It’s tough to find someone like Elvira who can squeeze in so many double entendres in to only a half hour of comedy. “The Elvira Show” was essentially like the movie from the late eighties, but extended in to a sitcom setting. It was “Bewitched” meets “Sabrina” meets “Married with Children” with Elvira dominating the screen as always with her sexuality and sharp delivery of one liners. There are so many great sexual puns squeezed in to the opening scenes of the pilot from replying to hunky officer Chip “I bet you can’t eat just one,” to explaining that she and her family will be like the Cleavers, with she, of course, being “The Beaver.”
In “The Elvira Show,” Elvira moves in to a new neighborhood with her older aunt (Katherine Helmond), and is forced to deal with intrusive neighbors and uptight conservatives, all of whom are anxiously trying to get Elvira and her family to move. Much to their surprise, Elvira has to care for her conservative who is very concerned with reining in her aunts when their magic goes awry, in spite of their good intentions.
Apparently, “The Elvira Show” was a proposed sitcom in 1993 and it seems much more suited for 1989 when television was much more daring. CBS turned down the show allegedly due to its raunchiness and sexual suggestiveness. It’s not a bad show at all, and even works as a fun comic diversion with Elvira shooting from all corners as a curvaceous dark goddess who is also very good at being zany and wacky. The series would have maintained the same “fish out of water” formula from the original movie, and I would definitely have tuned in. I sense Cassandra Peterson would have eventually brought on some classic horror stars for guest spots, and staged some great Halloween episodes that would have rivaled “Roseanne” and “The Simpsons.”
If the pilot seems at all familiar, it’s because a lot of the formula for the pilot was refurbished in to the much more family friendly “Sabrina” sitcom, which premiered on ABC many, many years later. The aforementioned series garnered two supernatural aunts, a live in niece, a talking black cat, a house filled with surprises, and allusions to the niece being potentially a powerful witch or sorceress. The cat in this series is named Renfield and is much more sarcastic, doing nothing but observing the wackiness that ensues and hissing one-liners. Said niece is played by Phoebe Augustine, a very religiously devout straight man who likely would have come of age on the series and spent her time chasing after wacky Elvira and Minerva.
Even Cassandra Peterson notes the very blatant similarities between both series.
“The Elvira Show” isn’t perfect, but it had potential to breathe and become a pretty fun and oddball sitcom. And seriously, how could anyone get tired of Elvira? That’s rhetorical. You can’t.