Like every 20-something in the Nickelodeon-viewing region, I grew up with Melissa Joan Hart. First as Clarissa, where I learned it’s cool to write things backwards (and practiced for hours on steamed bathroom mirrors), enter bedrooms through the window,* and nag on nerds named Ferguson. Then we watched her as an irresponsible teenage witch on the gloriest of all glorious TV blocks, TGIF.
Step-by-Step, Family Matters, Full House, Boy Meets World, Dinosaurs, AND Sabrina? I’m hyperventilating with excitement just remembering.
Now, as an “adult,” I’m power-bombing the entirety of Sabrina the Teenage Witch (STTW) via Hulu. From finding out she was magical at 16 to the now-intern in college (season 6), I’ve watched Sabrina zap and finger spark her way in and out of sticky situations. Like the time she was literally spoiling rotten and wore air freshener earrings to cover the stench. Or the time she had a huge crisis she couldn’t solve – which was every episode until season four.
For some unnamed reason, Sabrina’s best friend and enemy both disappear at the same time, at the end of season three. (This is her second BFF to leave without explanation.) It may have been a relief to listen to whining Valerie contemplate her existence every two seconds, but considering the alternative is poor-magic-using, ear-pulling Dreama, I’d have stuck with Val. And sure Libby was rude and snobbish, but we loved to hate her. There were so many farm animals she hadn’t been turned into yet!
Then college comes and there’s a whole new cast to get used to, only the plots are far less hijinks-y, and almost completely devoid of magic. Instead of entertaining us all with hilarious bits about magic, the writers acclimated us to Sabrina’s new, new life. She’s responsible? What a bore. I don’t want to see her study and get good grades; I’m only interested if she’s improperly potioning or getting a ticket for vacuum flying. It’s the “teenage” that makes the show worth watching.
- Sabrina dates Harvey, then Josh while her roommate Morgan dates Josh, then Harvey. And no one talks about how super creepy or weird it is. Barf.
- Random relatives pop up at will, generally when the storyline needs to revert back to an earlier plot.
- Why did Sabrina buy a nice car for less than $10 in the Other Realm and her Aunt Zelda paid full price and bought from mortals?
- Harvey plays second string all through high school, then becomes the star hockey player in college, despite never having played the sport.
- Speaking of the Other Realm, why don’t we see more of it? Like whatever happened to Sabrina’s Mom – I know she can’t see her, but she could still write letters or something, right? Or her Dad, who’s in a book but never takes the time to jump off the page and visit.
- The intro gets awful. The first was amazing, the second, bubble-filled one was only ok, and the third, let me speak for everyone when I say, we hate it. Here’s a bootlegged version of the real STTW intro:
The show is a total 90s flashback. The clothes, the use of landlines and lack of noses glued to a computer – it’s like it’s 1999 and I’m vegged out in my parents’ living room all over again. Also, Sabrina is a witch, weird plot lines aside, that’s some great TV potential.
- Pop music stars regularly guest stared, like Britney, BSB, and N’Sync.
- The aunts’ former boyfriends provided an added history lesson.
- It made me appreciate my non-talking pets.
- Harvey — not that he’s a huge dream boat or anything, he’s just the best character. He knows she’s a witch and doesn’t flip even a little bit. SPOILER: they end up together.
- The show started with a TV movie starring Ryan Reynolds.
- Sisqo’s portrayal of vampire, Vlad, pre-dated Twilight, where he both loved and wanted to murderously blood suck the head cheerleader. (Though I bet not as many tweens would have paid to watch “The Thong Song” creator as Edward Cullen.)
- The show is so cheesy you can’t help but love it.
Sabrina, you can turn me into a dried fruit basket any day … so long as it’s only a short-term arrangement. I would be honored.