Friday, September 25, 2009
TVOD: Eastwick and the Witch as Superhero
Here's a surprise- I expected the TV adaption of The Witches of Eastwick to be a Point Pleasant-type cringefest, or at best, "Desperate Housewitches." It's actually pretty entertaining, for what it is. It doesn't hurt that it stars the radiant Rebecca Romijn and features a cast that's easy on the eyes but can act a bit better than your usual network dregs. Bonus factoid: This is actually the third version of a TV Eastwick.
Interesting to note Romijn played Mystique in the X-Men films. And appropriate, because Eastwick is presenting us with yet another spin on the superhero. This time we have witches as superheroes, which seems to appeal to adult women, just as the new superhero vampires are marketed towards their daughters. If nothing else, studying the archetype will keep me watching.
The movie version of Eastwick is a hopelessly-dated relic of the go-go 80s, when the Baby Boomers were using big budget films to celebrate themselves and their ascendancy in Tinseltown. It was typical of the star-driven formula of Warner Bros., get a bunch of stars together and essentially have them play themselves. The story was always less than a trifle; an excuse to sell the cult of celebrity. John Updike probably enjoyed cashing the check but probably didn't much enjoy the rubbishing of his fairly dark novel.
But there's a hearty dose of Secret Sun-chronicity here: The Witches of Eastwick was filmed in my literal home away from home- namely Cohasset, Mass, where my dad moved when my folks split up. Actually, the only reason I saw the film in the theatres was because I wanted to see the town on screen.
Cohasset was a kind of Hollywood East- back in the 70s the South Shore Music Circus was a big deal and all of the stars stayed at the hotel across the street from my dad's house. I would sit on the porch and see stars like Hal Linden or Donny and Marie (I will say that back in 1978 Marie Osmond was probably the most radiantly beautiful woman I ever saw in person in my youth) or Robert Preston or Charo walking back and forth from Hugo's to Kimball's (both now renamed) by the Sea. It was kind of surreal, come to think of it.
The exterior for Cher's house was a decrepit old boathouse around the corner from my dad's house- we used to jump of the bridge and ride the rapids there. What's more, my grandmother used to attend the church that Veronica Cartwright had her big freakout in. My maternal grandmother lived in Milton, where some scenes for Witches were shot as well.
The town of Eastwick is fictional, but Updike may have based it on Eastham, which was established by my ancestor John Doane and settled by all sorts of Knowleses. I didn't notice many syncs in the Eastwick show, which may have a lot to do with the fact that most people working in TV these days don't seem to be much use as sync conduits.
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