There’s no shortage of comparisons between Mad Men and Bewitched but they all say the same things. C’mon, there’s still some unknown fun facts and interesting parallel plots that haven’t been rehashed to death.
Like the fact that Bewitched character Darrin Stephens hailed from Missouri and attended the University of Missouri. In the real world, Jon Hamm, who plays Don Draper on Mad Men, is originally from Missouri and attended the same university.
Also, how about the scene in the Bewitched pilot when Darrin learns his wife is a witch and says, “I wish I had a drink.” When it magically appears, he changes his order to an old fashioned, which everybody knows is Don Draper’s signature libation.
Then there’s the prescient anagram formed by combining the names of both ad agencies, McMahon and Tate, Sterling Cooper and Partners. The scrambled letters pretty much summarize the effects of Hamm’s character on unsuspecting women: “Panting con man Don Draper charms teetotalers.”
If you grew up watching Bewitched and now find yourself thirsting for the cads and cocktails of Sterling Cooper and Partners, you already know both shows tackled the cultural mores and social issues of the 1960s. Except their parallel characters made wildly different choices when confronted with similar situations like these.
The Women’s Movement. Both Darrin and Don had clients that were successful, pretty brunettes running their fathers’ businesses in Manhattan. These powerful women were single, lived alone, worked full-time in management positions, and were up front about their romantic interests in their ad men. While Darrin refused the advances, Don fully understood his responsibility to service his client Rachel Menkin.
Inter-racial Relationships. In a hare-raising episode, Sam’s Uncle Arthur attempts to conjure up a rabbit for Tabitha but instead gets a real live Playboy bunny. The bunny captures the heart of a McMahon and Tate client and it’s up to Darrin to keep the product of a warlock away from a mortal. At the Playboy Club in NYC, Lane Pryce falls for a real live African American bunny and it’s his father that chooses the stick over the carrot to keep the two apart.
Political Activism. Sam does her civic duty and hosts a political fundraiser in her living room to support a local councilman. In the Draper living room, Betty hosts a political fundraiser to support her campaign to be the next Mrs. Henry Francis.
Single Parenthood. When Darrin discovers Sam has been comforting a hen pecked 10-year-old boy from the neighborhood, they work together and succeed in bringing the child closer to his recently widowed mother. Betty, on the other hand, inappropriately and covertly comforts Glen Bishop, the neighborhood boy adjusting to life after his parents’ divorce. When Glen’s mother calls Betty on her behavior, Betty bitch slaps her in the supermarket.
Embezzlement. Darrin’s friend moves to town, lands a job at a bank and is mistakenly accused of stealing $75,000. Sam’s magic saves the day and restores the man’s reputation. A few doors down on Madison Avenue, Lane Pryce moves to town, lands a partnership, and actually steals $7,500. Don protects Lane’s reputation by not reporting him but still fires his ass.
Depression. Battling a case of what Sam calls the “blahs,” Doctor Bombay diagnoses her with “Gravititis Inflamitis,” the result of living too long in her mortal state. A side effect of this illness causes Sam to weigh over 400 pounds. After performing a little witchcraft, Sam is back to her old self. Hey Betty, how’s that can of whipped cream treating you?
Weight loss. Speaking of weight, when Darrin is assigned to work on the campaign for a weight loss sauna suit called the “Reducelator,” he brings it home for Sam to try out and hijinks ensue. Back at Sterling Cooper, Peggy is asked to test the weight loss aid known as the “Relaxicisor” and when she brings it home to try out, hijinks ensue.
If you watch the two shows closely, you’ll also find romantic business trips to Rome, struggling violinists, and women being gifted with fur coats. But the real magic is in the originality of Mad Men and what they’ve accomplished in the past six seasons. The countdown to Sunday’s season seven premiere is on.