Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996-2000): 1×02 “Bundt Friday”

SABRINA, THE TEENAGE WITCH (1996-2000) Logo Time

Episode: Bundt Friday (1×02)
Director: Gary Halvorson
Teleplay: Norma Safford Vella
Cast: Melissa Joan Hart, Caroline Rhea, Beth Broderick, Nick Bakay, Nate Richert, Jenna Leigh Green, Michelle Beaudoin, Paul Fieg
Guest Stars: Tom McGowan, Curtis Andersen, Ella Joyce
Original Air Date: October 4, 1996

Cold Open

Zelda attempts to help Sabrina with her magic, by explaining the overly wordy and complex spell.  Hilda calls her a stuff-shirt, and shows her the “fun” section called Magic for Dummies.  Zelda whines about it being the oldest trick in the book, and that mortals are doing it…and shockingly, it is.  Sabrina pulls a rabbit out of a hat.

Yes, it is the oldest trick in the book.

Yes, it is the oldest trick in the book.

There’s nothing in the Union rules about stealing another magic trade’s gimmick?  As if witches don’t get enough cool magic things of their own…and then the Aunts go and turn their noses up at mortal magicians too. 

Maybe it’s one of those grey areas?  And it was only Aunt Zelda who turned her nose up, Hilda’s all for the cheap tricks.

Hence her interest in Penn Jillette, I suppose.

Credit Costume

Some sort of strange 60s/70s-esque outfit. “As if!”  I think it’s supposed to be a riff on Clueless.

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Act One

Breakfast table. Sabrina kicks Salem out for reading her diary and taunting her.  Hilda announces that she has a date with Drell.  Zelda reminds Hilda that every time she makes a date, he breaks it. Hilda tries to wave it off by saying that when he does break it, he always sends her a special gift.  A pot roast.  “Flowers wilt. Say it with beef.” Hilda tells her.  Sabrina leaves for school.

We cut to Sabrina’s Home Ec class, where their overly enthusiastic Home Ec teacher (Ella Joyce, who was the History teacher in the pilot) is teaching them the art of napkin folding.  Because apparently that’s what we did for entertainment in the dark ages.  Libby, CeeCee and Jill are pointing and laughing at Sabrina and Jenny…for no real reason.  Harvey walks up and asks Sabrina and Jenny if they can help him fold his napkin.

Nice try, Harvey...

Nice try, Harvey…

...Shawn's are better. (stolen from YouTube)

…Shawn’s are better. (stolen from YouTube)

Sabrina’s awed by Harvey’s sideburns?  They are kind of… I don’t know?  Less visible than Gregory House’s stubble, maybe.

You know who had some amazing sideburns?  Shawn Hunter in S2E01 of “Boy Meets World.”  Those were some EPIC sideburns.

Ohhh… I know the very ones!  Maybe Sabrina hadn’t watched BMW as extensively as we have, though.  Shame on her for not supporting her own network’s shows!

He claims he took the class because the football coach wants him to bulk up more.  He then invites the two of them to watch him gorge himself on pizza at The Slicery.  Because apparently that’s a fun evening.  Jenny waxes romantic about how she thinks Harvey must think about poetry and nature and art. Sabrina disagrees and then asks Jenny if she’d prefer to go alone. Jenny declines, but it’s obvious she wants to say yes.

This was clearly in the pre-Man Vs. Food age, because “forcing down 8 slices” is completely unimpressive nowadays.

It was unimpressive in 1996.  I could put away 15 on my own, and I was not what you’d call a big eater.  And I love how they’re all for this, like this is the greatest thing to do on a Friday night.  Watch a cute guy shove things down his throat.

In the hallway, Libby and CeeCee make fun of Sabrina’s name.  Jenny states that the world would be a better place if everyone told the truth, but you can’t stop people from lying.

Jenna Leigh Green's inner monologue is "Man I am such a better actress."

Jenna Leigh Green’s inner monologue is “Man I am such a better actress.”

Or can you?

Cut to Sabrina looking up a spell in the Book of Magic, specifically Truth Sprinkles.  Zelda comes in and Sabrina asks for help.  Zelda asks if she wants to make from scratch or use instant.  When Sabrina chooses instant (who wouldn’t? Making sprinkles is legit hard and annoying), Zelda bemoans magic in an MTV world, being all quick cuts and funny angles.  She then, in true Zelda fashion, waxes on and on about the monumental occasion of learning where the magic potions cabinet is…and tries to make a big deal about it.  Until the painting on the wall starts talking and tells her where it is.

Zoinks! Creepier than moving eyes!

Zoinks! Creepier than moving eyes!

The sprinkles are missing, but not to worry, Hilda returns and takes them out of her purse.  She had used them the day before at a car mechanics and was surprised to find out she really did need new brake pads.  Zelda reminds Sabrina to only use the sprinkles (called Jiffy Truth) when actually necessary.  Hilda tells her to just go ahead and that if it doesn’t work to use Lady Bald Spot on her.  Zelda tells Sabrina to use them, but be careful, as hurt feelings can insue.

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Was this episode released before Jim Carrey’s Liar, Liar?  Yes, yes it was. 

I have to hand it to Hilda, she’s using magic practically, and gets the pleasant surprise of finding an honest auto mechanic.  Also, how awesomely bad is the name Jiffy Truth?  Did kids our age know what jiffy meant then?  And I mean, normal kids, so…ya know, not us.

Meanwhile, back at school, Libby tries to tell Harvey that Sabrina had a nose job…but her statement “That isn’t her real nose” is too subtle for the Harvster.

The Home Ec teacher is all excited because it’s “Bundt Cooken Frietag” or Bundt Friday.  She even makes a joke about Nixon…which seems oddly topical.  A quick flash forward to when the bundts have cooked brings about bad butt/bundt jokes (“Smell your bundts, smell your neighbor’s bundts,” she tells them).  Sabrina adds some of the Jiffy Truth to a slice to take to Libby.  Libby quickly eats a slice and begins to tell Sabrina all sorts of truths, from what rumors she has been spreading to secrets about her friends.

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I probably would have liked taking Home Ec. with this teacher.  She’s… completely insane.  But amusing.

We didn’t have Home Ec in my high school.  That said, our STARR (Successfully Training All Richland Rebels) teacher was like that.  I have never before seen a woman in a power suit so excited about teaching anyone anything, let alone how to change oil themselves.

Satisfied with herself, she returns to Jenny who tells her that their teacher took the sprinkles and covered their cake in it before taking it to the teachers lounge.  Sabrina leaves the classroom and uses her catchphrase for the first time “Gotta Go” and tries to stop her but is too late, and suddenly the teachers are telling things they never should, one informs a fellow teacher that he’s going to ditch for the horse races.

His teacher’s salary leaves enough disposable income to do horse betting?  SWEET!  Sign me up!  (Except that I’d spend that extra money on… I don’t know.  Gourmet sandwiches or books or something.)

I’d spend it on eBay.  Who doesn’t need a complete set of Scooby-Doo Lunch Boxes, or a Playbill for Vincent Price and Pia Zadora in Damn Yankees, or a Carol Channing ventriloquist dummy? What kind of sandwich?

A bundt sandwich.  Duh.

Returning to the classroom it seems that everyone has gotten ahold of Jiffy Truth and are telling all sorts of truths.  Jenny confesses that she lied about wanting to go alone with Harvey. Sabrina, being a good friend, tells Jenny it’s ok and stands there sadly while Jenny goes off to make plans with Harvey.

Cue sad music...

Cue sad music…

Commercial Break

Go ahead, convince your parents this is what you need for lunch.

I know I did.

Act Two

As Sabrina walks through the halls, the guidance counselor sings a blues song to a student about how they have no future because of their SAT scores.  A fellow student tells Gordy that he didn’t score with his date and is still a virgin.  And, finally, Principal LaRue (Tom McGowan) informs the school, via PA system, that he is going to the movies like he does every Friday, and paying for it out of petty cash.

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One of the virgins was on 7th Heaven as a movie ticket booth operator who sold eldest daughter Mary tickets to random WB-owned cartoons, which is where she spent her afternoons hiding out rather than looking for a job, and he was also in a different episode as a fast food manager with eldest son Matt working as his delivery boy for all of an evening before Matt quit/got fired because his schtick at that point in the series was that he couldn’t keep a job.  It’s nice work if you can get it…

Wait, that was a thing on 7th Heaven?  What didn’t that show go into?  Also, nothing like introducing the “virgins are lame” thing at a very early age.  I wonder if some of the girls in my middle school who got pregnant in 8th grade tried to blame the show for it.

Harvey approaches Sabrina about her bailing on the evening, making sure she’s ok…she runs off to keep from crying. Hilda and Zelda discuss date attire for the evening.  Hilda can’t decide between Tough Chick or Damsel in Distress. Zelda asks for something in between, and thus Tough Chick in Distress is born (Frilly, lacy top with leather skirt and corset).  The timer on the oven goes off and Hilda panics, fortunately it isn’t a pot roast.  It’s a half a pot roast, to tell her he will be a little late.

Fab. You. Lus.

Fab. You. Lus.

I am not sure which outfit is best.  They all… strangely work for me.

I agree.  And can I just say that pot roast is always an acceptable way to make up to someone for standing them up.  I wish this was an actual thing.   Let’s make it an actual thing.

Sabrina returns to tell Zelda she was right.  Zelda tells her that the effects wear off after 24 hours…but that will be too late for the evenings events. Cut to Jenny and Harvey at The Slicery.  Harvey is happy that Sabrina isn’t there because they can order onions.  Jenny seems bummed that Harvey doesn’t want to get to know her better.  They quickly discover that they have nothing in common.  He likes sports and summer, she likes poetry and winter.

We've all been here...

We’ve all been here…

Since when is foosball a sport?  It is a life.

This is how you know it’s not Texas. I was never very good at foosball.

Zelda goes to check on Sabrina to discover that she has produced a ton of rabbits and can turn wands into scarves.  Zelda is horrified.  Sabrina refuses to talk, so Zelda decides to ply her with Jiffy Truth.  Sabrina requests Lady Bald Spot instead, and then begrudgingly eats the cookie.  She tells Zelda that she doesn’t like that Jenny and Harvey are out alone, that it should be *her* and Jenny or *her* and Harvey but not Jenny and Harvey.  She decides she is going to go to the Slicery and tell Jenny the truth…oh and that Zelda’s dress is ugly.

Hoarders: Sitcom Edition

Hoarders: Sitcom Edition

Meanwhile, back at the Slicery, Jenny has folded a napkin into a swan, which Harvey promptly smears on his face.

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Harvey’s pizza looks like it has some kind of mold smeared on top.  Maybe he’s fine with that.  But… pro tip?  The fewer toppings, the more room in the tummy for 8 slices of pizza, Harvey.

Maybe the mold is so he can purge and get more in him?  Also, I think Lady Bald Spot is a great name for a band.

Sabrina arrives and tells Jenny the truth, and Jenny tells her it’s ok because she has nothing in common with Harvey.  Harvey tells Sabrina that Jenny can’t play foosball, Jenny tells Harvey he’s a loud chewer, and Harvey tells her that sometimes he puts little pieces of paper in her hair and she doesn’t notice.  Sabrina insists on a group hug, and then picks a piece of paper out of Jenny’s hair.

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Hilda walks out of her bedroom and meets Zelda, who is coming up the stairs.  Zelda comments that “I see you went with the little black…feather…thing” as Hilda gets ready to leave for her date. Zelda apologizes to Hilda for having such a negative attitude about the date, and Hilda starts to leave.  However, she decides it would be a great idea to stand Drell up and give him a taste of his own pot roast.

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The 90s were full of little black…feather…things, pink…feather…things, lavendar…feather…things, teal…feather…things…

And, judging by Claire’s, it’s still a thing.  Or at least the Claire’s near me.

Oh, it still applies to Claire’s (or the ones near me, anyway).  It’s just that it’s no longer a thing with TV “teenagers” and adults trying to be hip (see: Never Been Kissed; Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion).

We cut back to the Slicery where Sabrina confesses to Harvey that he has the World’s Most Perfect Sideburns and that onions give him bad breath.

Shawn Hunter: 2; Harvey Kinkel: 0.

Shawn Hunter: 2; Harvey Kinkel: 0.

Nope, sorry Harvey, still going with Shawn Hunter here.

Sabrina returns home to a bloated Salem and a Zelda who has changed outfits.  Zelda reveals that she did not give Sabrina Jiffy Truth, but real sprinkles.  The lesson being that it always feels better to tell the truth on your own than under duress. Back at school, all is right in the world again.

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Credit Crawl

Sabrina putting the rabbits back in the hat.

Whoa, Sabrina...

Whoa, Sabrina…

And golly gee, I think Marcia Brady wore longer skirts than what Sabrina’s got on.

Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!

Closing Commentary

This is more typical of your average Sabrina episode.  It has some highlights, particularly Hilda and Zelda and the Home Ec teacher.  Something I will genuinely miss as the series go on is the faculty at Greendale.  There are some oddities that are being worked out writing wise, the whole virgin scene is probably the only sexual reference the show has.  However, it also introduces a few things that will become common place during the series.  Libby’s witty remarks towards Sabrina.  The weirdness of the Magical Realm (which comes in play heavily next episode). And finally the first usage of Sabrina’s catchphrase du jour. Still to come are the inexplicable situations (this is tame by comparison to some episodes) and puns.  Overall, this one’s a relatively funny episode, and Melissa Joan Hart’s acting isn’t as bad as I anticipate it getting.

The second ever episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation was “The Naked Now.”  That episode is infamously horrible for too many reasons to count.  One oft-cited reason is that writing barely-sketched characters with whom the audience has spent all of 2 hours with by this point into situations where they are supposed to be grossly “out of character”… just doesn’t work.  This Sabrina episode reminded me of “The Naked Now,” although I think that it commits this “sin” to a far lesser degree.  So far, I’ve only seen the characters for 22 minutes, and the truth serum plot device did not really provide much-needed character development.  I think that if this episode had happened later in the series, the characters’ overly honest revelations could have actually meant something and had some weight.  Plus, the writers would have had more established character stuff to play with in, say, season 2 or 3.  That said, I was reasonably entertained by the episode.  Mostly because of the cake.  Mmmm, bundt cake!

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