It's a rather involved 22 minutes. Major Nelson's friend Major Healy has friends visiting from out of town. He's planning on throwing a "mod party"; to which he invites Major Nelson (Tony) and Jeannie (she's a genie...but surely you know this...). Anyways, Dr. Bellows (the psychiatrist at NASA) thinks Tony and Major Healy (Roger) need to go on a hunting trip or something and they lie to get out of it. Meanwhile, Jeannie goes to a boutique to buy a "mod outfit." Now, this begs several questions. Like, in the late 60's, when the "mod" thing was happening; did it just happen or was it such an instant fad that people referred to it self-reflexively? Like, back in the disco era, people didn't say: "I'm going to a disco party." You just went to a party and the music was disco. Also, why does Jeannie need to buy an outfit when she can just "blink" one into existence?
(I just rewatched it and I must've missed the beginning. Tony insists Jeannie go to a store to get her "mod" outfit, as the party is mostly about what everyone's wearing and he doesn't want Jeannie to look out of place...which doesn't really make sense; but it's the only way the writer can get her somewhere where Mrs. Bellows can eavesdrop.)
What struck me about the show was how game the players were to participate in the silliness. Even or perhaps especially, Larry Hagman. By all accounts he was unhappy on the show and battling addictions to several substances; particularly alcohol. So how does he come across so delightfully on the show? Perhaps it was doing the silly slap-stick that was the show's stock-in-trade. It was goofy, sloppy slap-stick. Slap stick needs to be razor sharp and done with panache. I Dream of Jeannie didn't quite pull it off; but it didn't keep them from trying. Occasionally they succeeded. Maybe it was doing this type of comedy that kept Larry's mind off of his problems.
One of the funniest people on the show was the unsung Emmaline Henry. As I mentioned, she played Amanda Bellows. She epitomized the 1960's bourgeoise wife. And she did it with just the right amount of everything. Dry and detached but also warm and somehow wacky. Her facial expressions were sublime. And devine.
Switching genres but remaining with the fantastical...that brings us to Gilligan's Island and it's MILF, Mrs. Lovey Howell, played delightfully by Natalie Schafer. Actually, she's more of a GILF. Okay, that's the last time I'll mention any "ILFS."
Okay, maybe it didn't "teach" me those things; but it certainly sparked an interest. Remember that time when the castaways found a trunk full of silent movie equipment and they made a film to tell the world their story and then sent it off on a raft, where it was discovered and then hailed as an avant-garde film-making masterpiece by an unknown director?
So, thank you Emmaline and Natalie; for all the laughs, the glamour and the entertainment. Because those little people inside the TV set were our friends, weren't they? They kept us company after school and on those late nights when you couldn't fall asleep. It's true. Didn't the folks at Dunder-Mifflin kind of get most of us through the pandemic? Or the gang at Central Perk? Or Mrs. Bellows and Mrs. Howell? You bet they did!
And why haven't Gilligan and Jeannie, two of the most popular sitcoms of all time, not been given the Big Screen treatment? Remember when they were remaking everything? Like, even Car 54 got a movie. Is it because Nora Ephron put the kibosh on the trend with her abysmal cinematic take on Bewitched? Sorry Nicole; but even you couldn't save that hot mess of celluloid. And please, whoever attempts movie versions of Jeannie and Gilligan: don't do meta. Those properties don't need meta. They need bettah!
Also, here's a fascinating interview with Natalie Schafer; the only one I've ever seen her do. It's with Skip E. Lowe who I think may have been the inspiration for Martin Short's "Jiminy Glick" persona: