Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Mooselicker Says: This piece was written by fellow blogger “Pen” over at Pen, Paper, and Crazy. Now, on with it.

First of all, this post is about the TV series that featured live people and not creepily drawn versions of them, in the case of the animated series or the comic book (which I only just discovered in my research for this post that there is a comic book).

Sabrina cover

This was sort of like a kid’s version of Charmed, I guess.  I can’t remember when Charmed started, but it seems like witches were the thing of the late 90s.  Like vampires are now.

Anyway, in Sabrina the Teenaged Witch, Sabrina is played by Melissa Joan Hart.  I’ve never seen Ms. Hart in anything else, so I’m not sure about her merits as an actress.  Perhaps she is only good at playing teenage witches.  At least she has more expressions than Kristin Stewart.

Sabrina finds out in the first episode that she is a witch.  She apparently did not know before this because in this universe, witches “come into their power” on their 16th birthday.  I never understood why 16 was the magic number.  The type of magic in this show has the ability to radically change everything and everyone.  I feel like giving that ability to someone who can’t even vote is just irresponsible.

Sabrina lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda (everyone has awful names), who are also witches.  500 year old witches.  I guess that would make Sabrina’s dad also super old.  But her mom is mortal, so that’s like…statutory rape in the witch world or something.  I dunno.  I try not to dwell on it too much.

There were a lot of character switcharoos and disappearances in this show.  Explanations were never given.  The most consistent characters besides Sabrina and her aunts were probably….

Harvey

Sabrina’s love interest and boyfriend for most of the series.  He’s sort of goofy and weird to me.  I never really understood why Sabrina liked him so much.  She perform a metric shit-ton of magic on him to prevent him from seeing her as a complete fuck-up.  Seriously, a metric unit of it.  Like, in the last couple seasons her magic stopped working on him and when she asked the witch council/boss dudes about it, they were like “You used too much effin’ magic on this dude.”
Somehow he still loves her.  I think he ends up stopping her wedding to some random dude in the last episode.  It’s very soap opera.

Salem

Salem is my favorite.  He’s a snarky-assed mofo who constantly tries to take over the world.  In fact, he does this so often (but unsuccessfully, obviously) that the witches council/boss dudes cursed him with being a cat for like, 500 years or something.  A long ass time.  And for some reason, he has to be taken care of by Sabrina’s aunts.  I’m not really sure why.  There was an episode that addressed that, but I missed it.

Anyway, Salem is pretty much Sabrina’s best friend.  He’s the only one who will tell her how the whole magic thing actually works.  Her aunts are constantly like “don’t use it too much, stop fucking with it, if you keep casting like that your finger’ll get stuck”.  But Salem is also a snarky-ass conniving warlock who wants to take over the world, so a lot of his advice ends up fucking Sabrina over.

He also has a daughter, but she’s rarely on the show because Salem is super afraid and ashamed of her seeing him as a talking cat.  Like that wouldn’t be the most awesome dad ever.   And Salem has the best lines of the entire cast.  Every episode.  I think Nick Bakay must have been getting it on with a producer.

Libby

Libby was the stereotypical “bitchy rich girl” that was super jealous of Sabrina somehow getting shit to go her way.  She also performed a lot of magic of Libby to prevent her from discovering that Sabrina is really just a dumbass that has a bag of tricks.  But Libby didn’t stay on the show long enough to hit that magic metric-shit-ton, so she always had spells work on her.

I think at some point her and Sabrina became more like friends, but that isn’t like real high school at all.  And also it ruins that stereotype that almost every show with a female high school aged heroine has.

Oh, also Libby has the hots for Harvey for some weird reason.  Despite him being a big doofus who really isn’t that attractive.

Valerie

In the first season Sabrina had some other friend who’s name I forget.  She wasn’t important.  But then the producers thought they didn’t to “expand and diversify” so they replaced her old friend (http://sharetv.org/person/michelle_beaudoin) with Valerie. Yes, they’re both white girls. Don’t worry, I am also puzzled.  Perhaps the producers don’t quite understand what the word diversity means. Valerie was annoying.  I didn’t like her.  She was all whiney and always wanted Sabrina to help her with some bullshit.  She was encouraging of Sabrina pursuing Harvey, but I think that was mostly because she hated Libby. Because I hate Libby, I don’t know much else about her.

Sabrina end

Also, in terms of accuracy and respect for real life practicing Pagans and witches this show is pretty crap; I’d recommend Charmed or the movie Practical Magic if you’re looking for that.

But in terms of cheesy 90s kid’s show goodness gone a bit soap opera?  This show gets an 8.

Mooselicker Says: Thanks Pen for writing this up. Now if anyone is curious to see how Melissa Joan Hart has fallen, check out her pathetic Kickstarter project. I’m weeping at how sad this is.

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12 thoughts on “Sabrina the Teenage Witch

  1. Great review, you pretty much summed up all the characters. I love hearing about people’s opinions on 90’s shows and movies because it is my favorite period of entertainment. I feel back then that shows how more substance than what is put out too. Melissa Joan Hart was famous way before Sabrina. She was the lead character in Clarissa Explains It All. I was too young to see when it first came out, but I caught a few reruns. I think she is a great actor with comedy and portraying the awkward moments of teenage years. She even diversified herself with her role in the Movie Drive Me Crazy. Overall, it may not be my favorite tv show, but if you are a 90’s kid you would have definitely watched the series.

    • Thank you!

      Really? I’d never heard of her before Sabrina. Was Clarissa Explains It All a cable show? My parents were cheap.

      I’ve never seen her in anything else. She didn’t do the normal 90s female teen actress fallback of cheesy slasher-flick, so I must of missed out.

      • Clarissa Explains it all came out in the early 90’s on Nick. It was actually a pretty decent show. I’m so upset because I don’t have TeenNick and at night they play all the great 90’s shows. Can’t wait to see what television show you do next.

      • Darn. Another one I missed out on because of cable.

        I really wish Tim and Lily would stop doing PBS shows. I lived on that stuff in my childhood.

        LEAVE SOME SHOWS FOR US POOR NON-CABLE CHILDREN!!

        Anyway, thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Great piece! Witches were pretty popular in the 90s weren’t they? I don’t know what sparked it. This, Charmed, The Craft, and probably a few other things made up the 90s witch craze which wasn’t all that big like the zombies or vampires of today.

    I never really watched this show other than once in a laundromat years ago when it was on. Libby had on colorful knee high socks so naturally I liked her better than Sabrina because she looked so hot and Melissa Joan Hart’s dark eyebrows with blonde hair has always bugged me.

    I had something else to say but I forget it now. Damn it.

    • Okay I just remembered. One time I saw an interview and Melissa Joan Hart and the Libby girl were all friendly while the fake best friend of Sabrina was awkward and not really close with MJH. That really broke down a wall of reality for me. Like in the 80s when Hacksaw Jim Duggan and the Iron Sheik were feuding then got arrested together with possession of cocaine.

      • Nuh uh! Really??

        Actually. I could see that. Libby seemed much more interesting. I hated Val so so much. Just all boring skeevy annoying. Probably like that in real life too.

        Though I imagine the dude who played Harvey was a complete dolt.

    • Libby was way better looking. I didn’t particularly like Sabrina myself. Salem was pretty much the real reason I watched the show.

      Don’t forget “Hocus Pocus”! Disney had to get all in on the witch fad too 😉

  3. Awesome piece Pen! I’m really glad you covered this one. Lol so true about Harvey. I don’t find him cute at all. I always found this show so cheeseball but I couldn’t stop watching it. Didn’t they eventually make Sabrina college episodes? Yikes.
    Also, I love Practical Magic!

    • They did. They were so very very awful. Even Caroline Rhea knew to leave before that happened, so suddenly Sabrina only had one aunt.

      Practical Magic is awesome! My friends and I used to do a marathon with that, The Craft, Hocus Pocus, and Witches of Eastwick. Witches, witches, witches!

    • Really? I don’t remember that at all. In the live action show? I know there was a black chick in the animated show that I saw one or two episodes of. I think the producers of the cartoon felt guilty about the lack of diversity in the live action show.

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