgomery, for example, was the daughter of Hollywood Republican stalwart Robert Montgomery.) But the network kept demanding more goofy magic For the Kids.
The latter two shows involved ladies in mixed (magical / human) relationships who use magic to get their housekeeping chores done (a concept that greatly appealed to my future wife at the time), while the man of the house disapproves of the woman taking unfair advantage of her powers to make his life better, but the woman knows best what he really needs.
Also, both magical ladies have relatives who disapprove of the man of the house, such as Darren’s mother-in-law Endora (Agnes Moorhead), brunette evil twin Serena (Elizabeth Montgomery in a dual role), and Uncle Arthur (Paul Lynde — I was surprised to see the memorable Lynde only appeared in 10 of the 254 episodes).
by Nellie Andreeva • tip August 23, 2018 11:44am
EXCLUSIVE: Just before he recently departed ABC Studios to embark on a rich overall deal at Netflix, Black-ish creator Kenya Barris sold one last high-profile project to ABC: Bewitched, a single camera, interracial blended family comedy based on the popular 1960s sitcom of the same name. …
In Bewitched, written by Barris and Taylor, Samantha, a hardworking black single mom who happens to be a witch, marries Darren, a white mortal who happens to be a bit of a slacker. They struggle to navigate their differences as she discovers that even when a black girl is literally magic, she’s still not as powerful as a decently tall white man with a full head of hair in America.
Maybe in the new “Bewitched,” the black people will have explicit White Magic, while all white people have the implicit Black Magic of white privilege?
A friend suggests he’d watch a sitcom where the black husband is a down-to-earth Army sergeant and the white wife’s family are annoying New Age Wiccans.