I Dream of Jeannie is a sitcom television series that premiered in 1965. Besides the fact that television historians generally argue that the 1950s was a decade of the domestic sitcom, commercial TV in the 1960s was characterized by a couple of programs that combined aspects of science fiction and fantasy with the primary sitcom format. A close analysis of I Dream of Jeannie reflects the changing gender roles. The TV acted as arguably the essential medium in the 1960s when the United States was experiencing political, social, and cultural transitions. The TV shows reflected the cultural norms within society by reflecting on gender roles. 

The ABC series Bewitched, the second-most viewed TV show in 1964, and director Sidney Sheldon was focused on creating a TV show based on that premise. Bewitched and The Brass Bottle profoundly inspired I Dream of Jeannie. Although it reached a point where the series appeared to have run its course, a strange thing was about to happen, which would make I Dream of Jeannie more popular than it had ever been during its original run, syndication. I dream of Jeannie being on the air because of syndication. 

How did I dream of Jeannie changing 1960s TV?

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The show I Dream of Jeannie significantly influenced both the entertainment industry and society in the 1960S. The show was much of its time trying to navigate between pre-feminist rumblings and represent women in traditional roles. In the 1960s, the United States was full of revolutionary movements in pop culture and counterculture. Entertainment was one of the ways in which people expressed their views. The show could have only existed where and when it did, during the period of the women’s movement. 

Whether or not Jeannie’s sexist premise has been the subject of conversation from critics to feminists to celebrities for an extended period. Jeannie obeys every command given by her husband, reflecting what many women of the time did to their husbands. Submissive to every command given by their husbands.  However, the majority of the audience believed that the show was sexist because of the role played by Barbara Eden.  In addition, I Dream of Jeannie culture significantly filled viewers with negative perceptions of Muslims. However, in an interview, Barbara Eden said that the show was never sexist, although she obeyed Larry Hagman’s command. 

Jeannie serves as a representative of regressive sexism. Even though she was an empowered character, Jeannie’s submissiveness was because of her status as a genie. The show demonstrated an example of a woman who was empowered and confident but in control. I Dream of Jeannie was guilty of exoticism; thus, not all critics were wrong about it.

Despite the active women movements in the 1960s, I Dream of Jeannie culture was yet to catch up with feminist thought. The show has been criticized for its fundamental element of portraying Jeannie as a mighty woman subservient to an incompetent man. However, that was the status quo of the time. I Dream of Jeannie culture was a reflection of what was happening in society. 

How did Barbara Eden get the role of Jeannie?

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Barbara Eden’s success in the show comes from her superb acting skills. Barbara Eden’s acting was top-notch, and that is why she was the best suited to act Jeannie’s role. It is undeniable that Barbara Eden as Jeannie was iconic in the show, and her work was something to behold. Besides her character being reduced to a mere blonde in sexy costumes, it is an unfair assessment for a character who had the entire show on her back with her comedic wit for five seasons. Barbara Eden’s success was supported by her effortless and well-natured humor that kept viewers engaged. She stood to be one of the few actors in the media of her time who questioned their position in man’s world. The presumed servitude to men, which most viewers criticized, was a humorous game she played.

The reasons why I Dream of Jeannie was successful. 

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I Dream of Jeannie was and remains one of the most successful and loved shows on syndicated TV. Although it only ran for five seasons, I Dream of Jeannie continued to be aired in reruns for years and found many fans across borders and several generations. The show had magic on its side, and the cast had to go through real-life experiences of their own. During its five-year run on the NBC network, I Dream of Jeannie received a moderate rating due to frequent period changes. To increase its TV rating, NBC ordered the director of the program, Sidney Sheldon, to Marry Jeannie and Larry Hagman. 

I Dream of Jeannie exited the air after 139 episodes and was offered to independent TV stations in early 1971. This was when the show started to flourish. The show became one of the most top-rated syndicated shows in the 1970s. The success of I Dream of Jeannie can be attributed to syndication. Leasing broadcasting rights to several TV stations made the show attract more audiences, which profoundly contributed to its success in the 1970s. 

I Dream of Jeannie culture perfectly defined an era that was socially confusing. The impact that I Dream of Jeannie culture had on people’s lives contributed to its success. Jeannie influenced many people by questioning men’s assumed authority while portraying nonconforming relationships and undermining the stifling manly and feminine ideas of the time. 

Why was I Dream of Jeannie taken off the air?

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The 1960s show brought a new type of love story on television. However, the show did not meet its expectations and was later called off in 1970. According to Barbara Eden, marrying Larry Hagman and Jeannie ruined the show. Their wedding brought years of sexual tension between the two characters, a move that negatively affected the show’s flow.

Barbara Eden said in an interview that the fun of the show was the sexual tension between Hagman and Jeannie, and once they got married, the show had nothing to air. This led to a significant drop in ratings, which led to the cancellation of the show. The show writer played a role in the demise of the I Dream of Jeannie because of the fateful storyline. Divorcing Jeannie and Hagman would not salvage the show; the network brass would not budge. With their marriage, their relationship changed, and the show lost much of its fun. In its fifth year, the I Dream of Jeannie was canceled.