19 October 2017 | nightwishouge
One HELL of a good time
Being an avid listener of the Spontaneanation podcast, I knew how hilarious Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci were and was intrigued at their frequent references to a web series they had done for Yahoo Screen called Ghost Ghirls. Looking into it, I could only find two episodes on Vimeo and one on YouTube, but last night, entirely by coincidence, found all the episodes on a streaming channel called Fullscreen, available though Amazon Prime. With the season's 12 episodes lasting only 9-12 minutes each, it's perfect for binging in one night.
Suffice it to say Ghost Ghirls is a super fun parody of narrative paranormal investigation shows like Medium and The Ghost Whisperer (probably, anyway--I don't watch either). The framework of each story is familiar--a ghost with unfinished business makes its presence known; enter Heidi and Angelica to investigate and help the phantoms cross over. The show is very well shot and appropriately spooky--it reminds me of those old horror-comedies from the '30s and '40s like The Cat and the Canary or any number of Abbott and Costello movies, where the cinematography is actually taken seriously from an artistic point of reference and allowed to be atmospheric, rather than boringly high key and sitcom-like, as most modern comedies tend to be. It also has a bit of the flavor of a more grown-up Are You Afraid of the Dark?
I think the series gets a lot better as it goes along. In the early episodes there's too much comedy derived from the characters being either unnaturally stupid (mostly Heidi) or from the two female leads being so catty to one another that you wonder why they would stay friends (a lazy trope often found in comedies centered around women). Fortunately their relationship becomes more multi-dimensional as time goes on and more attention is paid to story and character progression, culminating in a two-part season finale that feels, for the first time, like an actual chapter of episodic television, where there are consequences and continuity, as opposed to every episode feeling like a ten-minute sketch with recurring characters where the world "resets" and remains static every time. It makes me eager to see a second season, preferably with half-hour episodes, but given that this is three years old already I guess that's not in the cards.
Anyone familiar with alternative comedy will appreciate seeing guest stars such as the aforementioned Paul F. Tompkins, Colin Hanks, Jason Ritter, Molly Shannon, Kumail Nanjiani, Bob Odenkirk, Jake Johnson, Kate Micucci, Jack Black, or even Val Kilmer turning up on various episodes.