The fall season ushered in a handful of new pilots including CBS’s Ghosts, an adaptation of the British comedy of the same name.
The premise is fresh and intriguing, so it’s not entirely shocking that CBS wanted to embrace it as an American comedy, but you have to wonder why they chose to blatantly copy the original instead of letting it serve as inspiration.
I haven’t watched the BBC One sitcom, but based on the trailer, it’s evident that CBS opted for “copy and paste” rather than “making it your own.”
It’s a strange choice considering the original got such astounding reviews. Why mess with perfection? Why remake something that already exists?
Admittedly, however, the Rose McIver-led drama fills a void left behind by The Good Place, yet another brilliant 20-minute existential comedy).
And if there’s anyone who can sell us on the belief that she can see dead people, it’s the woman who ate brains in order to solve crimes on iZombie.
A more perfect role doesn’t exist for McIver, who flawlessly takes on the character of Sam, a young woman who inherits the Woodstone Mansion after the Great Aunt passes away.
Sam’s impulsive nature tells her to give the rundown home a little TLC and turn it into a bed and breakfast, which doesn’t exactly sit well with her boyfriend Jay.
He approaches the idea with an open mind, but he’s a bit more realistic in terms of how much TLC this place actually needs.
Old homes mean more repairs, which, in turn, means more money.
However, his perspective changes when Sam trips over a vase and tumbles down two flights of stairs.
While she’s in a coma for two weeks, Jay begins to see potential in the old mansion. He consults with a contractor before depleting all of their funds into the property in hopes of eventually turning a profit.
Millennials, that’s what they get for watching so much HGTV, am I right?
Of course, the plan hits an unexpected snag — ghosts.
When I tell you I’ve never met a more eclectic group, I truly mean it. The ghostly ensemble consists of former residents who have died on the property over the course of several decades.
Issac, the leader of the pack, is a gay colonial soldier. Thor is a bloodthirsty and primitive Viking, while Trevor is a pantsless yuppie. He’s also the most recently dead, so none of the other dated ghosts ever know what he’s referring to when he mentions the internet or Tara Reid.
It’s a miserable existence that they all brush off with plenty of sarcasm and shenanigans, usually at the expense of what they call “the livings.”
Most of them have an affinity for Sam and Jay, the lovebirds… that is until they hear her idea to turn the place into a hotel.
Horrified that their home might soon be overrun by people that will cramp their space and worse, walk through them, they decide to “haunt” Sam and Jay. After all, that’s what ghosts do!
Except these ghosts aren’t all that great at haunting, which ultimately leads to Sam’s accident.
Sam is out of commission for two weeks, which is when we learn that she died for 3 minutes before being resuscitated.
Her brief brush with death provides her with new and unwanted powers — she’s the first living person that can see the ghosts.
Sam is basically straddling the line between the living and the dead, which naturally freaks her out.
Screaming at the top of your lungs seems to be the only appropriate reaction to seeing ghosts walk through a wall.
The accident provides the plot with a lot of potential.
Obviously, Jay is likely going to think this is a side effect of Sam hitting her head. He might also consider that it’s some kind of mental break.
Meanwhile, Sam has several options — she can befriend the ghosts, she can try to help them pass on, or she can decide to sell the property (though it’s unclear if she can see ghosts everywhere or just in the mansion). The possibilities are endless.
The ghosts are intriguing in their own right because you want to know more about them.
Hetty, for example, is a distinguished woman and Sam’s distant family, but we don’t know what her “powers” are nor do we know how she passed.
The aforementioned Issac died of dysentery, so his secret weapon is producing foul-smelling gas. Anyone else now wondering if you’ve ever walked through a ghost fart? Same.
Since Thor was struck by lightning, he can manipulate electricity. Meanwhile, Alberta, a Prohibition-era singer in her past life, can project humming into the living world.
Both Pete and Flower — the cheerful boy scout killed by a rogue bow-and-arrow (had to hurt!) and the 60s hippie who was mauled by a bear when she wandered onto the property during a bad drug trip — seem like they’re going to be a handful.
There’s also a headless man, but we don’t really get too much info about him as he loses his head early on and isn’t seen again.
As I said, it’s an eclectic bunch, which will likely be overwhelming for Sam when she realizes she’s the only one that can handle them.
And while the ghost’s biggest fear was having their space overrun by people, a new fear possibly materializes when they realize Sam can see and hear them.
How will this impact them? Will they be thrilled to have a connection to the living? Or will they use this to their advantage and kick her out?
The pilot is straightforward, cheeky, and balances the right amount of levity against a more serious tone.
Just when you think the whole episode will consist of jokes about seeing dead people, you suddenly find yourself thinking about how short our time on Earth is and the possibility of life after death.
Were you sold on the pilot? Will you be adding Ghosts to your weekly must-watch list?
Ghosts Recap – Dumb Deaths (207)
Ghosts continued exploring more of the ghost deaths by revisiting the separate moments when Flower and Pete met their demise on Ghosts Season 2 Episode 7.
Both of their deaths were considered “dumb deaths” by a docu-series producer who approached Jay and Sam about shooting at the Woodstone Manor for their upcoming episode.
I admire how much Sam respects the ghosts and their feelings. When Paula offered them $10,000 to shoot on their property, she didn’t just jump at the opportunity, instead delaying her answer as long as possible until she got the go-ahead from Flower.
Initially, Flower wasn’t on board with being the subject of a documentary because she didn’t want to be made fun of or look dumb. The truth is, she likely wouldn’t remember any of this happening anyway, but her feelings were still valid. Pete, however, urged Flower to see it as a unique opportunity to help Jay and Sam financially.
Of course, it was easy for Pete to look the other way when the focus wasn’t on his death, but when he suddenly became the subject of the docu-series, he was singing a completely different tune. He tried to be okay with it because this was his chance at giving back to Jay and Sam, but reliving the moment and seeing people make fun of such a crucial moment in his life was traumatizing and upsetting. One bad decision cost him everything yet it was nothing more than a joke to everyone working on the production.
I believe Pete was also triggered because it was one of the first times he was forced to confront his premature death. Prior to this moment, he never really thought about it or overanalyzed it, which allowed him to remain his chipper and optimistic self. But when it was shoved in his face, he began doubting the person he always believed himself to be.
A huge downside of being a ghost is that they also hear everything, including people making rude comments at their expense, like Daniel the insufferable actor playing Pete who took himself, and the role, too seriously. As he contemplated what state of mind Pete was in at the time of his death, he suggested that maybe the man he was portraying was a drunk.
At this point, it was an assassination of character as the production wasn’t even dedicated to getting the facts right. Sam couldn’t let this happen, so she brainstormed a way to help Pete out, which included bringing one of his original troops to the Manor so that she could debunk any fictitious stories.
Jennifer was eager to help Pete in any way she could—a clear sign that she respected him as a teacher—and though she informed everyone that he wasn’t drunk at the time of his death, she couldn’t deny that he did something dumb: he handed out the bows and arrows before the safety demonstration because he was too distracted by donut holes.
At this point, Pete remembered for the first time in decades that he took his eye off the prize that morning because he was so upset about a petty and inconsequential disagreement with his wife, Carol, earlier that morning. To be fair, I agree with Pete that a donut hole and a donut are the exact same thing. They’re made of the same properties! Anyway, this is a reminder not to have stupid arguments because you might die and that’s all you’ll remember for the rest of your existence.
When Pete finally acknowledged what led to his death, he was really hard on himself, even going as far as to say that he was a terrible Girl Scout leader. It was devastating to see Pete so hurt by all that unraveled from this production, but by the end of the episode, he was validated in the fact that he was a good leader all along just as he believed. Jennifer knew exactly what to do—word for word—when Jay was accidentally shot with an arrow while trying to get some free food from the catering truck.
For a moment, I truly thought that he would lose consciousness, hit his head and finally be able to see ghosts, but that didn’t happen. It just goes to show you how eager I am for him to be part of the action… officially. The fact that he can’t see them is the running joke, but it would truly switch up the dynamic if he could interact with them.
I’m also going to say that bows and arrows definitely need to be banned from the Woodstone property; They’re simply too dangerous. I know this was technically the work of the ghosts since they saw how hurt Pete was so Thor used his ghost powers to break the camera and force-stop the production. It kind of worked as the team eventually pivoted back to their original idea of telling the story of Flower’s final moments before she got mauled by a bear while trying to hug it under the influence of drugs.
And the best part was that Sam was cast in the role, so she was able to do her justice. Not to mention that Sam knows her personally so she nailed the mannerisms. Flower was all about spreading love and positivity… even to a bear. She was too kind for this world.
I love that we get to see some of the ghosts see their friends’ deaths happen, like Thor, Alberta and Sass standing by and watching Flower’s bad decisions end her life. From the moment she crossed over, didn’t recognize her own dead body as a ghost, and didn’t even realize that she was dead, simply asking the trio if they were at the music festival, they knew the afterlife with her was going to be a trip.
While much of the focus was on Flower and Pete in this episode, Nigel and Isaac had their first lovers’ quarrel following a disagreement about the events of the American Revolution. Considering they are on two opposite teams, it’s probably for the best if they simply never touch upon this topic with each other as they’ll never see eye-to-eye. They both have vastly different memories of how it went down, and that’s fine, but it’s also not worth ruining a present-day relationship over something that is very much in the past.
After Sam informed Isaac that the UK and the US are currently allies and have a “special friendship,” she basically gave them the go-ahead to continue on with their romance as “special friends.”
It’s interesting to see Isaac navigate a relationship with someone so fundamentally different than himself, but it’s also nice to see him make compromises and rethink how he approaches situations now that he cares about someone else in the afterlife.
Other Hilarious Moments
- I genuinely love Isaac’s hatred of Hamilton. This time, he said they wouldn’t let him sign the Declaration of Independence adding “they knew where those fingers have been.” I want to be the first to read his sassy memoir.
- “Epcot, baby, that’s the whole world all at once.” Truer words were never spoken.
- Hetty following and channeling Paula the producer was grade-A comedy. She thrives on power.
- Thor saying he’s traumatized by Pete’s death and “not sleeping man moons.”
- Flower overhearing that Pete’s “impotent” and somehow understanding that this is likely the reason he didn’t want to be the “third” in her relationship with Thor.
All in all, a blind pursuit of pastries cost Pete his life, while Flower died doing the most Flower thing she could’ve.
And neither of those deaths is dumb!
What did you think of the episode?
Ghosts Recap – The Baby Bjorn (206)
Ghosts Season 2 Episode 6 tugged on our heartstrings with the introduction of baby Bjorn, Thor’s son.
The sitcom has cleverly found a way to bring new ghosts into the fold, which has allowed the episodes to dig deeper into the lives of each ghost.
I never expected Thor to have a son, let alone one that we could meet, but when Sam spotted a Viking while checking out the Farnsby’s annual yard sale, she knew she had to get the scoop. And she was just as shocked about the “he’s my father” development as we were.
When she informed Thor about Bjorn’s existence, he was touched that his son traveled halfway across the world to find him. But it was also a little bittersweet that they were technically neighbors for thousands of years and never knew about it.
As Jay got wind of Bjorn’s existence, he informed Sam that after they cut down Sass’ tree, you could see two houses down, which meant that Thor and Bjorn could meet and speak—see: yell—to each other.
Thor’s excitement dwindled, however, when he learned that his son married a Dane, the enemy of the Norveg people. Thor wasn’t touched by any of the things that normal people would like to know about their children’s lives, including all the information about Bjorn’s family, but instead, he was ready to disown his son for the ultimate betrayal. He initially refused to meet with Bjorn, but thanks to a little push from Isaac and Flower, he agreed to walk up to the window and tell his son that he was essentially dead to him.
However, when he heard his little boy call him “father” for the first time, which is what he longed to hear many moons ago when he was leaving behind an infant, that tough Viking exterior melted.
Eventually, Thor realized that children aren’t born with hate in their hearts, they must be taught it, and since he wasn’t around, he was “catching up” by informing his son all about why Danes are terrible people.
While helping Sam get into the Farnsby’s house so that she could help reunite Thor and Bjorn, Jay unintentionally attended a swinger’s party. In a previous season, many fans noticed that the Farnsby’s had upside-down pineapples in their house, and when Jay expressed interest in a pair of upside-down pineapples during the yard sale, the neighbors’ interest was piqued.
Naturally, the ghost of mama Farnsby was not impressed by her son’s decisions, questioning many times throughout the episode where she failed him and why he was such a pervert. Unfortunately, Jay couldn’t hear any of it because he didn’t see ghosts, but he missed some truly comical moments. The poor dude misses so much.
At the manor, Trevor gave us a little lesson about Wall Street. Fed up with Hetty’s monopoly over the ghosts’ currency, back rubs, he came up with a new financial instrument to leverage: TV time. Just think of it as the ghosts cryptocurrency. He then went and bought up everyone’s TV time and tried to sell it back to them at a higher price so he could have the leverage. It was about to work when Hetty rallied the rest of the ghosts to give up TV so that they could devalue Trevor’s new currency. There’s a reason Hetty was rich!
When Hetty realized Trevor was miserable watching the same movie over and over by himself, she gave him a pretty insightful chat about money being less important than friendship. Being at the top was lonely. Eventually, Trevor gave everyone back their TV time but quickly learned that it was a power move on Hetty’s part to once again have the upper hand. She’s good, you have to give it to her. She outsmarted Wall Street, but it’s also proof that there is a deeper and more serious side to Trevor that deserves to be explored.
While much of Isaac and Flower’s time was spent helping Thor realize the value of the opportunity of reconnecting with his son, Flower also put way too much stock into questioning why ghosts can walk sit on objects and walk through walls but they can’t actually pick up objects. The question is valid and fair considering many fans wondered how she was able to close the vault door in the previous episode of Ghosts where she locked Sam in and almost killed her. The series didn’t address this plot hole, but my guess is that the door must have been made from steel or iron, some kind of material that a ghost could touch. Maybe the writers will bring it up eventually and clear up any confusion, but based on Flower’s desperate attempt to understand the rules, we’re not alone when we question why some things work and others don’t.
Overall, it was an enjoyable episode that showed us the softer and paternal side of Thor, though, there hasn’t been an episode better than the laundry machine one this season.
- Hetty and the ghosts rejoiced at getting the “shaft” when they got to sit in the chair and get the good light. I’m immature, and the dirty jokes are hilarious.
- Sam says that she tunes out a lot of ghost things to which Jay replies, “you don’t deserve this power.” I know Jay not being able to interact is the gag, but he deserves the power!
- Trevor stated that people don’t understand how nice it is to sit in a warm chair when you don’t have pants on… he has a point.
- All Thor cared about was how many severed Dane heads Bjorn had at home. Hysterical.
- Pete’s joke about watching Jason Momoa in “slow momoa” was delightful.
- I can’t wait for Tara Reid to guest star and see ’90s Trevor freak out!
Ghosts Halloween Episode Recap – The Ghost of Hetty’s Past (205)
There’s no better holiday for Ghosts than Halloween.
On Ghosts Season 2 Episode 5, the ghost of Hetty’s past returned for one evening after Sam and some of the livings conducted a seance. Everyone knows that the veil between the two worlds thins on All Hallows’ Eve, so while the seance was uneventful for all the mortals, it was pure chaos on the other side.
And honestly, good on Sam for keeping such a straight poker face when a portal opened up, the ghosts screamed in sheer terror, and Hetty’s archnemesis, Molly (Hannah May Rose), the main/adulterer who slept with her husband, arrived.
The Hetty-centric episode wasn’t as serious or important as the one about Alberta—which remains the best and most important installment of the series—but there were some important matters about feminism lodged between some grade-A jokes and laughable moments.
It all started when Jay decided to throw a last-minute Halloween party to impress June and Ally. They were going to Liam Neeson’s party but figured they could clear the slate from the whole tree debacle.
Trevor and the other ghosts warned Sam that an impromptu Halloween party was a recipe for disaster as the holiday was super competitive, but Jay thought the idea of a party in a spooky mansion was awesome.
Unfortunately, he was dead wrong.
Despite Jay and Sam’s Stepbrothers-inspired costume, the party was a total bust, so they decided to conduct a seance, which was anti-climactic in the mortal realm but a real hoot in the ghost one.
Hetty despised Molly with the fire of a thousand burning sons, and she couldn’t believe that an adulterer made it to heaven (she couldn’t divulge more information about the perfect afterlife or she’d melt) while she was stuck in purgatory, but Hetty was truly dismissing all of her problematic characteristics, including being a cruel and vindictive boss to Molly, which Hetty naturally took as flattery.
Flower had a brilliant idea from her days in the cult—get the two women locked inside a room so that they could talk it out. But how do you keep two ghosts in a room when they can walk through any wall? The vault, duh.
It was actually a bit of a twisted idea to lock Hetty into the same vault where her husband perished with his mistress, the one Hetty said brought shame to the family.
Since we are talking about Flower, the minute she pitched her good idea, Sam should’ve made sure to send a text to Jay to let him know the plan. As the only living in the mansion, so many things could go wrong… like getting locked in said vault. She really needs to be more careful.
Flower’s drugged-up brain totally forgot that Sam was inside when she slammed the door shut, so no one living knew where Sam was, including Jay, who ran to Liam Neeson’s party with pickle Randy to get the ancient feather duster he loaned June and Ally as it was a key piece necessary to reverse the seance and send Molly back home before the clock struck midnight. She’s like Cinderella.
Somehow, Sam was still able to focus on helping Hetty make amends with Molly, even while internally freaking out that she’d meet the same fate as Elias while locked in the vault. Hetty’s hatred for Molly was unwarranted; she was blaming the wrong person all these years.
Molly admitted that she never wanted to sleep with Hetty’s husband, but she didn’t have a choice because he was a man in a position of power and she needed the job because she had a child to raise and her husband died in the mill… Hetty and Elias’ mill.
Sam informed the ladies that they were both Elias’ victims, stuck in a patriarchal world that pitted women against each other. And while Hetty can’t stand feminism, she couldn’t deny that Sam was right. Elias knew he could get away with it, so he did it, while Hetty needed to stay with him and marry him for a land deal. Hetty was mad at the wrong woman, and before you knew it, the two of them bonded over their mutual hate for the man.
Meanwhile, the ghosts went above and beyond to communicate with Jay and send him a message so that he could save Sam. I love that while Sam was hyperventilating at the thought of death, Hetty informed her that it wouldn’t be the worst thing to be stuck in eternity together. And it’s not like much would change since she already sees the ghosts!
Thorfinn was able to flicker the lights and get Jay to the powder room, who then realized he needed to fog up the mirror so that Trevor could send him a message. Trevor’s message was a bit misleading, unfortunately, as he wrote “Sam Safe.”
That’s when Isaac stepped in and took one for the team, allowing Jay to walk through him and exposing that he’s the “Stinky Pete” instead of Pete, who he has been blaming the rancid smell on in hopes that Nigel wouldn’t be disgusted by him and break up with him. Pete is such a trooper for covering for his friend.
Jay waltzed back into the powder room and saw the altered message—”Sam in Safe”—and bolted to her rescue.
Their reunion was sweet as they both attributed the situation to “ghost things,” and this was far better than the Halloween party they threw to impress the living people. It’s just unfortunate that Jay still can’t see the ghosts because honestly, it would be so much fun.
Nigel was a little disappointed that Isaac didn’t think he could trust him with a personal situation, which was a relief to Isaac, who then made Nigel feel self-conscious when he revealed he has webbed feet. The reason Isaac was so worried that Nigel would break up with him is that if the roles were reversed, Issac would probably allow this to sabotage his relationship.
Once Sam was safely out of the vault—and when I saw Jay walk in there and the two of them embrace, I kept screaming “get out” at the TV. I hate when scenes give me that much anxiety. Anyway, Sam and Jay conducted another seance to revere the effects of the first one, this time with the feather duster in hand, and Molly was on her way back to heaven. Hetty jumped onto her skirt and hung on for dear life, hoping that Molly would let her “ride” while she got “sucked off,” the running terminology joke for transitioning into the afterlife. She then called her closest ghost friends “peasants,” which proves she hasn’t really changed at all.
Other noteworthy moments:
- Molly laughing that she gave Elias syphilis after Hetty proudly reveals she sent him to hell.
- Ruth Maid-er Ginsberg was a solid costume, even if Trevor claims feminism ruined the holiday.
- The outdoor decor at the mansion was incredible!
What did you think of the Halloween episode? Did you enjoy the spooky vibe?
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