Is it just me or is Ghost Whisperer strangely appealing? The wholesome drama about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Melinda trying to help the dead tie up their unfinished ends on this earthly plain isn’t the best written, best acted or terribly original show of the last few years–but it definately doesn’t try to be. Which is part of its strange charm, and the reason why it’s grabbed a spot on F-Rated this week.
We’ve all seen the scenario before, yet in different circumstances. Melinda has special powers that enable her to help out the needy ghostly–while Touched-By-An-Angel-ing their living families. Every episode starts out with the ethereal seeking out Melinda for some worldly aid (though usually not intentionally). As the episode progresses she gets a little too involved in her haunting of the week, seeks out the dead’s family, asks them to clear up some badgering issue that’s keeping their loved from hopping into the light, and packs up the issue quite neatly by minute 60.
You’d think the help on a ghost-by-ghost basis situation would get old after the first few weeks, but it never really has. At least not yet anyway. The interesting thing about the show is that Melinda’s past is still fairly clouded in mystery–we know her childhood was a bit tumultuous, she inherited her powers from her Grandma, and that her dad left her when she was a young girl. She also seems to have a pesky over-identify complex that causes her to become strangely judgemental when dealing with the dead ones. Think Izzy Stevens from Grey’s Anatomy, minus the surgical garb. The backstory is a mild (excuse the pun) backbone for the show, keeping viewers coming back, but there’s more to it than that. The fact that her life is strangely picturesque, minus of course, her ghostly encounters is also a big draw.
She owns a posh little antique store in the centre of town, which apparently makes enough business to stay afloat, despite the fact that she opens and closes erratically and barely ever works there. Her shiny red Jeep is a ride to be dreamed about, and her husband is equally drool-inducing. The little flash moments we see of the couple together are endearing; the show isn’t made to house marital drama–it really is all about the ghost victims and telling their stories. In other words, it has such a good heart that’s its ridiculously hard to not like it once you sit through an hour.
On top of all of that, GW actually makes the very risky, sacrificial move of displacing its heroine from the centre of attention on an ep by ep basis and opts instead to tell the stories of the lost ones from the other world. It has so much of a heart infact, that we could almost undeniably assume that Melinda’s pseudo-perfect non-ghost-related life is a strategic move from writers to clear plot pathways of excess worldly baggage that could potentially deter from the power of the ghost stories.
In a TV landscape that’s inundated by overzealous character glutton, some parts are written so arrogantly that audiences find themselves disliking lead roles (a problem plaguing characters like Meredith Grey this season). It’s nice that this show is giving back, and getting to the root of storytelling: exposing the plight of the rest of living world. And of course, some unliving as well. A B-Rate for Ghost Whisperer’s TV Benevolence seems aptly generous.
How does F-Rated work?
Sir Linksalot: Ghost Whisperer