Toughening up to rude ghosts


Listen: toughening-up-to-rude-ghosts

Jennifer Love Hewitt

The question is, would you go to her if you were a recently deceased person with an unresolved issue? And if so, would you be so rude as to interrupt her at all hours of the day and night, whatever she is doing, as the ghosts do on this show?

One thing this programme teaches us is that the undead have no manners.

Melinda is toughening up, thank goodness, starting to boss those pestilential ghosts around.

She actually stuck her hands on her hips and told a whole bunch of them to scram this week, which, given her Pollyanna-ish manners, was nearly as shocking as if she had told them to eff off.

But what she really needs is a seriously tough sidekick, someone like Endora from Bewitched. “Oh, reeally! Make an appointment, Derwood, or whatever your name is.”

Still, as silly as this show is, Hewitt is ridiculously fetching as the sweet-as-pie newlywed, and after a break of a few months, it is quite fun to see the tricksy stories about ghosts and their complicated past lives again.

Melinda appears to use a similar technique to that used by Cesar on Dog Whisperer, to impose “calm, submissive energy” on her ghosts, before indulging them. They always start by behaving badly, then end up trotting like happy little pitbulls towards the Light.

It still rankles that Melinda never tells them what the Light is, and whether you can get a decent latte there, and does it have broadband?

And that, even more amazingly, the ghosts never bother to ask. But, as you have to keep reminding yourself, it’s only television.

Later on TV3 on Sunday came another of those unsung late-night treasures which, had the channel’s programmers had their wits about them, would have been trailered as “The Original, Real-Life Jaws”.

Twelve Days of Terror sounded like another of those shlocky horror B-movies, but was in fact a Discovery Channel docu-drama on the 1916 New Jersey shark attacks.

It was this celebrated phenomenon, in which two people died – that we know of – and a child was horribly maimed, that inspired Peter Benchley to write Jaws.

So viewers who watched it without being told that it was a fact-based story would have unfairly thought “plagiarism!”

On the contrary, it underlined the power of the Jaws story, because it is so plausible – there actually are sharks like that out there, and they are not made of metal – and because even now, we still don’t know what type of shark it was, and why it attacked so often.

Here you had a popular bathing beach, totally dependent on tourism, into which cruised a thumping great shark which – unusually, as the fish experts will tell you – had an appetite for humans.

Naturally, the local grandees were dismissive of warnings, refusing to believe lightning could strike twice, and refused to close beaches or even warn bathers.

More chillingly than in Jaws, this shark cruised right on up the river that flowed through the town – the Crick, as the locals rustically call it.

It turns out that some sharks, including great whites, can make do in fresh water if they’re keen. And this fish was terribly keen.

There is a marvellous scene in which an old sea captain – played saltily by Jonathan Rhys-Davies, Gimli in The Lord of the Rings – stands on the pier, and watches the vast, sinister shadow glide under his feet, and right on into town.

In this version, the shark is caught and identified after a bit of Moby Dick-like carry-on involving an adventurer who sets out to net the fish from his dinghy.

But in reality, experts are still debating what type of shark it was, and what triggered the behaviour. Historians don’t, however, debate that there were several pounds of human flesh in its stomach.

As experts now know, sharks seldom attack humans, preferring to mind their own business, which makes this well-documented episode the more intriguing.

Meanwhile, the most important conclusion you could come to after a most entertaining Oscars marathon is that Hugh Jackman deserves his own show.

Not having followed his career as pantingly as your average female, this reviewer was utterly unaware of what a silky performer and belting good singer he is.

Who knew Australia could produce such an elegant, intelligent, David Niven-grade personality, who nevertheless looks tough and nuggety on a horse?

Oh, and he can act, too.

Is it too late for us to do the pavlova thing, and insist that he is a New Zealander?

Author: psychosylum

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