Saturday, November 12, 2005

TV REVIEW: Ghost Whisperer: "On the Wings of a Dove"

You know something? I had forgotten TV could be this dumb. I thought this level of stupidity stopped being broadcast years ago. Apparently not.

This supernatural TV program, hilariously called Ghost Whisperer (and airing on CBS Friday nights at 8:00 pm), exists primarily to satisfy all those viewers still in mourning over the cancellation of Touched by An Angel or Highway to Heaven. Yes, that broad swath of middle America that includes mostly overweight, middle-aged women who collect angel figurines.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not a thing. It's just not my cup of tea, let me put it that way.

You see, I can't take a show like this seriously. Every pretentious line of dialogue and sincere, compassionate stare just makes me crack up. Even the title is unintentionally funny. Ghost Whisperer? Hmmm, did anybody stop to think that "Whisperer" is a descriptor that has so far been linked to animals, as in The Horse Whisperer, or The Dog Whisperer? Applying the terminology to the afterlife is ridiculous, insipid and insulting. Are ghosts just like harmless little puppies? Or more like stubborn colts? You tell me, spunky little Jennifer Love Hewitt!

Perhaps all new television shows should herewith be re-named to include the descriptor "Whisperer." The West Wing should be re-named Oval Office Whisperer. Lost should be re-titled Island Whisperer. Prison Break could be called Jail Whisperer. That somebody actually imagined we could take seriously a show saddled with this ludicrous title just proves how hilariously out of touch Hollywood is. And yet -- spank me!!! -- this is apparently the number # 1 show on Friday nights. Still, I just can't bring myself to say to my wife, "hurry up, 'Ghost Whisperer' is coming on..."

But I kid Ghost Whisperer. (Gosh, I love typing that title...)

Here's the plot of last night's installment "On the Wings of a Dove:" Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is apparently capable of communicating with the dead, and so a shirtless, vaguely Hispanic-looking ex-con ghost who died in her husband Jim's ambulance (he's an EMT, you see...) latches on to Jim (David Conrad). This begins to make him act cranky. At first, Melinda thinks Jim's just not that into her anymore, but then realizes hubby's got a monkey (er, ghost...) on his back. So she learns from the spirit that he needs forgiveness from the parents of a man he accidentally killed. When that doesn't work out, Melinda realizes that the spirit can "pass on" to the next world only if he makes peace with his own family: a wife and young son. With Jim's help, she facilitates the spirit's ascent to the afterlife.

And so we get a long, syrupy story wherein everybody is healed because Melinda passes on the ghosts's heartfelt message of forgiveness. Yes, all the characters in the drama learned to laugh at life again!

Gag me.

With a spoon.

Even really bad supernatural shows (like Supernatural...) at least try to appear a little spooky. There's some attempt at mood (mist, night shooting, anything...), so I was shocked at how totally plastic, fake and BRIGHT Ghost Whisperer appears...as though the creators know they are catering to an audience that can't stand the least little bit of ambiguity or reality. Nope, it all has to exist in a perfect, protected, affluent consumer bubble of designer clothes, streetside cafes, boutiques and high-end furniture. And storywise, it must concern earnest Jennifer Love Hewitt's angsty "grappling" with her gift. Based on last night's episode, I'd say she needs to grapple with her hair-stylist (is it a wig or what? It looks terrible...). First things first, Jennifer...

Why am I so hard on Ghost Whisperer when I can give Supernatural, Night Stalker, The X-Files, Buffy or A Haunting the benefit of the doubt? Well, I can make a case-by-case argument for any of those shows, but not a one of 'em so blatantly reduces matters of life, death and spirituality to something so safe, predictable, harmless and frickin' boring as the equation stewed up here, which is an unholy hodgepodge of New Age "forgiveness" and Christian afterlife principles. The prevailing wisdom seems to be that the dead remain in our world because they somehow failed to live up to a Christian moral code in life, and once they pass on their messages of "acceptance," "forgiveness" and the like, they can just hop an elevator to Heaven, going straight up.

Let me whisper this: I don't know if there is a God. Or a cosmic intelligence. Or a spiritual presence. I'm not closed minded or anything, and I do have my own spiritual beliefs. But if there is a God in the traditionally-accepted sense, I just can't imagine that he/she/it will operate by such a simplistic cause-and-effect (and Western-minded) set-of-principles. I mean, I don't think we could ever fathom the mechanisms and logic of God. I just don't. And you know what? We shouldn't even try to do so. We have better things to do here on this planet than trying to second-guess the Divine (hear that Pat Robertson?). And so programs like Ghost Whisperer only reduce the spiritual and metaphysical mysteries of our existence to trite little meaningless parables that allow viewers to wallow in the smug superiority that they know the right way to live. Instead of raising questions about faith, religion, spirituality and the afterlife, Ghost Whisperer just wants to...re-assure people of things they already take for granted, and more so, to do it between commercials.

If I want whispering in the supernatural genre, I'll just rent Sixth Sense again. Now there was a kid who knew how to whisper...

From now on, call me The Blog Whisperer! Or don't.

Ever.

15 comments:

  1. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Hahaha! This was a great review! You should hate stuff more often!! Not that I thrive off of hate but this was just a really funny post.

    A ghost show that doesn't even seem to attempt being creepy is lame. It shouldnt even have the word "ghost" in the title then.

    You should do weekly reviews of "Ghost Whisperer"... it may be painful for you but oh so entertaining for me!

    -Jordan

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  2. Hey Jordan,

    Your wish is my command! I will be blogging upcoming episodes of Ghost Whisperer right here. At least for a while...

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  3. What are you talking about. Ghost whisperer is the best. You are so negative. Whatever, everybody has their own opinion and yours is wrong!!!!

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  4. Ghost whisperer is brilliant. You dont know what you are on about and you dont know what good tv is. I know what you think you wrote about it is funny but it isnt!!!!!!

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  5. Anonymous10:05 PM

    So saaaaaaaadddddddddd I am late for this. The guy who wrote about it is basic, shallow, ridicolous and the type of guy who must surely have two frogos hopping inside his head. If you do not believe in ghosts or in the capacity of communicating with the dead..ok. But Please!! A little respect!!!! Well, I really do not know why to waste my time in someone like you... Surely the only series you like are Beavis and Butthead or maybe those basic and disgusting rockers from MTV

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  6. Anonymous11:35 PM

    Even though I am a huge fan of Ghost Whisperer, I couldn't help laughing my ass off at your blog.
    I mean.
    It's so true in so many ways, yet, it's so strangly addicting.

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  7. Anonymous7:48 AM

    I just read your comments on the show Ghost Whisperer and even if I have read stupid comments before from other idiots like yourself, you have won the prize. Your are clearly the definition of a true ASS !!!

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  8. Anonymous10:22 AM

    Ah, personal attacks from fans of Ghost Whisperer.

    Frankly, I'm amazed they can type, let alone figure out how to use the Internet!

    Keep on going, Muir!!!

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  9. Anonymous8:40 PM

    rwGhost whisperer is the best. If you don't like it don't watch it.

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  10. Anonymous6:39 PM

    Touched by An Angel was one of the greatest shows ever produced for TV!! Ghost Whisperer is right up their in the same category! What wrong would you rather have our children watch people killing each other and a other such negative shows? You got it wrong and need to be a big enough person to admit it!

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  11. Anonymous7:54 AM

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I don't think you gave ghost whisperer a chance. It is a really good show and I agree I would rather our children watch shows like ghost whisperer instead of all the sex, foul language and gorey shows that are on now. I think Jennifer Love Hewitt has real winner with this show.

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  12. Well, a lot of folks have commented here to defend Ghost Whisperer, and I say god bless 'em (at least the ones who haven't resorted to personal attacks; to those who do let me just say, you don't buttress your case...).

    If you like the series, keep watching. The show is obviously a hit, and I'm in the minority for disliking it. I don't think the series is for me, but obviously it has inspired devotion for many and if you enjoy it, watch.

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  13. Anonymous8:29 PM

    i see dead people

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  14. Anonymous8:32 PM

    i like it ! but it just a show no one said it was real plues maybe it is like touched by an angel or other show but hey arent all movie and show basicly the same cat just a diffent color?

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  15. *Giggles* I just finished watching Ghost Whisperer and it cracked me up. They always have the sappy teary bit at the end where they forgive each other and everything is bright and sunny again. I was searching for a picture of the topless tattoo guy 'cause I've seen him on CSI before and I wanted to show Hannah who I meant when I stumbled on this.
    I, myself do not believe in ghosts. It's just something vain people believe in so they don't have to feel so guilty when someone close to them dies. I mean the cold whisp of air and feeling the presence of a person who is no longer alive, come on people!
    But my Mother likes this show and it makes me laugh. If pepole really want to loose brain cells and get teary eyed about something that is not physically possible, be my guest.
    I did used to belive in this though when I was younger. It helped when my cat died but since then I have learned the truth. You can't protect yourself from the pain and lies forever.
    Anyways, I just re-read that and I sound really mean. No offence people who like this show. I do watch it afterall. Just don't belive(I know I've said believe like 4 times) in the aspects. Enjoy.

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