I was really, really not wanting to put too much mental effort out tonight; two days straight of The Great Influenza and starting Pinker's How The Mind Works had left my brain box empty except for a quivering lump of greyish Jell-O.
So I flipped on the tube and stumbled on something called "The Ghost Whisperer." I was intrigued: a show about a person who trains ghosts to canter, trot, and gallop? A medium with laryngitis? You gotta understand, I may not get out much, but I watch TV even less.
What I got was Jennifer Love Hewitt and some guy I vaguely remember from the old one-season wonder "Relativity" (as well as Snow White: A Tale of Terror, with Sigourney Weaver as the evil stepmom) playing a paramedic (him) and an antique store owner (her) living in a small, peaceful Eastern Seaboard town.
So far so good.
As things progressed, though, I started to wonder: if this chick who sees dead people (all the time!!) and tries to send them into the light has been doing this since she was six, how come she's still flipped out by manifestations of what should be, by now, a fairly routine occurance? I mean, even her husband and business partner are treating her visitations with the sort of wry humor that connotes total acceptance of the weird.
Also, what up with the hallucinations? I mean, she's hallucinating all the damn time. Either that, or the dead aren't very good at communicating, since a planeload of people about to come down (this week's plot) can only focus their combined energies on one person. Everybody else is missing the obvious, like half-frozen people in pilot's uniforms wandering around. If J-Love's character is living in a small town, and her husband's a paramedic, you *know* somebody's said something to him about this by now. "Uh, Bob...you know, I hate to mention it, but your wife keeps screaming and clapping her hands over her ears in line at the Wal-Mart. Has she seen a doctor?"
Furthermore, what up with the eyeliner and Goth-Girl costumes, dawg? There was one scene in this week's episode in which Our Heroine was walking across Ye Olde Towne Square, the only person in town (and they all seemed to be on the square at that moment) wearing head-to-toe black and eyeliner fit for a Mod Squad audition. That, in most small towns I know, would get you looked at funny at the least, and probably not guarantee a lot of business for your antique store. ("Same As It Never Was." Cute, guys.)
At one point in a subplot, an architect stops in for a consult on remodelling the antique store and mentions that he's "passed by this place" a number of times. At that point The Cat snorted and said, "Yeah, 'cause he's freaked out by Little Miss Death Hallucinatron, here."
Then there's the subplot with the rookie paramedic who gets freaked out by the sight of blood, and Sensitive Husband Paramedic Guy has to be his big-brother type and get him over it in time for a plane full of sort-of-dead, mostly-frozen people who've been talking to J-Love for the last fifty minutes to crash...right into Smallton! Or Greenville, or whatever it's called.
According to the preview for *next* week's show, the whole upshot of the dealie-o is that J-Love will have to somehow armor her black lace cardigan and go up against The Devil Himself (dun dun dun) to save the souls of the mostly-dead, pretty-well-freezer-burned folk on the plane. There's a lot of symbolism about a pocket watch and doves coming back to life and love never dying, and Beelzebub wears a really, *really* bad hat and hisses a lot in J-Love's ear.
The Cat, pausing in her paw-licking, opined that Satan is getting lamer and lamer every year. "Whatever happened," she asked, "to 'Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?' Or Dante? Or even 'The Gospel of Peter?'"
I told her I had no good answer, and so we're going to bed.