Ghosted First Impressions
Ghosted is bad. Don’t watch it. Ghosted is that rare sort of series where the stuff that would draw you to watch it is exactly why I am telling you not to watch it and there is nothing else. Why? Because it is a bad comedy. Bad dramas, action movies, or horror films and shows can be enjoyed somewhat ironically. Bad comedies just hurt.
Ghosted stars Adam Scott as Max Jennifer, a former Stanford Physics professor who now works at a bookstore, and Craig Robinson as Leroy Wright, a former LAPD missing persons detective who now works as a security guard at the mall. Within two minutes of the episode starting they are both abducted by the Bureau Underground, a government organization created by President Truman to protect the world from supernatural and paranormal threats. They were abducted because one of the Bureau’s best agents, Agent Checker (Linc Hand) told the Bureau to seek them out if anything ever happened to them. So the Bureau’s head, Ava Lafrey (Ally Walker), assigns them to work together to find Checker and solve the case and has agreed to get them their old jobs back in return. Supposedly comedy then ensues.
I feel weird writing even that much about the premise because the show cares so little about it. Within seven minutes, the two main characters are brought together, the Bureau is explained, the mission is given, and the characters are provided gear and a car and sent out to solve the case. This is likely because the show simply wants to do the bare minimum required in terms of plot and characterization to set things in motion, thus leaving lots of room for jokes and humor. This is not necessarily a bad idea, and several other reviews I read during and after watching this have suggested that the problems with structure and development are forgivable since it’s a comedic parody of things like The X-Files or Men in Black (which was already a comedy but I digress). Unfortunately, this argument suffers from one fundamental flaw: this show is not funny.
Do not get me wrong. There are things that COULD be funny. Adam Scott and Craig Robinson have both been funny elsewhere. The parody of the Mulder and Scully dynamic from X-Files is not a bad idea. Finally, parodying supernatural detective shows is not a new concept. Unfortunately, all of these concepts are let down both by the quality of the jokes they make and the sheer amount of painful ad-libbing that is present in the pilot. While I am never certain about what scenes in a comedy are ad-libbed and which bits are actual written humor, there is a sort of awareness of bad ad-libbing that usually comes when a scene is not immediately funny but continues for a minute or two anyway. There are several of those in the pilot, and they all hurt to sit through. Granted the written jokes aren’t funny either so it is more of a pick your poison scenario. I guess I should not be surprised since this show was created and written by Tom Gormican, a man whose only past credits are writing and directing That Awkward Moment (a comedy about douchebags being uncomfortable with the idea of a stable long-term relationship) and helping to produce the Farrelly Bros disaster, Movie 43. Truly stellar credentials right there.
- I don’t often do this, but I felt this bore mentioning. Ghosted is actually a title used by several things. One of them is a comic series by Joshua Williamson where a group of professional criminals con demons, steal ghosts, and other supernatural things. Doesn’t that sound so much more interesting than this?
Ghosted is a complete waste of time. It’s writing only exists to set up jokes, and the jokes are not funny so you’re left with nothing narratively. The comedic ad-libbing scenes are painful. The effects are decent but that is hardly a mark of quality or talent anymore. This is why I don’t like reviewing bad comedies. They aren’t funny, and thus have nothing to offer. Avoid at all costs.