TV Land's I Dream of Jeannie: It's one of the great classics, a fantasy sitcom love story from yesteryear--1965, to be exact. It's a beloved show today, one people return to over and over despite its completely out of date social norms.
The story follows a US astronaut, Major Anthony Nelson (played by Larry Hagman), who finds a mysterious bottle containing a genie (Barbara Eden) on a beach after his aircraft lands far from where it's meant to. She rescues him from that far away island and he becomes her master. The show follows how what should be making his life easier--she grants wishes, after all!--actually ends up filling his life with hijinks and adventure. The show ended in 1970, but here are the top 5 episodes worth revisiting (and 10 worth avoiding).
10 Worst: “The Mod Party” (6.2/10)
The thirty-first episode of the second season of I Dream of Jeannie finds Jeannie and her master Major Anthony Nelson (Tony) with a conflicting social calendar. They had agreed to a meeting with Dr Alfred Bellows, but ended up being invited to a Mod party at Major Roger Healey’s house for the same time.
In order to get out of it, the two tell Bellows that they will be hunting. It all goes wrong when Bellows show up to the Mod party. Jeannie tries to solve the conflict by blinking Tony and Roger into Roman hunting outfits so their “hunting” lie is true.
9 Best: “A Secretary Is Not a Toy” (8.2/10)
Many of the highest (and two of the lowest) rated episodes of I Dream of Jeannie are all in the second season of the show. Apparently the thirty-one episodes were largely great, with a couple of rough flops.
In “A Secretary Is Not a Toy,” Jeannie uses her magic to infiltrate General Peterson’s office as his new secretary. She is suddenly very interested in trying to get Tony a promotion. However, she can’t pass the background check. A routine inquiry with the CIA leads to the reveal that there are no records of her. Tony has to quickly convince Jeannie to blink back home.
8 Worst: “Jeannie Goes to Honolulu” (6.2/10)
Tony and Roger have to take a trip to the North Pole…or so they tell Jeannie. To ensure that she won’t want to come with them, they tell her all sorts of lies and then secretly skip off to Honolulu. When she sees a photo of Tony surrounded by women in Waikiki, she blinks herself there to take her revenge.
Of course, Tony is prepared to mess with her then too. After another string of lies, he tries to send her home, but only manages to dig himself deeper into this hole. He tries to continue to enjoy Honolulu while sending Jeannie on increasingly ridiculous “missions.”
7 Best: “The Greatest Entertainer in The World” (8.3/10)
In this season two episode, Jeannie pushes Tony onto the entertainment committee for General Peterson’s birthday party. He tries to book Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr., but the star is booked for two shows a night and can’t make the party. Unfortunately, Tony and Roger tell Dr. Bellows before they realize the musician can’t make it, and they’re forced to improvise.
Of course, Jeannie manages to interfere: she duplicates the star. While the real Sammy Davis Jr. rehearses in his hotel room, the duplicate serenades the general with “That Old Black Magic.”
6 Worst: “Ride ‘Em Astronaut” (6.1/10)
In this season four episode, Jeannie becomes queen of the Cocoa Beach Rodeo after being the one-millionth customer at a local market. Jeannie tries to back out of it, but the greedy Roger pushes her into it because he’s hoping to collect some of the prizes. At the same time, Tony has been pressured to compete in the rodeo as “The Pinto Kid” by Dr. Bellows. Roger performs as a clown as well.
People who dislike the episode point out how different the tone is from the show’s normal behavior, and complain that the script is one of the weaker stories in the show.
5 Best: “My Master, The Great Caruso” (8.3/10)
Jeannie blinks Tony into having the voice of Enrico Caruso, the opera singer. She wants Tony to win a trophy for their perpetually empty shelves in the Air Force talent contest. Tony makes her promise to never give him the voice again, but of course, Dr. Bellows had heard it and wanted Tony to perform. Tony tries to get out of it by catching a cold and then taking himself hoarse, but Jeannie keeps fixing him to ensure the show can go on.
This episode is one of the best examples of Jeannie giving Tony an ability that then causes him a bunch of trouble and headache.
4 Worst: “Djinn Djinn, the Pied Piper” (6.1/10)
This episode marks the third appearance of Jeannie’s invisible and uniform-hating dog Djinn Djinn. He attacks Dr. Bellows as soon as he arrives. General Schaeffer’s pride and joy Jupiter, a Great Dane, is being trained in the park, and Djinn Djinn makes sure to interrupt it and wreak havoc. In the end, both the dogs are sent to the pound, where a frustrated worker has been torn to shreds by the magical dog. When General Schaeffer goes to retrieve his pup, he’s run over by a stampede of dogs.
Fans who dislike the episode generally just don’t like Djinn Djinn. The episodes including him generally rank low even now.
3 Best: “The Greatest Invention in the World” (8.3/10)
Roger is disappointed that he can’t be granted wishes by Jeannie, so Tony allows her to grant Roger one. In what becomes an insane comedy of errors, Roger wishes that he’d never spilled coffee on Tony’s jacket. Jeannie makes the jacket impervious to any type of destruction, and Dr. Bellows witnesses an increasing number of things that should damage the jacket, but don’t. He decides to try out destroying General Peterson’s uniform next.
This hilarious comedy of errors episode shows us how careful we have to be when making wishes with genies, lest we get more trouble than the wish was worth!
2 Worst: “There Goes the Best Genie I Ever Had” (5.6/10)
Even though season two has the top five most highly-rated episodes (and several more beyond that), it also somehow has the single worst-rated episode in I Dream of Jeannie history. No other episode in the show dips below a 6.1/10, so this one is a wild outlier.
The episode takes place on Haji’s birthday. As the most powerful of all the genies, he has the ability to send them away if their master is tired of them. Tony finds out and begins to reminisce on all the ways Jeannie has made his life harder as he contemplates sending Jeannie away. Obviously, he never does, but it’s no surprise that the threat is still upsetting, even 52 years after it originally aired.
1 Best: “The Birds and the Bees Bit” (8.4/10)
Tony reads a book and finds out that genies lose their powers if they marry a mortal. So, of course, he proposes to Jeannie so that she won’t have her powers anymore. Worried, she goes to Haji to find out what would happen if she married Tony. The powerful genie shows her a version of her future where Tony gets promoted to colonel after they marry. But then Roger asks what happens Tony and Jeannie have kids, and they find out that one of the kids would have magic. Since Tony doesn’t want the magic in the first place, this is a problem.
Jeannie spends the rest of the episode trying to keep Roger away from Tony so that he won’t find out. It’s one of the best because it’s the first time we really see the future these two lovebirds could have, but none of their sexual tension disappears. Everyone just wants the best for these two.