A few years ago, I was teaching English in South Korea. Unfortunately, during this time, I had very limited access to American television shows. Sure, I could pirate them, but I’m not the kind of person who does that, so I was limited by whatever I could purchase from Seoul entertainment stores. And the selection was awful. However, one thing I kept seeing each and every time I went to the store was the dvd collections for Jennifer Love Hewitt’s Ghost Whisperer. Now, I had never seen the show before, so it didn’t really interest me, but I am a science fiction fanatic, so I kept looking at that package every time I went there. Finally, one day the first season was on sale (this is when they were still making the show, around Season 3). So, I figured it wouldn’t be the worst investment ever, and I bought the first season.
Having lots of free time, I diligently watched through the season, and then I was somewhat hooked, so I bought Season 2. And then I kept going until I came home from Korea and continued watching it until it went off the air.
Now, I should probably make a bit of a disclosure for those who have never watched Ghost Whisperer. It’s a quirky show. It’s not going to get any Emmys (at least I don’t think it did during its run). It’s a show about a woman who can talk to the dead, but basically it’s really a show about the woman with a really strange, charmed life, who just so happens to also talk to the dead. Now, I make this distinction because that distinction is necessary. This woman has the most Barbie-like existence in the history of television. She interacts with people in a way that really seems only important to the character played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, and whenever there’s an important conflict, the only real thought the writers and directors were probably thinking was: “How can we make this come out right while still making Jennifer Love Hewitt look really hot and cute?”
Because that’s what is special about the show. It shows 4 or 5 seasons of the cutest girl on television interacting with everyone else who may or not yet realize she’s the cutest girl on television. There are ghosts, of course, but they really only serve as scenery and distractions, to make you forget that the show is really about the cutest girl on television. And she’ll pout every now and then, which believe it or not, makes her seem even cuter.
What’s fascinating about the show is that it deals with some really heady issues that sometimes go into jump the shark territory of television, like the Buffy-like moments where Jennifer Love Hewitt comes head to head against the evil old guy of evil who seems to want to make all the dead people stay undead instead of go to the happy place that Jennifer Love Hewitt uses her cuteness to send them to. And during that confrontation, instead of just offing her with a big anvil, like any other diabolical evil guy would do, he ends up talking to her, seeing her pout, and then kind of turns into a wishy washy evil genius who then disappears for awhile until rating seasons comes back again.
Essentially, you get the main attributes of Ghost Whisperer. The cute girl wins out all the time.
But I didn’t come to talk about that show itself, but about Jennifer Love Hewitt. You see, during that show, even though (spoiler alert!) her husband dies during the show and comes back as some other guy who dies during the show but is allowed to live as her ex-husband reincarnated until they can find a way to just start using the old actor again (because everyone forgot it was another guy whose body he took over), the whole show manages to be about the angst of the cutest girl on television.
When the show ended, I felt a part of me died, too, because then I realized my cute girl factor of television would be missing input. And then I found out that she had a brand new show, called The Client List. Which surprisingly is about her being a massage therapist who gives happy endings to her customers. You’d think this show would be somewhat gritty, but it’s not. Instead, it ends up being about (surprise) a cute girl who just so happens to be a massage therapist who gives happy endings to her customers. And man, they really push the cuteness factor in this show.
I watched the first episode of the show and found myself laughing out loud because, first, it’s preposterous and, second, it’s equally ridiculous. Her husband left her the day she started a new job at a massage parlour, and instead of moving to cheaper housing, she decides she’s going to keep her kids in the same two parent housing they’ve had by giving handjobs to her customers. Well, I think that’s what she’s doing, as they don’t actually go into detail about what happens after she rubs down the bodies of the male models who serve as her clients. And yes, I did say male models because once she starts giving the “expensive” rub downs, her clientele goes from being ugly old men to being supermodel male models who you’d expect to pop up in a Madonna video. Not exactly sure why these guys would ever need a masseuse like her and in this particular out of the way place, but apparently Hollywood didn’t think the audience really needed realism here.
So, we get to see her pout when things don’t go right, and we get to see her come to work in all sorts of sexy get-ups that you’d expect a female escort to be wearing, if she worked for a high-fashion call girl outfit. But instead, she works for a massage place (that’s next door to a Karate studio) and does the $5000 an hour call girl dressing regardless.
What’s interesting is that they never felt the need to actually point out what she’s doing for this serious bank she’s getting from this job. She’s either giving handjobs (and getting far more money than ANY handjob masseuse EVER got) or she’s having sex with them at the massage parlour, which seems kind of strange as they haven’t made the show out to be “that” kind of show YET.
But in all, what I think really happened was they found another way to bring Jennifer Love Hewitt back to living rooms to exploit that cuteness factor of hers. What’s even funnier is that the hype for the show centered around Hewitt’s interviews where she talks about how it might be about time for her to find a boyfriend, and all I can think to myself is that no man lives in that fantasy world that she has constructed for herself, in which guys are all supermodel guys and all love listening to her and doing things that practically no human is capable of pulling off in a relationship. Her world is constructed just so that Jennifer Love Hewitt fits into it, kind of like that little girl fantasy world of dolls and stuffed animals that someone eventually has to grow out of (or become a real princess in some fantasy land probably located in Eastern Europe somewhere).
In all, I want to thank Jennifer Love Hewitt for letting me explore her world with her again for at least one more hour a week. I mean, it’s not a real world, and the people are never as scripted as they are on this show, but hey, that’s what makes it so much more enjoyable.