This Ghosted review contains spoilers.
Ghosted Episode 5
Ghosted returned Sunday after a week off for the World Series, but you wouldn’t realize it were gone if you weren’t paying attention. That’s not a dig, I’m just saying that the show hasn’t done much of anything resembling serialized storylines or noticeable character development. That remains the case in “The Machine” which was actually originally slated as the series’ seventh episode and features no more than two minutes of actual character building. Even though Ghosted is focused on keeping things light, airy, and mostly inconsequential, that still doesn’t mean that it can’t deliver an entertaining half hour.
It’s becoming apparent that if Ghosted is going to succeed, it’s going to be with its off-beat, mostly Robinson and Scott-dependent brand of humor. From the weird Rocky tangent to Max barely containing his cover, half admitting that there are songs that remind him of Leroy, the lead actors’ chemistry and odd couple dynamic routinely are the show’s best moments. The humor flies so fast and naturally between these two, that it’s ok that the show spends only brief amounts of time developing their on-screen friendship. This week’s material is short and sweet, with Leroy making a harsh joke at the expense of Max’s situation with his wife, then apologizing later when Max admits that the jab hurt his feelings. It feels like a real, natural moment between two budding friends and co-workers and is about as deep as this show should ever try to go.
What doesn’t feel real or natural is the continued forced flirtations between Annie and Max. Their little moment alone comprises the other story-advancing flicker of the episode, where Annie awkwardly notices that Max isn’t wearing his wedding ring. Max then mutters something about the assault he suffered at the hands of his fugitive wife a few episodes back, and then they uh fist bump? I don’t know, Ghosted has yet to make me believe Max is really suffering much over his wife or that these two would ever be interested in one another based on what we’ve seen of them together so far. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’re going to stop pushing this material any time soon.
If the supporting cast still can’t seem to make an impact, at least a guest star can pull some of the weight. This week’s standout guest actress, Mad TV and Parks and Recreation favorite Mo Collins, brings her dependable brand of zany, self-medicated energy to her scenes and completely dominates her screen time. Between Collins and the Parks and Recs-esque over-the-top of awfulness of golf trio, “The Machine” got a lot of comedic mileage out of its utility players. Hopefully Ghosted continues to deliver memorable one and done characters just like Collins’ former show.
As per usual with the show, the actual plot about an old country club douche using a Cronos machine to stay alive forever was secondary to the good-natured goofiness that our leads are so good at delivering, which is fine when the jokes are good. Thankfully, we had Max coining the sign-off term “Mout” and Mo Collins pitching in with a run about her doll room. It’s odd yet charming stuff and a sign that series is markedly improving. Now if they would just ditch the attempts to give us familiar sitcom beats and indulge more of this weirdness, they could just be on to something.