Thursday, November 11, 2004



While discoursing on the alternate versions of Henry VIII, I neglected to mention a third candidate. This Henry can be found in the two-part, final season opener for 'Bewitched': "How Not To Lose Your Head To King Henry VIII".

In trying to free a nobleman trapped in a painting, Samantha Stephens got twitched back to the court of Henry VIII. The trauma of time travel made her lose her memory. And because she was now in a time before she was born, Sam also had no access to her powers.

Without the aid of holographic Al Calavicci and his handheld Ziggy, Sam's husband Darrin learned that she would end up changing History. Sam would become yet another wife for Henry, and in the new timeline she would lose her head.

Everything worked out okay in the end, and Sam and Darrin made it back to their own time with no apparent damage to the timeline. But it's my contention that the timeline for Earth Prime-Time was never in danger. That's because they had not only gone back in Time, but that they were also shunted into another dimension as well.

In these episodes, Henry VIII, as played by Ronald Long (a favorite TV character actor), was something of a buffoon. His saving grace was that he was eclipsed by the idiocy of the sycophants surrounding him.

Low-wattage intelligence was pandemic in this universe, and that would be the factor that sets it apart from all other TV dimensions. ('Sliders' showed that a parallel Earth could be differentiated by the most trivial of details - like chin hair being standard for women.)

This tendency towards dimwittedness would affect all of the characters in this TV dimension (which I have dubbed "Earth Prime-Time 4 Dummies). Both the fictional characters as well as those based on historical figures and other real-life folk would all have opened up a big can of dumb-ass. As such we've found the perfect dimension to store some sitcoms which portrayed a few US Presidents in a very bad light, lit by a dim bulb.

First up there's 'The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer'. (The "P" is pronounced.) In this world-view, Abraham Lincoln was a runty, randy Chief Executive who wanted to fourscore with the ladies. This Washington's Abe had washboard abs, and he engaged in telegraph sex.

And then there's 'That's My Bush!'. Dubya was more like Dopey, invoking every sitcom cliche for the (knuckle)head of the family since the days of Stu Erwin. I think the only one he missed was the collision with the mailman because he was late for work, a la Dagwood Bumstead. (And 'That's My Bush!' could have upgraded that cliche by having the President collide with the Postmaster General.)

I reject the idea that this dimension was created by Sam's alteration of the timeline. It had already been in existence at least since the days of the Roman Empire. Gary and Wyatt were also shunted into that world to rescue Chett during the reign of Emperor Timidius. As it was during the years of Henry VIII, everybody's IQ during that era had significantly dropped by at least XXIV points........

So, anyway, gang.....

That explains why there's such a vast difference between the Henry VIII as seen on 'Bewitched' and the monarch portrayed in 'The Six Wives Of Henry VIII'.

It shouldn't be so difficult to accept that Sam and Darrin crossed over to an entirely different dimension. After all, it's the type of activity in which James Kirk and Quinn Mallory also dabbled.

But in the Toobworld timeline, Samantha Stephens did it before them both.

The sisters are doing it for themselves!


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