Ok, I know I'm going to make a lot of fans mad. But hear me out.
With this series, I have a really hard time suspending my disbelief enough to get into it.
Disbelief that some people have extra-sensory gifts and bizarre and creepy things happen?
No. Actually I LOVE that stuff.
When the series Miracles came out in 2003, I ate it up. The fact that it starred the incredibly edible Angus Macfadyen was just peanut butter spread on my 'nana sammich.
I was bummed when it abruptly got canceled after only 10 episodes, and had a brief moment of ecstasy when the DVD of the whole series came out which included the last 3 unaired episodes...at least I had a tiny bit of closure.
I can't suspend my disbelief enough to identify with anything in Ghost Whisperer at all.
When the show Medium became a phenomenal hit on NBC in January 2005, another network had to get in with the concept to rake up some of the audience-interest profit.
That's nothing new---think Wipe Swap/Trading Spouses, Super Nanny/Nanny 911, Knot's Landing/Falcon Crest, Dallas/Dynasty, Magnum PI/Matt Houston. Some networks have been franchising on themselves--Law and Order, CSI, etc, and the list goes on. Nobody seems to have an original idea any more.
Now I'm not some closed-minded dort who is an either/or person, like those who got snotty over the ER/Chicago Hope thing (ER was "entertainment", Chicago Hope was for people who "think"). I liked both series. Their initial promo ads were almost identical, but they turned out to be very different shows.
But fer pete's sakes, if the creators of Ghost Whisperer had to ride Medium's coattails, could they have at least tried to avoid the tired cliches and "formula" plotting? And what does it say about us as an audience when we just fall all over it?
In the last few years, in my opinion, the really interesting shows have been based on flawed characters, not perfect plastic people. Like Lost, House, M.D., etc.
Although the concept of Medium is "supposedly" based on the life of real-life psychic Allison Dubois, I suspect that the only thing they really have in common is the name of the central character.
That said, in a brief recap----Allison (played by Patricia Arquette) is a housewife and mother to 3 increasingly bratty and pudding-faced kids. Her hubby is some kind of research wonk who doesn't earn enough for them to be financially comfortable. He is at turns supportive and petty.
She has big boobs, but they are big mommy boobs that are proportionate to the rest of her mommy body. Allison has a realistic and limited mommyish career wardrobe consisting of polyester pantsuits and blouses that strain at the seams, but she's comfortable in that and herself, and sexy as hell at home in bed with hubby with her snuggly oversized t-shirt.
I can visualize her life, and when dead people start showing up for help, well, it isn't that much of a stretch to believe it could happen.
The show is a huge success for NBC. So CBS scrambles like heck to get it's own supernatural show and comes up with a slick piece of work with the uber original name of Horse Whisperer. No, I'm sorry, that's a Robert Redford movie about a guy who talks to horses. Dog Whisperer? oops. That's the guy on the National Geographic channel who talks to dogs.
Formula: Couple that is too perfect for words
Beautiful, bland and boring Melinda Gordon (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts) is married to an equally beautiful, bland and boring man.
He's so boring I don't even know what his name is. Thad? Storm? Ridge? Throw in a couple of cute and quirky attributes--to try to make them seem like real folks---he's trying to restore their house, except that he can't fix anything properly (but he looks adorable doing it), and she talks to dead people (and looks equally adorable doing it).
You can't imagine either one ever having cabbage stuck in their perfect dental work or farting at the dinner table.
She conveniently owns an antique shop (lots of haunted objects for future adventures!), so it's only "natural" that she should wear vintage, low-cut, gauzy, froofy, retro-victorianish dresses that showcase the real star of the show: Her boobs!
Ok, I admit, I haven't watched much of the second season, and maybe all the articles and jokes out there have made the producers rethink all the titty shots that were de rigueur in the first season. But it seems as if the camera panned up over the boobs to get a shot of Melinda's pensive face with almost comic regularity.
My hubby calls it a "Hewitt Hooter" shot.
Formula: Must have a stereo-typical and politically correct side-kick (meaning any of these side-kicks could have been the star and made it more interesting)
First a black woman (played by the gorgeous Aisha Tyler, who I hope gets a starring vehicle of her own soon instead of the supporting characters she's been playing) was her business partner and side-kick. They killed Aisha off when a airliner fell on her at the end of the first season.
Now her new business partner and side-kick is a chubby white single mother (played by another actress I adore, Camryn Manheim).
I predict they're going to kill her off at the end of this season in an equally improbable accident (frozen blue toilet water chunk from the Concorde falls out of the sky and smashes her on the noggin while she waters her begonias?), making room for JLHB's next business partner and side-kick who will be a gay asian man (played by the fabulous B.D. Wong).
He'll get squashed like a bug when an evil antique armoire falls on him.
The next business partner and side-kick will (pick race and gender) drive a wheelchair and have mad computer skills, because gosh-darn-it that's what young TV people in wheelchairs are good at! This character will probably have an untimely demise by falling on the subway tracks and getting zapped by the third rail when pushed by a 12 year-old who is possessed by the spirit of Idi Amin.
And so on, and so on.
Did I leave anybody out? Oh yes, anorectic bimbo socialites. I'm sure in a few years it will politically correct to throw Nicole Ritchie or Paris Hilton a bone after their 15 minutes are over. I might even stick around long enough to see one of them choke to death on a haunted ham and swiss on rye.
I think the reason I dislike this show the most is because Melinda Gordon reminds me of a Confidential Intermediary. And a bad one at that.
When birth parents and adoptees search for each other, some states (and parts of Canada) require an intermediary process.
What that means is that the adoptee will have a conversation with the CI, who will then tell his/her version of it to the birth parent, editing information as he/she sees fit. Then the CI will do the same with the birth parent. And back and forth and back and forth until the CI decides it's "safe" to let these adults actually talk to each other by themselves without being censored.
I've heard of many reunions that have started out on the wrong foot at the hands of inept CI's who put their own "spin" on things. It's like a game of telephone gone bad.
But I digress.
Anyway, a conversation with the dead on Ghost Whisperer goes something like this.
Newly Dead Person: "Please tell him that I'm so sorry I had to leave him. Tell him that he was the best thing that ever happened to me. He made my life worth living. I know he's struggling with this, but he can keep me in his heart and move on with his life. Let him know that I'm by his side watching over him, and that I'm ok. We'll be together again some day."
Jennifer Love Hewitt's Breasts: "She says she's proud of you."
"She's proud of you"?
This is the very last communication these two will ever have in this dimension and you have to water it down to one freaking sentence? That's NOT WHAT SHE SAID!
Ok, ok, technically I know that there are time constraints in TVLand and having Melinda repeat word for word what the newly dead person said would cut into the Cialis and Carls, Jr. advertising space. But every single time she does this I have an urge reach through the screen and grasp her around her perfect throat.
And shake her like a terrier with a rat.
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