If you’ve been watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – the dark new reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch on Netflix – you’ll know that there’s a lot to unpack in a clever show which blends campy horror with genuine menace. From Sabrina’s witch trial for her “breach of promise” (being put on trial for running away at the moment of “consummation” has obvious parallels with important discussions around consent) to the various weird characters sneaking around Greendale, it’s a show that throws up a whole load of cryptic allegories and unravelling plots. Very confusing stuff for a TV binging sesh, but luckily there’s an accompanying snack to guide us through the melee of mystery: Sabrina’s house-bound cousin Ambrose Spellman.
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It’s only fair, really, that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina features lighter relief; mainly in the form of a very chiselled man who lounges about his house in a silken kimono. Wearing his luxury garments with the carefree abandon of somebody who just watched the Nigella Christmas special and became inspired by her late-night trips to eat cheesecake in the middle of the night (aka. the witching hour), Ambrose Spellman isn’t just the most alluring midnight snack in town because of his ultra-high thread count jim-jams. Neither is Ambrose Spellman a snack just because he happens to be the fittest 90-year-old in the entire world – he’s a warlock stuck in a young man’s body, ok, and that’s just the way it is. And though it also helps tenfold that he’s in possession of a British accent custom made for playing a bumbling romantic in a Jane Austen adaptation, to merely reduce Ambrose Spellman’s snackosity to his admittedly considerable hotness would be to miss the point. No, Ambrose Spellman is a snack for far more complex reasons.
In order to ponder the essence of Ambrose Spellman’s intersections with snackdom, we must first mull upon another matter. What, exactly, constitutes a snack? Well. A precious source of joy, like a perfectly crisped hula-hoop held aloft, a morsel of chocolate stealthily gobbled during a work meeting that never ends, a snack often possesses a vague, intangible quality of mischievousness. In the manner that a long forgotten bag of sweet ‘n’ salty popcorn winks from the back of the cupboard, a snack in human form can bring a portable oasis of calm to any moment, no matter how chaotic.
Remember when Sabrina was in a right to-do about whether she should become a witch or not? It was Ambrose who wafted onto the porch in his infamous kimono to offer a word of wisdom. Given that he’s 90, he has clearly seen some shit in his time, and so of course he knew all about the malum malus apple that hangs on the oldest tree in the Greendale orchard. And of course he then helped a pal out by imploring her to go and munch on the apple in question; get this man a gold Blue Peter badge for his snack-like generosity. Preferably, request that fellow snack Matt Baker award it to him.
Then there’s also another element to consider; Ambrose Spellman, with his name that sounds a bit like the UK’s leading brand of custard, holds delicious depths. Being under house arrest for initially mysterious reasons doesn’t stop Ambrose from organising secret sexual dalliances with visiting warlocks, and when it comes to dating, he conducts himself in a thoroughly snack-like manner, travelling through an ENTIRE ASTRAL PLANE and risking everything in order to go on a date.
When most Tinder swipes don’t even bother to show up to ‘Spoons on time, this represents an absolutely extraordinary amount of effort for a suitor; not to mention that Ambrose finds an inspired loophole through which he can escape the confines of his house. Namely, this leads us to one conclusion – we stan a crafty pan-sexual snack.
Y’all complaining about salem when we have ambrose spellman lounging like a full necromancer snack in only silk robes and kissing cute boys smh pic.twitter.com/QAzGLRD8mP
— Dartagnan Anton Llorens 🗳 (@Dartagnan_Llore) October 31, 2018
Ambrose’s final transfiguration into snack status arrives in episode eight, when he faces the ultimate test of his loyalty. I’ll keep things nice and vague so as not to spoil the show for anyone who’s not quite up to date, but Ambrose is offered two choices: categorically shady selfishness vs. the risk of losing everything. And you can probably guess which path lovely sweet Ambrose chooses, can’t you? A snack never disappoints.
Additionally, a snack never sulks. Imprisoned in a mortuary containing a variety of occupational hazards, poor Ambrose hasn’t been dealt the nicest hand. As if being forced to live under the same room as anti-snack misery Aunt Zelda, who – let’s not mince our words here – needs to absolutely grow up, isn’t bad enough, he also battles occupational hazards every episode.
And does Ambrose let it get to him? No. Instead he sweeps grandly around the house, cheerfully assisting with Sabrina’s spells and musing about poetry, with all the campy majesty that only a few can truly possess. What a snack. What an actual snack.