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Walter Metz

Publication Year: 2007

A study of the sitcom Bewitched that examines its entire run to discover the show’s numerous interlocking themes, tensions, and innovations.

Published by: Wayne State University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii-viii

As usual, I owe a tremendous debt to Anneke Metz. She inspired this book from beginning to end, watching Bewitched episodes with me, talking through ideas, and helping me to edit my often ungainly prose. ...

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Introduction: A Queer Children’s Show

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pp. 1-13

When I was eight years old in 1975, I would wake up and eat a bowl of cereal while watching Bewitched at 7:30 on a Boston UHF affiliate before setting off to school. Then, after school, I would run home at 3:30 and do my homework while again watching the show and its 1960s telefilm...

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An Industrial History of Bewitched

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pp. 13-17

Bewitched, through its 254 half-hour episodes, both participated in industrial innovations—the conversion from black-and-white to color television, for example—and witnessed the political shift from Lyndon Johnson’s Great...

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Contextualizing Bewitched: Witches, Film, and Television

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pp. 18-34

Such a discussion of Bewitched in continuity with the history of television allows us to study how a mature form of comedy developed from one era to the next. Bewitched, after all, came out of distinct traditions, televisual certainly, but also filmic and more generally cultural. ...

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Previous Criticism of Bewitched

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pp. 34-39

The current state of Bewitched criticism consists mostly of reductive analyses that typically focus on one representative episode, usually the pilot. A useful example is media scholar Christina Lane’s entry on the show in the...

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A Sample Run of Bewitched Episodes

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pp. 39-52

While I discuss many episodes thematically throughout the rest of this book, I want to begin my analysis with a different method for establishing the variances of series television. Here I examine a string of episodes from the middle of the first season, whose nuanced shifting...

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Valuing 1960s Telefilm Aesthetics

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pp. 52-77

While much of the argumentation of this book concerns narrative and ideological matters, I now want to attend to the way in which Bewitched functions aesthetically. Evaluation of the aesthetics of the situation comedy ought to properly begin with David Barker’s article...

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Identity Politics and Bewitched

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pp. 77-84

Bewitched was a popular television show that provided its viewers with 254 separate glimpses into the Stephenses’ household over an eight-year time span. The show bridged an important cultural era, from the assassination of President Kennedy to the Nixon years, from civil rights...

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An Aristocracy of Witches: Class Politics in Bewitched

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pp. 84-92

Even considering only the episodes foregrounding racial difference, Bewitched cannot be reduced to one formulaic resolution of the politics of in-group/out-group tensions. Issues of class are also crucial to understanding the show’s varying approaches to identity politics. Samantha’s family...

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Love the House, Hate the Work: Bewitched and Feminism

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pp. 92-99

Bewitched criticism has thoroughly assessed the gendered component of the domestic versus workplace conflict. As with the race and class issues, the political implications of the show’s grappling with gender roles is fundamentally ambiguous, as evidenced in the opposing stances on these issues by different academic critics. In the...

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The Politics of History in Bewitched

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pp. 99-106

If identity politics in general, and gender politics in particular, is not the sole focus of Bewitched, it remains to be established what other themes the show’s textual strategies engage. Thus far, I have discussed episodes dealing with race, class, and gender, but what remains is the most...

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From Past to Present: George Washington Was a Hippie!

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pp. 106-114

Bewitched employs another strategy to more directly analyze the importance of history: the accidental summoning of a historical figure from the past by one of Samantha’s relatives. Although Bewitched critics often invoke a “textual decay” model in analyzing the series, claiming...

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“Oh My Stars!”: Bewitched and the Space Race

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pp. 114-124

The contemporary issue Bewitched engages most directly concerns domestic family life as inflected by the historical conditions of the cold war. As noted earlier, Lynn Spigel studies one set of implications of this, the discursive...

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A Metatextual Masterpiece

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pp. 124-130

In some of its most fascinating episodes, Bewitched dealt with the history—the back stories—of its own characters. This became tricky because the show was forced to replace Dick York after the fifth season due to his increasing back problems. While the casting change of...

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Conclusion: Television in the Aura of Film

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pp. 130-137

The relationship between film and television has haunted my approach to Bewitched. I write as a contemporary film critic who also finds an intense passion for particular television shows. I have argued against the dominance of a filmic model of narrative for the analysis of television. ...


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pp. 139-140


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pp. 141-144


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pp. 145-151

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335802
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814332313

Page Count: 160
Illustrations: 12
Publication Year: 2007

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a