So I’m actually a massive TV1 fan. For those of you who don’t have Foxtel, TVI is the daggy channel. Not daggy in an ‘oh it’s oh so retro’ kind of way. Daggy in the mold of your Great Aunt Mildred who thinks her imitation-wood countertop is the hippest thing since sliced bread. Basically TV1’s sole purpose in life is to air reruns of old British and American sitcoms, producing absolutely no original content whatsoever. And bless it. It’s a rare thing when modern television can unite you with older generations over a shared love of watching nuclear families and talking cats, but this is what TV1 has done for me.
I Dream of Jeannie
I used to get home every afternoon from school at about four thirty. (Not that I did anything fun, social or mildly rebellious after school, but because my school bus came late and I wasn’t game enough to attempt to catch public transport). If I ever got home a few minutes early, I would catch the end of I Dream of Jeannie. This is a 1960s American sitcom, the plot of which revolves around 2, 000 year old Jeannie, who is actually – surprise, surprise – a genie (you know, a hot blonde chick who wears Bollywood-style clothes and can grant wishes). Jeannie ends up with suburban businessman Larry as her Master. Because women cannot make their own decisions and it is only right that they direct their talents towards improving the lives of men. As Larry’s personal slave, Jeannie must obey all of his commands. Naturally, she falls in love with him. Why wouldn’t you fall in love with the man who controls everything you do and affords you no personal autonomy whatsoever? The show then follows the hijinks they get up to and basically every episode sees Jeannie stuffing up in some way and then having to win back the affection of her Master.
Women are incompetent. It is only right that they submit to male domination and criticize themselves when they do not complete the tasks set for them up to scratch. In other words, you must cook your husband’s dinner and if you happen to burn his potatoes, you should hit yourself over the head with the fry pan. Idiot.
At five o’clock, Bewitched would grace my television screen. A slightly different premise, but a thoroughly more enjoyable viewing experience. Bewitched actually came before I Dream of Jeannie, so it is interesting to note that TV1 did not show its programs chronologically. What motive could have informed this radical decision? Curious, very curious. Anyhoo it’s about a hot witch named Samantha who casts spells by twitching her nose in a weird way (if you want to try this at home, have a go at just wiggling your lips about, and this usually produces some solid nose movement akin to the protagonist’s). Sam marries mortal man Darren, and together they attempt to live an ordinary life as he goes off to work and she brings up little Tabitha at home. Of course, women are stupid and silly, so Sam screws up a lot of householdy chores. Whenever she tries to help Darren at work using her sorcery, she causes lots of damage and merits significant reprimand from her other half. But the best character in the whole show is Sam’s crazy witch mother, Endora. Endora sees Darren for the stupid gittish mortal he really is. She adds a sneaky feminist edge by bagging out everything that Darren says and does. She also wears awesome sparkly caftans, kind of like a precursor to Joan Collins.
1. Wear caftans. They are comfortable and fabulous.
2. Try not to marry a mortal man, as they are pretty senseless and will make you name your daughter Tabitha.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Now TV1’s order of shows makes perfect sense. Because whatever programs are shown before this baby will all pale in comparison. Sabrina was the essence of my childhood idolatry. Sabrina is just an ordinary teenage girl who goes to high school and has a massive crush on Harvey, the dumb but well-meaning hottie. Except that Sabrina has a secret… she is a teenage witch! OMG. She wears awesome red leather pants in the opening sequence, is the perfect poster girl for 1990s cool, she makes mistakes but learns from every one and did I mention she has a talking cat called Salem? Salem is the best example of dodgy pre-CGI television effects. He is like literally a stuffed cat whose mouth is made to move wide and shut arbitrarily when a weird man’s voiceover comes on purporting to belong to the animal. Funny shit. Sabrina’s father is a warlock who talks to her from inside a book, and her mum is a mortal who is strangely on a dig in Peru for two conveniently placed years. If Sabrina ever sees her mother, she will turn into a ball of wax. This is just the beginning of the wackiness. You have to watch this show.
1. Girl power and belief in yourself are stronger than any magic!
2. Zelda and Hilda are awesome names
3. Life would be better if it was still the nineties