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Revisiting Charmed Season 1: I’m a Phoebe?!

Back in April, I got a new job that only allowed me to be home for a little bit over an hour at lunch time. There is nothing on TV at 2 pm, so I decided to start watching, again, one of the shows I have decided to purchase over the years: Charmed. (Look, the packaging is just otherworldly, okay? It’s the Book of Shadows, you guys. The Book of Shadows. It’s enchanting. Get it. Because it’s Charmed. Never mind.) And following in Kelsey’s footsteps, who wrote a fantastic post about Halloween movies and TV shows to watch this month, I decided to write about what has been one of my favorite shows since I was six. Let’s #NetflixAndThrill!

See, I started watching Charmed a really long time ago, back when it premiered in Spain in 1999. Looking back, and being familiar with the entire show by now, I was alarmingly young to be so fascinated by witchcraft, demons, magical potions and so on, but I just didn’t care. I just wanted to be Piper Halliwell. I couldn’t relate to any of the three sisters (Paige wasn’t around back then) at that moment, but I had a clear idea of how I wanted to be when I grew up. Piper was strong, mature and badass, but also really vulnerable, sensitive and “the heart of this family” (Season 3, Episode 15 “Just Harried”). She had, from season one, an epic and forbidden love story with a whitelighter, which made it all even more exciting. She was the manager at a restaurant and later on bought her own club, for God’s sake. When I re-watch the show now, I’m aware that Piper never really had her life together – she was no different from her sisters in that aspect. But back then, it sure did seem like she did, so I wanted so badly to be her. But I was six, and they were all in their mid-twenties, so I couldn’t really relate to any of them.

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Fast forward seventeen years. I’m 22, turning 23 in a couple of months. Just like Phoebe when she came back to the Halliwell Manor that night in 1998. She’d done something that I wouldn’t have had the guts to: she’d left her family behind to go to NYC to live her life and only came back because she was broke. I didn’t really like her as a kid exactly for the same reasons I see myself in her now: she had no idea what she was doing most of the time or where she wanted her life to go. The earlier seasons, when it comes to Phoebe, are just a portrait of her journey to finding herself and her passion. She was restless, reckless even, impatient, sharp, the kind of smart that doesn’t come from the books. She was always very creative and very sensitive towards others’ emotions, too (which probably comes from the fact that, as a power, she could read people, something that I can kind of relate to as well – but more on that some other day). She was also very passionate and a very dedicated person when it comes to love. And could never see her then boyfriend’s faults. Like the fact that he was the Source of All Evil. No biggie.

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My favorite sister is still, and will always be, Piper, but this life-altering piece of news has given me a new-found insight into the very often overlooked (I plead guilty) character of Phoebe Halliwell. She was never just a madcap who fled San Francisco as a rebellious act. She may have been a rebel, but the truth is she was young and quite lost in life, which is entirely normal and will happen to most of us at some point. If it happened to her, it means it really does happen to the best ones. So Phoebe, sorry for not fully appreciating you when I was a child. I’m sure this apology that is almost 20 years late really means a lot to you as a fictional character, right? Thought so.

Whoever it is, know that you should be proud nevertheless! They were all extremely badass women, and I feel very lucky to have grown up watching them kick ass on TV.

 

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  1. I was a grown woman when I watched Charmed and had been practicing Wicca for over 25 years. Phoebe was the character who annoyed the crap out of me she was in my eyes arrogant, spoiled and made me grind my teeth. I identified with Prue the one who had everything on her shoulders the grown up of the sisters. I was pretty angry when she was killed off. I did enjoy watching Piper have to move from being the middle peace keeper sister to the oldest she had the most character development at least in my eyes.

    I recently re watched the series I am now almost 60 and going through life changes that come as we age and I now find Phoebe almost unwatchable until later seasons when she does grow up. I think age does play a part in what characters we like and don’t like. And that can change as we age and our life experiences make us different people.

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