Sometimes, there’s an episode of television that changes your life. This is not one of them. This episode is so stupendously ridiculous that it holds a special place in my half-nerd, half-witch heart. It takes the cheesiest parts of comic book films, grinds them with a marble mortar and pestle, and distills them down into a fine witches brew. I’m talking, of course, about Charmed’s “Witches In Tights.”
This weekend sees the arrival of CW’s Charmed reboot, taking the beloved show about a trio of sister witches and updating it for 2018. However, this weekend also celebrates the anniversary of a memorable episode of the original series: “Witches In Tights.” I’d call it “iconic,” but let’s be honest...t’s not. It’s one bad episode in a series of bad episodes. But it’s my bad episode, and dammit I have to talk about it.
“Witches In Tights” is a superhero saga centering around a teenage boy named Kevin whose artwork comes to life—arguably making him the most powerful person who has ever lived or will ever live. I mean, if you could draw anything in the whole of creation and have it become real, you would be unstoppable. Hell, you could create a version of yourself who’s lord supreme ruler of the world, has a billion-trillion dollars, and is totally popular at school with lots of friends. Those kids who mocked you will feel so bad about it, now that you control the entire planet and also can shoot lasers out of your freckles.
But no, he uses his ability to make a superhero vigilante called The Aggressor, with the encouragement of a demon named Arnon played by holy shit it’s Mark Sheppard. You know, that actor from Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural whose face just screams “I’m a secret villain who’s going to betray you.” Here, guess what, he’s a secret villain who’s going to betray Kevin.
Here’s The Aggressor. Check out his Majesty.
It should be noted, this came out the same year as the first Spider-Man, and two years after X-Men. And yet, Charmed thought the best superhero movie to emulate was the worst version of Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. Look at him! I can’t get over everything wrong with this outfit. The spiky gelled hair, the purple contact lenses, the “A” symbol that looks like it’s melting down his molded pecks. There’s no way people would see this guy coming down the street and not immediately burst into laughter. Especially in a world where witchcraft exists but superheroes are nowhere to be found.
Oh, and did I mention this so-called “hero” is a killer? He shakes off an attacker’s bullets, ricocheting them right into the guy’s chest. We later learn it’s a Shazam situation, where Kevin has transformed himself into The Aggressor so he can stand up to his bullies (who are the attackers he ends up killing). So yeah, a 14-year-old kid just committed murder. Good going, Charmed.
Then, we’ve got our Wonder Women. In order to fight back against Arnon—who plans to use The Aggressor’s identity to steal an Elder’s powers (don’t worry about it, doesn’t matter)—Kevin draws this totally-not-at-all-creepy rendition of the Charmed Ones as superheroes. Never mind the fact that he makes their breasts larger than their heads, but has Kevin ever met the Charmed Ones? Does he know what they look like? No. Therefore, not only can Kevin bring things to life through his art, but apparently he’s also an insanely powerful psychic. Screw Harry Potter, Kevin is the real Chosen One.
You’d think Phoebe, Piper, and Paige would use their newfound superhero abilities to help innocents in distress across the city and save the day, but you haven’t met the Charmed Ones, have you buddy? They each do it, like, once. Piper and Paige rescue a person in distress, played by Wonder Woman stuntwoman Jeannie Epper, but only because they happened by the scene. Otherwise, I doubt they would’ve bothered. Phoebe threatens to murder a landlord who’s been harassing tenants, mainly because it directly relates to her job as an advice columnist. Again, otherwise, she wouldn’t have bothered.
These women have been given super speed, jumping abilities, heightened senses. They can deflect bullets with their bodies. Why aren’t they out there doing cool shit? Because the Charmed Ones are gonna do what the Charmed Ones are gonna do. And for the most part, what they do is stand around the living room in their costumes complaining that they shouldn’t be in their costumes. That’s pretty par for the course with Charmed. They do love whining about having to do things.
The three witches are in their costumes for a total of about 10 minutes. And sadly, they never really do anything with them. They fight The Aggressor once, impaling a 14-year-old boy, almost killing him. But you could argue that their magic would’ve done the trick just as well. After all, they did it every week. By the time they confront Arnon, who’s been turned into an even cooler, even stronger Aggressor who looks exactly the same as the old one, their superpowers have been stripped away. But they defeat him anyway. Or rather, he defeats himself, getting blown up by overdosing on the Elder’s powers.
The Elder’s powers end up transferring to Kevin, turning him into an Elder, ensuring that he will become the Lord Almighty, a god among men. Just kidding, we never see him again. Side note, Elders aren’t allowed to live on Earth, so a teenager was just involuntarily doomed to an eternity where he can never see his family again. Thanks, Charmed!
I love when genre shows take on another beloved genre. For example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s musical episode, or when Supernatural did that ridiculous animated Scooby Doo thing. It’s basically my fanfiction come to life—no surprise that this episode of Charmed has its own Buffy crossover fanfic. But I especially love it when they do it wrong. Charmed’s “Witches In Tights” might be the most wrong you can get when it comes to bad genre crossover episodes. At least, it’s my wrong. And I love it to death for that.
Let me know some of your beloved—or belovedly bad—genre crossover episodes in the comments. Witches, away!