*I will receive a pack of Cards Against Humanity in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*
Set in the Chicago-land, Ghost Squad is a fun mockumentary that’s a delight to watch. Quirky and funny, the pilot episode made me chuckle, laugh, and even chortle. Andy Kushnir, director and co-writer, accurately described the show to me as, “It’s Ghost Hunters meets The Office.”
Here are 5 reasons to drop what you are doing and watch Ghost Squad
1 – It’s set in Chicago
I’m biased, but I’m also right. How awesome is it to have a connection to a location in a series? Pretty awesome. Everyone who has been to Chicago will recognize the lake in the background as Desperado Miller, played by Abby McEnany, drives along the shoreline. The very realness of the city helps the series earn the weird turn it takes as Desperado tells the audience that she knows a ghost murdered her mom.
Desperado is the lead paranormal investigator for Ghost Squad 4. She and her team head to the suburbs to exorcise a ghost. I appreciate when it’s acknowledge suburbs are used instead of trying to disguise one city for another. By acknowledging the place where the story happens is in the ‘burbs means we can use our our suspension of disbelief towards ghosts and not location.
2 – Ghost Squad is a fun mockumentary
I love me some absurd characters and there is no lack of absurd characters in this fun mockumentary. From motivational speaker Wind Larmer, played by Carley Moseley, to the Dinkel twins, played by Jo Feldman and Neil Jacobsen, absurd characters and situations abound. Each one which a solid motivation for their craz,y making them funnier as they become more relatable. Wind was a hoot. The way she went into evangelism mode every single time she had a line was brilliant. I could tell it was to hide something shoved deep into the recesses of her soul, just like all evangelists.
One of my favorite things to play is the straight man to another improviser’s absurd one. Playing the straight man in a comedic show is a lot harder than it looks and is often overlooked in kudos and recognition. So, shout out to Laurel Krabacher who played Jodi Furber the home owner of the haunted house. She plays the straight character to an ensemble of absurd ones. She been through some real life of tragedies and here she is faced with yet another problem – a ghost. Being a sensible person she reaches out for some help and gets a motley crew of people who mean well, but who also eat all of her chips and salsa.
Also, shout out to Damian Anaya as Frank Fanning, the other straight character in this episode. He also happens to have one of my favorite lines in the entire pilot, “I’m not, you know, one of those guys that like can’t talk about another guy’s penis, but uh, it’s just that I uh . . . don’t care? Yah, yah, I don’t care.”
3 – relationships and Apparitions are real
I like that the the reason the show is funny is tied to the characters and the relationships they have with each other. When relationships are the foundation of a series and characters are fun, it’s the set up for a great show. Ghost Squad has relationship drama in spades, quirky fun characters, and has the makings of a great series.
I was worried the joke would be that spirits weren’t real and this squad was running around futilely chasing ghosts. Instead, it’s a very real obstacle the crew must overcome. The story revolves around whether or not they can band together to help Jodi Furber. Instead of being about the thing, the show is about the people.
4 – outstanding writing, directing, and production
I appreciate when time, effort, and money are put into a production. Ghost Squad is very well written. From the relationships to the one-liners everything fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. The editing, directing, lights, sound, all of it are first-rate. Andy Kushnir and Carley Moseley wrote an exceptional story, and then they followed through with an excellent production.
Every bit in this episode is grounded in reality. For example, even though Desperado Miller seems over the top at times, it’s because she’s just very Chicago. Take a stroll through Andersonville, or hop the 22 Clark street bus, or walk into a Jewel-Osco and you will find a version of Desperado in the deodorant aisle talking to the store clerk about how aluminum gives women breast cancer. Someone who is over eager, under prepared, and yet thinks they have everything figured out.
5 – The Episode Ends With You Wanting to See More
Since we dive right into the story, we only learn pieces of the character’s pasts in this first episode. I want to know more. I want to know the background story of Sendrick X, played by Peter Kim. How does a clearly self-absorbed crazy goth kid seem to be the most responsible person at times. Will we get to meet members from the other squads? What deep dark secret is Wind Larmer trying to hide behind a sunny smile?
So many questions! I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next episode to find out! You can watch the pilot at Ghost Squad on Vimeo.