I loved Bewitched as a child as well. My first time seeing the show was going down the street to Maria Falvey's house and watching it at noon with her mother on the tv in the kitchen, so that must have when I was 5 or 6. She too would make us soup and sandwiches and we would watch. Alas, my flamboyant nature even at that age eventually fried Mrs Falvey's Catholic nerves and I wasn't allowed to play with her anymore (though not understanding this at all at the time, I just thought she was a mean old witch then), but in retrospect maybe it was when she caught me putting on Maria's coronation or convocation dress (whatever that catholic ceremony is for kids) that was the proverbial last straw.
My old fat black cat, who used to be so sleek and pretty, is named Serena too, after Samantha's cousin, and she is who I really loved. She was smart, sassy, naughty, and unlike Samantha, reveled in her powers. She would go to mod parties, sing crazy kooky songs (Ifin'!), and wear vulgarly chic outfits. And she would read Derwood all the time, and to me funnier than Endora would. She is who I lived for on the show. Paul Lynde too had me in stitches, and of course I had a natural affinity to his colloquial shenanigans because he was just so gay (and I always loved him in center square on the original Hollywood Squares too).
Though I loved both shows as a child, and probably for different reasons, but I Dream of Jeannie was my favorite (heresy in this topic I fear). I think the suburban household of Bewitched was so much like my own (minus witchcraft and kooky relatives), and Darren was my so much like my father (dull, dreary, pragmatic, and always with a cocktail or two after work), that I yearned for something more enticing or at least didn't resemble the world I was in back then. And the Jeannie premise appealed in that aspect- she had her powers, her bottle, and her master. Who wouldn't have wanted a dominant Larry Hagman in his Captain (then later Major) uniform to come home and just give it to you? And she lived in Florida in Cocoa Beach which was near Daytona where my grandmother lived, who always let me do what I wanted in play and fantasy games (I was her fave admittedly) and she never chastized me for being effete, thus another positive association. Larry Hagman was so cute then (but not so in his Dallas years, by then I had lost all attraction to him), and the perfect foil for a pretty blonde in harem pants and ponytail fall! I literally creamed when they got married, and I so wanted to be her. One of my many games with the neighborhood boys was to play Jeannie and Major Nelson and re-create their wedding (other games included Mata Hari, Batgirl, and Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, with each of these games always ending up with me wanting the boys to kiss me in whatever characters I had assigned them, which didn't go over so well sometimes).
I had all kinds of bottles, and to this day am still fascinated with vases that resemble Jeannie's bottles, which I would pretend was my home, and my closet was the inside of the bottle. I would sashay about, blink, and go into my bottle, and well you could imagine the games I played. By the age of 8 or so, this had plucked my parents nerves to the point where they sent me to a child psychologist (who turned out to be the father of one of my classmates in 3rd grade, but I was oblivious to what the implications of what this meant at that tender age). I guess there was no chapter in Dr Spock's book (any 60's mother bible on childrearing) on boys who act like girls. The shrink was supposed to fix me or figure why I acted that way. It didn't last long in my recollection, and I don't think it did much. What's wrong with a child who wants to wear lipstick (garish orange I remember my mother wore) and wanted harem pants for his birthday? I never got the point really. My mother would castigate me for playing Jeannie, which drove me to do it in secret, which led to other behaviors (like putting on her clothes, heels, and wig when she was out). I will state that lasted until I went to college and then started doing it very publicly.
My sense is that regardless of whether we are Bewitched or Jeannie fans, and that debate could rage on endlessly without any final dramatic conclusion (despite TV Land's pronouncement that Samantha was more powerful), the magic is what appealed to those of us who were on the fringes of what was considered "normal." Or at least it was for me. Having a magical power that could fix things (or take the pain away) seemed like a fantasy solution to all my problems, and perhaps that was the appeal. I think Sweetie's statement that the show taught her to look for the magic in everything is more the message that both these shows, unwittingly or perhaps very knowingly, promulgated to the masses of 60s television viewing public, and later in the 70s & 80s in reruns, which thankfully are still shown today. The quest for magic lives on in the world of cable television, hopefully inspiring new youngsters today to look for that magic as well.
I did finally get those harem pants which were snatched from my sister (who got them as a gift from one of my father's business associates from India), but I was 18 at the time, right before I went to college. They were a cranberry mauve color, and I wore them with a ripped white sweatshirt, white capezios, and a hoop earring with a key dangling from it, and of course I had on eyeliner. As I left the house for DC's main gay bar at the time- the Lost & Found, my parents didn't comment nor even blink really. But I knew what they were thinking, and I didn't care. The pants were 10 years late and not a birthday present, but I finally had them.
[This message was edited by randella on 08-31-03 at 12:19 PM.]