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TV Review: Ghost Whisperer

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OHHHHHHHHHH BOY! Where to begin on this? Well it stars Jennifer Love Hewitt as a medium, a la James Van Praagh. Actually he’s the producer on the show. I wonder if he’ll make small cameos like he did in this summer’s mini-mini-series (it was that small) "Living with the Dead", which was his semi-autobiography. Praagh could be spotted playing the organ in a church. You could miss him if you blinked.

Ok back to the review at hand. JLH stars as Melinda Gordon, a medium living a seemingly perfect life. She has a loving fresh brand-new husband unit, a small store with Aisha Tyler playing her employee and good friend Andrea Moreno. From the pilot she seems to be the plot device for Melinda to explain what goes on when she has her super-natural dilemmas.

Melinda, we learn in a short back-story presentation, has had this gift since birth and so does her grandmother and together they work to connect the dead to the living so they can say their goodbyes and go in peace. And it was a sweet scene, in the church, with a younger and confused Melinda transmits a widow’s husband’s last words of goodbye by whispering them in her ear and the new widow weeps with joy.

Then we cut to what is the most vomit-inducing opening credits scene I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s just horrible. It has pictures of JLH with horrible Barbie doll clothes and horrible Barbie doll hair and it just sells the show horribly. From all the promos and ads, I only got the feeling this would be Medium crossed with Touched by an Angel. A goody-goody show with a loving heart string tugging message at the end of each episode. The opening just makes it worse. But I keep watching anyway.

At her wedding, Melinda is dancing with her new hubby when in the window, a person’s breath appears and the tracing of an invisible finger, draws a compass rose. This is the first clue. The couple goes home, to their new home, a very old house in dire need of rebuilding. The couple itself is simply unbelievable. A just-married couple should be hornier than a ten peckered owl and yet we don’t even get a feel for chemistry between the two.

Then the makes-sense part is just thrown out the window. The couple is in bed, sleeping, with lit candles on the window sill with thin and highly flammable curtains blowing in the wind. Am I the only one who sees the insanity in this? But it gets even more non-sensical seconds later. And no I’m not talking about the candles being blown-out without the curtains moving. I expect this level of detail when dealing with the super-natural.

I’m talking about a bedroom scene with a just-married couple after making the beast with two backs and she gets out of bed wearing three layers of clothes. Who the hell has sweaty crazy monkey sex and then puts on three layers clothes and goes back to bed? Maybe it’s just me but I just don’t see that happening. And I doubt it’s because the show is most likely targeted at a family audience, because the next night she’s sleeping alone and now she has a sexy pyjama-thingy going on. Author shakes head in confusion at these simple in your face mistakes. Not that I needed to see JLH in her jamies – though it wouldn’t bother moi, it’s just that if you’re gonna show it, do it right.

But anyhow, she gets a visitation from a dead-looking Viet-Nam era dressed soldier who doesn’t know where he is. The dead guy is played by none other than Wentworth Miller, star of Fox’s Prison Break.

The next morning she comes in to her store and she’s received a package, clue number two. It’s a big military compass. She and Andrea got to lunch, where she tells Andrea that they never visit her at home. “That’s not how it works”, she tells her.

So her adventure begins for her to meet dead-guy again where she learns he died in a chopper crash and his last thought was that he would never hold his son. Melinda quickly finds the son, through a series of coincidences and guides (A dog running across the street, for example). Along the way, other ghosts are met and are guided or guide the loved ones left behind, via Melinda. Eventually the Dead-guy meets his son by proxy of Melinda and he can now rest. That’s how the pilot ends, with Dead-guy and Melinda at the cemetery for his own funeral after his body was found. Not a second after Dead-guy goes to the light that a family of grievers are seen around a grave. The father looks back at Melinda, comes closer and creepily asks: “You can see us?” Fade to black.

I honestly don’t know what to make of this show. It’s too goody-goody and at the same time, treats on a subject matter that’s always interested me. JLH isn’t the best actress but she’s just lovable and huggable. The content seems like it was filtered through the Touched by an Angel formula and yet has an ever so little, but present feel of eeriness. It’s too cutesy, nice and feel-good, but still it works. As a whole it’s bland and formulaic and yet captivating at the same time. I want to hate it, but just can’t bring myself to. But I’m a guy who can easily transition from Metallica’s Master of Puppets to Sarah McLachlin’s Solace in one listen. It all depends on my mood I guess.

I’ll give it a jury’s-still-out 3 outta 5.

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About David Desjardins

  • http://spacemanatlarge.scenejumper.com Ronald Vaughan

    Hey, keep reviewing “Ghost Whisperer” !
    I missed some of those fine points you
    described…interesting…

    The show has both plus and minus points
    …but if I weren’t a JLH admirer (and
    having written a parody song about her
    in the movie “Mayor of the Sunset Strip”)
    I would not be watching it…

    James van Praagh tries hard to convey
    the occult/psychic stories, but he’s no
    Peter Hurkos (deceased real-life psychic).

    One has to wonder: just HOW
    far-out can these occult stories get
    before the public won’t like them any
    more?

    With the glut of such programs,
    though, this one gets “A” for
    effort…Somehow it got to #1 in the
    network ratings two times in a row…
    I hope this isn’t a fluke!

  • http://mindblender1618.blogspot.com/ JELIEL

    Ronald, I wish I could. but I’m busy watching a lot of shows and reviewing them all to my liking would take up all of my free time and some of my sleep time. There’s just to much on this year.

    Plus going back to work after 8 months on leave, is taking it’s toll on me. I had gotten used to waking up at the crack of 3 or 4 in the afternoon… ugh!

    I will definitly try to get my hands on Mayor of the Sunset Strip and see what this is all about =)

  • http://spacemanatlarge.scenejumper.com Ronald Vaughan

    Thanks for your comments, and hope you
    enjoy “MAYOR OF THE SUNSET STRIP”.

    By now, GHOST WHISPERER has inexplicably
    made #1 FIVE TIMES IN A ROW (ONE WHOLE
    MONTH)!!

    And speaking of Peter Hurkos…he made
    for hire secret predictions for me on
    May 15, 1973. Including one that I’d
    get to know an “actress-singer-musician”
    …this is a secret I’d kept for years
    but now has been told (in Britain’s
    “Bizarre” Magazine, #99,page 99).

    Are ALL Dutch people psychic? Well,
    van Praagh sure has stumbled on SOMETHING that draws a big audience…
    the show however, should be 30 minutes..
    it drags on sometimes…and where’s more
    comedy relief?…it’s sometimes a bit
    “dark” with too much drama…

  • http://spacemanatlarge.scenejumper.com Ronald Vaughan

    Recently, “Ghost Whisperer” has dipped into
    bizarre violence…I’d hate it if this show
    suddenly dropped into a rut of trying to BE
    the JLH movie “I Know What You Did Last Summer”
    EVERY WEEK!

    What counts is the COMPASSION and SOPHISTICATION
    angle of the characters….VERY weird guest-star
    (or is that GHOST-star) characters are OK to
    serve a purpose…but not as a steady thing!

  • http://www.vespaquest.com Justene

    Yes! One ghost that can cause violence and interact w people can fly but it’s starting to be a weekly thing. Ugh. Flies in the face of that whisperer thing.

  • http://myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    “GW” seems to have stablized its format…However,
    how long can quality scripts be written?

    I can appreciate the work that goes into this
    esoteric show…but how many episodes like “The
    One” could be filmed? Above-average,but not
    possible to do every week?

    Jennifer Love Hewitt is doing a GREAT job in
    spite of the difficult task. Now, the only
    worry is to not fall into the rut of repetitive-
    ness.

    You’ve got to hand it to James van Praagh…he
    certainly IS a master story-teller with an
    ASTONISHING track-record of success!

  • http://myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    And I’m worried about changes made to the show.
    Such as “killing off” a supporting character…
    which seems to have happened in the cliffhanger
    episode. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, goes
    a popular saying.)

    Then, there’s that matter of the “sophomore jinx”.
    Can GW succeed where Joan of Arcadia failed?

  • http://jeliel3.blogspot.com JELIEL³

    Yeah well getting killed off in a show about a medium… it’s like Buffy/Angel, you always come back

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    Also, CBS seems to have made a 2nd mistake…that
    is, changing the day of repeat shows….so that
    “GW” has fallen to 74th [sic] place, and CBS-TV
    has finished 3rd in the current ratings (ABC is
    now 1st).

    I don’t know whether this bodes ill or not.

    But “GW” returns on September 22—exactly one
    year after it started. The only thing one can do
    is wait for the ratings to come in then….

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    CBS seems to have slipped!

    Though #1 in some areas,NBC seemed to up them
    on this Friday night…

    I personally was disappointed in the fact that
    “Andrea’s” character was killed off. The intro-
    duction of Jay Mohr’s character was good…

    but the “bloom might be off the rose” for “GW”
    and it’s going to have to avoid the “sophomore
    jinx” that stopped “Joan of Arcadia” cold….

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    And by now (Oct.13,2006) this show has more or
    less dropped to #2 in the ratings (instead of
    staying #1).

    The Oct.13 show I found to be like ONE LONG
    COMMERCIAL…because it concerned the ghost
    of an “autistic” male followed by TWO COMMERCIAL
    advertisements…one for “depression”; and one
    by JLH herself, for The Help Group (you know,
    they sometimes have that “Teddy Bear Ball”)

    BUT that charity is about so-called “autism”.

    A growing number of people (including Mr. Tom
    Cruise) feel that subjects like that are merely
    LABELS about people having problems in living,
    and NOT valid diseases. One does NOT have to
    believe in Mr. Cruise’s other views to acknowledge
    that.

    When a show has a topic that is then later echoed
    in a commerical ad within the show, this is get-
    ting to “blur the line”,so to speak…and isn’t
    that a conflict of interest? I see it as in poor
    taste.

    “Ghost Whisperer” needs to avoid over-commercial-
    ism as well as cheap horror effects. If it doesn’t
    then what COULD have stayed a fairly good ghost
    show could wind up on the cancellation heap!

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    I still have one other valid gripe against this
    show. Despite some good stories,and good acting,
    the show usually is TOO LONG!! After a full year,
    I still feel the same about this.

    It should be 30 minutes (except for certain episodes that need that extra time.) The action
    sometimes moves too slowly.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    Recently,”GW” had a musical theme…a 3-way
    conflict between a rock-musician son, his
    classical-loving (and rock-hating) dad-ghost,
    and jealous ex-band-mate ghost!

    This episode was above average…but,by now,it’s
    evident that the new characters are showing
    signs of wear…for example, Jay Mohr,a
    comedian,attempting a “straight” role…
    sometimes just doesn’t work and comes off
    wooden and two-dimensional…Oddly,this episode
    once again has “GW” back at #2…because the
    opponent show “Deal or No Deal” beat it out
    this time…

  • http://www,myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    A recent “GW” show once again,featured a
    commercial idea (a drug for “depression”)
    INSIDE a story line (thereby creating another
    conflict-of-interest),similar to my complaint
    of Oct.14,06 . Seems like every few shows
    they do this. Not good—as also are implications
    that a main character (“Jim”) is about to be
    killed off!

    I heard that CBS is a major funder of some of
    those drug companies! Also,not good.

    The show’s currently rated #1,but goofing
    around with the story line and characters,
    could unfortunately end that.

    “Ghost Whisperer” was a good idea to begin
    with; but I’ll be that,by its last show,it’ll
    be totally different from what it started out
    with!

  • JL

    Deal or No Deal is a crazy show. Common!! Ghost Whisperer and Deal or No Deal is 2 different shows. A gameshow and a drama. Why not have a competing same format show.

    I’ll go for Whisperer

    I hate Howie Mendel…

    This fall GW will face Men IN Trees… which will be a falling trees… after a big Whisper.. ahahahaha

  • mariana

    i love ghostwhisper it is my favorite movie i lovvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee it

  • Maxy

    Ghost Whisperer is essentially a vehicle for J.L.H’s boobs. The final three episodes of the series were supposed to finally satisfy critics who were calling for a developing storyline..instead what we got were story lines and characters from that would have made B-movies look good. The final few minutes of the final episode of Season Two where her paramedic husband sits back and watches her “die” while a bunch of children “bring her back to life” by laying on hands was too much to bear. Ghost Whisperer should have stuck with its Touched by an Angel format and left well alone. Mediums on the other hand manages story lines and realistic characters well…without resorting to soft porn shots of the female leads boobs!

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    Unfortunately, “Maxy” is becoming right…and
    “GW” is mutating into total nonsense…as
    opposed to other “occult” series…

    So…has “GW” really “jumped the shark” (passed
    its finest moment)?

    If so—then JLH staying on could actually hurt
    her career!

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    Jennifer Love Hewitt makes this show watchable, but as of October 12, 2007 (and re:my previous comment) I do believe that “GW” has indeed
    started repeating itself.The bloom may be off the rose:

    That episode was similar to the first show (involving military soldiers). Either the ghost of a dead soldier;or a living soldier haunted by ghost soldiers.

    Oddly,”GW”,on the Oct. 12 recent episode,slid to #2 in the ratings. “GW” had been #1 since its premiere.

    The concept was a good idea,but certain aspects of the occult can only see so much murky speculation and no more. (Have shows like this reached the saturation point? There are several by now!)

  • http://www.buyingone.com Christopher Rose

    I hate this type of show, which preys upon people’s feelings of hope, fear and love.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    Occasionally,this show does still have some
    bright moments.

    The Halloween episode was,for some reason,above-
    average. Despite the fact that it repeated:

    (1) reference to madness
    (2) reference to locking people in a burning
    building

    The story—that a whole town went mad from
    ergot (bread mold,that can be used to make LSD)
    poisoning “worked” because it was plausible.

    Rescuing the “Melinda” character from a cave
    was done well.

    Also, I sense that more work went into this
    episode because it was for a special occasion
    (Halloween.) First and last episodes of the
    season are of course,certainly to be of a higher
    quality…

    But “GW” now has first-time competition: the
    game show “Deal or No Deal”. And then,there’s
    the probablility of an entertainment-business
    strike at this moment.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    The 11/16/07 “GW” episode featured yet another
    death in the woods!

    Gee, I count about at least a dozen so far…
    that “woods” set ought to be made a tourist
    attraction or something as part of a “Ghost
    Whisperer” ride,LOL!!

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    I made my OWN prediction a while back. That “Ghost Whisperer” would go off the air suddenly, like its predecessor, “Joan of Arcadia”, in the
    midst of success.

    With the unlikely entertainment strike in full swing,”GW” is indeed scheduled to go into terminal repeats in January,2008.

    One wonders: is there some kind of REAL “karma” involved here?

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    On December 28, “GW” is going to repeat “The
    Curse of the Ninth” (that “musical” episode
    from last season.)

    I heard that,with the strike being prolonged,
    the last new episodes of this show will air
    in January,2008. Then,it would go into terminal
    repeats and be cancelled.

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    This show got an unexpected reprieve. Somehow it managed to get renewed, after the Writer’s Strike ended.

    BUT, it’s become a goulash of confused ideas… some may now ask,what’s the continued appeal of this show?

    Who knows what’ll happen next with this program?

  • R Vaughan

    Now,”GW” is back for a FOURTH season!

    But the writers are toying with the idea of doing away with a major character (as rumored)…

    I keep asking myself: At present, WHAT IS THE CONTINUED APPEAL OF THIS SHOW?

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    As of November 7,they FINALLY WENT AND DID IT… “killing off” the MAIN character of “Jim”… and then “re-incarnating” him in another man’s body, on the November 14 issue.

    This show is becoming INCREDIBLY MIXED-UP… and I wouldn’t dare to speculate what kind of an audience watches it now. I’ve seen blogs, though, by now-disgruntled fans who WON’T watch this one anymore!

  • R Vaughan

    And look,here comes more showbiz karma…a planned
    SAG strike might,of course,knock this show off the
    air AGAIN!!

    The “GW” stories now are much stranger than at the beginning. Just WHO watches this show?

  • http://www.myspace.com/ronaldvaughan Ronald Vaughan

    “Ghost Whisperer” has managed to spawn an entirely
    new genre of televison.

    Nighttime Occult Soap Opera. LOL!!