FOCUS | GHOSTS
So I can really enjoy their performances and take everything in. By the time of my coverage, I’ve gotten the giggles out and I’m able to do my work. But it’s tough. They make me laugh a lot.
What do you think makes the show so appealing to such a wide range of viewers? UA: We touch on a lot of historically American things, through Sasappis and Hetty and Alberta. Pete is a Boy Scout. With Trevor, you have the finance bro, and Wall Street is so quintessentially American. But what makes it global is the emotion. I think the reason our show has resonated so much with people is its heart. RM: That’s the special sauce of the show. Every cast member who makes us laugh also isn’t afraid to reveal a bit more than that. There’s a vulnerability in each of the ghosts that we learn from their backstories. That’s what holds it all together, what keeps people caring. There are so many funny little bits everywhere: on Tik- Tok or in memes. But to sustain somebody’s interest, you have to have that heart as the drive throughout the show. Every cast member is capable of carrying that. UA: Right now people want to watch something light and free and full of love. The show is relatable because it’s about wish fulfillment. Like Alberta, many of us wish that somebody would recognize our talent. For Isaac, it’s “I wish people would love me for who I am.” As an audience, we really get to feel catharsis. We get to have our wishes or our dreams that may have been deferred lived out through these characters, which is why I think people are coming for the comedy and staying for the heart.
RM: Danielle [Pinnock] always finishes you off.
UA: Danielle makes me laugh so much. And then Devan Chandler Long is so loud. Standing next to him, the challenge is to not flinch at the sheer volume com- ing out of him. And then you have Pete’s arrow, which is a veritable deathtrap to anyone within two feet of it. One legendary thing about another CBS comedy, The Carol Burnett Show , is how they all tried to crack each other up. Do you enjoy trying to break each other? UA: I’m at the top of the food chain when it comes to breaking people. But Asher Grodman [Trevor] will crack up at anything. RM: And he hates himself for it. He’s so sweet about it, like he cannot control it. It’s an endearing weakness. He loves to enjoy other people’s jokes and moments. UA: Asher and Román, very easy. With Danielle, you have to be careful, because if you get her laughing, she starts crying and then the take gets ruined. Sheila’s tough. Richie, pretty easy. Devan is in his own world making everyone else laugh.
season, we’re going to meet ghosts from neighboring properties.
we realized we could credibly place a Viking in New York state; they did have some settle- ments in Canada and kept very specific logs about their sorties down the coast and inland. Also, the Northeast is rife with American history and history of Native Americans. JW: One of our fun challenges is thinking of ways to bring in ghosts. The easy way is that wherever Sam goes, she sees ghosts. But we have to get cre- ative to find reasons to have them on the property.
RUN OF THE HOUSE Ghosts ’ creators Joe Port and Joe Wiseman look back on Season 1 and ahead to Season 2.
backgrounds coming together. But in many ways, we don’t talk to each other, and we stay in our different camps. On this show we have all these people who might not have ever spoken to each other, who are forced to live together. I feel like it’s a particularly good time to show that in this country, when we’re so divided.
Any concerns about taking a British sitcom and reworking it for an American audience? JOE WISEMAN: Not only was it a great show with a unique concept, but it seemed very portable. It made sense that we could bring it here and popu- late it with ghosts who were American archetypes. JOE PORT: I think it particu- larly works well in America. We are such a melting pot, with people from diverse
What does Ghosts say about life and what happens after? JW: Take advantage of the time you have. That’s an important lesson that sometimes we forget.
And ghosts have arrows through the head or bear
scratches on the face. It can end at any moment. Then you’re in that state forever? JP: Yes. So be careful what you’re wearing when you leave the house.
What ideas did you have to make it more “American”? JW: We were excited when
JP: And in the upcoming
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER • 2022
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