September 25, 2013

Are You Watching Ghost Ghirls? You Should Be.

Filed under: Internets — DB @ 4:00 pm

A few months ago, I argued against the making of a third Ghostbusters movie, but that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to the entire sub-genre of human/spirit confrontation. In movies like Ghost and The Sixth Sense, ghosts aren’t busted so much as aided in the completion of unfinished business so that they might pass on peacefully into that beckoning white light. I’m significantly less open to so-called reality television programs like SyFy’s Ghost Hunters and The Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, which portray paranormal investigations. My limited exposure to these escapades has shown them to be ridiculous and repetitive. On the plus side, their inherent silliness makes them ripe for parody. Enter actresses Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci, who have found a fresh take on the ghostbusting premise (much fresher than Dan Aykroyd is likely to find at this point, with all due respect) by combining elements of these shows with the helping-ghosts-move-on device of the aforementioned movies. The result is their new web series Ghost Ghirls, which debuted two weeks ago on Yahoo!

I’ve already plugged the show on this blog, back in December when it was announced that Jack Black would serve as Executive Producer. My reasons are personal: the series’ ace writing team includes my friend Ryan Corrigan, whose gifts as a comedic writer and director are among Hollywood’s best kept secrets (though you need only click the previous link and check out some of the YouTube videos I provided to discover for yourself what the rest of the world will eventually catch on to). Given his involvement, I’ve been eager to see the results, and now that all 12 episodes are available, I want to ensure that everyone else sees it too.

Meeting the ghirls is as easy as clicking this link or going to ghostghirls.com. Lund and Blasucci, who co-created the series with its director Jeremy Konner (who also directed the original Drunk History shorts), play longtime friends Heidi and Angelica, whose ditziness idiocy is balanced (somewhat) by their ability to see and communicate with spooks and specters. Lund and Blasucci are college friends who have been writing and performing together for years, and their dry, affectionate interaction powers the episodes. Even beyond their appeal though, the premise is rich and the parade of A-list comedy stars who pop up in guest roles provides an added dimension of fun. Black and Konner busted open their Rolodex and, thanks to the show’s smart concept and the quality of the scripts, landed people like Val Kilmer, Molly Shannon, Jason Ritter, Colin Hanks, Dave Grohl and Jason Schwartzman. (And look out for Ryan’s cameo during a brief flashback in Episode 12.)

If you haven’t found your way to the show yet, that’s understandable. There are, after all, a lot of girls vying for your pop culture attention these days. You got your New Girl, you got your 2 Broke Girls and you got your plain Girls. But I’ve always believed that you can never have enough girls around, so make room for these two. Another reason you may have yet to enjoy the series is that Yahoo! has done a lackluster job promoting it. At least the show is in good company on that front. The same day Ghost Ghirls debuted, Yahoo! launched a number of other comedic web series starring stalwarts like Ed Helms, Cheryl Hines and John Stamos. None received the kind of flashy promotion on the homepage that you would expect from a content provider actually interested in attracting eyes to its investments. (Strangely, Yahoo! did a much better job promoting the show further in advance than upon its release. They sent Lund, Blasucci, Black and Konner to SXSW last March, and to Comic-Con in July. At both events, their panel and the series preview were greeted enthusiastically.) Luckily for Yahoo! – and for you – there are people like me doing their marketing for them. On that note, check out a recent edition of the Fortnight on the Internets podcast to hear an interview with Lund and Blasucci (and Ryan), as well as a conversation conducted with Nerdist in which the ghirls are joined by Konner.

I hope Yahoo! gets their act together promoting this thing, because they have a winner on their hands. Ghost Ghirls has plenty of laughs, but isn’t afraid to occasionally aim for the heart. Episode 9, “The Golden Ghouls,” is set in a nursing home, and while it doesn’t skimp on the funny, it’s also surprisingly sweet. If you prefer your comedy a touch meaner, try Episode 5, “Ghost Writer,” featuring the great Bob Odenkirk as a hilariously misogynist ghoul, or Episode 8, “School Spirit,” which deals with a ghost bully (and includes an impressive performance by child actor Isaak Presley).  So go over to ghostghirls.com and begin your binge. The episodes clock in at an easily digestible 9 to 13 minutes. Not only will you be supporting up-and-coming talents Lund and Blasucci – and my friend Ryan – you’ll also be supporting me. Because when Ryan makes it big, I can convince him to hire me as his assistant or manager of his media empire or something. He’s made no indication of actually doing that, but I figure if I just keep saying it, he’ll give in.

Oh, and if the Ghost Ghirls are listening, you need to add Haley Joel Osment to your Season 2 guest star wish list. I feel strongly about this.

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