This is a toughie. Both of these episodes have intrigue, stylish mid/late 90’s clothing, and great comedic timing. But only one can advance to the Very Special European Vacation Finals.
But first, a brief recap of Family Matters: Steve and the Winslows go to Paris via the Urk-Pad. Stefon becomes a super model. Steve is kidnapped by his pen pal at gun point because she wants to steal the Urk-Pad. A chase ensues and Steve falls off the eiffel tower only to be rescued by Carl who has turned on the Urk-Pad at the base of the tower, just in time.
Sabrina starts with Madonna’s “Sky Fits Heaven” so I’d say this is a lock on the music category. Sabrina is headed to Rome to release “the power trapped within” a locket she’s received from her father. All she knows is that “the secret lies in Rome.” Oooooh so mysterious! Sabrina ends up with a roommate in Rome. But she turns out to be a witch too. Only she’s not a very good witch, so that’s kind of the comedic relief here.
Anyway, this locket belonged to Sabrina’s sister, Sophia. She fell in love with a mortal who betrayed her, so she was stripped of her powers and banished like some Shakespearean character. Some American dudes who want to hit on Sabrina figure out she’s a witch and decide to sell a story about her to a tabloid. So Sabrina thinks her biggest challenge is balancing her new romance with solving this mystery, but really this dude is trying to ruin her life and she has no idea what danger she’s in. Sabrina takes an extended break from mystery-solving to go designer shopping.
Jennifer Page’s “Crush” is in this as well during a montage! So 1998! Finally, Sabrina decides to just go back in time and ask her Aunt Sophia to open the locket. (Omg, seriously. All this and that’s her freaking solution??) While back in time, Sabrina realizes that it wasn’t Sophia’s boyfriend who betrayed her but rather some lame courtier. Sabrina isn’t supposed to interfere because maybe she’ll mess up history and never be born. But when she figures all of this out, she can’t help but tell Sophia. So then Sophia puts her power (or herself?) in the locket and disappears. Sabrina and Sophia’s boyfriend run away from the evil courtier but leave the locket behind. Then Sabrina gets into a massive sword fight. Okay, so yeah Sophia is stuck in the locket.
And back in modern times, the guy who is trying to sell Sabrina for a story starts to have real feelings for her. Meanwhile, the worst witch has accidentally turned one of their warlock friends into a pigeon. When she finally finds him and turns him back into a human, he tells her that Sabrina’s crush is trying to destroy her. (Turns out pigeons have ears.) It’s too late to stop Sabrina though. She’s at the Trevi fountain making her crush’s dreams come true. She just transported him to see his family in a small Italian village. So the cat’s out of the bag about her being a witch and all. But this dude is so moved by the power of love that he’s not going to break her trust. His friend, however, has managed to capture them appearing and reappearing on tape by the Trevi fountain, so she’s screwed either way. Her friends want her to turn this dude into stone for 400 years. If she does this within twelve hours of him betraying her then she can keep her powers. But Sabrina won’t do it because maybe he won’t betray her. Ugh. So Sabrina goes to the museum to say goodbye to her aunt’s portrait. She’s all like I will always choose love over magic. Bleh. The dude she did NOT turn into stone shows up and shows her that he has destroyed the video evidence of her witch-ness. And this frees Sophia from the locket! OMG this was an epic!
Now, let’s break it down.
Vacation Attire: Stefon is looking fine in some 90’s couture suits. But Carl is hurting the Family Matters camp with all of his 90’s tourist dad outfits. And Steve matches his suspenders to his beret, so I really want to give him points for that. But honestly, I cannot give this point to Family Matters because Laura wears one too many ugly-ass floral print shirts for my liking. Plus Sabrina goes shopping at Armani AND travels back in time to the 18th century. So there’s that.
Music: Madonna AND Jennifer Page, be still my 90’s heart! Sabrina takes this point as well.
Integration of European Setting: Sabrina actually filmed on location and she’s literally all over the city of Rome solving this mystery and dating this cute guy, so point to Sabrina on this one.
Overall Plot: This is a particularly hard one. I absolutely love that Steve accidentally gets involved with some gangsters. But the Laura/Stefon romance has always been boring to me. Then there’s Sabrina’s cool locket-solving thing. But honestly she spent some much time figuring out that locket only to decide to just travel back in time and ask the original owner how to open it…so really we could have skipped the entire movie if she’d done that in the first five minutes. That is some poor writing I just can’t get behind, so points to Family Matters on this one.
Family Matters: Overall Plot = 2 points
Sabrina: Music + Vacation Attire + Integration of European Setting = 3 points
Next Week on The Very Special Blog: The Final: Growing Pains vs. Sabrina Goes to Rome