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Ghost Whisperer
Reviewed by Joe Crowe, © 2005

Format: TV
By:   John Gray (writer, director)
Genre:   Touchy-Feely Drama (With Ghosts)
Released:   Premiered September 23, 2005
Review Date:   September 26, 2005
RevSF Rating:   4/10 (What Is This?)

In Ghost Whisperer, Jennifer Love Hewitt can talk to the spirits of people who are dead but haven’t left the earthly plane yet. This is because they have to talk to people whom they left behind, and Jennifer is the only one who can relay the messages. It's The Sixth Sense, in other words, but instead of vulnerable little Haley Joel Osment you get hot Jennifer Love Hewitt, and instead of depressed Bruce Willis you get more hot Jennifer Love Hewitt.

The show begins when she’s a little girl and she has to pass a message at a funeral. She says later that her power has continued since then. Did she get messages during school? “Tell Bobby that even though I’m dead, I still don’t like him like that.”

The show starts in the middle of everything — she’s had her power since childhood. Here’s a nice twist. On most shows where someone has powers, family or loved ones always think they need to be strapped down. Here, she freely discusses it with her best pal. Even her husband doesn’t seem to mind. Of course, that’s because his wife is JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT.

Let’s talk about that. Jennifer Love Hewitt is easy to look at, if you like the women. There, I said it. Likers of women have to admit — yep, she’s female. This show isn’t all about that, though. She doesn’t run in slow motion.

She does wear a fetching assortment of night shirts and gowns. She answers the door wearing them when normal humans come to her house looking to talk to spirits. The ghosts often come to chat when she’s walking around the house late at night in pajama tops and white underthingies.

“I’m a lost spirit . . . I need to reach my mother, who . . . damn, woman! You FINE!”

This beats the alternative. The show is based on the work of James Von Praagh, a real-life psychic who is shaped like an ex-football player, complete with thick moustache. If I need to contact the ghostly realm late at night, I don’t want to see Von Praagh in his Fruit of the Looms, scratching his belly.

By the way, I believe that James Von Praagh’s last name is a Klingon greeting. If you can verify this, let us know.

The show is directed and written by John Gray. To my relief, it’s not the same John Gray who wrote Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, that silly-ass screed that hypnotized everyone on the globe few years ago. I was given that book during a very irritating time during my dating career (or lack thereof.) I learned — get this — men and women are very different! It shook me to the core. I didn't have to read past page 3. It's just that good.

But back to the show with the girl in the underpants.

She’s fully clothed most of the time.

She reveals the ghost whispering rules, which are not unlike the Sixth Sense rules, except that the ghosts only try to scare the bejeezus out of her if they just got dead. After they’ve been dead awhile they settle down, and their spirits look like normal non-zombies. In an excellent turn of events, finally, we get ghosts who very plainly tell what their deal is. Writing your message in blood on a wall is so five minutes ago.

Her very thankful husband is a paramedic, who gets all weepy when he says that the two of them are in the “death business.” Finally after reuniting a son with his dead father, Jennifer tells her husband, “No . . . ” get ready for it. “We’re in the life business.”

Then he says, “Good to know. Now I want you to talk to the phantom — in my pants!”

I just made up that last part. Unfortunately, they might as well be brother and sister. The poor bastard never even gets a smooch on the cheek. Even when somehow, even though he’s the non-powered member of a couple, he lives through the whole first episode. Sure, she could talk to him anyway, but he don’t want to talk, man. The sad little guy STILL wouldn’t get his mack on.

Hewitt is good in her role. It’s just not one you’re going to want to watch every week. The stories are fine, but this is Chicken Soup for the Hot-Ass Actress’ Soul.

Hewitt’s really cutesy-poo, and tries to be cutely intense when she cutely confronts the spirits and then the live people that she’s cutely trying to help. She’s just so dad-gum perky. She’s like a little Care Bear, except for her huge you-know-whats.

(Earrings.)

Despite the whole talking to dead people thing, the show is not about the action-adventure aspects of what’s happening. She doesn’t try to stop them from getting dead. That's her paramedic hubby's job, but we never see him at work. Which is fine. This show isn't Fender Bender Whisperer.

There is the occasional twist, where people you thought weren’t dead are, but most people on the show actually are alive. The show goes through the feely, huggy motions. I wish there was an evil ghost whisperer played by someone from 90210 like on Tru Calling, the last show with a fetching young lady that talked to dead people. The sort of guy who would tell the grieving family, “Grandpa says you suck!”

Plenty of tears are likely to be jerked from viewers in Ghost Whisperer, and every episode is going to be Very Special. If you’re prone to bawling your eyes out, and you like TV shows that make you feel like crap, then join the fun.

Joe Crowe can speak to people recently smacked upside the head.

 
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