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By its third season, the daffy 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie just got sillier--which is not necessarily a bad thing. Given that the show's premise involves a half-naked woman subservient to an astronaut, we're clearly watching a rampant male fantasy to begin with; it's the goofiness (ably executed by the stars) that gives the show charm instead of smarm. So bring on the evil twin sister, Jeannie 2; the Hawaiian royalty; guest appearances by Don Rickles, Paul Lynde, and Milton Berle; an epic (for a sitcom) four-episode story about Jeannie being trapped in a safe that's about to be sent to the moon; the groovy rock band (in an episode featuring record producer Phil Spector, later to become a gun-toting recluse, as himself)...it's all turned into a delirious soup of 1960s farce by Barbara Eden (who perfected the combination of sexy/ditzy long before Jenna Elfman or Jessica Simpson), Larry Hagman (one of the nicest guys on TV until he became ubervillian JR Ewing on Dallas), Bill Daily (among the greatest second bananas of all time), Hayden Rorke (the perpetually stymied Dr. Bellows), and Emmaline Henry (Mrs. Bellows, a hip and sexy older woman in the decade that launched the idolization of youth). I Dream of Jeannie scrupulously avoided political or social relevance--when Mrs. Bellows thinks that Jeannie is a young woman enslaved by Major Nelson and tries to rescue her, this troubling idea is played for laughs--but that puts the show in an engaging bubble of entertainment, as out-of-synch with its own era as much as with ours.

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CO17652 I Dream of Jeannie Complete 3rd Season DVD (1967/Larry Hagman/Barbara Eden) $26.99 $23.99