ABC/WB Sitcom, 2000
My neighbor looks like Melissa Joan Hart.
No, really, she does. Well, at least I think at some level she kinda sorta almost looks like Melissa Joan Hart.
When my at the time new neighbors first moved into the house across the street from me about ten years ago, no joke I went to Mrs. Deal and asked politely, “Do you know if Melissa Joan Hart has hit the skids recently? Is it possible she would thus be reduced to living in suburban Indianapolis? If so, that explains our new neighbors.” Mrs. Deal, as she is want to do, simply shook her head at me.
But then a funny thing happened. After meeting the folks next door, my lovely wife came back to me and said, “Ok, she doesn’t really look like Melissa Joan Hart, but yes, I can somewhat see where someone could mistake them for like third cousins or something.”
Correction, then: My neighbor looks like Melissa Joan Hart’s third cousin.
Anyway, I’ve always liked MJH. She seems like an a-ok cat to me, and rumor is she even likes pro wrestling for some reason, probably the same reason we all like it and yet explaining it escapes us. Anyway, she’s been in a lot of wacky goofball flicks I’ve enjoyed, ranging from My Fake Fiance to the perennial yuletide classic Holiday in Handcuffs, wherein we learn it is ok to kidnap people so long as you need them to impress the family at Christmas dinner.
All of these pale in comparison though to my ultimate guilty pleasure: Sabrina: The Teenage Witch. Not so much that I bought the PlayStation game above, but enough that I do now want to at least hop on YouTube after I get done writing this induction to see if someone has done a speed run on it. I am in earnest when I say I absolutely freaking love this ridiculous show with all my heart. Recently Mrs. Deal and I have been binge watching it, and so it is not uncommon the last image I have before drifting off to dreamland is a the titular teenage witch conversing with an absurdly animatronic talking cat. I find it very relaxing after a stressful day to watch something incredibly light before bed and since I’m nearly through my binge of Batman 66 and can’t find The Nanny anywhere on Hulu or Netflix, my pre-snooze snackery consists of Sabrina, Harvey, Salem, and the rest of the gang.
I had made this confession quite some time ago on Facebook. For those of you looking for me on Twitter, yeah, I am there, but I’m more of a Facebook guy, posting on there quite often. I had gone off on a Sabrina thread a while back, and someone immediately shot back, “You do know there was an episode with Billy Gunn on there, right?”
Why no, no I did not.
But I do now…and now you get the induction of said affair!
A bit of explanation for those Sabrina noobs out there: Sabrina Spellman (get it? SPELLman?) is your average high school kid except she has magical, witchy powers. She lives with her two aunts, Hilda and Zelda, as well as Salem, who, according to Hulu’s description, “is a mischievous warlock doing penance as a black cat.”
That write up is so grand I will forgive Hulu’s absurd graphic for the show, which appears to feature three blonde women who look less like Melissa Joan Hart than my neighbor does. Anyway, the cat is arguably the highlight of the show – it’s basically a stuffed cat with the ability to move its head, talk, blink, and do other random zaniness.
If you’ve never seen a cat write with a pencil before, you’ve never watched Sabrina.
And now a WrestleCrap fun fact about our friend Salem: he was voiced by Nick Bakay, the same guy who was the narrator in the forever ago inducted Exposed! Pro Wrestling’s Greatest Secrets Revealed! You might remember him from such lines as “She’s a Stunt Granny” and “How’s that for piledriving Miss Daisy?” If ever we decide to open a celebrity wing in the WrestleCrap hall of fame, Nick Bakay would be a fine choice as a first inductee.
Today’s episode of Sabrina is from the fourth season (it’s on Hulu if you’d like to check it out) and focuses on the fact that Salem has a daughter who is about to get married. You may ask how a cat would get married, but soon you will learn that his daughter is not a feline but rather “Weird Al’s” love interest from UHF…
That’s the other great thing about this show – we get random wacky guest stars from the era ALL. THE. TIME.
You want Britney Spears? Ru Paul? Jerry Springer? N Sync? Paula Abduhl? Coolio? DICK VAN FREAKIN’ DYKE?
You got it you got it you got it.
As the wedding approaches, naturally problems arise – the aunts don’t have dates, Salem’s daughter doesn’t have a maid of honor, and Salem is…well, he’s a cat, so he can’t walk his daughter down the aisle or do the first dance. The biggest issue, of course, is that the wedding is going to take place in “the other realm”…which means wacky magic aplenty awaits!
So the aunts conjure up dates in the form of Leif Ericson and Daniel Boone (who is livid at continually being called Davey Crockett) whilst Sabrina is wearing a bizarre outfit for seemingly no other reason than wearing a bizarre outfit (another staple on the show). Like you, I was fully expecting Billy Gunn to show up right about now as the groom, but no…
…as the groom is actually a guy in a suit of armor. If we get a Lanny Poffo cameo, this will be the greatest moment in television history. As the chaplain announces it is time for the ring, Sabrina panics – she didn’t bring one. Not to worry, notes Salem’s daughter…this is an Other Realm ceremony.
The ring is right here!
That’s right – in an Other Realm wedding, the father of the bride wrestles the father of the groom, and the father of the bride must win to earn the right for the two to wed. And yes, finally the star of the show is here as we get…
…BILLY GUNN as the father of the groom!
Naturally, it wouldn’t be fair for him to wrestle a cat, so it is up to Sabrina to take on the new age other realm outlaw.
And you can imagine how excited the poor girl is to do that.
The match starts exactly as you’d expect, as Vince McMahon would say, “see saw match up, back and forth”, with Billy taking control early on with body slams and fist drops. Quickly, though, Sabrina turns the tide with magic and eye rakes. Why it’s just like one of those mixed gender matches on Lucha Underground!
Eventually, though, Billy takes control and it looks as though it’s doomsday for the wedding. Only one thing can save the day:
Salem the cat being thrown in Billy Gunn’s face by Daniel Boone as Leif Ericsson looks on.
You know, I just may need to retire after this induction…not sure anything I will ever write in the future could top that sentence!