Monday, June 13, 2005

Dunkin' Donuts? I'm there!

The city of Salem, MA has invited Witches from all over to drop in on June 15 for the dedication of a bronze statue of Samantha Stephens, the main character from TV's "Bewitched." Here's a snippet from the press release:

"We want the world to know that the positive image of a Witch (albeit fictional) that Samantha casts is a welcome contrast to the negative (and also fictional) image of the Witch that the trials branded us with here in 1692... If we get enough real confirmations, we will provide coffee from Dunkin' Donuts!

"We want it to be known that Witches love our TV soul sister Samantha! So, the look is witchy black, taller boots, pointy hats... flowing capes, and magical finery. We want to show the world that Witches are alive and well in Salem, Massachusetts and around the world!"

Hoo-kay. First off, let's ignore the fact that this dedication closely coincides with the opening of the new "Bewitched" movie (marketing strategy, anyone?). Also, let's zip on past the fact that the particular brand of slapstick witchcraft presented in a 1960's sitcom in no way represents Wicca or NeoPaganism, nor was it ever meant to. For the sake of time and space, let's just zero in on the glaring truth that Samantha is one of the least appropriate "role models" on the entire show, especially in terms of what this statue dedication is supposed to accomplish.

Really, who is a better embodiment of "Witch Pride"? Samantha, who spends at least 30 minutes a week trying to hide her true nature from her neighbors, or Endora and Uncle Arthur, who are happy with who and what they are, and don't give a rat's ass what anyone thinks? I vote for big, sequined statues of Agnes Moorhead and Paul Lynde, not a housewife with identity issues.

Besides, on a fundamental level, "Bewitched" wasn't even about witchcraft. It was loosely based on the movie "Bell, Book and Candle," which was based on the stageplay of the same name--and in the play, witchcraft was a thinly-veiled metaphor for the gay scene in New York during the 1940's. If you've ever read the script or seen the show, it's, like, painfully obvious: all these bohemian types congregating in bars and going on about their artistic temperaments. And when you consider that a huge chunk of the "Bewitched" cast was gay and fairly open about it... well, it certainly makes "Queer as Folk" seem less ground-breaking, don't it?

Which reminds me: I'm going to miss the Houston GLBT Pride Parade this year, on account of I got cast in a play that opens that weekend. But the way I see it, there's hardly a better way to celebrate Gay Pride than by performing on the public stage.

The fact that the show takes place aboard a naval ship is just gravy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Navy gravy!

Is that a *cream* gravy?

Oh, that's bad. Never mind. It's very lonely at sea. You lose your social skills first, and then, once you start making little statues of Paul Lynne out of fish sticks -- then you lose your mind.