Dear “Good Witch,” It’s Time We Had a Talk

the-good-witchThe Good Witch is a series on the Hallmark channel based on several made for TV movies. The movies are so sugary that you risk getting a toothache. A total guilty pleasure, if I do say so myself. When Hallmark aired a movie, I would grab a pint of ice cream and some wine and settle in for a fun evening in. When it was announced there would be a series I was excited. So, excited that I binge watched the first season then hopped over to Amazon to work my way through season 2.

The Premise: Cassy is a pillar of the Middleton community. A quintessential small town in anywhere, America. She is the owner of the bed and breakfast named Grey House and a shop called Bell, Book, and Candle is a single mom raising her teenage daughter along with being there for her two adult step children. Oh, and in case you didn’t get it from the title, she’s a witch.  I love that Cassy, who has different religious beliefs, is a relied upon member of the community. She is the modern representation of the old school wise woman.

However, I think the show has given me a huge toothache. You see, my problem stems from Tara. Poor, poor Tara. This character and her storyline have so much potential but it

Image result for tara from the good witch
Tara, The Good Witch

falls horrendously short of what it could be. It is what pushes me over the edge and makes
me wonder if it’s time to break up with this television franchise. In Season 1 Tara, the wife of Cassy’s stepson is about to start a Ph.D. program. What the program is no one knows. Is she in a teaching program? Is she an astrophysicist student? Is she studying ancient Greek? Your guess is as good as mine. All we know is that she is accepted to Oxford which leads to the central conflict. She must choose between staying with her husband and going to a program here or divorcing her husband and taking off to Cambridge (because how can you possibly stay married to someone overseas-asks the Army wife??). Guess which option she chooses.

 

 

 

Fast forward to season 2 and baby fever. Tara has determined that she wants to get pregnant but it has yet to happen. Here is a fantastic opportunity for the writers to give us viewers a wonderful feel good storyline about infertility (and maybe adoption) with the trademark Cassy Nightengale hopeful advice. But what do we get instead? Tara goes baby crazy to the point where she guts her husband’s study and buys a baby changing table for the baby who has yet to even exist. I can see buying clothes or knitting stuff and stashing it away but isn’t the whole let’s gut a room in the house and buy furniture for someone that doesn’t exist yet a bit much? Many women craft baby clothes and pick up a onesie or two at Target to stash away for future use (or gifts). I have never seen a sane, rational woman buy baby furniture so far ahead of the game.

That was irksome enough but the piece de resistance is that she quits her mysterious Ph.D. program. And her reasoning: It just feels right and I want something flexible and stress-free for when the baby comes.

Reaction GIF: eye roll, are you kidding me?, despair, Krysten Ritter, Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am around too many women who have careers and families. Women who have lives outside of their little-predetermined boxes. They are wonderful mothers and wives who are *gasp* happy.  This Tara storyline made me re-evaluate every other female character in the show and what I found was that any woman who had a non-domestic centered career was an anti-hero.  The town mayor is a woman but she is an annoying busy body that is barely tolerable. Then there is Cassy’s love interest’s ex-wife. She is a high-powered executive of something or other but can’t seem to define herself outside of the men in her life and is only a nurturing mother when it suits her. And even though the show has forgotten about Laura in season two, I can’t. Cassy’s stepdaughter just vanishes and it’s not until towards the end of season two that we learn, in passing that she has gone to LA on assignment. With all this taken into consideration, I can’t take this show anymore. I just can’t.

Image result for it's not you it's me scotty doesnt knowSo, The Good Witch, it’s not you, it’s me. Wait, no, that’s not right, it is you. In a modern world where women can lean in and have a career and families, I don’t have time for your brand of 1950’s nostalgia. I want a show that has women who are willing defy expectations and at the end of the day are happy. Because these women exist and it’s time that we see more of them on television.

20 comments

  1. It’s Lori, not Laura!! And it’s Cassie, not Cassy!! Maybe if you paid more attention to the details, you’ll be less disappointed with the show…

    Yes, I’m a man who is tired of all crap on TV and loves this rather wholesome and family-oriented show.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s not just you, it’s me, too. This show is burdened by some of the most cliched, unimaginative writing I have ever seen. I agree that the characters have so much potential, but that would take effort on the parts of the writers, annddd it IS a show on the Hallmark channel, so I think we should have tempered our expectations.

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  3. Cassie = owns and runs two businesses and has a family
    Stephanie = owns the bistro, opening second location
    Linda = business woman with a successful career
    Lori = successful career
    Martha = the mayor of the town

    The women in this show all have their own lives AND careers… saying the show has 1950’s nostalgia and that the women don’t have careers is a huge reach

    Liked by 1 person

    • it’s not that there are no women with careers, it’s that the show portrays all those women as annoying/selfish/self-centered.

      Martha as a mayor is busybody, who you could almost call corrupt/nepotistic in the way she abuses her mayor privileges. She also seems to care more about looking good, than about doing good for the town.
      Stephanie owns a bistro, but is also desperate for a man and has really superficial demands (remember when she hid handyman Ben from her mother?)
      Linda is a succesful woman, but fails as a mother (doesn’t know (or care) what Nick wants and just pushes her opinions on him).
      Tara, is mentioned in the article above.
      And then Abigail, who has this wonderful air of entitledness and I-know-better. She is not willing to put in the hard work for her own flower shop, and works her assistant too hard, and doesn’t see at all what she is doing. “Everything will work out for me”. She uses her looks to coast by instead of working for it.

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  4. Wow – you are criticizing something that you can’t eveb get most of the details right about. I realize this is only your opinion but if you are going to put it in a public forum then at least make some effort. I love this show – sometimes it is nice to be able to take a break from reality and just enjoy the sugar!

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  5. I agree that the women characters are all modern, successful women. However, I do think some of them have exaggerated frivolous aspects to their character. This is is seen mostly in the mayor. She appears silly, unfocused at times. Also, in the last episode, it showed it didn’t take much to be a mayor or city council president as evidenced in how Abigail took over – not because she wanted the job – but because she wanted the tree trimmed in front of her shop.
    Also, Grace is starting to come off as sort of “bratty” and “know-it-all” – not an attractive quality for a girl or boy. Stephanie who runs the restaurant seems to come off as the one who best reflects the modern woman. She works hard; has no man in her life to support her (most of the time) and she works long hours. Cassie is working hard also. But the writers did not flesh out her character enough. The viewer did not see her struggles coping with her husband’s death and making a new life for herself. Also, she seems to have had at least two other men interested in her – so she was not the typical single mother
    trying to make it on her own. Curiously it was the male lead, Dr. Radford’s character, who showed more struggles – dealing with a difficult son and then having to deal with his troublesome ex-wife visiting. This gave his character depth. But the female character, Cassie, did not have those issues. And she, unfortunately, appears throughout as more one-dimensional.
    However, it is still a great show and I’m addicted to it. And it is a welcome antidote to all the trash that’s on television. In fact, it is the only show I watch beside Masterpiece Theater on PBS.

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  6. The way that Tara gave up her Ph.D. also annoyed me. It hit me in a personal way. I traveled to England to do my Ph.D. and I could only do so because I wasn’t married. I had a married colleague who had to hide her thesis under the bed when she was working through her local PhD program. She could only work on it when her husband wasn’t home. He knew she was doing her doctorate, obviously. However, it wasn’t allowed to interfere with her wife and mother duties. And therefore, he didn’t want to hear about it or see her work on it. Yes, I live in a third world country. So it annoys me when western shows try to revert women’s hard earned privileges. Privileges the rest of us have yet to earn.

    Having said that, I don’t think Good Witch is anti-feminist. The primary message of the show is that people shouldn’t leave small town America for big cities. Small town people are happy and relaxed, while big city people are stressed, unhappy and mean. Basically. Plenty of women have careers in Middleton, and they’re all successful and happy. Sam’s ex has a career in New York. A place that apparently makes teens into criminals and working women and men into terrible spouses and husbands 😛 Sam was by his own admission a bad father in NY. Moving to Middleton made them all better people.

    The second message of the show is to prioritize family. Generally, a good message. But they went overboard with Tara. She didn’t just prioritize family. She had to give up her education and career to keep her family. I don’t agree with the message that she couldn’t have both.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lighten up and enjoy the show for what it offers. It is nice to see a show without blood-shed, sex and drugs with a magical twist. I binge watch this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree, at least on Tara. It seems unlikely that a woman who’s supposed to be as strong minded as Tara and who was so invested in her education would suddenly just give it up to make her husband happy and just be fine with it. Then the whole baby story line was ridiculous and annoying. Cassie is not quite that one dimensional, but then not all the characters are really all that fleshed out. Martha does come across as flighty and annoying, but she does have moments that make her a real person. Someone said that Grace was becoming bratty, but that’s just typical teenage behavior. All in all, Good Witch is good, campy fun. Nothing deep, just good escapism. But, what’s the deal with recasting Tara?

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  9. A lot of good comments. I really like the show, describing it as sugary was the perfect adjective and made me feel even better about it. It’s nice to see people dealing with what life throws at them and responding in a mature way. And being focused on being kind to each other.
    Not that everyone is but mostly. I’ve never watched this kind of show but I have now been binge watching it for the past week & half and I love everything that comes up.
    More specific comments: 1.) Tara suddenly forgetting about Cambridge does seem out of character. I actually found this thread looking to find the reason the original actress playing Tara quit. I think that’s why she did.
    2.) The silly mayor is awesome. She’s a charicatured personality and I think it works wonderfully.
    3.) Linda, Nick’s mom played her part perfectly. I’ve known women like that and in the Middleton environment you have to reflect on yourself & your actions. Which almost makes her have to go back to NY – even though the CFO conveniently quits.
    4.) Abigail – the woman I have to hate. I was bummed when she first came on the show. But I’m loving seeing her involved with Alexis’ brother who’s not buying it so far (I’m in the middle of season 2) – I just have trouble watching her “help” others.
    Anyway, thank you for creating a forum. It was nice to hear yours and others impressions. Makes me want to live in Middleton even more 🙂

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  10. I’m impressed, I have to say. Actually not often do I encounter a weblog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you could have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the issue is something that not sufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing referring to this.

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  11. Hi I came across blog as I was actually googling to see if anyone felt the same as me about the Tara storyline. I found it ridiculous . I am mum of two and I don’t know anyone who would automatically assume that they will firstly fall pregnant and secondly assume everything will be okay with the pregnancy. The storyline of her being so baby eccentric was annoying and then to go to the extreme of buying baby furniture changing her work pattern etc. was ludicrous . So in summary I agree with you about Tara. Overall I do love the show and the characters I just can’t stand the Tara baby storyline.

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  12. Commenting only on the Tara character. The whole “I think I might be pregnant” was maddening. The drama that ensued over something that could have been confirmed or denied with a 2 minute test was just too much. And she was so whiney about the situation. And then leaving Brandon because of his reaction to something that wasn’t even an issue? Who’s writing this ignorance? I can’t even get started on the “you may have ruined my one chance at connecting with my mother “… because you know, she can’t just send another email.

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  13. I just hate Tara SO MUCH! She’s says the dumbest, most shallow things all the time. Like when she’s so jealous of Chad and Donna’s “perfect” life with their skiing and private chef. Brandon asks her if she’s serious and she is! OMG! So shallow, and it’s insulting to him too, complaining about their life and their small house when he’s working hard and she’s doing sweet FA. She’s the worst! He’s so sweet and down to earth, and she is just so selfish and self-centred, and yet he just agrees with whatever she wants and calls her sweet (ugh!). All that baby stuff when she’s not even pregnant, emptying his den without even asking. And the way she has a go at Brandon for being relieved when she’s not pregnant, just because he’s not ready. He’s honest with her and she bloody moves into Grey House to punish him. What a diva! Ugh, Brandon can do so much better than her. She’s just written awfully!

    PS. I love the rest of the show!

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  14. Every once in awhile I sit down and watch an hour of “The Good Witch”. I think the writing is dreadful and yet I watch. I was stunned with the Tara decision. What woman would turn down a chance to study at such a prestigious University. And the thought that her marriage would not work if she went abroad for a few years? And the fact that Brandon (I don’t like this character anyway) was not supportive and helpful in discussing the subject as a joint decision was bothersome. In today’s world I do like to watch programs that allow me to escape from our world that offers up mass shooting every other day but this series is just so unrealistic. Maybe it reminds me of watching “Father Knows Best”. Or I might find it more enjoyable with more humor and magic – at least we would not be dealing with realistic situations then. “The Good Witch” seems to be a world where all the main characters are white, beautiful or handsome and for the most part kind. (Tinsdale being the only character not fitting into that type-cast and they have made her silly, self-centered and having bad judgement.) So you can’t be chubby, and wise, smart and kind? Is that the message?
    There are better programs – well written – that offer escape for those of us in dire need. I recommend the Australian series “Doctor, Doctor – In US – The Heart Guy”. I actually find Australian TV programing refreshing. Hallmark – not so much if their programs are this badly written. Surly one of the stars of this show could do a better job of writing it. It must be painful for them to play these parts although collecting the checks eases that pain. 😉

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  15. Yes!!!! All the female characters are such horrible tropes, it’s so frustrating!
    There’s the big sister that only pops up when big sister advice is needed or to cause trouble within the family, there’s the two ‘perfect’ women (Cassie and Grace) who are seemingly perfect and good at everything.
    Tara is willing to break up with Brandon because he wont move to England with her so she can study, then all of a sudden quits to be with him, then moves out of the house because Brandon wont have a kid with her immediately??
    Ella (Sam’s receptionist) is a gossip and apparently a bimbo, with no sense whatsoever, while his ex is an evil manipulative woman who causes trouble for seemingly no reason.
    Abigail is beautiful and young so of course she is constantly up to no good, backstabbing and betraying people and always flirting with every goodlooking guy she sees.

    Not to mention Martha, the older, bigger woman. Because she is old and not sexy, she of course must be a busybody with constantly questionable motives that all the men (and Cassie, as the perfect woman) must attempt to control.

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  16. Hi I’m late to the party, just now watching this show on Netflix. But here’s my head canon: Brandon pressured Tara to turn down the Cambridge program and stay with him in Middleton. (He definitely should have gone with her to England, but that’s another story.) Tara tried to convince herself it was what she wanted, but she was miserable staying in Middleton. She realized she couldn’t forgo this incredible opportunity and ignore all her professional ambitions (whatever they may be), and she decided to move to England after all. Brandon was devastated. He was SO devastated, in fact, that he used some dark magic (somehow, from Cassie/Abigail) to conjure up a stepford-wife-version of Tara (hence, why she suddenly appears different–her nose is smaller, her features more conventionally attractive.) The magic makes everyone think she’s the same Tara she always was. But then, the dark magic goes awry, and she becomes obsessive (hence, the sudden onset uncharacteristic baby craziness). She’s supposed to be the “perfect” wife–and according to the magical algorithm, that means she MUST make babies. Brandon is upset and disturbed by this unpredicted turn of events.

    But don’t worry about the REAL Tara–she met a fellow grad student in England (one who actually valued her professional interests and supported her career), and they ended up happily together.

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