By: Bill Bradley
Harry Potter is nice, but long before we were worrying about Hogwarts letters, someone else was casting a spell on us, man.
Sabrina Spellman came into our lives via TGIF in 1996, and now -- finally -- the episodes are all together on DVD in "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch: The Complete Series." It's cool to catch up on the show, but 20 years later, it turns out "Sabrina" raises a lot of questions we're still wondering about. Like, whatever happened to Sabrina's BFF Jenny who just disappeared after Season 1? Was "Sabrina" actually an allegory for being gay, like some fans theorize? And, as Harvey famously wondered, what is mitosis?
"Mitosis is the -- oh, gosh. Mitosis is like cells dividing," Melissa Joan Hart recently said. In honor of the new DVD, and in the name of nostalgia, Hart took some time with The Huffington Post to reminisce about the series and answer some of its biggest unresolved mysteries.
1. Was "Sabrina" an allegory for being gay?
Some fans out there theorize that "Sabrina" may have been a metaphor for homosexuality in the '90s. The fans note: she has a secret and dreads the reaction if people find out; to be her "true self" she has to enter another world "located in a closet" and the show makes a lot of gay references.
But could it be true?
"I think that's stretching a bit, but I can see how that's a possibility," Hart told HuffPost.
"In that case, it can also be an allegory for being a Republican in Hollywood. That's pretty funny. That's the first time I've heard that," she continued. "I think it's stretching a little bit, though. I think it's more monetary in that the producers didn't want to have to develop some crazy witchcraft set for the witches to go in and out of. I think it was just for TV. You're gonna have a door and a flash of lightning," she laughed.
2. Did Salem the cat actually talk?
Hart says fans ask this question so much that her sister joked that she should carry a black sock around and perform a puppet show for them.
"Just say, 'Oh, he's still right here! How are you today, Salem?'" says Hart.
Obviously, the cat didn't really talk. The former teenage witch explains the cat was actually a combination of many cats. Live cats were used "more for transition stuff;" animatronic cats were used for the talking and stuffies, which are fake cats, were used in rehearsal or would be thrown in the air if, say, Salem was attacking someone behind the couch.
"There were different cats for everything. There was a cat that jumped, there was a cat that's good for holding, there was a cat that was good for attacking a ball of yarn and there were all these backup cats."
The live cats weren't always the most cooperative, though.
"They're feeding the cats, so they're hungry when they start, but once they get full they're pretty much no good anymore," Hart said. "They won't do what you want them to do. They're not like a dog. They don't care."
3. Who's Sabrina's favorite aunt? Hilda or Zelda?
Apparently, this one doesn't have an answer.
"I can't decide. That would be awful. Both the ladies would attack me if I picked one or the other," said Hart. "I have love for both of them. We, all three ladies, have strong personalities, and there are times we'd all get along, and times when we all were fighting, but we have a close relationship now."
4. What happened to Sabrina's BFF Jenny?
She appears in the first season of "Sabrina" and then mysteriously vanishes. So what ever happen to Jenny?
"Oh, Jenny," Hart recalled. "Yeah, season by season our show's cast would come and go based on audience reaction, and sometimes there'd be dispute about contracts and negotiations as far as payment goes for certain actors. And just bringing in a fresh perspective from a different character."
She continued, "Also, there's a lot of politics that go on behind the scenes, like when a writer develops a certain character they get paid on the [likeness] of that character for every episode. If a writer develops a character, but that writer's gone and there's bad blood, they might get rid of the character they developed, so they didn't have to pay them anymore. There are a lot of things that go into that situation."
5. Is Harvey in danger of turning into a ball of wax?
In "Sabrina," the teen witch's mom is mortal and turns into a ball of wax after seeing her daughter. Since Harvey and Sabrina end up together in the end, and he is mortal, is he in danger of the same waxy fate if he and Sabrina have kids?
The short answer? Yup.
"I guess so, yeah," said Hart. "I mean, he was like a real threat in the witch world, so I would say that's probably an episode of a spinoff somewhere."
6. Could the other realm also be Narnia?
"No, I think the other realm is much bigger than that. Whenever we went to the other realm, it was much more like outer space. I mean, we could go to Mars to go skiing," said Hart.
"I think Narnia was more woodsy, and the other realm was much more spacey and futuristic."
7. Will "Sabrina" ever get a reboot?
Would Hart be into reprising her character in the future? "I might," said the actress.
"There's a lot of talk about it. I feel like almost every day, somebody's calling me about it. Would we do it? Should we do it? How do we do it? I think the thing about reboots is they're really hard to do. They're hard to do right. I think sometimes it's better to just leave it in the past unless you do it really, really great," she said.
BONUS: Who would win in a duel, Sabrina or Harry Potter?
It's the ultimate question. One is the chosen one, and the other gets her news from a toaster, but only one can win. Who would it be?
Hart said it's all Potter.
"There's something to be said for experience and schooling, and he's sort of the ultimate," she said.
Even so, in one regard Sabrina would sweep Potter away: Vacuums beat Nimbus 2000s for flying every time.
"Vacuum cleaners are a lot easier to get around on. You step on it and go. It's like a hoverboard. Super simple. But a broom is very difficult to sit on. That's not comfortable."
You tell 'em, Melissa. Spellman is our king! Spellman is our king!