It’s the final countdown: Sabrina vs. Growing Pains. Let’s start with a recap of each:
Growing Pains: Mike sells Jason and Maggie a bad tour package. Maggie gets appendicitis and can’t do anything the whole trip, but Jason has a chef (from the restaurant where he proposed) cater a special dinner in her hospital room. Mike traipses about Barcelona with a girl that he does not get along with and then they fall in love.
Sabrina Goes to Rome: Sabrina heads to Rome to solve the mystery of her ancestor’s locket. She learns that this woman was a witch who was betrayed by her mortal boyfriend (who blabbed to everyone that she was a witch) and ended up powerless and banished because of it. While in Rome, Sabrina meets a cute boy who discovers she is a witch and wants to sell a story about her to a tabloid. Sabrina manages to solve the mystery and also not be betrayed by the cute boy because the power of love and stuff.
And now for the breakdown:
Overall Plot: I’m struggling here. On the one hand, Sabrina had a much more fun plot. But I still think the “time travel to solve the mystery” thing is a massive plot hole. Couldn’t they have at least had her figure out some kind of spell in order to be able to travel back in time? But on the other hand Growing Pains is so rom-com derivative (even for Growing Pains) and I’m not sure I can keep awarding points to Maggie’s appendectomy. This is really a coin toss for me. But I guess I’ll give it to Growing Pains for their lack of plot holes.
Vacation Attire: Sabrina again.
Music: Growing Pains really nailed the vacation music category in their Hawaiian episode, but this one just does not deliver. Sabrina has top 40 hits, so I’m guessing they had a much bigger budget. But she still gets the point.
Integration of European Setting: While in my experience, it’s totally implausible to go to Rome and not be catcalled by at least 25 individual males ages 14-58, Sabrina Goes to Rome could otherwise serve as a travel guide to the Eternal City (hm…now there’s a thought…)
Growing Pains: Overall Plot = 2 points
Sabrina: Music + Vacation Attire + Integration of European Setting = 3 points
Sabrina Goes to Rome is the Very Special European Vacation Champion!