I have read many articles, postings and ranting that a show from the 1960’s named Bewitched is the footprint for what would become one of the most successful shows in AMC’s arsenal, Mad Men (2007-present). I am appalled at the lack of logic in this conclusion. First I must state that Bewitched is a good show and I am a fan but truth must be spoken on this topic.
The basics of the show Bewitched (1964-1972) feature Darrin Stephens, an ad man, who is married to Samantha, a witch (lets not get into the meddling witch-mother in law). On the surface the premise is appropriate, minus the obvious witch aspect, but it is hard to believe that Darrin is an ad man because he is gullible and at times very childish. Choosing an advertising exec is a great way to demonstrate a successful businessman but an astronaut would also work (I Dream Of Jeannie).
Another similarity are the wives, Samantha Stephens and Betty Draper, have the same hair color, but their characters role and personality vastly differ. Betty is not a witch and not the center of attention. Keep in mind Bewitched is about a witch who marries a mortal and all the comedic and fantasy entanglements this union would create.
There are all kinds of shenanigans going on at the Stephens household but they are all centered on mythical and fantasy belief and scenarios of witches. Although these witches are not the bad kind, more like pranksters.
Much is made about the fact that Darrin and Don both have brown hair and are handsome but they both have two eyes, ears, 1 nose and mouth! Those facts are not sufficient grounds to draw the close comparison. If we took a quick poll I am sure that most people believe that Darrin is the complete opposite of Don Draper. In Bewitched, Darrin stumbles through and upon success in advertising and Don walks in the reality of confidence and poise. Darrin unwittingly marries a witch and is not a chick magnet. Don on the other hand can’t seem to stop himself from having several female companions.
The supporting cast of Bewitched has only one other character that has similarities with Mad Men and that is Larry, who is often compared to Roger Sterling. Both men are graying and enjoy a few of life’s pleasures. Once again, their characters and personalities are worlds apart.
I could go on and on about how different the characters are in specific instances but the answer to this entire egregious belief can be found in one word, genre. The show Bewitched is a comedy, fantasy and family show that was about a witch and mortal man and all the amusing experiences that marriage would produce. On the other hand, Mad Men is a drama that depicts the world of advertising during the 1960’s and a successful advertising agency and their ringer, Don Draper.
In other words, Bewitched by its very genre was never intended to be serious or believable. The show is designed to make you laugh at the absurd premises, plots, story lines, and characters. One glaring difference can be found in the awards and industry recognition they have received, Bewitched can hoist two Primetime Emmy’s and Mad Men would need a trailer for their wins and nominations.
Ultimately, it is a slap in the face to those who have created Mad Men by reducing it and claiming it is a facsimile of a comedy and fantasy show. Do not Be-Witched and enjoy each show for their uniqueness and originality because they both encapsulate the magical period in history known as the 1960’s.
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