‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’: The Guest Stars That Made Salem ‘Say Dirty Words’

Sabrina, the Teenage Witch was a little show that did surprisingly well during the late ’90s and early 2000s.

The show was just the perfect mix of high school drama, the supernatural, and quirky family comedy that it made for delightful family viewing. Although the show went off the air more than fifteen years ago, people still talk about how much they loved it.

Most people agree that their favorite character was the wisecracking, talking cat, Salem. What many fans Don’t know is that one of the TV show‘s guest stars, Jason Schwartzman, actually made Salem swear. 

Salem had a complex backstory

 From the beginning, it was obvious that Salem wasn’t an ordinary cat. First, he talked. Second, he was very smart. Eventually, fans learned that Salem had a long and complex backstory.

They also learned that he wasn’t a cat at all and that his origins were far more complex than the average feline.

Salem wasn’t a cat

Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart)
Sabrina (Melissa Joan Hart) | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

One of the more shocking surprises fans of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch got was learning that the reason Salem was such an extraordinary cat was that he wasn’t a cat at all. He was a human, a witch called Salem Saberhagen. According to the Sabrina The Teenage Witch Fandom site.

The Witches Council had sentenced Salem to spend 100 years living as a cat and serving as Helga Spellman’s familiar. When the show premiered, Salem was 25 years into his sentence with another 75 years to go before he’d revert to human form. His progress is monitored by a parole officer who seems to think that Salem is learning his lesson.

A few episodes had plot lines that revolved around Salem’s human relatives discovering that he was a cat and how that information impacted their own lives.

Salem craved world domination

Throughout the show’s long run, Salem often came across as the most level-headed and reasonable soul living in the Spellman household. While he was sarcastic and never afraid to speak his mind, no matter how cutting the thoughts were, he was often exhibited that he had a good heart.

All of this makes the reason for his time as a cat startling. It turns out the Witches Council turned him into a cat to punish him after he decided he wanted total world domination.

As the series progressed, Salem fans learned that world domination was just one of the things Salem craved. Ultimate Pop Culture noted that Salem was often cooking up schemes to make millions, craved celebrity status, and looked for ways to return to human form before his sentence officially expired.

Salem also wrote episodes… sorta

Salem, well rather the voice of Salem, wrote for Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Robin Bakay stepped up to the mic whenever Salem needed to speak.

In addition to getting a voice credit for playing Salem, Bakay was also a member of the show’s writing team. IMDb states he wrote 12 episodes. Bakay’s wife, Robin, was also on the writing team and penned a single episode.

Jason Schwartzman and the swearing Salem


Purrfect Assets? What Happened When the CIA Trained Cats to Be Secret Agents

Related: Surprising Ways Your Cat Tells You, ‘I Love You’

Throughout the show’s run, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch remained mindful of the fact that they had young viewers and kept the dialogue fairly clean and G-rated. There was one exception. When Jason Schwartzman and his band, The Phantom Planet did a cameo on the show, he claims that they made Salem swear.

“Yeah, we asked the cat to say dirty words,” Jason said during an interview with the AV Club. “The cat was like, ‘Fuck this shit.’ Yeah, the best part was where the cat came in and swore.

Jason also explained that the reason he and his band cameoed on the show was that Melissa Joan Hart was a fan of the band.

What are your favorite Salem memories?