Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996 series), Season 1, Episode 01 – Pilot

I’m sorry that this is a bit late. I took more screencaps than I’d planned on. ^.^”

So I got over three minutes into reviewing an episode and then realized it was the wrong fucking episode, because the episode order is out of whack on the DVD set. So expect a review of episode 02 eventually, because fucked if I’m letting that work go to waste.

Writer: Nell Scovell
Director: Robby Benson
Original Air Date: Friday, September 27, 1996
Length: 21:34

Somehow (again, there’s little in the way of Archie television information available on the Internet), the Showtime movie led to ABC greenlighting a weekly television series for the fall. Most of the movie’s cast (except Melissa Joan Hart at least) was Canadian, but the TV series was shot at Universal Studios in Universal City (season 1) and Paramount Studios in Hollywood (seasons 2-7), so that’s probably the reason why most of the cast was swapped out.

Establishing shots of Sabrina’s house were shot at 64 E. Main Street in Freehold, New Jersey. Other establishing shots were shot in Boston, Massachusetts.

Another change made for the series was changing the family’s surname from Sawyer to Spellman. Spellman is actually their last name in the comics; I don’t know why the movie decided to change it, other than maybe it was too “obvious”. Spellman is a real surname; it means “writer of spells”. It comes from England or Germany. It’s also an Anglicization of the Irish surname, O’Spealain, meaning “the scythe”.

One more change made for the series was the relocation of the family from Riverdale to the fictional town of Westbridge, Massachusetts (in the movie, Sabrina had moved from an unspecified town in Massachusetts to live with her aunts in Riverdale; it’s unknown, as of this episode, where Sabrina was from in this universe). This was probably done to avoid questions of why Archie and the gang weren’t showing up. Also, y’know, witch country and Lovecraft country.

sabrina-album

Finally, I need to make a note about the music. There were a lot of popular songs played on this series, and there were also performances by various artists. According to Wikipedia: “On the DVD sets, most sequences featuring music has been altered, seeing as it would have been costly to obtain the rights to many songs used in the series. … Almost all musical performances have been cut from the DVD release.” IMDb has a partial list of songs, and there are also the songs on the official soundtrack album, but I can’t find a full list of songs. Just be aware music and footage are missing from various episodes. The running time of an episode might be a clue that something’s missing, but I can’t guarantee that.

The series premiered on ABC at 8:30 PM (EDT) as part of its TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Funny) line-up. Let’s get into it:

sabrina-001-01-house-nightThe series opens with a shot of the family’s house in this universe, and it’s pretty nice.

sabrina-001-02-sabrina-asleepIn her bedroom, Sabrina is asleep – but restless. Sabrina Spellman is played by Melissa Joan Hart. MJH grew out her hair between the movie and the series.

sabrina-001-03-sabrina-floatsSabrina starts floating. We hear Zelda talking and learn Sabrina’s sixteenth birthday started five minutes ago. So is it 12:05 AM (EDT), or is it five minutes after what it’s written on her birth certificate?

sabrina-001-04-auntssabrina-001-05-sabrina-floats-2Zelda and Hilda come in. Zelda is excited that Sabrina is “levitating, right on schedule”.  So Sabrina’s floating is a bit delayed in this universe compared to the movie.

Hilda wants to wake Sabrina up and tell her that she’s a witch.

sabrina-001-06-sabrina-floats-3Zelda wants to let Sabrina sleep, because she starts her new school tomorrow, and “the first levitation is so special”. She waxes about their “little” niece growing up.

Hilda jokes about zits, and the two of them leave “the perfect little witch” before Sabrina wakes up.

Zelda Spellman is played by Beth Broderick. She’s had a prolific career, racking up 79 acting credits (plus 1 directing credit, also for this series) from 1983 through the present day.

Hilda Spellman is played by Caroline Rhea. She’s had a prolific career, racking up 42 acting credits (plus 1 directing credit, 8 writing credits, and 3 producing credits) from 1988 through the present day.

sabrina-001-07-theme-1sabrina-001-08-theme-2sabrina-001-09-theme-3The opening theme is a fun rock instrumental (20 seconds long).

sabrina-001-10-theme-4sabrina-001-11-theme-5sabrina-001-12-theme-6The sequence involves – what else? – Sabrina trying on various fashions in front of a mirror. The first three are always the same, and then we get the outfit of the week, which Sabrina reacts to:

sabrina-001-13-theme-7“This is so not me.” Ha. Possibly a joke at the role that she now has.

sabrina-001-14-sabrina-zelda-kitchenAfter the opening theme, on the next morning, Sabrina comes downstairs for breakfast. The aunts wish her a happy birthday and many more to come.

sabrina-001-15-aunts-presentsabrina-001-16-sabrina-presentThey give her a present.

sabrina-001-17-sabrina-cauldronIt’s a “black pot” – actually a cauldron.

Zelda explains there are two realms: the natural and the supernatural. Then Hilda just blurts out that Sabrina’s a witch.

sabrina-001-18-sabrina-aunts-tableThey explain they and Sabrina’s father are witches, but her mother is a “mortal”. This is consistent with the comics. The movie had turned Sabrina into a full witch. They explain Sabrina’s here, so they can teach her to use her magic.

sabrina-001-19-sabrina-off-to-schoolSabrina goes to catch a bus to take her to her “doom” – without having eaten breakfast. I realize pacing is an issue, but it always annoys me whenever characters sit down to eat or drink and then…don’t, and then they just get up and leave the stuff sitting there.

Zelda tells her to have fun, and Hilda cautions her against making “too many hand gestures”.

sabrina-001-20-salem-walks-outSalem walks out when Sabrina opens the kitchen door.

sabrina-001-21-sabrina-salemSabrina briefly talks to Salem about how her aunts are “pretty weird”.

sabrina-001-22-salem“You have no idea.”

Salem is voiced by Nick Bakay, who has racked up 37 acting credits, 5 production credits, 18 writing credits, and some other credits from 1989 to 2013. He was a writer, story editor, and producer on this series. I like Salem’s voice.

sabrina-001-23-westbridge-high-schoolsabrina-001-24-sabrina-schoolSabrina arrives at Westbridge High School.

sabrina-001-25-harveyShe notices Harvey in a classroom. Harvey Kinkle is played by Nate Richert, who hasn’t had much of an acting career outside this series, racking up 12 acting credits from 1996 to 2006. This series was his first role. He also has 1 executive producer credit from 2013. He’s primarily a musician these days, and he’s got the balding, goatee look going on.

sabrina-001-26-poolHarvey notices her, but then the teacher opens the door for the students (hitting him) and tells them to get the fuck in the classroom.

Sabrina’s biology teacher, Mr. Dingle Eugene Pool, is played by Paul Feig, who has racked up 47 acting credits (plus 2 music credits, 9 writing credits, 22 directing credits, and 13 producing credits) from 1986 through the present day. Among other things, he created “Freaks and Geeks” and wrote, directed, and executive-produced the new “Ghostbusters” movie.

sabrina-001-27-sabrina-biologySabrina isn’t paying attention in class, so Mr. Pool has to get her attention.

sabrina-001-28-sabrina-harveyBut talk of dissecting frogs isn’t interesting enough to keep Sabrina and Harvey’s attention.

Mr. Pool tells them to choose lab partners. Harvey seems about ready to choose Sabrina, but…

sabrina-001-29-bestiesPopular girl Katy Lemore Libby Chessler gets to him first. Libby Chessler is played by Jenna Leigh Green, who has had a fairly steady, though not prolific, career, racking up 26 credits from 1994 through the present day. She can also sing, having been in “Twilight: The Musical” (yes, that’s a thing).

Libby’s besties, Freddie and Fran Jill (center) and Cee Cee (right), are played by Bridget Flanery and Melissa Murray, respectively. Bridget Flanery has racked up 22 credits from 1994 to 2011 and also does live theater. Melissa Murray racked up only 8 credits from 1994 to 2004 and seems to have quit acting.

sabrina-001-30-sabrina-over-itI feel ya, Bri.

sabrina-001-31-frogsabrina-001-32-sabrina-jennyMichelle Beaudoin returns as Sabrina’s best friend, Marnie Littlefield Jennifer “Jenny” Kelley, but this is their first meeting in this universe. She’s the second of only two actors from the movie to make it to the TV series. (Before anyone asks, yeah, she’s Canadian.) I’m not sure why they changed her name.

Jenny suggests naming the dead frog “Tad Pole”. Sabrina agrees and thanks Jenny for asking her to be her lab partner. Um, she didn’t. Jenny was the new kid last year and knows what it’s like. Sabrina asks Jenny if she ever feels like she doesn’t fit in. Jenny says all the time, but she doesn’t wanna fit in. She researched it, and awkward people tend to be much more successful later in life. When she looks at Libby, she sees tragedy.

sabrina-001-33-pool-knifeMr. Pool comes by and is like “Slice and dice, bitches.”

Sabrina hates doing this and wishes to bring the frogs back to life.

sabrina-001-34-sabrina-casts-1sabrina-001-35-sabrina-casts-2sabrina-001-36-frog-alivesabrina-001-37-frog-escapesThe girls are happy, and Jenny somehow takes this as the frog having still been alive. Mr. Pool vows Mike from Cadaver Shack is gonna hear from him.

sabrina-001-38-besties-restroomIn the girls’ restroom, Libby has a laugh over how young that the freshmen look.

sabrina-001-39-besties-sabrinaThere’s a bit of an awkward encounter as Sabrina comes in to wash the “frog juice” off her hands. Ewww… More importantly, though, her table in biology class has a sink!

Libby insults Sabrina’s natural smell, and Sabrina counters by saying Libby splashes on aftershave to remind her of the boy that dumped her last summer.

sabrina-001-40-libby-surprisedsabrina-001-41-sabrina-surprisedThe thing is Sabrina thought she was just making a casual insult, but she’s actually 100% correct. She has some kind of supernatural insight into people’s lives. Libby asks how she knew that. Sabrina admits she doesn’t know, and this makes herself and Libby more uncomfortable.

Sabrina excuses herself and then says “Smell you later” to Libby.

sabrina-001-42-libby-bansLibby tells Sabrina to not come in here again. What? Libby and her besties claim ownership of the restroom or something?

sabrina-001-43-libby-freaksLibby tells Sabrina to use the “freaks’ bathroom” from now on.

sabrina-001-44-sabrina-casts“Talk to the hand, bitch.”

sabrina-001-45-libby-lipsticksabrina-001-46-libby-lipstick-2This causes Libby to put lipstick all over her face.

sabrina-001-47-house-daysabrina-001-48-surpriseAfter school, Sabrina comes home to a discount surprise birthday party. Keep in mind that they have a sitcom budget now, not a TV movie budget.

sabrina-001-49-sabrina-bookZelda gives Sabrina a present from her (Sabrina’s) father.

Sabrina lists her lame presents so far and asks “Does anyone shop at The Gap anymore?” Hahahahaha, no, not really.

sabrina-001-50-book-contentssabrina-001-51-dad-bookSabrina’s dad wishes her a happy birthday. He can communicate with her from “another realm” through the book. Sabrina doesn’t buy it.

sabrina-001-52-sabrina-salemIt takes Salem talking to convince her, but she freaks out and goes up to her room.

sabrina-001-53-book-floatsThe aunts let her father handle this.

Edward “Ted” Spellman is played by Robby Benson (the director of this episode), who has racked up 70 acting credits, 31 directing credits, 8 soundtrack credits, 6 producing credits, 3 writing credits, 3 composing credits, and 1 sound credit from 1967 to 2015.

sabrina-001-54-book-follows-sabrinaThe book follows Sabrina up to her bedroom.

sabrina-001-55-sabrina-crazy“Oh, God, I’m talking to a book.”

sabrina-001-56-sabrina-noI love the stained glass windows in Sabrina’s room. Then again, I love stained glass windows in general.

sabrina-001-57-sabrina-talksSabrina continues to deny she’s a witch and then says she wants to be normal. Dad was being kind of truthful when he said he was with the “foreign service”. Mom is digging for fossils in Peru. Sabrina wants to go and live with her, but she can’t; there’s a “rule”: if Sabrina sets eyes on her mother in the next two years, her mother will turn into a ball of wax.

sabrina-001-58-sabrina-wtf“What the fuck kind of motherfucking bullshit rule is that?!”

I mean I know witch shows and movies make up rules, but this is Charmed-level bullshit. Speaking of “Charmed”, it would not surprise me in the least if it ripped off the stained-glass design from this series.

Daddy explains it’s the way that “they” discourage mortal-witch marriages. Sabrina asks if that’s why they got divorced. He says no. She asks if they can get back together. He says no and adds she’ll be fine. He tells her to take some time to think about all of this. If she ever needs him, he’s in the index.

sabrina-001-59-aunts-cardsDownstairs, the aunts are playing cards. Hilda cheats.

Sabrina comes downstairs and is like “It’s all good.”

sabrina-001-60-sabrina-orangeZelda wants Sabrina to try turning an orange into an apple.

sabrina-001-61-sabrina-castssabrina-001-62-sabrina-casts-2sabrina-001-63-sabrina-pineappleWell, it is an apple of a sort.

sabrina-001-64-pineapplesMany tries later, there are enough pineapples to make a shit-ton of juice. Sabrina is discouraged.

sabrina-001-65-sabrina-salemSabrina wants to try turning Salem into an apple, because she’s a bitch.

They tell her that she’s got school tomorrow, and she’s like “That’s sucks. I’m a motherfucking witch.” She threatens to turn Mr. Pool into something, because she’s a bitch.

After some banter between Hilda and Sabrina, Sabrina goes upstairs.

sabrina-001-66-sabrina-floatsThe next morning, Sabrina’s alarm clock wakes her up while she’s sleepfloating, and she falls. Ha.

sabrina-001-67-house-daysabrina-001-68-kitchenSabrina’s taking her sweet time and casually suggests turning back time, but Hilda says “a witch can’t change time”; it’s “one of the rules”. Sabrina rushes off, and Hilda yells she also can’t get rid of cellulite.

sabrina-001-69-sabrina-jennySuddenly, Sabrina’s at school. Often, this series doesn’t use establishing shots or scene transitions of any kind, which is weird.

Anyway, Jenny tells a lame, dated “joke” about Brad Pitt.

sabrina-001-70-teacher-thanksLater, an annoying history teacher thanks them for coming and asks them if they enjoyed the pop quiz. Fuck this bitch. The end credits call her Mrs. Hecht, played by Ren Woods. She’s the first of three actors to play this character, maybe because they misspelled her first name.

sabrina-001-71-sabrina-footballSabrina’s hit in the head by a football thrown by some asshole.

sabrina-001-72-sabrina-libbyLibby blames her for it and then calls her a freak. Why do I have the feeling that she’s a future Trump voter?

sabrina-001-73-harvey-cafeteriaAt lunch, Harvey asks if he can sit with the girls, and Sabrina says sure.

sabrina-001-74-harvey-girlsHe asks her about her head. He apologizes for the football incident. He was the one that did that? It’s news to Sabrina as well. She compliments him on his “really good arm”.

sabrina-001-75-libbyLibby comes by and invites Harvey to her party on Saturday night. He accepts.

sabrina-001-76-libby-spillsLibby spills her drink on Sabrina and then says “Smell you later.” Okay, that was kinda bitchy, but it’s not like Sabrina didn’t deserve some of that. Sabrina yells she did that on purpose, and Libby tells her to prove it.

sabrina-001-77-sabrina-castssabrina-001-78-sabrina-casts-2sabrina-001-79-sabrina-casts-3sabrina-001-80-sabrina-casts-4sabrina-001-81-libby-scaredsabrina-001-82-storm-1sabrina-001-83-storm-2During an unusually dramatic moment (I guess to show Sabrina’s badassness), Sabrina confronts Libby and creates a “twister” (according to one student).

sabrina-001-84-sabrina-casts-1sabrina-001-85-sabrina-casts-2sabrina-001-86-pineapple-libbySabrina turns Libby into a pineapple and then feigns innocence and runs the fuck away with it when Jenny questions her.

sabrina-001-87-sabrina-pineappleAfter the commercial break, Sabrina comes home with Pineapple!Libby and declares her hatred of being a witch. She explains the sitch.

sabrina-001-88-hilda-pineappleZelda stops Hilda from murdering Libby. Sweet Goddess, this series is darkly comedic.

sabrina-001-89-libby-tableBecause Sabrina doesn’t know how to “seal” her spells yet (make them permanent, I guess), Zelda is able to reverse it.

sabrina-001-90-aunts-libbyLibby has questions, of course, and Sabrina doesn’t help matters.

sabrina-001-91-libby-threatensLibby threatens to expose Sabrina’s secret to the whole school. She leaves, and Hilda turns it into an argument in favor of murdering and eating Libby.

Sabrina declares her life is over, because Libby is a cheerleader, and nobody has more credibility. Sabrina wishes she could turn back time. Zelda says, collectively, they have powers that a single witch doesn’t; it’s a “union thing”. What’s with this franchise’s habit of information not being revealed to Sabrina until it becomes an issue?

Zelda says Sabrina can appeal to the Witches Council, but they grant time reversal in only extreme cases. According to Hilda, for two months, a bunny ruled all of England.

The Witches Council is ten-million light-years away (so it’s in our dimension?), but…

sabrina-001-92-linen-closet…there’s a short-cut through their linen closet. Of course.

The aunts fill in backstory. Drell is the head of the Witches Council, and he and Hilda used to date, but they haven’t seen each other in centuries, ever since he stood her up at the altar in the Parthenon (their dad lost a huge deposit).

The aunts argue, but Sabrina just wants to fucking go. The aunts send her off on her own (supposedly, the Council will respect her more), telling her to take a left at the towels, follow the signs, watch out for Drell, and don’t stare at his mole.

sabrina-001-93-linen-closet-2You can see the edge of the set.

sabrina-001-94-sabrina-councilSo the Witches Council has access to the Spellmans’ linens?

sabrina-001-95-witches-councilThis is the Witches Council: Cassandra (singer Deborah Harry), Drell (magician Penn Jillette), and Skippy (magician Teller).

sabrina-001-96-candleThere’s a joke about the candle whimpering and Drell feeding it.

sabrina-001-97-sabrina-washclothSabrina realizes she doesn’t have an appointment but says she brought a washcloth. Um, okay. Skippy wants it, and Sabrina gives it to him.

sabrina-001-98-drell-laughsDrell gets some info and then immediately denies Sabrina’s request.

Sabrina doesn’t leave, and Drell accuses her of staring at his mole. Sabrina denies it and wants to explain her motive. Cassandra suggests humoring her, and Drell agrees, telling her to speak quickly. Sabrina’s explanation plays at a fast speed. Ha.

Drell sends her off, saying they’ll get back to her.

sabrina-001-99-full-moonsabrina-001-100-sabrina-salemThat night, during the full moon, Sabrina and Salem discuss it. Interestingly, Salem refers to himself as a witch. He reveals they sentenced him to a hundred years as a cat for world domination attempts. Sabrina’s remarkably indifferent and even humorous about this revelation. Remember, everyone, whenever your cat wants to be on the couch, it’s likely a former witch that tried to take over the world. The aunts must know about this, yet they allow Salem to hang out in their teenage niece’s bedroom. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than the movie, where Salem was a horndogcat. Sabrina says Salem takes 5,000 naps per day, which seems about right. *listens to my cat snoring nearby*

Salem laments being a cat, saying the sound of the can opener is the only thing that makes him feel truly alive. Sabrina offers him his rubber mouse, and he accepts.

sabrina-001-101-breakfastThe next morning, there’s no word from the Witches Council yet, and Sabrina is worried, because it’s about time for her to leave for school.

sabrina-001-102-decisionThe Witches Council send their (audible) decision via the Spellmans’ toaster. Of course.

Drell denies the request again and laughs about it again.

Zelda feels sorry for Sabrina. Sabrina wants to move. Hilda sends Sabrina off to school. Sabrina protests. Zelda backs Hilda up. Sabrina goes off, accepting her status as a “freak” and the school’s “weird kid”. Hilda adds she was the weird kid back in her day.

After Sabrina leaves, the aunts talk. Apparently, Zelda was tarred and feathered back in her day. She talks Hilda into trying to convince Drell to change his mind.

sabrina-001-103-linen-closetAt least, the edge of the set isn’t showing this time.

Anyway, Hilda grabs hold of Drell’s mole, and the camera shakes to indicate…fighting?

sabrina-001-104-westbridge-high-schoolsabrina-001-105-jenny-sabrinaAt school, Jenny tells Sabrina the same dumb joke, and Sabrina realizes time has been reversed, despite the fact that they’re not wearing the same clothing that they did yesterday, and Sabrina is actually wearing the same outfit that she left the house in today. So…what the fuck happened?

sabrina-001-106-teacher-excellentSabrina aces the pop quiz in history, despite the fact that there’s really no reason that she would have studied for it, not knowing whether time would be reversed or not.

sabrina-001-107-sabrina-footballSabrina catches the football, not giving Libby a chance to make fun of her.

sabrina-001-108-sabrina-invitesDuring lunch, Harvey sits with them, and Sabrina invites him to the movies with her and Jenny on Saturday night, taking a preemptive measure against Libby. He accepts.

sabrina-001-109-sabrina-casts-1sabrina-001-110-sabrina-casts-2sabrina-001-111-libby-wetLibby comes by. Sabrina’s like “Tough shit” and then casts a spell to spill her drink on her. Sabrina seems to be squandering this new chance at concealing her secret.

Libby runs out of the cafeteria, and the “good guys” have a laugh over her misfortune.

sabrina-001-112-sabrina-happySabrina comes home very happy – but not happy enough to kiss her aunts.

sabrina-001-113-errorThere seems to be a bit of encoding error or tape damage here, or there was when I was playing the video. Trust me.

Sabrina runs upstairs to tell “the cat”. That’s oddly impersonal.

sabrina-001-114-sabrina-salemSabrina bursts into her bedroom, picks Salem up, and dances with him, adding she doesn’t play “Squash”. Huh?

Procedural note: The ending credits credit Shaunn Weiss in the all-important role of male student. He’s racked up 37 acting credits, 4 writing credits, and 4 producing credits from 1986 through the present day.

sabrina-001-115-sabrina-salem-2The end-credits scene has Sabrina studying her book while Salem regales her with tales of his attempts at world domination.

Sabrina interrupts to go to get some more milk, but Salem’s like “Use your magic, you dumbass.”

sabrina-001-116-sabrina-milkSabrina is impressed and says she can get used to this magic. Salem tells her to share her milk.

sabrina-001-117-sabrina-eyes-salem“Fuck no, asshole.”

This was the original ending of the episode. Apparently, according to Sabrina Wiki, a second ending went like this: “Salem tries to tell the audience that they are under his control, but leaves when he hears a can opener. ‘Please be tuna.’ ‘Please be tuna.'” I’m not sure why they would record two endings for this episode.

sabrina-001-118-finishing-the-hat-productionssabrina-001-119-hartbreak-films-incsabrina-001-120-cbs-paramount-televisionMuch like almost anything else regarding the original TV broadcast, I can’t find any info on what this CBS-Paramount logo replaced on the DVD set (since the music is still playing when it appears). I’m guessing an ABC logo.

So that’s the first episode of the long-running “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” live-action series. Overall, I like it. It’s cute. Compared to the movie, it rehashes some elements from it, but its overall feel is different. It’s shot like a sitcom (on a soundstage), not like a movie. There’s an added laugh track (which I don’t mind; it makes me feel like I’m watching the show with someone). It feels less “real” than the movie. Which is better? It’s hard to say. Both casts are good. This is just a somewhat different approach.

Also, I should point out that Hilda and Zelda’s roles from the comics are reversed here. Zelda is now the serious one, and Hilda is now the fun one.

This series reinvented Sabrina for modern times and reintroduced her into the public consciousness. It was massively popular. It ran for seven seasons and a total of 163 episodes across two networks (The WB picking it up for the final three seasons), finally concluding on Thursday, April 24, 2003. It included two made-for-TV movies (“Sabrina Goes to Rome” and “Sabrina, Down Under”), which aired during the run of the series. Its popularity led to the creation of two animated series and a made-for-TV animated movie. All of this makes Sabrina Archie’s most successful television property ever.

Over at Archie Comics, this newfound popularity led to the creation of a one-shot special in 1996 and a new monthly Sabrina title. It ran for 32 issues from May of 1997 to December of 1999 (cover dates):

sabrina-1-1996sabrina-1-1997

On a personal note, prior to starting this blog, I had actually never watched the movie, and I saw only maybe bits of the series here and there when it was on the air. I hadn’t started really watching it until recently, and I’m enjoying it so far. It is available on DVD (in individual season releases and a misnamed “Complete Series” set, the latter of which I bought for myself on my birthday). Just be aware of what you’re getting.

I’d like to discuss character ages now. You know how the Archie characters are perpetually teenagers? Well, this means their year of birth is advanced every year, so the characters keep getting “refreshed”, dropping older traits and stories in favor of newer ones. The characters of the long-running radio show were born in the 1920s-1930s. The Filmation characters were born anywhere from the early 1950s to the early 1960s. The characters from the 1990 movie specifically graduated in 1975, so they were probably born around 1957. The New Archies were probably born in the late 1970s, perhaps being a bit older than me. The movie Sabrina was born in 1980 and graduated in 1998. This makes her the television incarnation of an Archie character that’s closest to my age (I was born in 1978 and graduated in 1996). Sabrina could have been my schoolmate (if not my classmate). Later incarnations of the characters get even younger than me, and the age gap keep growing. It’s kinda depressing.

If this blog lasts long enough (Goddess willing), I’d seriously consider upgrading this series to one of the three primary series to review in full (either once I finish “The New Archies” or if “Riverdale” is cancelled). I’m just worried that I won’t be able to account for the cuts and music changes on DVD.

mjh-sexyYou’re welcome. 🙂

Tune in next Wednesday, when things get weird…

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996 movie)

Hahahahaha, silly me, thinking I could review a movie in one week! Sorry. ^.^”

On the plus side, this was way easier to review than the previous movie, and it’ll be a while before I review the next movie.

Writers: Barney Cohen, Kathryn Wallack, Nicholas Factor (teleplay in addition to other two)
Director: Tibor Takács
Original Air Date: Sunday, April 7, 1996
Length: 87:56 (excluding ending credits)

Nearly six years after the TV movie that failed to lead to a series, another Archie property got the TV movie treatment. This time, it was Sabrina, marking her return to television since the Filmation cartoons farted out their last installment in late 1977. Sabrina’s only regular comic book series up to this point was one that ran for 77 issues from April of 1971 to January of 1983 (cover dates). There were also two issues of “Chilling Adventures in Sorcery as Told by Sabrina” from September to October of 1972 (cover dates). Finally, there were three issues of an annual series called “Sabrina’s Halloween Spooktacular” (#1) and “Sabrina’s Holiday Spectacular” (#2-3) from 1993 to 1995. Were these an attempt at reviving interest in the property for television?

Whatever the case, someone took interest, and a television movie was made. It was shot in British Columbia, Canada (Wikipedia says entirely, but IMDb adds Brookline, Massachusetts), produced by various companies (including Hartbreak Films), and aired on Showtime, which means probably almost no one saw it until ABC aired it in 1997 (I don’t have an exact date) after the show got big.

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It was released on VHS (note the false advertising: there’s no prom in this movie).

It was also released on DVD (same cover, seemingly), but it’s long since out of print and insanely expensive.

So I’m using a YouTube upload (which is missing the ending credits) for this review.

Let’s get into it:

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Ominous, “magical” music plays as the opening credits run.

The movie fades in on a panning shot of a typical girl’s bedroom as the credits continue.

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Is that a young Sabrina in the photo?

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Sabrina has a pet fish. Is that really wise with a cat in the house?

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Nepotism in action.

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Salem confirms his earlier warning to Aunts Hilda and Zelda that “it’s started”.

Salem has a British accent here. This isn’t the case anywhere else. Anyway, there seems to be no info on who voiced Salem in this movie.

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It turns out that Sabrina’s floating in her sleep (sleepfloating?). Fun fact: Clark Kent would have to deal with the same problem five years later.

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Hilda and Zelda rush into Sabrina’s bedroom. Zelda says they’ve got to get her down before she hurts herself on the roof beams.

Hilda Sawyer is played by Sherry Miller. She’s had a prolific career, racking up 83 credits from 1971 through the present day. She can currently be as, get this, a character named Betty on “Good Witch”.

Zelda Sawyer is played by Charlene Fernetz. She racked up 24 acting credits from 1991 to 2008 (plus 1 directing credit) but hasn’t been in anything since.

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Hilda reminds Salem that he was supposed to be watching Sabrina.

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The aunts move Sabrina over to her bed.

Apparently, there’s something coming up involving the full moon.

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Oh, and Zelda sneezes, bringing Sabrina’s bed under her before she falls. Ha.

Zelda wants to give Sabrina a hint of her powers, but Hilda says that would mean a “strike” given out by the “council”. Sabrina can’t know about her powers until the full moon after her sixteenth birthday.

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They hurry out of the room as Sabrina gets restless.

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The next morning, a news broadcast informs us that this movie is taking place in Riverdale. That’s certainly not unusual for Sabrina on television, but it is for the comic character, who had since been relocated to neighboring Greendale.

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Sabrina comes by and checks herself in the mirror.

Sabrina Sawyer is played by Melissa Joan Hart, mostly known at the time for playing Clarissa Darling on the Nickelodeon series, “Clarissa Explains It All”. She’s had a prolific career, racking up 62 acting credits (plus 7 directing credits and 10 producing credits, and she can sing too!) from 1985 through the present day. She probably didn’t know it at the time, but this movie would lead to the first of two career resurgences. IMDb says Sarah Michelle Gellar was considered for the role of Sabrina. Imagine the alternate universe where the two of them had each other’s roles.

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When Sabrina asks her aunts if something strange happened last night, Hilda gets Sabrina started on the screwdrivers early.

Through the power of exposition, we learn nothing (including earthquakes) ever happens in Riverdale, Sabrina’s been here for three months, and Sabrina believes…

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…cats are psychic.

Sabrina swears she can hear Salem’s thoughts sometimes. She considers him to be “such a special cat”. She mentions she dreamed she was flying last night. She was “high above the town, just floating”. Better lay off the MJ, Bri.

Zelda tries to mention having the same dream back in the day, but a kick under the table from Hilda causes her to awkwardly finish up and shut up.

Hilda reminds Sabrina that she’ll be late for class.

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As Sabrina puts on her jacket, she voices her suspicion to Salem that there’s something “very odd” about her aunts.

No comment.

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We get our first look at Riverdale High, and it seems to be a trendy school where rap music can be heard blaring from the cars in the student parking lot.

For those of you that are hoping for cameo appearances by the Riverdale gang and the faculty, sorry, they’re noticeably absent. We can pretend some of the background characters are them, though.

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We meet Sabrina’s best friend, Marnie Littlefield, played by Michelle Beaudoin, who was in 20 things from 1993 to 2006 before seemingly quitting acting. She’s the second of only two actors from this movie to make it to the TV series.

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She compliments Sabrina on her “mondo stylin’ boots”. She also calls Sabrina “man”, which is weird.

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As Sabrina locks up her bike, she and Marnie discuss being different and not fitting in.

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After they walk into the school, they pass by a trophy case, continuing to discuss Sabrina’s feelings. The director decided to shoot the scene from behind the trophy case, and you can barely see the girls. Note to all directors: do not shoot a scene like this!

Marnie mentions the school counselor and also the fact that her parents can’t wait until she goes away to college and comes back “human”.

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Harvey checks out Sabrina. Harvey is played by Tobias Mehler, who has racked up 48 credits (plus a handful of other credits) since starting acting in 1994. This movie was only his fourth role.

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Harvey mentions Sabrina seems “different”. Sabrina doesn’t know how to react. Marnie playfully shoves him into his locker.

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Seth, the resident male track star (in the absence of Moose and Reggie, I guess), comes by, making out with Katy Lemore, the resident popular girl (in the absence of Betty, Veronica, and Cheryl, I guess) and female track and field star.

Seth makes fun of “Harvard” (not sure if that’s supposed to be Harvey’s real name, or if Seth is making a dumb joke).

Seth is played by…Ryan Reynolds?! Holy shit! Mr. Green Lantern Deadpool himself! And I didn’t realize until just now that I first saw him starring on “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place”.

Katy Lemore is played by Lalainia Lindbjerg, who has racked up 54 acting credits (plus 1 directing credit) from 1987 to 2013 (including a bunch of anime roles and other voice work). She’s also involved in live theater. She was the voice of Venus De Milo on Saban’s infamous “Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation” series. While not transferring to the live-action Sabrina series, she would reprise her role of Katy Lemore on the alternate-universe series, “Sabrina: The Animated Series”.

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Anyway, it seems Harvey and Seth have a George-Biff relationship – minus the bullying, which makes no sense unless money’s changing hands. Harvey guarantees Seth a B+ on this Ethics 101 paper. Okay, that’s pretty damn funny.

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Katy points out that Harvey’s a sophomore, and Seth says no one’s perfect. Katy says “Whatever.”

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Sabrina and Marnie overhear this exchange and have a laugh over it.

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Sabrina finds a flower in her locker. Marnie guesses she has a secret admirer. It’s obviously Harvey, because the movie cuts to him smiling as he’s watching them. Sabrina shushes her, because she’s the only one that knows today (the 27th) is her birthday (which Marnie forgot). This is a bit of a non-sequitur intended to move the plot along. They go to class, Sabrina taking the flower with her. Why not keep it in her locker until the end of the day? Less chance of something happening to it. For that matter, why isn’t Sabrina worried that someone else has the combination to her locker? Speaking of lockers, Marnie has mold from an old sandwich growing in her own.

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In gym class, Sabrina and Marnie are so distracted by Seth running that they miss the ball during volleyball.

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The coach, Miss Jones, tells them to focus. Coach Jones is played by Jo Bates, who has racked up 41 acting credits (plus some other credits) from 1984 to 2015. As it turns out, I must have seen her in quite a few things, most notably as the voice of the newscaster on “Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century”.

Sabrina apologizes, but then Marnie tries to get Sabrina to check Seth out again, but Sabrina downplays his looks. Seth throws the volleyball back to the girls.

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They go for it, and…

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Ha.

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Seth visits Katy outside her classroom window.

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I’m not sure what the fuck Katy’s trying to tell Seth, but she then casually tells her friends that she’s dumping him (much to their surprise), even though they’re “madly in love”. She just wants to “keep him on his toes”, because a stagnant relationship is “doomed to failure”.

Katy’s friends, Fran and Freddie, are played by Kea Wong and Laura Harris, respectively.

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This was Kea Wong’s first role, and she acted in a total of 20 things until she seemingly quit acting in 2007. She was Jubilee in the second and third X-Men movies.

Laura Harris has racked up 64 acting credits (plus 2 production credits) from 1988 through the present day.

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Seth sees the decorations in Harvey’s locker and finds out about Sabrina’s party (basically inviting himself). Harvey asks about Katy, and Seth informs him that they broke up; he’s a “free man”.
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After school, the girls greet a cute teacher, Mr. Dingle, on their way out.

Mr. Dingle is played by Jim Swansburg, who hasn’t had much of a career, racking up 24 acting credits (plus 1 miscellaneous credit) from 1985 through the present day.

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While biking past a window, Sabrina sees a magical reflection of herself. Mr. Dingle seems to notice it too (it’s unclear), but then Sabrina’s reflection turns back to normal.

Anyway, Sabrina brushes it off and catches up with Marnie.

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On the way home, Sabrina asks Marnie if she believes in magic.

They’re…not going to come across Seth and Harvey rapping and dancing in the street, are they?

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Anyway, Marnie doesn’t believe in magic – and is a bit of a bitch in teasing Sabrina about it.

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Sabrina finds a note saying dinner’s in the fridge, and the aunts will be back at 8:00 PM. She gets all mopey (in a performance that rival’s Molly Ringwald’s) about them forgetting her birthday. Also, dinner apparently consists of two tomatoes and a carrot. Marnie suggests pizza, and Sabrina sadly agrees.

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In a twist that no one sees coming (particularly because no characters at all spoiled it, nosireebob), Sabrina’s thrown a surprise birthday party.

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Sabrina and her aunts are very kissy with each other, aren’t they?

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So Sabrina’s happy with her party.

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She’s surprised to learn Harvey was behind it instead of her bestie (maybe I worded that wrong).

Harvey figured it would be a nice way for Sabrina to make some new friends. Sabrina finds it really sweet.

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Seth arrives. Sabrina admits he’s “sorta cute”.

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Marnie orgasms over the “man”, much to Sabrina’s amusement.

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Marnie congratulates the “genius” on a “great party” and tries to get Harvey to notice Sabrina as more than a kid (he has). Wait, Marnie was just trying to get Sabrina interested in Seth. Is she trying to set up a gangbang or something?

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Sabrina sneaks some glances at Seth and finally goes over to meet him. He wishes her a happy birthday and introduces himself. She’s kind of know-it-all about it. He asks how she likes Riverdale so far. She says things are “definitely looking up”. He says “You noticed.” Are they talking about his dick?

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Harvey is spying on them.

I guess I should mention now that I can’t find any info about any of the music in this movie. I don’t know the names of any of the songs or artists. But at least the party scene has a song playing. That’s more than I can say for what happens later on.

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Zelda thinks Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a great game for teens.

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They beg to differ.

Harvey helps Zelda out, saying maybe it’ll be fun. Seth agrees, and sunglasses dude reluctantly endorses it.

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Fran spies and then calls Katy to let her know Seth is at Sabrina’s party, playing the game. Do any high school kids actually spy and report on each other to their fellow students?

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Katy decides to head over there. As she starts her engine, some generic rap music comes on. So Katy’s into rap? I would’ve thought she’d be into generic bubblegum pop. She declares (by way of poor ADR) anyone that tries to steal Seth from her (despite her dumping him) is gonna fucking die. I think she’s warning her two friends.

The footage of her driving is then “hilariously” sped up. Was the actor driving too slow?

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Katy comes by and wrecks Sabrina’s game.

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Katy’s friends find this amusing.

By the way, if you’re wondering who the one on the left (who Katy had also gone shopping with and brought to the party) is, I haven’t a clue. She’s uncredited at IMDb.

Seth introduces Sabrina and Katy to each other, and the girls exchange sarcastic pleasantries. Harvey says it’s Sabrina’s birthday. Katy sarcastically acts surprised at the revelation.

The CD player skips, so Marnie goes to fix it.

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Seth puts a party hat on Katie’s head and dickishly acts like she doesn’t know where it goes. Katy sarcastically calls him “sweetheart”.

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Harvey comes by with the birthday cake.

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As some people sing “For She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” (in order to not piss off Warner Bros.; don’t worry, that bullshit’s over, and WB lost), Katy watches ominously, and she and Sabrina stare at each other for a bit.

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Then Sabrina blows out the candles. It takes her a few tries, because she sucks ass.

The audio lowers, and “mysterious” music plays, so we know Something’s Going On.

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Katy starts itching all over.

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She accidentally lights her hat on fire.

The aunts – and eventually Sabrina – notice. Harvey comes to Katy’s rescue:

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People start laughing at her, and Katy gets pissed at Harvey. Harvey apologizes and explains the situation (Katy was somehow unaware she was on fire).

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Katy sees Seth watching and is nice to Harvey, thanking him. Seth asks her if she’s okay, and she says no thanks to him. She’s about to leave and asks if he’s coming. He says he thought he was a free man. Katy says “Suit yourself” and leaves with her friends (the three from earlier plus a black girl). This movie’s inconsistent with Katy’s friends.

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That evening, Sabrina says the party was great. Zelda discusses the incident with Sabrina’s “friend”, Katy, making fun of her a bit. The incident seemed strange to Sabrina, and she tries to tell her aunts of what she was thinking at the time, but Hilda interrupts, saying Sabrina’s parents called from Sri Lanka today. Sabrina is upset at missing them and asks if they got a number. Zelda says it was a terrible connection. That seems to be a running joke in this franchise. Oh, and Sabrina’s parents are “on the move” and stopping in Venice next. Her parents are apparently on a “sabbatical”. Her aunts try to cheer her up. Sabrina is grateful to have them.

They mention a “special time” and “special present”, and Sabrina demands to have it. It hasn’t arrived yet; her parents mailed it, and the mail is “always so slow”; they assure Sabrina that it’ll get here.

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That night, during the full moon, Sabrina plays with Salem, using a decoration from her party. Cute. 🙂

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Sabrina hears a creaking sound and goes to investigate.

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She sees Zelda hiding a package in the hallway.

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Once Zelda’s gone, Sabrina goes to pick it up.

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It turns out to be a book. A Book of Shadows, perhaps?

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When she opens it, something white comes out.

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The book’s blank.

Sabrina hears a noise, hides the wrapping and book (but not putting the book back in the wrapping), goes back into her bedroom, and does some more spying. She then immediately goes back out into the hallway. The book’s gone.

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Sabrina tells Salem that she’s losing it and goes back into her bedroom.

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The next day, during lunch, Sabrina and Marnie are sitting together, and Harvey comes by.

After a cell phone rings, some guy says “Betty, hey.” So Betty’s not in school or stepped out for some reason? I guess that explains her absence anyway.

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Sabrina observes Katy and her various friends (I count six now) and makes fun of them.

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Sabrina thanks Harvey for the “flowers” in her locker, calls him “a real pal”, and playfully punches him on the arm. His look says it all.

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Sabrina and Marnie watch as Seth meets up with his “boys”. Harvey tells Sabrina that Seth’s a senior.

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“What the fuck ever.”

Harvey repeats himself, louder.

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“What the fuck, asshole?!”

Harvey says Seth doesn’t even see sophomores. Sabrina wishes she could change that. A magical sound effect lets us know Something’s Happened.

Sabrina mentions Seth came to her party. Harvey says he came for the free food, but Sabrina doesn’t buy it.

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Seth and one of his friends notice Sabrina on their way out.

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Marnie’s excited Seth called them “dudes”. Sabrina’s equally excited. Harvey isn’t.

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Sabrina and Marnie go to the track and field tryouts. This is Marnie’s plan to check out the boys on the track team and “target” a date for the spring fling. Sabrina admits Marnie’s a genius.

One thing that I’ve noticed about Marnie is she always agrees with Sabrina’s compliments of her and even compliments herself. It’s her thing, I guess.

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Coach Jones is impatient and wants the girls to hurry up, because she wants “everyone” to try out for this event. If they hadn’t shown up, would she still have demanded they try out?

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Marnie is upset that Katy is already on the event that she “owns”, and nobody ever wants to try out against her. Sabrina jokes Katy thinks she owns everything.

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Katy comes by to gloat to the “kids” about her good javelin throw.

Coach Jones encourages Sabrina. She talks to all of the girls and decides to demonstrate.

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Sabrina throws her javelin…

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…an insane distance.

Sabrina’s delighted, but it turns out that no one saw it. Somehow.

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Coach Jones then gets on Sabrina’s case to try it instead of just standing around.

This time, Sabrina makes a good (though not supernatural) throw, which excites Marnie.

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Katy calls it “beginner’s luck”.

Coach Jones calls her a “natural” and offers her a spot on the team. Sabrina accepts. Training starts tomorrow after school.

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Sabrina is sorry that Marnie didn’t get on the team (even though no one said she hasn’t; seriously, these tryouts are the shortest and most unorganized ever). It’s okay with Marnie, because she didn’t expect to.

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Katy invites the entire track and field team to her house “this weekend” (which day?), presumably for a party. If everybody’s not there, she’ll take it as a “personal insult”.

Sabrina asks what’s going on, and Marnie dismissively explains it’s Katy’s annual pool party for the track team.

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Katy personally invites Sabrina.

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Sabrina accepts.

Seth then asks “Well?” to Katy, and Katy shrugs. Did I miss something?

Marnie’s excited, because this and the spring fling are the social events of the year, so they have to go shopping.

Time for a fashion montage – regardless of whether the fashions have anything to do with a pool party or not!

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Well, it looks like the girls had a fun time, but, seriously, how long did it take to shoot this?

Also, I don’t know the name of the song (or the artist) that plays during this montage, but it’s some guy singing about a “passion lover”.

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So, after all of that, Sabrina wants to buy a goddamn $75 swimsuit, but then it somehow ends up being only $15. The sales clerk is weirded out and guesses it must be on sale.

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It’s cool with Sabrina. Marnie guesses it must be her lucky day.

The sales clerk is played by Janine Cox, who hasn’t had much of a career, racking up only 11 credits from 1991 to 2007. She seemingly quit acting after that. This movie was only her second role – five years after her first role.

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Sabrina and Marnie are very affectionate with each other. Might they be each other’s “passion lover”?

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The aunts drop Sabrina and Marnie off at the party.

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Zelda offers for herself and Hilda to wait for the girls. Sabrina declines. Zelda tells her to call them to pick them up. Sabrina says they’ll “manage a ride home”. Considering the aunts are publicly dropping them off, I don’t know what Sabrina’s big aversion is.

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Hilda looks awesome here.

After the girls get out of the car, Zelda suggests spying on Sabrina.

Hilda lets Salem out of the car.

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So this pool party consists of typical stupid teen activities like jumping off the roof.

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Sabrina and Marnie casually insult everyone at the party during some “witty” banter.

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Yeah, Katy would have this kind of idea. The girls approve.

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Fran lets Katy know of their arrival.

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Katy goes over and welcomes the girls (she gets Marnie’s name wrong). She says they’re having a “big diving contest” and asks Sabrina if she dives. Marnie says Sabrina was a gold medalist at her last school, but Sabrina says it was silver. I have no idea if they’re being truthful or bullshitting. Regardless, Katy points out the cabana.

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Salem is on the case!

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Harvey sneaks in and spies.

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Okaaay…

By the way, the music is really weird in this scene, like it goes in and out and is never quite as loud as it should be. I don’t know if this was done on the DVD (if they didn’t have the right to use the music on that medium) or on the uploaded video to avoid getting flagged on YouTube.

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Katy greets Harvey. So…he sneaked in and spied, and then he went out in the open (making himself wet, presumably as “proof” that he belongs here), and Katy’s just fine with this?

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Oh, I should have given her a moment. She calls Harvey out on it.

Harvey bullshits a bit and tries to flatter her. She cuts through the bullshit and says he can stay. She teases him about the upcoming festivities.

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Salem speaks to a passing dog and scares it off.

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Salem chases after it.

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Katy sprays wax on the diving board to sabotage Sabrina’s dive.

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“Hiii!”

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“Hiii!”

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Sabrina and Marnie come out of the cabana, oblivious.

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Fran compliments Sabrina on her swimsuit.

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She also repeats the rumor that Sabrina is a “fantastic diver”. Sabrina tries to backpedal, but Fran says “everybody’s waiting” to see Sabrina dive.

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Katy comes by and says the diving contest is starting, and Sabrina is up first. Katy says Seth will be watching and then…seemingly takes Sabrina by the hand and walks her over to the diving board (it’s not clear).

There’s a bit of non-interaction between Salem and the poodle. That was necessary.

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Katy anticipates Sabrina’s embarrassment and transfer back to her old school (huh?), seemingly not realizing she could severely injure or kill Sabrina.

Fran calls Katy jealous, but Katy disputes that.

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Katy then makes sure that everyone’s focused on Sabrina.

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She then explains that to her, because Sabrina’s a dumbass.

Katy then starts up a “Sabrina!” chant. No pressure or anything.

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She then puts an abrupt stop to it with a single hand gesture. Such is the power of Katy Lemore.

Katy tells Sabrina to hurry the fuck up and dive.

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Sabrina falls flat on her ass.

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But then she gets back up and…

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…shows off, impressing Harvey.

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Anyway, Sabrina makes a perfect dive (I can’t tell if it’s actually Melissa Joan Hart or not), earning cheers and applause.

Katy declares “No more Mr. Nice Guy.”

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More antics between Salem and the poodle.

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In the cabana, Marnie advises Sabrina against going “up against” Katy. She says that as if it’s Sabrina’s intention.

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Katy borrows the D.J.’s microphone.

The D.J. is played by Volton. This was his sole “acting” gig.

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Katy takes the microphone over to the cabana and turns the intercom on, allowing the party guests to hear Sabrina and Marnie’s private conversation. This is bullshit, because it relies on 1) Sabrina or Marnie turning on the intercom inside the cabana, 2) the D.J. not muting the microphone while playing music, and 3) Sabrina saying something embarrassing or otherwise damaging.

Regardless, everyone hears Sabrina and Marnie talking about Seth’s ass.

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Katy makes fun of Sabrina once she comes out.

Sabrina runs away in embarrassment, and Harvey is, I dunno, conflicted?

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Sabrina comes home and tells her aunts that she can’t ever go back to school and wants to go back to Massachusetts. Where in Massachusetts are they from? The movie doesn’t say, but I like to think Salem.

Zelda asks her what’s wrong, but Sabrina just goes straight up to her room, not in the fucking mood to talk.

By the way, what the fuck are the aunts listening to? It sounds like some Old World polka music.

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“I can’t even.”

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Hilda casts some kind of spell for Sabrina to dry her tears. POWERFUL SHIT, YO!

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Somehow, this causes Sabrina’s cabinet to open.

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Sabrina finds this deliciously evil…for some reason.

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Oh, never mind. That was before she noticed the mysterious glow. So what was she smiling about? If it was from Hilda’s spell, shouldn’t she have simply stopped crying?

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Anyway, Sabrina walks over to her cabinet.

She steps inside.

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It’s a passage to another realm. Of course.

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It also provides Sabrina with a “magical” outfit.

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This magical land contains…Sabrina’s bed…and her birthday present.

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Now, the book’s writing is visible.

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The aunts are here and reveal the truth to Sabrina: she’s a witch. Sabrina just dismisses it like it’s some amusing joke, despite walking through a magic cabinet into some mysterious forest! Seriously, this is the most unexpected reaction ever.

I really love the overall look of this scene.

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Suddenly, Sabrina’s javelin arrives…for some reason.

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This, of all things, is what weirds Sabrina out.

Sabrina thinks it’s a dream, but it’s actually “a special place” that “exists only for witches” – the “world of magic”. Every new witch must come here to receive “the ancient book”. So…every new witch receives the same ancient book or what?

Sabrina accuses them of “doing this to” her, but Zelda insists it’s who she is and how she was born. Sabrina changes her tune once Zelda mentions magic.

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Salem comes by and confirms it.

Sabrina still insists it’s a dream. Fade to white, and…

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…it does appear to have been a dream.

Sabrina looks at the cabinet for a moment, dismisses the incident, and gets up.

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Sabrina comes downstairs for breakfast, having not bothered to change out of her gown, which she hadn’t changed into on her own. The aunts seem normal.

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But then Salem reveals it wasn’t a dream. So what the fuck happened? Why did the aunts send Sabrina back to her bedroom? Why act normal at breakfast? Sabrina was gonna learn the truth anyway.

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Sabrina then…coughs…or something, shocked that Salem really can talk. She believes she’s hallucinating. The aunts say she isn’t. Sabrina asks about her parents, and Zelda reveals they’re witches too (so Sabrina’s a full witch in this movie as opposed to a half-witch as in the comics). They went on sabbatical, because every witch must be delivered to trainers when they reach their sixteenth birthday. So…why couldn’t Sabrina’s parents train her?

Sabrina is still surprised by the whole magic thing, despite the fact that that’s what witches do.

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Hilda proves it by casting a spell to turn Salem into rats (which talk in unison). Sabrina finds it “cool”.

Zelda claims Hilda hating “All My Children” is the reason that Susan Lucci lost the Daytime Emmy fifteen years in a row. Ha. The joke isn’t quite accurate, though. Even though she had suffered her fifteenth loss by the time that this movie aired, it wasn’t the fifteenth straight loss. Susan Lucci was first nominated in 1978 but wasn’t nominated in 1979, 1980, or 1994.

Hilda turns Salem back to normal (meaning his cat self).

Hilda tells Sabrina that every witch must learn to harness her powers, but the decision of how to use them is hers alone. Sabrina asks about Salem. Zelda explains Salem is their familiar: an animal that helps to do their bidding.

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Hilda has the book brought over and presents it to Sabrina as “some extra homework”.

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The phone rings. Hilda, without answering, tells Sabrina that her friends are calling. Sabrina can’t face them, citing the party “last night”. It was daytime, though Sabrina certainly took her sweet time getting home, probably stopping off somewhere to get drunk.

Sabrina doesn’t want to talk about the embarrassing incident, so Hilda casts a spell, the result being it “never happened”. They can just do that?

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Hilda answers the phone and gives it to Sabrina. Marnie informs Sabrina that she got food poisoning at the party and missed the diving competition (which I guess was a legit thing and not just a scheme by Katy to embarrass Sabrina). She was there only ten minutes. Sabrina is overjoyed and tells Marnie that she’ll see her soon.

After she hangs up, Sabrina starts to accept the reality of her situation.

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Time for more fashions!

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There’s a weird moment here where Sabrina puts her hand to her nose and pulls it again. A cartoon “spring” sound effect is added, and Sabrina opens her mouth. Point?

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Sabrina makes her heels rise, and they go up too high. Ha.

Wait, so Katy’s party took place on Sunday?

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At school, Sabrina arrives in science class, taught by Mr. Dingle, and takes a test. Marnie isn’t confident.

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Marnie lets out distressed moans during the test, and Mr. Dingle’s like “What the fuck?”

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Sabrina casts a spell to make all of Marnie’s answers right. Mr. Dingle’s all “What the fuck?” again.

Time’s up. When Marnie takes too long to pass over her paper, Mr. Dingle decides to look at it now.

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Why does Sabrina’s spell take so long to work?

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Check out that cool, calm, and collected demeanor. Shouldn’t she be concerned that a regular person is seeing her magic in use? Oh, well, at least she’s consistent.

Anyway, Mr. Dingle says Marnie’s done very well, which surprises Marnie. Also, Mr. Dingle seems out of it, but I can’t tell if he forgot what he saw or simply doesn’t know how to process it. He goes to lie down.

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Later, in the library, Sabrina looks at Seth.

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She composes a love spell in her notebook and then casts it on Seth.

A sound effect lets us know the spell failed, but Sabrina has to wait for confirmation.

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Marnie comes by and asks what happened, and Sabrina says it didn’t work (which is stupid) and then dismisses it. Marnie brings up the shot putter, the guy that she danced with, and says he asked her to the spring fling. Her plan worked; she got a date. Did I miss something? Was a scene or two cut? Sabrina is happy for Marnie, who wants to find someone for her. Sabrina says it’s not gonna be so easy.

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At home, Sabrina is dejected. She explains the situation. The aunts explain there are no love spells or love potions anymore, due to “bad” witches casting them in the old days, and it always ended in heartache. The “Great Witches Council” convened, and it was decided to abdicate that power. In Hilda’s words, “We got in a circle; we held hands; we promised.” They promised?! Holy shit, that seals the deal!

Zelda says love is too precious for anyone to tamper with, but Sabrina is upset at them, basically thinking they did the stupidest thing ever. They argue about it for a bit, and then Sabrina leaves, upset. The aunts discuss it a bit. Apparently, Hilda never appreciated her magic until she was 200.

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In biology class, Mr. Dingle gives a graphic lecture about a witch being burned alive and pointedly asks Sabrina if she has any comments.

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“Fuck no.”

He uses the last few seconds of class to tell a humorous story.

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In the girls’ locker room, Veronica, Midge, and Cheryl walk past Sabrina.

Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

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Katy tells Sabrina about the “great surprise” that she’d missed out on. Sabrina doubts it.

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After some unpleasant small talk, Sabrina leaves Katy to discuss the spring fling with…her friend. Who the fuck is that? Anyway, Katy is confident that Seth will ask her after she wins the all-city.

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Sabrina overhears and casts a spell to give Katy a huge zit.

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Katy freaks out, and Sabrina laughs in satisfaction.

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At home, the aunts train Sabrina to fly. Cue falling montage. Let’s just skip to the end:

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The aunts decide to call it a day.

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Sabrina decides to stay and practice, though, and she manages to jump high…and then crash on top of Salem’s tail. Ha.

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That night, Sabrina studies her book, and she and Salem discuss the killing of witches. I find it amusing (if also grossly inaccurate and disrespectful) that Salem insists only the bad witches were killed, and Sabrina, being a good witch, has nothing to worry about. Bullshit. Plenty of people (mostly women) were killed during the witch trials, often on the basis of flimsy evidence and coerced confessions. The exact number will never be known for certain, but it was a bad time to be a pagan.

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Sabrina has a plan to get Seth to ask her to the spring fling (she found a “loophole”), but she’s keeping it under wraps for now.

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Salem’s curiosity is piqued.

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The next day (I guess), Seth runs.

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In the girls’ locker room, Coach Jones tells Sabrina to “get the lead out”.

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She also gives Sabrina a “friendly” touch. Were faculty members allowed to touch students, even back in 1996?

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This gives Sabrina the idea to turn her plain old adidas sneakers into new, magical adidas sneakers!

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Poor shooting or editing has Sabrina putting on only one sneaker, yet she’s wearing both.

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Sabrina shows off her tap-dancing “skills” for a bit before heading out.

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Sabrina goes outside and prepares to run the 200.

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Katy trash-talks Sabrina a bit.

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Sabrina ignores her.

I just want to point out that this is the first scene in which Katy is shown to be a track star and the first scene in which Sabrina competes in track, and she decided to use magic to compete only today. So what was her original plan for getting Seth to ask her to the spring fling?

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Harvey cheers Sabrina weirdly.

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“What the fuck?”

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Marnie cheers for her “sistah”.

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She also keeps track of her sistah’s time.

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Seth takes notice.

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Fran gets on Katy’s case.

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A poor fast-forward effect lets us know the sneakers’ magic is kicking in, and Sabrina’s running really fast, but so are everyone else in the shot.

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This is followed by a sped-up shot of Sabrina running and a sped up shot of her magic sneakers.

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Then we see Sabrina running at normal speed ahead of the others and winning the race in record time. Just go with it.

I want to point out that, if the magic just kicked in, Sabrina can go toe to toe with Katy in track and might not even need magic to win.

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Regardless, Katy doesn’t take it well.

Almost everyone else seemingly loves it, not questioning how Sabrina could run that fast.

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Sabrina shows off in front of her adoring fans – and Katy. I still can’t tell if this is Melissa Joan Hart doing this or not, but two stunt doubles for her are credited.

Coach Jones tells “Morina” that she can stop now. How could such a mistake be made?

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Sabrina gets compliments from Seth and Harvey. She thanks both of them, though the latter slightly more dismissively than the former.

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Marnie cautions Harvey about Sabrina running over him.

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Katy makes excuses regarding the outcome, trying to downplay Sabrina and play herself up. Seth sees right through her bullshit.

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In the girls’ locker room, Katy comes across Sabrina’s sneakers hopping in her bag. Sabrina zips up her bag. Katy leaves.

During lunch, Sabrina and Katy decide to eat in the outdoor dining area. I wish my high school had one of those.

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Freddie calls Marnie “Tonto“.

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Freddie invites Sabrina to sit with her and her friends.

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Sabrina is unsure and looks to Marnie, who’s unhelpful.

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Freddie assures Sabrina that Katy went home to “lick her wounds”. Sabrina accepts and invites Marnie along. Freddie reluctantly accepts Marnie but is clearly not interested in having her around. Marnie suddenly “remembers” she forgot something at her locker and goes to get it. Freddie wants Sabrina to come on, and Marnie pushes Sabrina away.

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The other girls at the “cool table” greet Sabrina, and she greets them. Freddie tells Sabrina about how Katy’s fucking pissed, thinking Sabrina “cheated somehow”.

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Fran asks Sabrina what she thinks of Freddie’s “new nose”.

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Sabrina compliments Freddie.

Fran calls it a “masterpiece”, or it will be when the swelling goes down.

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Freddie calls the doctor a “genius” and says he’s gonna do her lips next. She asks Sabrina for her opinion. Sabrina thinks they’re fine now, and Freddie thinks she’s kidding.

Fran asks “How can you be all that you can be if you’re not willing to look like someone else?” She asks Sabrina who does her hair. Sabrina reveals she does. Fran assures her that they’ll get her out of her “cocoon” in no time.

DEEP, THOUGHT-PROVOKING DISCUSSION, PEOPLE.

Freddie asks Sabrina if she’s gonna beat Katy at the all-city race. Sabrina vows to try. Freddie tells Sabrina to “cut the modesty shtick”, because they’re her friends now.

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At home, Salem is enjoying his dinner.

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The aunts made chili. I hope they didn’t give any to Salem.

Sabrina declines the chili. Zelda decides to add some eye of newt to her bowl.

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That’d be my reaction too. It turns out that Zelda was just dicking with her, though, and Sabrina claims to have known.

Hilda asks Sabrina about her day. Sabrina tells them what she did. They freak out and get on Salem’s case for not telling Sabrina something. Hilda claims Salem wants Sabrina all to himself. As Hilda looks through the book, there’s an unneeded “magical” sound effect. Anyway, bottom line: if Sabrina uses magic in any way to win Seth’s love, and true love isn’t in his heart, his kiss will turn Sabrina into a witch’s familiar for nine years. Wow, convoluted much? If this was so damn important, why didn’t the aunts tells Sabrina right after she’d revealed she’d tried casting a love spell?

Sabrina tries to reassure herself that Seth will love her with a pure heart.

The aunts explain Salem’s backstory: he was once a misguided “warlock” (not a real thing; a male witch is called a witch; an evil witch is called a witch) that got horny and paid for it. This is different than his usual backstory, where he was turned into a cat as punishment for world domination attempts. Anyway, Salem’s okay with it.

After a bit more discussion, Sabrina takes the book and leaves.

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The next day (I guess), Sabrina waits outside Marnie’s house. Marnie’s initially mean to her (despite being the one to push Sabrina into Freddie’s loving arms). Marnie asks about Sabrina’s “power lunch” with “Katy’s gang”. Sabrina says it was “no biggie”.

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Marnie’s butthurt over missing out on it, because it was a “biggie” to her. She mentions the “looks” that they gave her, but she was invited to sit with them, so she should take part of the blame. Sabrina claims she didn’t see the looks and says she didn’t feel that comfortable there. Marnie doesn’t give a shit. Sabrina apologizes. Marnie doesn’t make it easy on her “sister”. Sabrina gives Seth as the reason for her strange behavior.

Sabrina asks Marnie how she feels about Jeff (the shot putter mentioned earlier, I guess). Again, was an entire subplot cut?

Anyway, Marnie’s going with Jeff simply because he asked her. Sabrina tells Marnie that she shouldn’t sell herself short, but Marnie says she’s “just being realistic”, because it’s a dance, not a marriage. Sabrina accepts that. Marnie pities the “poor kid” for having it bad for Seth. Sabrina, without the slightest sense of irony, repeats Katy’s claim about getting Seth to ask her by winning all-city. Marnie eggs her on. Sabrina gets Marnie to help her with a plan.

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Sabrina’s gonna win Seth on her own – with Marnie’s help.

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This is the only “stunt” by Melissa Joan Hart that I can verify.

Time for an unusually dramatic training montage!

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By the way, the male trainer in this montage is uncredited, but Bob Waterman gets a “special thank you” as the personal trainer for Melissa Joan Hart. This might be him. Hell, they might have simply recorded their workout sessions and edited them into the movie.

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Some time later, Seth comes by to chat with “Harvard”. He’s wondering if Harvey has an extra set of questions for next period’s economics test, but Harvey doesn’t. Harvey asks about him and Katy. Seth hasn’t made up his mind regarding her. He’s probably gonna ask whoever wins all-city, but then he suggests Harvey ask Katy out. Harvey finds that ridiculous. Seth gets Harvey to admit he likes her, but Harvey then fumbles for words until saying she’s not his type. Seth believes Harvey has “a babe lined up” for the spring fling. Harvey’s “still working on it”.

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It’s the day of all-city.

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Riverdale High’s cheerleaders do a cheer.

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The very affectionate, hand-holding aunts show up to cheer on their orgy partner niece.

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Coach Jones gives a pep talk.

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Zelda asks Hilda for confirmation that that’s Harvey in front of them. Hilda puts her sunglasses back on and confirms it. Hilda adds he’s “awfully cute”, and Zelda readily agrees. What kind of family does Sabrina have?

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Zelda believes Harvey is troubled and talks Hilda into allowing her to peak into Harvey’s mind. It turns out that Harvey wants Sabrina to lose. Hilda asks why.

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Zelda lets Hilda listen in, WHICH INVOLVES TOUCHING HANDS, OF COURSE.

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Zelda then feels…pain…or maybe disgust? It’s unclear, and it goes unexplained. Hilda breaks contact, and Zelda thanks her. Was Hilda thinking about fucking Harvey?

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Sabrina turns her sneakers back to normal, wanting to run the race on her own. Okay, but she’d already decided that. Why’d she wait until just before the race to turn her sneakers back to normal? Was she still considering cheating up until the last moment?

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Even Salem has shown up to watch Sabrina’s performance, probably mostly to see if she’ll use magic or not. Remember, he wants her to become a cat, so they can fuck. He better hope Sabrina likes pussy.

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It’s nice that they remembered Central is Riverdale’s main rival.

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The race begins. As the girls take off in slo-mo, the crowd noises play at normal speed. Nice editing job.

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Katy wins the first race. Harvey’s happy about that.

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The aunts are sad for Sabrina. Salem joins them and reports Sabrina’s not using magic. This cheers the aunts up. Salem leaves.

Next is a jumping event.

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Central does well.

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Katy doesn’t do well, disappointing the cheerleaders.

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Sabrina wins, and Hilda gets excited.

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For what it’s worth, Western came in third.

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The announcer announces it during Katy’s javelin throw, which is weird.

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Katy does well.

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Sabrina wins the event for Riverdale High, upsetting Katy.

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The winner of the all-city meet comes down to one event, because drama.

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Harvey can’t watch.

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Katy knocks Sabrina off the track, which is the single bitchiest thing that she’s done. I honestly didn’t expect this of her. Then again, she does (rightly) suspect Sabrina cheated last time. Still, isn’t this a disqualifying move? The audience clearly sees it, audibly gasps, and yells at Sabrina to get up. Katy should be out.

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Zelda tries to magic Sabrina up, but Hilda prevents her, saying she’s gotta do this on her own.

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Instead, Sabrina falls back on the magic sneakers.

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Hilda disapproves.

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Bahahahahaha!

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Sabrina wins.

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Katy doesn’t.

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As the characters move in slo-mo, the crowd cheers and applauds at normal speed, and Seth, via obvious ADR, asks Sabrina to the spring fling.

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The next day (I guess), at school, Sabrina eats lunch with…some people but then goes to eat lunch with Harvey.

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Harvey tries to tell Sabrina how he feels about her but then chickens out and tells her to have a nice time with Seth. He gets her to promise to save a dance for him. Harvey leaves, and Sabrina’s a dumbass.

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That night (I guess), Sabrina shows off her dress to Salem.

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Salem approves.

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Sabrina asks Salem if he thinks Seth will like it, and Salem has a funny response.

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Seth arrives and honks. Sabrina goes downstairs and goes outside. Seth’s waiting in his car.

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Sabrina lovingly kisses her aunts and leaves.

Hilda and Zelda get on Seth’s case about not coming out to meet them. Hilda offers them to drive Sabrina, but she declines.

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Seth’s waiting by his car, which is pumping out tha phat beats, yo! Seriously, what’s with the characters in this movie listening to rap? Was that big in 1996?

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Seth gets Sabrina to agree to give some guys a lift, which is the first dickish thing that he’s done. The idiots argue over which sport is tougher: hockey or football.

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As the aunts watch them drive off, Hilda contemplates turning Seth into a mouse (she’s consistent), but Zelda shoots it down. Hilda still wants to help Sabrina, but Zelda reminds her that there’s a rule against intervention. Well, that’s convenient.

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Hilda casts a spell to lift the back of Seth’s car up, so they can’t leave, but Zelda tells her to knock it the fuck off.

They sit down to play “another game of Fish” while waiting for Sabrina to come home.

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At the spring fling, Harvey’s in charge of the food, and Marnie wants an entire tray of it for herself and Jeff. She compliments Harvey on the decorations.

Jeff is played by Noel Geer, who acted in only four things from 1990 to 1996 (this being his last role).

While we’re on the subject of actors:

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Biski Gugushe and Tyler Labine play Larry and Mark, respectively. I assume they’re Seth’s buddies. Larry’s the black one. Biski Gugushe racked up 60 credits from 1992 to 2013. Tyler Labine has racked up 91 acting credits from 1991 through the present day also also produced a movie and a series and composed two pieces of music.

IMDb credits Cory Chetyrbok in the uncredited role of science class student / boy at dance. He’s had a very sporadic career, racking up only 11 acting credits and 1 stand-in credit from 1995 through the present day.

IMDb credits Kevin Corey in the uncredited role of wedding guest. Where in this movie is there a wedding? This seems like bullshit to me, especially since this movie is supposedly the only thing from the 1990s that he’s been in and one of only two things from before this decade.

Before we move on with the story, I need to point out that this is the second scene that feels really weird, because the music is lowered but not removed entirely. It’s a low, muffled sound. Also, it doesn’t happen immediately – but very soon after the scene starts. The music just drops down. Seriously, it’s fucking weird, and I’m kinda creeped out by the students dancing to nothing. Anyone know which songs were played at the dance?

Harvey asks Marnie if Sabrina is here yet. She hasn’t seen her. Sabrina and Seth then arrive, but the blocking in the shots is so awkward that I can get a good screencap.

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Not everyone’s happy to see Sabrina and Seth.

Seth abandons Sabrina to go off to his adoring fans.

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Wait, there’s another D.J. here. Is this Volton? Fucking hell, movie.

Anyway, that’s totally hilarious, considering the lack of music.

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Sabrina feels awkward and alone, so she goes over to Seth, who’s discussing hitting “the Lookout” after the fling with his buddies. Sabrina drops a hint: she’s really thirsty. Seth misinterprets this, saying he is too and asking Sabrina to get him a root beer.

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For whatever fucking reason, Sabrina does it. She goes over to Harvey and gets four colas and a root beer for “Prince Charming”.

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Freddie whispers something to Katy. Katy walks off.

Harvey asks Sabrina about Seth. Sabrina tries making excuses. She then points out Marnie and Jeff:

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In the hallway (during which you can faintly hear lyrics from the song playing in the gym), Katy forces open Sabrina’s locker with a crowbar, which she has…for some reason.

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She finds Sabrina’s witchy book, which Sabrina BROUGHT TO SCHOOL FOR SOME FUCKING REASON.

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Katy goes off and flips through the book and, rather than concluding it’s some joke book, takes it as proof that Sabrina’s an actual witch with powers.

I’m starting to think this is contrived.

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Back in the gym (during which the music is playing normally), Harvey reminds Sabrina of her promise of one dance with him, but Freddie interrupts, telling Sabrina that Katy needs to talk to her – alone; it’s “very important”. It’s okay with Harvey.

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In the hallway, Sabrina compliments Katy on her outfit and asks what the fuck she wants.

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Katy reveals she’s on to Sabrina – but mistakes witchcraft for Voodoo. She threatens to expose Sabrina.

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Sabrina smartly says that’s bullshit and then impersonates the Wicked Witch of the West from “The Wizard of Oz”.

Katy takes this as PROOF POSITIVE that Sabrina’s a witch, because she’s a fucking dumbass. She goes off to “tell everyone”.

For some reason, instead of just letting Katy sound like an idiot in front of the whole school, Sabrina yells out that Katy can’t tell anyone, basically admitting the truth. What the fucking hell, Bri?!

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Sabrina then casts a spell for Katy to “change back into [her] poodle pest”. Whaaaaaat? Katy is her poodle? Katy was a poodle before? I’m so confused.

Poodle!Katy runs off, and Sabrina just puts her book back into her locker like it’s no big deal.

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Sabrina goes back into the gym. Seth talks her into coming to Lookout Point with him and a bunch of other people, hinting at some hot fucking as extra incentive. Sabrina brings up her promised dance with Harvey. Seth promises they’ll “be back in lots of time”. For some fucking reason, Sabrina goes with him.

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I think Marnie’s had enough pot for tonight.

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Freddie and Fran seem pleased…for some reason. I don’t get it. Was it Freddie’s idea for Katy to break into Sabrina’s locker, perhaps to find some steroids (which would, of course, be kept in her locker after school hours) or something that could prove Katy’s cheating claim? Are they happy, because they think Sabrina’s getting her ass kicked by Katy at this very moment? I’m not sure what to make of this.

And, really, neither of them have any reason to be mad at Sabrina. They befriended her when she beat Katy during practice. Why hate her now that she’s won all-city and is the most popular kid in school? Hell, Freddie basically told Sabrina to declare in no uncertain terms that she’s gonna beat Katy.

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Harvey asks about Sabrina’s whereabouts and then checks outside. He hears barking.

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Harvey then asks Mark (though neither Mark nor Larry are named in the movie), who informs him in the most boom-chicka-wah-wah way possible.

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Harvey borrows a bike and heads to Lookout Point.

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Sabrina comments on the “beautiful” view.

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She doesn’t wanna get closer to Seth. She also gets upset at him that they’re the only ones here.

Oh, there’s a song playing on the radio. Is there any reason that some music in this movie is lowered, and other music isn’t?

Seth wants a night of hot fucking, but Sabrina wants to leave. Seth wants to make out, and Sabrina finally realizes he’s an asshole. Seth asks her why she came up here (okay, legit question), and Sabrina doesn’t have an answer.

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Sabrina gets out and walks away. Seth tries to talk her back in, saying she won’t get back before the dance ends. Sabrina refuses.

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Seth says she can walk, starts his car, and drives off.

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Sabrina silently casts a spell. Yeah, that’s really weird.

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She fucks Seth’s car up.

Seth gets out to check under the hood, and…

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…his car drives on its own.

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Sabrina walks off, satisfied.

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Harvey arrives, taking a spill in front of Sabrina.

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They chat for a bit. Harvey is amused at Seth’s predicament. Sabrina admits she’s “been a real idiot, big time”. No shit. She’s referring to her being oblivious to Harvey’s feelings for her, though, not the fact that she needlessly admitted to Katy that she’s a witch.

Sabrina asks for forgiveness, Harvey grants it, and they agree to be friends (huh?). Harvey regrets them not having their dance. So does Sabrina. Harvey thinks they can still make it and tells Sabrina to get on the bike. Sabrina has a better idea.

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She has Harvey closes his eyes.

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She casts a spell (which he definitely can’t hear, nosireebob) for music that only the two of them can hear.

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Music magically starts up (although it might as well just be the movie’s score for its level of prominence), amazing Harvey. Sabrina silently admits to hearing it.

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They dance…

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