Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday… well, more like a Wildcard Wednesday! Here’s the deal: before coverage on the best of I Dream Of Jeannie (1965-1970, NBC) can begin, I’ve got a 6000-word essay about how the series compares to the decade’s other supernatural hit, Bewitched (1964-1972, ABC). That entry requires the kind of careful copyediting my schedule this week doesn’t permit, so I’m bumping it — and the first season list intended for tomorrow — to next week. Don’t worry; we’ll make up an extra Sitcom Tuesday before the month is out, and in the meantime, this Wildcard post should be considered something of a Tuesday tease, for next week I’ll be revealing updated commentary on one of my favorites, Bewitched, which I discussed way back in 2013. I’ve come a long way since then — as a person, a viewer, a scholar — so I’m eager to share my current, more thoughtful analysis with you.
Frankly, I wish I could do my coverage over entirely, but that’s not feasible, so instead I’ve got the next best thing — a list of episodes I would highlight if I was featuring the series today — just like I did when I revisited The Dick Van Dyke Show earlier this year. Once again, I’m not adding episodic commentary, but if you pair this with next week’s examination of the series as a whole, you’ll get an understanding of what my 2020 Bewitched study would be like.
Don’t forget to come back next week for more on Bewitched and I Dream Of Jeannie!
Hi Jackson I am highly looking forward to your coverage of “I Dream of Jeannie”, and how it compares to “Bewitched”. Have you considered doing Wildcard Wednesday coverage of the supernatural sitcom that predates both “Bewitched” and “I Dream of Jeannie”, namely “My Favorite Martian”? I am curious about your opinion of this often overshadowed but very enjoyable show. Thanks.
Hi, Raul! Thanks for reading and commenting.
No, I typically don’t do Wildcard entries on long-running series (more than two seasons) unless it’s going to directly benefit Sitcom Tuesday coverage.
As for MY FAVORITE MARTIAN, I think it’s definitely a part of the ‘60s fantasy trend (itself rooted in 1953’s TOPPER), but with a sci-fi seriousness in place of the domestic satire and sex appeal fueling both BEWITCHED and I DREAM OF JEANNIE’s more pronounced comedy — not to mention their shared capacity to more accurately represent the era’s sitcoms.
Please visit the Coming Attractions page to see what shows are currently in the queue!
Hi Jackson! Thank you for your response. It’s true that “My Favorite Martian” has a more sci-fi feel that gives it a different feel from both “Bewitched” and “Jeannie”; Uncle Martin and Tim O’Hara definitely have a different dynamic than the Stephenses or Jeannie and Tony. And “My Favorite Martian”s sex appeal comes courtesy of Pamela Britton’s Lorelei Brown, the nosy landlady not the magical otherworldly being.
Right. It’s far less comparable.
While I haven’t watched “Bewitched” in a while, one (minor) thing that bugs me about “I Dream of Jeannie” is that it always seemed so inconsistent with its rules / laws (here, I am thinking about the laws / rules of being a genie). With this, I could even include things such as her parents or why / how she was a genie. I remember an early episode where she could just blink and someone (in this instance, I think it was Roger seeing Tony’s head sticking out of the ground) would just forget everything. I am sure they figured if she has this power, then there goes the whole show (and a key premise of her getting into trouble or Dr. Bellows seeing strange things).
And I am sure you’ll get to this point / idea, but I remember seeing an interview with the cast and Larry Hagman stating something along the lines of this: Jeannie and Tony get married and series gets cancelled. Obviously there was more to this – – but it did violate one of the premises: that Tony wants a normal life / feels that he could not marry a genie AND that Jeannie loves Tony and wants to marry him. Yes, this is an obvious trope of will they / won’t they which exists in how many sitcoms (I think Sam and Diane did it best, probably, not thinking too hard about it, though even if I did, I feel I might reach the same conclusion), but in “I Dream of Jeannie,” it really doesn’t seem to be something that carries a lot of tension with it – – the tone of the show would make it seem like they would eventually have a happy ending.
Hi, Christopher! Thanks for reading and commenting.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on I DREAM OF JEANNIE, starting next week. I’ll definitely be talking about this series’ premised conflict, and why it’s lacking (especially in comparison to BEWITCHED).
I definitely agree that the premise is lacking and look forward to seeing your take on it, as well as seeing what other shows you have done.
(I just discovered your blog, and enjoyed reading about NEWHART, which is one of my favorite shows. Unfortunately, I have to say I agree with what you said about that show’s last couple of seasons–unfortunate because I wish they were stronger. Seasons 3 through 6 are some of my favorite of any show. I don’t fault the first two seasons as much because they didn’t have the full set of characters).
Thanks for the kind words — glad you enjoyed.
Jackson, Looking forward to the Bewitched/Jeannie comparisons as I always Bewitched was a better acted and more smartly written show. Also intrigued if you go into more at a later time that I looks like you know have 10 episodes picked for season 8. I’ve always had a bit of a love/haet relationship with the season. On the one hand they seem to modernize Elizabeth Montgomery’s wardrobe and hairstyle to fit the times; on the other hand she of all the cast members seems a bit tired and going thru the motions though I also have read she and William Asher were divorcing at the time plus the reused plots could not have helped
Hi, Bob! Thanks for reading and commenting.
Yes, the eighth season of the series is the weakest, with the least originality and an outmoded sense of humor that renders the show old-fashioned and less dramatically resonant than it had been as recently as the year prior. I only picked eight episodes initially, but I’ve covered worse seasons of worse shows since then, so I would probably choose ten if given the opportunity to discuss the series in full today.