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A look at the television season thus far (The Ghost Whisperer).

Naomi is here to give us a heads up on this season of The Ghost Whisperer.

Fans of The Ghost Whisperer are upset. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything because it’s all over the news: Melinda Gordon’s ever-faithful and extremely hunky husband is dead from complications of a gunshot wound. Last week’s episode indicates that Jim Clancy’s ghost plans to
stick around for awhile and, who knows, the writers may find some way of bringing him back to life. Buffy came back. So did Bobby Ewing.

It was inevitable. How many long, happy marriages have you seen in television drama? Remember Little Joe in Bonanza? They married him off in season 14 and then killed his wife in the same episode. In The Big Valley, Jarrod Barkley’s bride was also shot soon after the wedding. The Virginian’s wife wasn’t even allowed to live through the ceremony. More
recently, Annabeth Chase in Close to Home was happily married to hunky construction worker, Jack, but the writers had him killed by a drunk driver. Let’s face it: Marital happiness and fidelity are boring. If they don’t cheat, they’re goners.

OK, there are a few happy marriages out there. Detective Elliot Stabler from L&O SVU is still married, proving that the spouses that stick around the longest are rarely or never seen. There are exceptions to that of course. Medium’s Allison Dubois is happily married to Joe and he
is an integral part of the series. Then there was 7th Heaven, but that show was a bit of a freak.

No, in TV land, marital happiness and fidelity are usually sacrificed to one of two things: Either the show needs better ratings or the actor/actress playing the spouse wants to bail. Gone are the days when the producers can do a Darren Stevens on us. If an actor wants out, he’s a goner. In a recent TV Guide interview, David Conrad, who plays Ghost Whisperer’s Jim Clancy, has said he would like to go back east and, “… just choose stuff in the remaining years of my actor life that I can really sink my teeth into.” I can’t really blame him. Much as I like the character, he really doesn’t have much to do but act supportive and, occasionally, rescue Melinda from harrowing situations.

If they do finally cross Jim over, I’m not sure Ghost Whisperer will survive. They already lost another great character this season when Jay Mohr left to star in a sitcom. Professor Rick Payne was one of the reasons I still watch the show. This skeptical, bitingly sarcastic character served the same purpose as Rupert Giles on Buffy: He was there to provide exposition in a manner that doesn’t bore the audience to tears. The writers have replaced him with a psychiatrist, Eli James
(played by Jamie Kennedy) who recently obtained the ability to see ghosts after a near-death experience. Eli isn’t as knowledgeable as Rick Payne so he doesn’t seem to have much of a purpose in the show.

Will Ghost Whisperer survive this fourth season? Maybe they should do a Ghost Whisperer/Medium crossover so Allison Dubois can tell us.

The Ghost Whisperer airs, on CBS, on Fridays at 7p.m. CST.

Naomi Krueger