In 1964, the fictional character Samantha Stephens was the main character of the hit TV series ‘Bewitched’. Taking a look at our favorite witch…she was a Stay at home Mom, supportive wife of a bumbling husband, loving daughter of an overbearing mother, devoted daughter to a playboy Father, intelligent, beautiful, and funny. She left all that she knew for the love of her man. Despite the comic traits of the witch scenario… the show was primarily focused on a Stay at Home Mom trying to reconcile family issues and trying to support her husband. Family and Marriage was the main focus. The importance of family and the traditional husband/ wife roles were still prevalent in the early 60’s… yet the fact that Samantha had to continue to help her ‘bumbling’ husband shows how the traditional husband/wife roles were slowly and subtly being eroded.
Then in just twenty years…the 1984 character of Samantha Micelli from “Who’s the Boss” fame became the Samantha that people knew. She was the product of Single parenting, a fun loving, mistake making teenager who strived to please her loving father. Despite the teenage antics that the character constantly was involved in… the show was primarily focused on family issues. Yet the scenario of the relationship between her father (as a live in maid) and his divorced employer along with the sex maniac grandmother (Mona) character was not the same wholesome family issue environment from twenty years earlier. The family was still the primary focus yet the traditional husband/ wife roles and parenting roles along with the sanctity of sexual relationships were once again being eroded away… still subtly but not as discrete as the earlier Samantha.
Just fourteen short years later, in 1998 the fictional character Samantha Jones of Sex and the City fame arrived on the scene. A fast talking street smart sex crazed power hungry career driven woman focused on self gratification. The focus on the show was not about family issues or values nor did the traditional husband / wife roles play out in a positive way. All subtlety and discretion was gone…family, traditional roles of husband & wife, sexual sanctity, and self control were no longer being eroded… they were tossed out the door and replaced with the cultural “me-ism” that was prevalent in both the show and in the late 1990’s environment.
So did the fictional characters predict the cultural changes that were occurring or were they mimics? And the real question is what will the fictional Samantha of 2018 be about? Where will family values, the traditional husband / wife roles, sexual sanctity, and self control be in seven short years.