The start of 2022 has been…tumultuous at best. With COVID cases higher than they’ve ever been, and a politically unstable world (to say the least), I don’t know about you, but Nina and I could definitely use a few laughs.
Enter Ghosts. Note: We discovered the US version first, but are now happily bingeing the original UK version as well!
This show is delightfully silly, but also carefully tender and sensitive to deep topics. The premise? Well, young married couple Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambdukar) inherit a mansion somewhere in the Hudson Valley, so they leave their Manhattanite lives and decide to open a B&B. The problem? Well, the house is haunted by the ghosts of everyone who has ever died on the property, which includes, amongst others, a Viking, a Revolutionary War soldier, and the wife of a robber baron. The ghostly inhabitants aren’t too thrilled at the idea of their home becoming a hotel and plan to thwart the plan by, well, haunting the haunted house.
Things go awry, and instead of leaving, Samantha is suddenly able to see and hear her ghost roommates. Hijinks ensue (as well as many, many laughs for the audience).
This show, executive produced by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman (who also made New Girl), fills some of the holes that our favourite sitcoms left behind. It’s witty like New Girl (one ghost in particular definitely has Schmidt vibes). There is a quirky mythos like The Good Place (the ghosts have rules for their afterlife, and the writers are clever about slowly revealing just what those limitations are). Most importantly, it has characters that you really, really care about, like the Roses in Schitt’s Creek. All of the living—and non-living—characters in Ghosts have flaws, but instead of using those flaws as solely comedic source material, the writers are choosing, like Schitt’s Creek, to allow the characters to mature and develop. Yup, even the Wallstreet douche ghost is capable of change.
It’s the diverse (and hilarious) cast of characters that is the true selling point of Ghosts. The ghosts are representative of not only various genders, religions, races, ethnicities, and sexualities, but they also represent a long span of time. The Viking, Thorfinn, has been a ghost the longest, having been a resident for more than 1,000 years. Others, like Mr. “Douchey Pants” Trevor, have been a ghost for just over a decade and are, how shall I say it, more “connected” to the living. The varied backgrounds of the characters—both alive and dead—provide nearly unlimited opportunities to discuss a broad scope of topics, everything from feminism to internalized homophobia to the importance of mental health.
Sure, Ghosts is a funny show, but it’s a funny show with a message.
The silly gimmicks of the show may be what hooks you—the ghost of a 19th-century robber baron’s wife becoming obsessed with Cheetos? SOLD.—but it’s really the heart and affection between the characters that will keep you coming back for more. That, and the simple moments throughout each episode that make you remember that life is worth living…and living to the fullest.
And, after you’ve binged the entire first season of Ghosts (available on Paramount Plus), you’ve got three seasons of the UK version to look forward to! (Available in the U.S. on HBO Max!)